Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Which Tools work best for BYOD?

I think the biggest challenge ahead of us is deciding first what it is we would like to accomplish in our classrooms and how the increased access to technology can aid our endeavors. The next decision is to choose which of the many available tools work best in the BYOD environment here at Mason.

Let's start with many of the interactive technology applications that we have investigated and implemented over the past few years. Blogging, Shared Documents, Presentations, Shared Websites, Formative and Summative Assessments, Screencasting and Electronic Note Taking are some of those applications.  The primary tools are offered through Office 365 (accounts given to students - faculty accounts coming in the fall) and Google (I suggest creating personal accounts).  There are several 3rd party apps that we can investigate - and some allow you to create accounts using your Google (or Microsoft) Identity.

Along the way, we will determine the best way for teachers to share their insights and discoveries about these tools and applications.  For now, lets use my blog and the comment stream below.  As we move forward we can choose more sophisticated methods of sharing.  I also believe that much of the work we will do in this pilot will be online - flexing our work time should aid in the efficiency of this project.

Back to the discussion.  Please Read the following article and reflect upon the tools that you have already used in your personal life or with your colleagues and students.

The Epic BYOD Toolchest - Vicki Davis

Please start commenting below.  The first person to comment will label their post according the particular grouping of Apps (Formative Assessment, Screencasting, Content Sharing, etc). Others wishing to comment within that category should reply to the first persons post.

Thanks for your input!

14 comments:

  1. Formative Assessment:

    So many of our teachers have used Socrative. It works on all devices, doesn't require a student log-in, and seems to continue to be improved over time. I suggest making Socrative and integral part of what we do.

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    1. I've successfully used Socrative in the classroom. It is easy and interactive!

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    2. I, too, have used socrative successfully. I find it extremely useful for a quick comprehension check at the beginning of the bell or used as an exit ticket at the end of the bell.

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  2. Screencasting:

    Screencastomatic works well for students on PCs. Explain everything works well on iPads. Screencastify (http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2014/02/screencastify-screencasting-option-that.html#.U4ScYHJdXTo) may be something to check out on chromebooks.
    Teachers can use the Smart Recorder on their PC or any of the above. Tell me what your experiences have been.

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  3. Assessment Aids:

    I am interested in learning more about these. With the increase in student numbers next year at the high school and middle school, I would love to know more about how these apps will help with assessment. Not that we do a lot of scantron in English, but every little bit helps...

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    1. I would love to learn more about assessment aids as well. It would be neat to find a platform (if it exists) that allows students to manipulate the placement of text (like on the PARCC sample tests). For instance, students could analyze a poem or nonfiction text and "move the text" around to pick out the 3 best supporting details for a main idea.

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    2. Great points, Sarah. I think it would be awesome to mimic the PARCC testing platform for in-class assessments.

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  4. Written Expression:

    I have used Google Docs/Drive to complete group work for online university courses multiple times. I think it could have many valuable applications in a middle school/high school classroom, especially since it shows the timeline of revisions/changes. We have also used it on our middle school team to facilitate student sign-ups and record-keeping.

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  5. Expression:

    I have been looking into Voicethread for a long time. It is free to create an account but if you want to use it at its full capacity you have to purchase a membership. I would love to hear from someone who has used it to see if it is truly worth it. I am thinking of my beginning level students who are limited with oral expression but could benefit from being able to put pictures with what they are saying.

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  8. After reading that article, I was shocked how many tech tools I are out there...more importantly how many I do NOT use. I am only saying this because I consider myself somewhat "tech-savvy". I would like to spend some time using as many of those tools as I can to be able to recommend those that might work in Mason or more specifically in the Math department.

    Speaking of Math, my biggest struggle with integrating tech into my classroom is the bridging the gap between "showing work" with paper and pencil and digitizing that work. The best thing right now is a picture of my work.

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    1. Greg I has the same reaction but for a very different reason. Fifteen-ish years ago I considered myself 'tech-savvy' then I lost that loving feeling for many varied reasons.

      After reading all the available options, I feel overwhelmed with what to choose or start with.

      Also being a math teachers I think these tools will make it easier and more interesting for students to show me evidence of their thinking.

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    2. Greg, I had almost the same reaction but for a very different reason. Fifteen-ish years ago I considered myself 'tech-savvy' but I somehow I lost that 'tech-edge' . Now I want that edge again.
      Looking at all the options available out there I am feeling overwhelmed in a good way. I don't know what to choose first. Kinda like the cliche of kid in a candy store. Wide eyed but cautious about the stomach ache.

      I too am a math teacher. I am seeing all these choices as easy and interesting way for the students to show me evidence of their thinking.

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