Recently, Ms. Aimee Nadow, Academy at the Lakes’ Middle Division Language Arts Instructor, was selected as a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, an honor given to just 100 educators in the entire nation. Read the news article here.
Ms. Nadow was gracious enough to give us some inside tips on how to bring technology into the classroom in fun and interesting ways:
I have a confession: I’m a computer geek.
When Academy acquired the new 3-D printer this year, I was one of the first in line in the technology workshop to check it out and figure out how it worked. (If you’re curious, check out this video at the 4:25 minute mark).
With a children’s librarian for a mother and an I.T. specialist for a father, it’s no wonder that I grew up loving new technology and creative software. Being a teacher has afforded me the ability to share these tools with my students and to give them a new creative outlet and then to watch our kids make incredible projects which bring me even more joy and pride for our school.
Recently, I surveyed the Academy Middle and Upper Division teachers to see what were their preferred in-class tech tools to create this word cloud (The larger the word, the more commonly used.)
So, for those of you who are new to some of the classroom tech that we use here at Academy, here are “Top Ten” ways I use technology in my own classroom:
Video Editing Software
Add music, add a title slide, export to YouTube, share with the world!
Check out some of the “Book Trailers” my students made this year for a summer reading assessment:
Free Photo editing online
Picmonkey.com is one of the easiest and most intuitive free photo-editing webpages available.
You can take a picture and change the color, saturation, and clarity; you can add stickers or layers over it; you can add text, design a custom size; or make a picture collage. Students have used this to create original “Book Covers” in my classes, but the possibilities are endless.
I have my own channel for my Academy videos which includes classroom videos, trip videos and student project uploads for students without their own Google account, to help maintain needed privacy for students.
YouTube is a great way to share and organize digital content.
Blogger hosts pre-made templates, and it only takes several minutes to get up and running.
Posts are organized by tagged labels (in a word cloud), and by date. I organize my posts by unit, and by “Class Year,” for students to find the content they need more easily.
This is a great way to organize pictures online.
Students can then comment under the picture and read each others’ comments to initiate a dialogue about many different topics: from the Holocaust to poetry.
My Creative Writing elective class has our own Pinterest account which the students use to respond to self-selected pictures as writing warm ups. Check it out here.
Say goodbye to the overhead projectors of old!
Document cameras can provide a live feed of document viewing on a digital screen, and can take still photographs of class notes to be shared with absent students.
This technology is especially useful for annotating books, to teach the crucial skill of in-book note taking to students.
Educators today need properly vetted videos to help explain content to students and there are several great companies, such as: Khan Academy, PBS LearningMedia, Ted Talks, Discovery and History, which I have used in my classroom.
In today’s world, students are easily distracted from moments of reading.
I have found that listening to sections of an audio book aloud helps students to focus on the page and the words as they read along with the audio, to take clearer notes.
Free 3-D modeling software
There are many free easy to use 3-D modeling programs out there, but the ones that I have used for projects in my classroom are: Autodesk 123D-design, Google Sketchup and Tinkercad(which is being replaced this year by Airstone.)
Students can use the software to create original scenes from literature or history, and did this year for our Romeo and Juliet unit. See those set designs here.
Since email limits file size, free online storage (DropBox, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud DriveandOneDrive) is imperative for larger projects in classrooms today, and kids can organize their documents over WIFI in a larger free storage space using one of these three file management systems.
A Question for YOU
What kind of technology or software have you found useful? Comment below!
Are you interested in how our entire school integrates technology in the classroom?
Learn more about how Academy at the Lakes utilizes technology in our curriculum.