As technology in the 21st century advances, it becomes more and more integrated and runs through nearly all aspects of daily life. Nowhere is this more true than in the classroom. Classrooms are continually being updated; from chalkboards to whiteboards and from bulky overhead projectors that required endless amounts of converted pages to display to small projectors conveniently mounted and connected to computers, classrooms have experienced considerable steps forward as far as teaching efficiency is concerned.
Multiple aspects of teaching and learning in a classroom setting are becoming digitalized, and the trend and popularity of classroom blogs and pages is just one example. Putting all material related to a class and students in one convenient spot that is accessible at all hours (online) is an extremely practical way of ensuring that students have access to learning materials, course syllabi, announcements regarding school or class deadlines or important dates, outside or extra material useful to students, other media, etc. This can be an important point for educators, as it is an opportunity for parents also to be able to view all materials relating to their child’s classroom.
With a classroom blog students also have the opportunity to contribute and participate in a myriad of ways. Sharing ideas, external links and resources, and other relevant topics and ideas will encourage students to be more participatory and engaged in their own learning. The technological aspect of it makes it easier than ever for students to feel more involved in their classroom. Not only this, but blogging and encouraging students to be involved in a classroom blog further develops literary skills.
Said online learning specialist Stephen Downs:“Blogging is about, first, reading. But more important, it is about reading what is of interest to you: your culture, your community, your ideas. And it is about engaging with the content and with the authors of what you have read—reflecting, criticizing, questioning, reacting.”
Blogging allows students an opportunity to care about their curriculum, to become involved in their own learning, and to actively participate where otherwise they might have been able to. Creating a classroom blog is a relatively easy process and can be the means of engaging and changing students. The following is a small list of platforms that are used for classroom blogs, though the list is by no means comprehensive.
Downs, Stephen. "Educational Blogging." Educause September/October 2004 (2004). PDF File.
Hedge, Stephanie. "Teaching with Blogs." Inside Higher Ed. 15 Jan. 2013. Web.
"The Ultimate Guide to The Use of Blogs in Teaching." Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Web.
Old school? Still giving paper formative assessments? Although that can be easy to have your kids do a quiz on paper, who wants to lug a bunch of paper quizzes home and take the time to grade them? I'm all for assessing students, not for grading hundreds of answers after school! Let's look at how to work smarter, not harder, when giving formative assessments to your students!
Ditch grading, get immediate results and see who understands which standards you are teaching with one of these three formative Assessment tools: Nearpod, Quizlet and Plickers.
Nearpod is by far my favorite assessment tool! Not only is this an assessment tool, its a powerpoint, puzzle generator and online polling tool. I use nearpod about 6 times a year in my classroom. That may not sound like much, but that's a lot considering I'm not in a one-to-one position with technology in my classroom.
Fun from the front page onward! My colleague Karen and I liked watching Quizlets around the world be created in South America, Austrailia and Asia. The most interesting geographic pins were students in Japan learning Spanish, students in Austrailia learning their own history and students in South America learning French. As an educator it was fascinating to find out what other educators around the world are currently teaching in their classrooms
Plickers - who wouldn't love these? Instantly scanning a classroom of students and having data on your mobile device within seconds is such a valuable tool.
If you're new or an advanced techie, any one of these online formative assessment tools are well worth your time and effort for easy data gathering of where you're students are with learning content in your class!
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