As educators, we're told to try one new thing in our classrooms every year; however, after attending the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching's Teaching Generation Z session this summer the question is, "Which amazing resource to use?"
With the big day approaching, here is a list of some of the incredible resources presented at this NCCAT session that can be immediately implemented in your classroom:
Kahoot-An easy to use online game program allowing you to input your own questions and answer choices. Students can connect to the game using a code from their own device and points are tiered by answer times. This really brings out kids' competitive nature and is great for test prep/review...Goodbye Jeopardy! Be careful, don't overload the game with too many questions.
DoInk Green Screen-A green screen iPad app. All you need is a colored background (it doesn't have to be green either) and a device with this app. You and/or your students will be able to make fun videos in front of any scene. One third grade teacher had her students' make book reports using the app, another had their media students create the daily announcements 'TV Show' using the screen--making the lunch menu especially fun to watch. The cost of this app is $2.99, there are other Green Screen apps out there for free.
Aurasma-This might be the single most "mind-blowing" tool I learned during the week. The app allows you to overlay text, picture, or video over a trigger image. Once students scan the trigger image with the app the 'secret message' is revealed! It is incredibly easy to use: Using the app, capture the overlay message, then snap a picture of the trigger image, and finalize--BAM! Done. Imagine students scanning a math problem and seeing a teacher-made video of how to work out this problem, or even problem hints for more challenging tasks. This definitely requires a BYOD classroom.
Aris-An online program and app allowing users to create quests and missions using their local geography. Teachers can make one big game using their school's layout. Mission objectives/goals are unlocked based on GPS location services and/or QR code scans. At NCCAT we used it to explore the campus instead of your typical first-day grounds tour. This program is more involved than others, so explore and troubleshoot first, before implementing.
GooseChase-Instagram meets Scavenger hunts! Forget the hastagging of photos, use GooseChase to assign students various photo missions, it keeps track of the point values, and gives you access to all the images. From there you can push out the best one on social media.
Layar-This is just a neat app allowing you to see social media posts, restaurant Yelp reviews, etc. based on GPS location services. Other than spying on kids social media use during school hours, I don't know how this could be used in the classroom--but it sure is cool.
SAMR Model-This is not so much an app, but a lesson planning tool for technological integration in your classroom: Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition. This is a really nice launching point for teachers new to digital learning and a comprehensive check-list for those wanting to delve deeper in their technology use. Focus first on technology as a substitute for paper/pencil assignment, then gradually grow into the other stages of technology use.
MinecraftEdu-It seems MinecraftEdu is all the rage in education, and for good reason. This gives students an opportunity to collaborate and create in a platform they are used to. One teacher created the front lines of WWII for students to virtually explore trench life. Connect with Chris Goodson and Lucas Gillipse for a wealth of information and first-hand experience with MinecraftEdu. User licenses costs $18/ea ($14/ea with 25 or more) and server software costs $41.
PBS Mission US-For my history colleagues, this program provides virtual U.S. history experiences for students, aligning with ELA and Social Studies standards, the four missions available feature: a boy's 1770 life on the brink of revolution, a African-American slave girl's 1848 quest for freedom, a native-American girl's 1866 fight for survival on the Plains, and a Jewish immigrant girl's trials in a new life in America. This program targets middle school social studies and language arts objectives.
CanvasLMS-This learning management system allows teachers to create, align, and grade assignments. Teachers can upload fill-able rubrics to assignments, control release of grades, and provide direct feedback to students and their parents. A platform that truly gives students perspective into digital learning and the ideal exposure to what a hybrid college course is like. Any 1-to-1 teachers who want to go paperless, Canvas is the way to go. Many districts are adopting this LMS and syncing student information with it (WCPSS being one of them).
While these are only a few of the resources presented at the NCCAT summer session (after all there needs to be some hint of mystery), identifying one or two that could make your life easier this year in the classroom is what technology integration is all about--otherwise, why do it?