5 EdTech hacks that changed my life

Sometimes things on the Internet change society…

Take the Rick Roll for example (or just Rick Astley, in general):

giphy

The following Internet-based things (in no particular order) have changed my life as a teacher. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

  1. Hotkeys that open the most recently closed tab in Chrome
  2. Google Docs Explore Tool, formerly known as the Research Tool
  3. Canvas SpeedGrader
  4. YouTube videos at 1.5x speed
  5. Symbaloo

spmkoae

(so keep reading!)

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Flipped PD on Growth Mindset

In Year 3, Day 3 of Teacher Leader Corps, my colleagues and I created this flipped version of our most recently delivered professional development session on growth mindset.

Growth Mindset Adobe Voice video

I love Adobe Voice. I even use it for my holiday video and sent a video poem to my father for his birthday. It’s extremely user friendly and students can create good products quickly.

Nearly-Paperless Classroom

Nearly Headless? How can you be nearly headless?  – Hermione Granger

Disclaimer: I don’t believe in:

  • a truly paperless classroom
  • technology as gimmickery
  • one [teaching] method to rule them all
  • drill and kill (but practice does make permanent)

I do believe in:

  • not assigning busy work
  • authentic homework assignments
  • saving paper

This year (with only one week until school started) it was decreed that each teacher would have a set number of pages copied per semester (each SIDE counts as one). This number varied by department, but there was no apparent consideration of the number of students, common teaching practices for the subject, etc.

I’ve had to ask my students to print things at home. I’ve moved to lesser testing practices of copying only one class set of tests that students cannot annotate (I came up with giving them a transparency and erasable marker) and cannot keep for future studying. It also fosters cheating because I used to have multiple versions of tests. I’ve done these things because I can’t make copies frivolously. However, I’ve NEVER made copies frivolously. I always try to conserve paper.

That being said, I have found a reason to be thankful for this proclamation. My website traffic is higher than ever before. I’m averaging 70 visitors per day (and I have about 70 students).

Just in the past month:

Classroom Website traffic 10-2014

Classroom Website traffic 10-2014

Even more impressive: in the past year…

Visitors by country. Oct 2013-2014

Visitors by country. Oct 2013-2014

In fact, my classroom website caused me to be headhunted by a local tutoring center and personally asked to review a new study/resource website for science classes by the site’s developer… who lives in the UK. If that’s not proof that I’m impacting people outside of my school, I don’t know what is.

So, thanks for forcing me to become even more paperless than I already was. My website has blown up as a result. The funny thing is, my husband’s math website blows my stats out of the water.

 

Google Docs, Drive, etc.

Yesterday, I led an early release workshop incorporating the use of Google Docs to allow students (in this case, my colleagues) to paperlessly conduct a collaborative close read. Over the past couple of years, many colleagues have asked me for info on Google Docs and Google Drive. Below are actual assignments that I give to my students at the start of a new semester (minus a little identifying information), but you may find them helpful for your own use as well.
Google Docs (learn GDocs features and share docs with you)
Google Docs and Google Drive (learn GDocs features and creating shared student folders)
More pontification and philosophy following…

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