By Stephanie Shaw
I was immersed in the “digital conversion” almost 10 years ago and it was extremely overwhelming for me. I suddenly taught fourth grade to 30 students who all had a laptop. I felt like I had 72 subscriptions and passwords, but I wasn’t sure where to start. I needed technology to make my life easier, not more difficult!
Even after many years, it is still easy to feel engulfed by the ever changing technology tools. I have several favorites I want to share (in no particular order) that have been “game changers” to my teaching and my student’s learning, as well as tips for each on personalized learning strategies:
Educreations: Simply put, this tool allows you to make a video and share it with a link. I use this constantly to review and remediate skills and I also use it to give directions. I love it because it allows me to be in two places at once.
Personalized Learning Tip: I have a video for almost all of the skills I teach. I use them to personalize learning when we are remediating a skill, so students only watch the videos they need based on their data.
Edpuzzle/Playposit: Similarly to Educreations, both of these sites allow the teacher to assign a video for their class to watch. The difference with these tools is added accountability. The teacher embeds questions throughout the assigned clip so that the learner has to be responsible as they watch. I love these because they collect data for me to ensure my students understand the material.
Personalized Learning Tip: I use these tools to personalize learning in several ways. I use them for remediation and I also use them is as a center rotation while I am working with a small group. The added accountability makes it easy for me to assess their learning based on their answers, which drives future activities.
Kahoot/Quizizz: Both of these sites are amazing interactive games that add a competitive edge to your lesson. The sites are a bit different, so I would highly recommend you try them both. The students love these and there are plenty of pre-made games to choose from, or you can create your own. They are awesome for review as well.
Personalized Learning Tip: I use the data collected from Kahoot/Quizzizz to differentiate learning groups for me. Both sites have a report that can be downloaded in seconds that will show how many questions each person missed, so I can quickly group students accordingly.
Google Forms: This is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools. I have used it for years on parent night to collect information. I love having all of my information saved, not to mention not having to guess what the parent’s email address is because I can copy and paste them right in my address book.
Personalized Learning Tip: Most recently I have been using Google Forms to personalize student learning by setting up my form to adjust the next screen based on the student’s answer. I do this putting in a question, and then formatting it to go to the next question if they answer correctly. If they answer incorrectly, it can be formatted to an explanation or video to help the student understand what they did wrong.
SeeSaw: This is very similar to a Facebook page set up for your class. Every post sends an alert to the teacher so that there are no surprises appearing on the “wall.” The students can post pictures, videos or add a digital creation. I use it as a way for students to share work with each other and with their parents, and I also use it as a way for students to connect with me and each other. This was a new tool for me this year, but my students loved it and so did I.
Personalized Learning Tip: One way I used SeeSaw to personalize learning in my classroom was to have students “post” as they reflected on their scores in their data tracker. I had students share a skill they were proud of and a skill they would like to improve on. It was a great way for them to take responsibility for their own learning as I began remediation on those skills. Their encouragement to each other was an added bonus.
There are thousands of tech tools out there that you can successfully use in your classroom, but these tools give “a lot of bang for the buck” because they are easy to use and quick to assign.
For more, see:
- 7 Things I Wish I Could Go Back and Tell My Not So Tech-Savvy Self
- 6 EdTech Tools for Modernizing Assessment
- Could Online Learning Tools Replace the Traditional Teacher?
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