Friday, 8 July 2016

Tools for the teacher

We as teachers research and spend a lot of time on google or other search engines. We find some interesting sites, pictures, videos or information that we want to use in our lessons. Come the day of the lesson and OOOPS......we cant find that video we had liked or that article we wanted the students to read!!!!!!!!! All this can be avoided by simple steps.

Bookmarking tools

Now we dont need to loose the video we liked or the site we loved nor do we need to memorize the site URL......all we need to do is bookmark it. Yes, I am sure we all do that on our computers. But what happens if our laptop breaks down and we don't have a backup. All those hours of tireless research gone down the drain. Well all this stress can be avoided by bookmarking on online websites like Diigo, Pocket, Delicious, Pinterest etc. 



Image result for DiigoApplication




Cover art
Image result for pinterest

All one needs to do is to sign in and create an account for themselves. The Icon will then show on your top right hand side of the screen .  Every time you find something you want to save for later use just click on the icon and save in in your online library. You can even sort your findings as per subject or units or themes ....all as per your wish.


You Tube

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You Tube is the lifeline of may teachers, It surely is a very important part of my teaching practice. You tube has many inbuilt features like the playlist, the you tube channel etc that can be used easily and very effectively in the classroom. 

To learn more click on this  - you tube




One Tab

Image result for one tab iconMany a times while we are on the net we go from one link to another and then another and we end up with so many tabs open. We dont want to close any either as we need something from each open tab. So what do we do now?
Use One Tab. Whenever you find yourself with too many tabs, click the one tab icon to convert all of your tabs into a list. When you need to access the tabs agin , you can either restore them individually or all at once. This also helps you save 95% of memory because yoy will have reduced the number of tabs open in Chrome.




Responsible digital citizens

Along with using the internet there comes great responsibility too, to use it wisely. It is a wonderful place to stay in but it can get very dangerous too if we are not careful. Being a good digital citizen is something we need to imbibe in our students from a very young age for it to become their practice or so to say their habit.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/elementary_poster

Researching

In the 21st century, the entire world is available to us at the click of a button. There is so much of information available that we do not know where to stop and look. We need to teach the students the essential skill of choosing an effective keyword while searching on the net and also how to scan for the information that will be appropriate for them.

This is something I start teaching my students from the very first research assignment I give them. I encourage students to use the pool of information on the net a lot along with encyclopedias.
They have access to videos, sites, animations, stories and a whole wide range of media to learn from and with consistency they do learn to find the correct (appropriate) site and material as required by their assignment.









































































I used the common sense media curriculum to educate my students about digital citizenship. I created a class with all my students and signed them up for the digital passport. Gradually as per the Unit of Inquiry's and need of the class I unlocked different units of the passport for them. By then end each one of them earned a digital passport as a prize.




Academic Honesty

Academic honesty should be an integral part of  any student or person for that matter. I imbibe the same in my students through small small things like giving credit for anything that they use that does not belong to them. I put down a criteria in each assessment that they need to have a bibliography of the sites, videos, books that they have accumulated their information form.  Its not always complete or like it should be but it starts to put them into a habit of citing the sites they are using.  A small start to a very important big step in life!!



More ideas

Presentations and animations

For our unit on Who we are we were exploring about how different body systems function, the responsibility of different organs in our body. The students were presented with the task 
of presenting the same through an animation or PPT presentation.


This task got the students engrossed in the learning completely. 
Some of the ways we brought in technology in this task - 
  1. Students used the internet to look at different videos and sites to collect information along with the books from the library.
  2. They used the cameras/I pads/ Mobiles to click pictures for their animations.
  3. Learnt to use the open shot editor to make the animation movie
  4. Learnt to use the voice recorder to record their voice overs for the animation movie.
  5. Some of them presented through a PPT presentation. Learnt how to insert a video, change font size and style, insert images, text boxes etc.
  6. Along with these skills the students also were exposed to academic honesty. How to cite the sources of their information or to give credit to anyone who had helped them.
Take  a peek at the presentations and animations created by my students - 







Impossible is nothing

For otur unit on How we express ourselves , my students created an advertisement to advertise for the admissions in the school. They worked with their art teacher and created a layout for their designs. They then used word to create their advertisements. They played around with the font, background colour, pictures keeping in mind what they had learnt about an effective advertisement.



The students were extremely proud of their work and went around the school putting up the advertisements.



Google Drive

As my current school is a google school,  where the students will eventually have their own google accounts, i thought it only made sense for them to learn how to use the google tools. I used the opportunity to teach them how to use the google drive. 
They learnt how to share their presentations other than attaching them to an email.
They learnt how to collaborate and work on the same presentation at the same time , giving feedback, correcting each others mistakes, jumping in when one of them was stuck etc. It was a great opportunity for them to collaborate and learn.


Emails

In this era of short forms and text messaging, the students find it extremely hard to compose a formal email.  Through my language lessons along with letter writing I introduce writing emails too to my students. I teach them how to add a contact, search the contacts, the correct language etc. 
Through my mail box I show them how I mark my mails as important by adding a star or mark it as unread even after reading it to remind me about the email again. I do not assess the students on these skills, but do give them an exposure to them. My ex student keeps in touch with me through her e mail which makes me feel like it was worth the effort!

Go Techno

In my past few years of being with students, I have noticed that the present generation of students are
"technology natives". By that I mean that the students inherently know how to use technology, at least what they want to use. Students today want to be social, interact with each other and they p refer to do this is in the virtual space.

So I decided to use technology as a tool in my classroom to take my teaching and learning deeper. Children by nature are highly visual and this is where technology comes into play. Being highly visual enables them to multi task.They need to be be able to have multi devices, multiple environments and multiple stimuli coming to them to process any kind of learning activity.
         Am not saying this is a good thing, but we have to face the change. This is what our students are coming in with to us. Some teachers find it difficult to keep up with the change in technology and how t adapt them into the classroom. Through this blog I wanted to share ta few ways that  I include technology in my classroom.

Games

One of the most easiest way,  we can include technology in our classroom is through simple games online. They could be games for Math, Language or any other subject focus. 


Quiz time

As part part of their summative task  for the unit How we Organise Ourselves the students were assigned a task to organise a Math quiz for Grades 4 & 5. The students used the computers and the books from the library to gather material for the quiz. They put together the quiz as a PPT presentation.


The Math Quiz made by the students - https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1wEDv7olJE75yuZhAqcu0wsv2bJwWMP30plvoRGCHQxY/edit?usp=sharing
(I assisted them in putting together a few slides till they got used to the features and usage)


Movie Making

Another summative task that I gave my students involved them in making a movie to show the different ways conflicts can be resolved and what will be their results. 
The students used the I pad to record the movie. 
They then used the Open shot video editor to edit and put the movie together. 

Click here  to for a peek at the movie they made -




Skype----inggg!!!

One of our classmates had to travel back to his homeland for an urgent reason. We came up with the plan of skyping with him and including him in our lessons from where he was.
It made the world seem such a small place!

Virtual classroom

In another unit where we were exploring Where we are in place and time, my students worked on learnign about the land forms in Maharashtra and how they impact our lives. They created a salt map of the topography of Maharashtra. I had another of my ex students that had shifted to Singapore to do the same for Singapore. We share with each other what we had learnt about each place through Skype. A simple yet effective and fun way to get technology into your classrooms.



For another unit under How the World works, we had a Skype interview with one of the parents in Australia. He taught us how what were the things that were kept in mind while designing buildings as per the regions land forms, laws, requirements etc.



Simple yet effective ways to bring technology into your classrooms:-)