Are you ready to start moving your curriculum and materials to a digital platform? Should you use Google Classroom, Drive, Docs, Forms, Sites, Slides, Word, PowerPoint, PowerSchool, Clever, Planbook, Peardeck, Jamboard, Padlet, Quizizz, Seesaw, and the list goes on?
Think of all of these applications as tools. Each one has a specific purpose and a specific strength. Pliers are great for grabbing things, but they make for poor screwdrivers. Planbook is great for lesson plans, but won’t help you with tests or quizzes. Some software is more like a Phillips screwdriver (does one thing), some are more like Swiss Army knives (can do many things).
I want to re-emphasize, these are tools. Your goals are to build relationships with the students and for them to learn your content. Use whatever tools help you to meet these goals. The goal is not for you and the students learn technology (except for my classes). If some of these tools don’t feel like a good fit for you (and many won’t), don’t use them. And don’t feel guilty about not using them. The quality of your teaching is about how well your students learn your content not how many cool tech tools you as a teacher use. Don’t ask the question, “How do I integrate Flipgrid into my class?” Ask the question “My students need to demonstrate their understanding of the Bill of Rights. How can I get them to do this in a meaningful and engaging way?”
- Write a paper in Google Docs.
- Brainstorm with their peers in a Google Doc, Jamboard, or Padlet on how the Bill of Rights affects their life.
- Do a slideshow about it using Google Slides.
- Record and share video clips of students acting out or discussing it using Flipgrid, Screencastify, or WeVideo.
The goal of this workshop is to give you an overview of the many different platforms and software that are out there, and which tools I have found the most useful over my 23 years of teaching computers. I hope you come away with some ideas about which tools will work best for your students, your subject, and your teaching style. We will not cover any software in detail, but I can answer specific questions about the software. Many of the other sessions will help you with specific applications. This session will help you figure out which applications will be best for you.
If you are new to moving your classroom to a digital world, I hope you get some concrete ideas on how to do it and keep it simple. If you have been teaching digitally for a while, I hope you get some ideas on how to better manage your digital curriculum.
Even though we are all being thrown into digital teaching this year, most of us actually teach in hybrid environment. You just may not use it that well. Most teachers have a computer with a projector in your room. Many students have access to Chromebooks in the classroom, not to mention smart phones. The technology is all around, how much and how well you use it is up to you. Even though we will be teaching in a completely different environment this year, hopefully you will be able to integrate some of the skills learned by going digital back into your regular classroom.