By Amy Ridlehuber Kingsley
For my students, the word summer represents sleeping in, no homework, and freedom. For me, it means unstructured time to do things I haven’t made time for during the school year. My perpetual to do list includes things like: clean the refrigerator, organize the mess that has become our linen closet, and read the stack of books on my nightstand that has been sitting there since last summer. Of course I look forward to traveling, watching movies, and rest.
This summer I’ve decided to put my daughter in camp three days a week, so I will have time to accomplish a goal I have set for myself: Boost My EdTech IQ. Here’s my summer EdTech game plan:
- Play Catch Up. If you’re anything like me, throughout the school year you attend amazing conferences, get all jazzed about changing your lessons but never seem to find the time. Or maybe you save noteworthy emails and blog links yet never have a free moment to act on them. I am eager to catch up on conference notes, interesting emails and spend the summer exploring resources like KQED Education’s Digital Tools collection in PBS LearningMedia. This collection covers OER like creating a Prezi and getting the most out of Google Spreadsheets. These easy to follow Educasts are full of tips for teachers. This summer, I am setting aside time to review and rework my units to include more technology, both for the teacher and the student.
- Get to Know iPad Apps. My students are issued school iPads loaded with apps, many that I know nothing about. The summer break is a great time to familiarize myself with the apps available to them and learn how to integrate them into my teaching. The Socrative app, a digital student response system, has already revolutionized the way I gage student learning during lessons. My students love the Quizlet app which allows them access to vocabulary flashcards complete with real pictures. No more clip art! I’ll also set aside time to “clean up” and organize my folders for easier access to the apps I use regularly.
- Learn About the Many Resources of Edmodo. I recently went through an online training on edmodo.com and have found this “social learning platform” has much to offer. This year I begin using Edmodo’s online quiz feature and have been very pleased with the interactive elements and clear results. One of my goals is to “go paperless” next year. Edmodo allows you to upload documents to a library that your students can access. This library gives students the ability to annotate in a program like Notability then submit their assignment to the teacher for grading, which can also be done without using paper.
- Create a Lesson Using the Educreations App. Many math teachers in my circle use Educreations, a recordable interactive whiteboard for producing and sharing video lessons online, to “flip” the classroom. I really like the idea of pre-teaching before the students come to class. Easily accessible video lessons will be a great addition for my mixed ability students, giving them the power to pause and re-listen to challenging sections. I plan to try this with some of my more difficult grammar lessons, for example, explaining the conjugations of a verb in the future tense. This will allow for more practice in class, and in my French class, more speaking in the target language. Once I’ve shown students how to create a video using the Educreations App, I’ll have them produce their own video lesson – a valuable exercise to demonstrate their knowledge and something we can share with others. This learning/teaching exercise will have far more impact on students than turning in a paper assignment.
How You Can Get Motivated:
- Partner Up. Tap a trusted colleague with whom you can share ideas and successes. Strive to motivate one another to go the distance!
- Join An Online Community. At edmodo.com you can connect and share with teachers and learn how other educators are using your textbook to incorporate technology in exciting and revolutionary ways. And the brand new and burgeoning KQED Education #TeachDoNow community supports teachers looking to use social media tools and other media sharing applications to promote social and civic discourse with students.
- Enroll in An Online Course. I tend to get sidetracked and not finish projects. This summer I’m holding myself accountable. I’ve registered for 6 units through the University of San Diego’s Professional and Continuing Education program. While there are many universities and programs to choose from, I chose USD based on recommendations from colleagues and course format (digital check ins with instructor feedback along the way). Drawn to the tagline “This course is designed to provide K-12 educators with an opportunity to purposefully plan for the next academic year” I enrolled in Developing Custom Curriculum Solutions for Your Classroom. I’ve submitted my coursework plan which includes much of the EdTech game plan mentioned above. I now have even more motivation to get this work done.
A massive open online course (MOOC) is another great way to boost your EdTech IQ. KQED Education will be hosting an incredible MOOC that kicks off July 7. This free 6 week course encourages you to engage in weekly online discussions and learn new digital tools to use in the classroom. Find out more about KQED’s #TeachDoNow MOOC at kqed.org/teachdonow.
I encourage all educators to join me and challenge yourselves. How do you plan to use the summer to boost your EdTech IQ?
Amy Ridlehuber Kingsley is a French teacher who teaches at Hillview Middle School (a 1:1 ipad school) in Menlo Park, CA. She has been teaching for 15 years at both the middle and high school level. Amy was recently awarded the 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator Award. She loves integrating technology into her classroom and enjoys leading professional development for other teachers. Amy’s other duties include being a wife and a mother to a 4 year-old daughter and a 6 year-old labradoodle. When she can find the time, Amy enjoys gardening and hiking.
Follow Amy on Twitter: @KingsleyAmy