One of the great things technology allows us to do is connect with other teachers, students, classrooms, and experts around the world. It’s just a matter of making those connections. This post provides a couple ideas on how to do that.
Many educators are using Google + to create and join professional communities. Google + is one of the apps available to you through your school account. If you need more information on getting started, the WFB Technology Support Site can help you out. Below are a few communities that I have personally used to make connections with other classes. I make a quick post about the class that’s interested, what we want to do, and when we are available, and responses come in pretty quickly!
Google Hangouts in Education
Connected Classroom Workshop
Mystery Hangout for Schools
There are many hashtags on Twitter used for different areas in education. Check out these articles for lists broken down by topic or subject area to find something that interests you.
The Complete Guide to Twitter Hashtags for Education
The 10 Twitter Hashtags All Teachers Should Follow
To connect for a mystery call try #MysterySkype and #MysteryHangout.
Do you have another great way to make connections around the world? Share in the comments!
What is technology integration?
Teaching with a SmartBoard? Students using iPads? Skype? Chromebooks?
The answer is yes and no.
Those are all tools to provide the best learning opportunities for our students, but it is HOW we use them that matters.
Technology standards used to focus on the tools themselves. Now the focus is on skills and knowledge students need to thrive in a digital society. The International society for Technology in Education (ISTE) provides a well-recognized set of standards for “what students should know and be able to do to learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly digital world” (ISTE NETS for Students)
The six broad categories:
- Creativity and Innovation
- Communication and Collaboration
- Research and Information Fluency
- Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
- Digital Citizenship
- Technology Operations and Concepts
The emphasis here is on cognitive skills requiring students to plan, create, and innovate. When integration is done right, the technology itself falls away. It is what you are able to do with it that is in the spotlight.
Students can now explore the Taj Mahal using google Street View. They can learn about other cities, countries, and cultures through a Mystery Skype with another classroom. They can write for an authentic audience through an online newspaper or personal blog. They can quickly and easily research the answers to their own questions.
This is a big task, but it’s an exciting one! We are all at different levels of expertise and comfort with technology, and that’s ok. Let’s try something new together.
So this year, I challenge you to ask yourself what small step you can take to give your students an experience that was never possible before. Then let me help you make it happen.