I can relate to students who find it difficult to avoid the distractions that are ever present with their peers, their devices, and the all the other competing interests in their lives. These distractions are part of the world today and are not going away anytime soon, so I think it behooves teachers and students alike to regularly revisit strategies for improved concentration on important tasks and projects.
Plickers is such a fun tool with a myriad of uses in the classroom! If you haven't heard of plickers, they are definitely worth a look!
Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are native concepts to teenagers today. They use the waze app to crowdsource information about how late they are likely to be to first period. They create their own flavor of Lays potato chips without batting an eye. They back the next Kickstarter idea and share Go Fund Me pages for causes they believe in.
Let's get one thing out of the way; I love using technology in my classroom. I use multiple devices, websites, and apps everyday. However, as edtech becomes more prevalent, I hear a lot of fallacious reasoning around the topic that I think can be damaging to both teachers and students. Here are some of the things I hear:
- Mrs. X uses technology in her classroom, so she is a great teacher.
- Because school X is not using a 1 to 1 student device program, the students will not be well prepared for college or careers.
- Giving massive technology grants to low performing schools will solve the issues of educational inequity.
- Computer skills are replacing basic reading and writing skills in the new digital world.
Before school started this year, I wrote this blog post about one of my goals for this school year, which is to incorporate more educational social networks into my classroom. I decided to give the free version of schoology a whirl this year and so far I have been LOVING it! Here are some of the things I've been loving so far:
Have you heard of Literature-Map? Touted as "The Tourist Map for Literature," this site allows readers to type in a favorite author, then hit enter to find a map of similar authors. For example, when I typed in Katherine Paterson (author of Bridge to Terabithia) and hit enter, I got a map that included the names Chris Crutcher, Brian Jaques, Wendelin Van Draanen, Jerry Spinelli, and Louis Sachar. The closer the writer's names are to the center of the map (with the searched author's name), the closer the similarities between authors.