Teachers teaching teachers for the benefit of students. That is what Lindsey Hendricks and Jennifer Grassi hoped to do for the staff of Weeks Elementary school when they shared the latest in classroom technology.
The pair learned about the cutting-edge tools at the NYSCATE (The New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education) Conference in Rochester in November. They saw how the world of apps, programs and extensions can best support individual learning behaviors.
“There’s a diversity of learning styles. You can find apps that appeal to different learners so they can learn at their optimal level,” said Grassi.
“There are ways to engage multiple types of learners,” said Hendricks.
Some of the pair’s favorite classroom tools include: Google’s text-to-speech function, Google Earth, bloomz (“Facebook for the classroom,” said Grassi), the game-based learning platform Kahoot!, on-line flashcard and game program Quizlet and the video-discussion platform Flipgrid.
Other tools include QuiverVision. Drawing on special work sheets a student can use the Quiver app to view that drawing as a 3-D image. For example, a student could label a map of the earth on a worksheet, then view it as a rotating globe through the app.
“Can you imagine what it’s like to have a kid’s artwork come to life?” asked Hendricks.
Hendricks and Grassi found that while teachers were using some on-line tools, staff members weren’t using all of the applications featured at NYSCATE.
“When you invest to send educators to professional development events this is what you’re looking for. It’s great when they can share what they learned with other teachers,” said C.R. Weeks Elementary principal Kristin Beriman.
The apps Grassi and Hendricks displayed for the staff allows for more self-guided learning for students and instant data collection for teachers. But educators need a plan on how to execute new technology to keep innovations from becoming just digital bells and whistles in a classroom.
“You need to have a purpose for it,” said Hendricks.
“Ultimately, it’s about helping teachers better support curriculum in their classroom,” said Grassi.