This Sunday the OAGC Teacher’s Division will once again host the #oagctdchat at 9pm. The topic will be the roles of technology and social media in the gifted classroom. You can find some information here about the chat.
What I like about this topic is that there is so much to talk about. With technology being embedded into our lives more and more it seems to be creeping into the classroom as well. I have a page on this blog that shares some of my favorite apps and extensions from Google. (It needs a little updating, but it still has some great information.)
I see the role of technology as a tool for students to use. I don’t think just because your school has 1:1 computers that your students will be learning more than those schools that don’t. Technology has to be one of tools we use to engage student learning. The products students make, and share with not only the school community, but with the world at large can be a great way to get students engaged in learning.
Here is a few things that I think teachers should do, (including myself) when it deals with technology:
Try it first.
Sometimes you have to try some sort of new technology to see if it fits into the scheme of your lesson. Try it at home. Give it a test run. Make sure you can answer questions about it before you send students off to work with it. If they get frustrated with the new technology it may throw off your whole lesson.
Keep a folder of links to resources or apps
I have a list of apps/Google Extensions, and websites that I am using, or want to use if the opportunity presents itself. I try to link the uses with some of my lessons. I try to put a technology piece into all of my lessons. You can keep the list on your blog, or in an Evernote folder that could be shared with others.
Don’t rely on technology
Don’t rely on technology to teach your students. You are still in control of your classroom, and it is your responsibility to make sure students are learning. Don’t just put your students on the computer or iPad and expect them to learn. Students need direction. Give them the direction they need. I have in place expectations in my classroom when it comes to technology. Post your rules and expectations so students don’t take advantage of class time by playing games that just wait time.
Be open to try new things
Finally, be open to try new things. We know that younger students have the pulse of what is going on in the world of tech. Let students show you new and exciting things they have found. Be open to allow them to use something they found into a project.
The role of Social Media
When it comes to social media, I think that the more you share what is going on in your classroom, the more transparency you show. Here is a few things that I do, to help with communication and to show off student work.
Communicate your blog, website, Twitter, or Facebook page to parents
At the beginning of the year I send home information about my class. I only see my students once a week, so I need to communicate with administrators and teachers in three buildings along with parents, and students. So I often send home reminders via email to teachers, parents, and administrators to check the website of our class for upcoming information. I try to keep this up to date as possible. The information from my website I also post on Facebook and Twitter. That way I know all of my bases are covered.
Use a hash tag
I use a hash tag when posting about my students or my classroom which is #WestGT. I use this so anyone can search that hash tag can find what I am posting. I would suggest you do the same. The more you post the more information is out there, the you need the use of a hash tag.
I post often. I try to post pictures of my students everyday. I want my parents, administrators and teachers I work with to see what my students are doing. I want to show them off to the world. They are smart gifted students who want to show off their creativity. When they know I am posting the pictures on line they tend to work a bit harder than before. (As a side note, I do not post names with the pictures.) I also keep a collage of pictures and make a YouTube video out of them each month. That way my students can see what the other students in my classes are doing.
Finally, invite conversation into your social media. Ask for suggestions, do polls, and share the results with parents and students on line. Knowing that feedback is coming is great feeling. I enjoy talking to my students, and their parents on line. When it comes to parent/teacher conferences parents already have an idea of what we have been doing in class.
In today’s classroom technology and social media have a big role to play not only in communication, but in educational engagement. It is important to use technology in the classroom but it must be used in a way that enhances your teaching not the only thing that teaching your students.
How are you using technology and social media in your classroom?