Taking it One App At a Time
I don’t know about you but when I get a chance to attend an Edtech conference, join in on Google Hangouts, Twitter Chats, and even edcamps I get a little excited and a little overwhelmed at the same time. Educators are doing some amazing things in and out of the classroom with a variety of Ed Tech tools, I feel obligated to try them all. Sometimes it can be just too much, and I love everything and all things Edtech.
I don’t want you to feel so overwhelmed with all of these tools that you get to the point you don’t even want to try anything. I also do not want you to get stuck not trying a tool because you do not have a trainer to show you how to use it. My advice is to take it one app or one tool at a time. Learn the tool and see what it can do. The best way to learn something new is to just play with it. I tell my students all the time to just try things. Trust me you can’t break it. Then talk with a friend and or a colleague about the tool, brainstorm ways you can incorporate it into a lesson. I am not saying design a lesson around this tool. The tool should enhance the learning process, like paper and pencils, manipulatively, and etc… If you don’t have a friend handy reach out to your PLN via social media. You will be surprised how quickly your PLN is ready to help you. If you do not have a PLN start building one. On Twitter I am @katieann_76 or if you Google my full name Katie Ann Wilson or Diary of A Techie Chick you will find me. Reach out and connect with me, I would love to help you when I can. You just have to ask.
We all have different levels of knowledge and expertise when it comes to Edtech, so I thought I would give you a few tools I find helpful. Remember to try just one tool and talk it out on how you can use it.
Google Apps – Computer, iPad, Android
Google apps for education or better known as GAFE is my go to toolbox. I started using Google tools over a decade ago. I’ve been apart of some of their test apps and I’ve watched them change and grow. I find the tools within Google to be my main go to place that I became a Certified Google Educator. I’ve been paperless for decade and I do not even own a flash drive. All of my documents live in my Google Drive and I can access them from any device. I can share them with anyone even if they do not have an email account. I can collaborate, edit, and publish from anywhere at anytime. Microsoft did an amazing job training people to think they were the only ones that could produce a document. When people see Word they need to realize that is a brand like Nike or Reebok. They are both shoes and they both do the same job. You have to decide which one fits your needs. That is the same concept when it comes to creating and publishing documents. Use the brand/tool that fits your needs. For me it just happens to be Google Apps such as Drive, Docs, Forms, Sheets, Slides, Draw, and Blogger.
Some of the ways I’ve used Google Docs has been both for personal and professional use. I’ve create my lesson plans with Docs as well as my sub plans. It is so much easier to share out my sub plans if I know who my sub is in advance I can send them the link or share it with the office. I share or embed rubrics in Edmodo for my students to access. If I make a change to the rubric my students will automatically see the change. No need of making additional copies or wasting paper kids either toss or lose any ways. For personal use I use Docs to compose letters, articles, recipes, and blog posts.
I have my students use Docs as a collaboration tool. I have a small group collaborating on one document. They learn to share the document and to grant different access levels depending on the person’s role in the group. Some students get edit rights while others can only comment and while others can only view. I try to teach my students when working as a team how valuable it is that everyone can collaborate together at the same time. They also use Docs for a variety of other assignments, from note taking to making a table.
Drawing Desk – iPad, Android
I want kids to create their own illustrations I don’t want them just taking images off of the Internet. So I show them Google Draw and I teach them how to use shapes and lines to create. Since my school went 1 to 1 with iPads I need an app that my students could use to creat images. I found the Drawing Desk app. I like how it has different tools that the kids can use to make their creations. It is also easy to save it to your camera roll and share it.
Quizlet – Computer, iPad, Android
Quizlet is a great tool to introduce new vocabulary, learn a foreign language, or to review key terms. The flash cards can be either teacher created or student made. Not only does Quizlet offer flash cards they have a spelling feature, a quiz generator, as well as a matching game.
Now that I have given you few tools to think about, just pick one and try it. Explore the tool, see what you can make it do. Remember you can’t break it. If you have to create an account I suggest you create a document to record your usernames and passwords. Try creating a table in Google Docs to record the tools you are using along with the username and password.
~Katie Ann Wilson