Are You Keeping Up? The Evolution of Technology in Education

As an educator embarking on this journey to become a technology facilitator, I wondered about how technology use has changed and evolved over time. I feel that every teacher has the opportunity to infuse the use of technology (read: facilitate) into their curriculum in many ways. Are you the teacher still grasping on to old technologies when newer, more efficient ways of engaging students is at your fingertips? Take a look at “Then vs Now: How Technology in Schools Has Changed Over Time.”

How-Technology-in-Schools-Has-Changed-Over-Time-Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Is your level of technology proficiency tied to the way teachers incorporated technology in the 1930’s (via movies and television shows)? Even if you use a big, fancy interactive whiteboard, are you using it to its full potential, or are you using it to replace a film projector, overhead projector, or TV screen? Is your interactive whiteboard  just a high tech replacement for the standard whiteboard introduced in the 1960’s or worse…the chalkboard, invented in 1801?

According to Masterofartsinteaching.net, computers for student use became prolific in classrooms in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. SMART boards came about in 1999. Kids were using games for learning on classroom computers in 1985. As educators, we shouldn’t be using technology the same way they did 15-30 YEARS AGO. You. Must. GROW!

So how is technology being used?

Learning-on-the-Go
(Find more at  How Are Students Really Using Mobile Devices on Daily Genius by Katie Dunn)

Through the use of technology we have the opportunity to engage learners in new ways. We can use the technology available in its most basic  ways OR we can make it work for us and our learners. How are you using your interactive whiteboard? Do you need ideas? Here are ways to use technology available in classrooms across the country for more than their most basic capabilities.

Here are a few places to get great ideas for taking technology use, in your classroom, to new heights:

Bingo Game Generators: A Tiny Tech Tidbit with Dahl

Have you ever just needed a BINGO game to use with students? Not one of those generic ones, but one that had content specific words or pictures.  You needed a game that was perfectly suited for the skills or subject you were teaching or differentiated to meet the needs of the students in your care. A colleague posed that question and snapped me into action. When you search “bingo generators” tons come up. This list is just a few that I think are some of the quickest and easiest to use.

bingo-score-card
Bingo Score Card Image from http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-bingo-score-card-image17846751
  • http://www.eslactivities.com/picturebingo.php Lets you make PICTURE bingo cards. I recommend you save the pictures you would like to use to a file before you start for quick and easy results. Make sure you print in landscape mode for best results.
  • https://bingobaker.com/ Anonymous users can only upoad 30 images in a 24 hour period (per IP address). I think you can print 8 cards free each day. For $14.95 (https://bingobaker.com/account/login/ one time lifetime membership fee) you can make tons of cards for printing or for students to play online.

Flubaroo: A Method to Use Google Forms for Assessment

Over the last few years, I have seen a more widespread use of Google Forms occur. It seems to be the go to method for professional development evaluations. I have also incorporated its use in my classroom for exit tickets on occasion. I have just under 60 students and have found the task of individually scoring students using Google Forms to be a daunting one when percentage scores are needed. In the past, I manually tallied student responses or used the summary of responses feature to get an overall picture of classroom understanding. To individually score 50+ assessments was time-consuming, especially if more than five assessment questions were used.

The grid below shows typical data for a four question assessment taken by 10 students.

spreadsheet of 10 student responses generated by Google Forms
Spreadsheet of ten student responses generated by Google Forms
If I were to use Google Forms to assess more students, with more questions, the task of analyzing the data could become much more tedious and overwhelming. Due to that limitation, I did not use Google Forms for assessment very often this year.

Tonight in class, I learned of a much easier method of gathering data using Google Forms and the prospect of implementing it is promising.  I was so impressed by the Google add-on, Flubaroo, that I feel it warrants sharing with all of you. Flubaroo allows you to score assessments and mine data from the responses with ease.  It allows the program to “grade” for you! Please watch the short video below (created by Lisa Stamper) for a tutorial on how you can use Flubaroo for your own data needs.

When I applied the Flubaroo add-on to the data from the spreadsheet above I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of use.

After downloading the add-on as illustrated in the video, I clicked on “Flubaroo” in the pull down menu and chose my grading options.

Selecting the point values in the Flubaroo window
Selecting my grading option
Then, I chose the answer key I created by completing the Google Form myself and putting in all the correct answers (I called it “Teacher Answer Key.”

Choosing my answer key from the menu of responses
Choosing my answer key
Finally, I clicked on the “grades” tab at the bottom of the sheet and received my students’ scores!

Spreadsheet with percentile scores generated using the Flubaroo add-on for Google Forms
Scores generated by the Flubaroo add-on for Google Forms
Goodbye tedious individual grading, hello efficiency! Within 5 minutes of finishing the assessment, I can have student scores at my fingertips. Anything that makes our jobs easier is worth taking a look at. While this method will not work for student essay responses, there is an option not to score those portions of assessments using Flubaroo (so that they can be individually evaluated). Still, the benefits of using Flubaroo, in my opinion, outweigh the drawbacks. Try it for yourself, and share your opinions. If you come up with an innovative way to use Flubaroo, be sure to share that too!

Plickers: Budget-Friendly Formative Assessment Technology for the Classroom

The use of technology to enhance instruction and engage students in learning is a wonderful thing. Being able to use technology as a means of assessing student understanding and gathering data is part of current trends in the education of today’s learners. A few years ago a wave of student response device (clicker) purchases began at schools around my county.

The devices came in kits of about 18-24 devices with a hub to plug into your computer to act as the receiver for student responses. They were neat…and expensive! Within a year they were obsolete, when new versions that had all of the missing features teachers wanted were rolled out (but far too expensive to buy new sets). Nearly five years later, those kits are rarely used, replaced by apps and bring your own device (BYOD) capabilities in classrooms which allow students to use their smartphones as makeshift clickers.

What do you do if your school does not have individual classroom response devices for students to use or you serve students who do not have smart devices of their own?

In his article, Clickers and Classroom Dynamics, Derek Bruff does a great job explaining the pros and supportive research of using clicker devices in the classroom. However, the cost of said devices is often too high for individual teachers to purchase and outside of the budget of many of today’s schools as well.

A possible solution to this problem comes in the form of an app that I have just learned about called Plickers. Plickers has the potential to be used in place of expensive clicker devices. All that is required is the use of a smart phone or iPad (just ONE) with a camera (there are versions for both Apple and Android) and a set of cards you can print out for student use.

This tweet from @HaleyKayTurner does a great job of explaining the features and highlighting ways to make it work in your classroom:

After watching, I was so impressed, I had to let her know!

Screencasts-A Doorway to Possibilities

When it comes to using technology to figure out how to do something I do not know how to do, I am the queen of the web search. I will use my computer or my smartphone to look up a tutorial (usually video) to walk me through the step-by-steps of how to complete whatever the given task may be. For example, when I wanted a refresher on crochet stitches after not using the skill for years, I was off to YouTube for a quick search…30 minutes later, I’d partially finished my first cute mouse baby bootie for a friend’s soon-to-be little boy.  The internet is a resource we often go to, without hesitation in our daily lives.

When my quandaries are more of a computer-based or technical nature, I go to the web once again…to hunt for screencasts.  Screencasts allow us to get first person tutorials as if we were sitting at the computer with the person teaching it. They offer video of the screen of the instructor as they go through the steps of a given task in real time, often with recorded audio for oral instructions throughout the process.

Not only do I use screencasts to learn things myself, but I also use them to teach my students. When I am out and have a substitute, I have uploaded screencasts of the whole group portions of my lessons to my class portal. This allows for the continuity of teaching style and vocabulary my students are used to. It also allows for substitutes, who may not be as tech savvy or do not know the specific methods and strategies students are learning, to teach the computer-based lessons I need completed in my absence. I have taught my students where those lessons will be and how to access them in my absence, it’s win-win!

I also use screencasts when I am in the classroom with students. When I foresee that a few students may have trouble with setting up a document or completing a computer-based task, I create a quick 30 second to 2 minute long screencast so they can refer to it if needed. The best part about it is that students who don’t need it get started right away, those that do need help watch the screencast without my intervention and get started as well. In the meantime, I am able to provide small group scaffolding to students who need it. I have even used screencasts to record quick tutorials for staff at my school, like how to set up your laptop to print to a satellite printer and hold the document until you get there to print it out.

So how do you get started? First, you will need to have access to a computer, preferably one with a microphone. Then…well the easiest way to teach you how to screencast is by posting a screencast! I am not one to reinvent the wheel, so here are two different screencasts that explain two common screencast creators readily available.

Using Screencast-o-matic:
Using, Chrome-based, Screencastify:

Falling in Love with ADDIE

I am in love with ADDIE. Okay, maybe not love, but seriously deep like! ADDIE is acronym for an instructional design model that is helping me to pull together the pieces of my current project. I am working on a lesson for adult learners. I am amazed by how tough it can be to schedule consistent team planning. It can be especially tough when students receive special education services, ELL services, reading interventions, math interventions etc. and you are responsible for knowing where your students are academically and meeting those academic needs. Thus, my bright idea for a forum. I know that eplanbooks exist, but I wanted to try a different route. So thus my idea for a Google Classroom for my team was born. In it, we could share ideas and materials asynchronously or synchronously when possible.

Then I met ADDIE.

The-ADDIE-Instructional-Design-Model-Infographic
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Last week, I had to analyze my audience. This week I design the lesson.

The problem I foresee is how SLOW the process is for me.  I am running out of daylight.  Okay, maybe not daylight, but I am running out of school days. I don’t know how interested my audience will be in doing my lesson and giving me feedback if they are no longer the captive audience. Once the school year ends, it takes a while for teachers to want to think like teachers…

In these final days of the school year, I have analyzed my participants. They are all educators. They have varying degrees of technology savvy. None are opposed to the use of technology in instruction and all agree that planning together can be VERY challenging when the schedules just don’t line up. We share a common goal: collaboration. So with that analysis, I move on the task of designing my training. I am excited about this endeavor, and a little nervous. What if after all of my hard work, the training bombs or the participants are bored to death! Ah, the musings and insecurities of a trainer in training!

If all else fails, I do have a back up plan…

(Clip (film): Robin Hood: Men in Tights)

Not Reinventing the Wheel

As I continue in the instructional design course I am taking, I continue to read through the text and chip away at the projects that are due.  This week we began delving into the first steps of the ADDIE model of instructional design.  As I design a lesson to teach to adult learners. something my instructor said stuck out in my mind, “Don’t reinvent the wheel.”

Picture of bicycle with triangular wheels
Picture from: http://www.jokeroo.com/pictures/car/853736.html

How many times have I reinvented the wheel in my teaching career. As a first year teacher, I remember spending hours and hours planning lessons only to discover nearly identical materials online. As my years as a teacher have continued, I have learned to use the resources available to me, whether they are internet based, found in teaching resources, or shared ideas and items from fellow teachers and modify them to fit my needs. I have learned that there is no shame in working smarter (not harder). In my life of balancing my own education, schooling, and family it has been a hard earned lesson. as many life lessons seem to be.

Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it. The College Blue Book~Anthony J. d’Angelo

So what does all this have to do with instructional design. As I read the text this week and listened to the classroom lectures, I was struck by how many of the design models build off of each other or share principles.

Instructional Design: Episode 3- The Models by Epogogy Inc.

So many are variations. Somewhere along the lines, their creators were inspired by other models. They attempted to modify a previous model to meet their needs. As I embark on constructing my lesson, I  do the same. I am working on a Google Classroom project that would facilitate collaboration during teacher team planning. In a school that uses intervention as a means of providing supplemental services to meet student academic needs, it is difficult to plan together with all team members working to impact student learning. As I design the lesson, I think of technology materials I could use to help teachers understand the ideas and process. The difference is where in the past I would have made all of the materials and resources myself, I have recognized the value in a quick google search of key words and browsing session in Youtube to see if someone else has already created the materials needed to support my lesson.

Using those materials is smart and efficient planning. Every teacher knows a teacher who is an inefficient planner, one who spends their time making EVERYTHING from scratch. I used to be that teacher….reinventing the wheel. Why? There are so many ways to find foundations to build on…

Teachers pay teachers logo
Teachers Pay Teachers is a site where one can find lessons for free or a small fee to use as a foundation.

Now that I have learned to use the resources at my disposal, I am a happier teacher with more time for classes, family, and life!