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Before you go back to school, choose just one tool

Posted on July 22, 2014 by Amanda Dykes

technology toolsSummer is wrapping up. If you are like me you probably attended conferences, read a lot of blog posts and books, or spent more time than usual on social media learning about new things to use in your classroom. But now you are getting ready for back to school.  It can get overwhelming to try to use all the new information you learned about, especially if that includes new technology tools.

When you start school this year, choose one tool to use all year long. Not just for one cool lesson, but one that you can introduce at the beginning of the year and build on as the year goes on. This will give you and your students a common technology to use regularly.  Then take the others and insert into one unit you teach. This will give you time to be more comfortable with it as well as give you a chance to choose one that fits with the pedagogy and theme of your unit.

If you are stuck on what tech you can use throughout the year, here are a few suggestions:

  • Edmodo - Start out using this as a way to communicate to students and parents. As the year goes on, use it for collaboration, sending out assignments, and assessments. The new snapchat tool is great for testing what standards the students are still struggling with.
  • Remind - This is a great way to keep students and parents up to date with what is going on in your classroom. Send reminders of homework or tests. But as the year goes on, use it for flipping your classroom and sending out links to videos or reading materials.
  • ClassFlow - If you are a BYOD or 1:1 school this is a must! Use ClassFlow to send slideshows, videos and polls to your students. Students use their devices to respond by pictures or a given choice. This is a great way to keep your students on track in a BYOD classroom.

These are just three of many awesome tools you can use, but they're a great starting point that can be used with all the other tools you discovered this summer. I'm always curious to know what tools or apps other teachers are using, so please leave comments and let me know!

Don’t be afraid to try something new, but be sure not to get overwhelmed. You don’t want to overwhelm your students with new technology either.  They have enough they have to adjust to this new school year. Start slow. Good luck and have a great school year!

Amanda Dykes profile

Amanda Dykes is a Science and Tech Ed/STEM teacher in Birmingham, AL.   She has degrees in technology integration and speaks often on being a connected educator was well as using technology and PBL in the classroom.

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