Over the past nine months I had the opportunity to explore the use of Educational Technology. I have rediscovered the importance of its use in today’s society. We live in a technological age where children are using technology day and night. As educators we must match what they are doing or lose them in the classroom. There are a huge variety of tools out there. My one regret is that most of them are geared for upper elementary or older. Some of them are able to be used by students in the lower grades, but from practical experience it is difficult.
I have decided to incorporate many of the tools into my teaching, including blogging, Glogster and Prezi.. Also, I am beginning to bring tools that I taught in certain grades down a grade. For example, Google Docs used to be taught in 6th grade, I now plan on teaching it in 5th. Many students are already using it. I also plan on having the children create their own Vokis, because they already create their own avatars on the Wii and Play Stations. For these reasons we need to be ahead of the technology lest we fall behind.
However, all this being said, I still believe there are times that going “low tech” is better. Every teacher needs to remember that the technology should support the curriculum not the other way around.
I just learned about Google Forms. You can create your own forms or surveys and have all the information immediately downloaded into a spreadsheet in Google Docs. I have had some experience with Survey Monkey. I like this even better. For one thing, it’s free. Second it is simple and easily editable. Once you create a survey you can email it out anyone you wish.
The possibilities are endless in your classroom. You can have each student show what they learned about a topic by creating a survey for the class. You can also have them create a survey to gather information from the class. Create a survey that will allow the students to vote for which party in the Knesset they would like to win the election.
A years ago I created a survey with InspireData that allowed the students to choose the president. We had our election via the SMART Board. I think if I create a survey with Google Forms it would be nicer and easier to work with.
To get to Google Forms, open up Google Docs and click on “Create New” then click “Form”. Follow directions and enjoy. Here is a sample that I created, hope you enjoy it.
I have never been much of a tweeter. When everyone was talking about it, I decided to try it out. Even after trying it a bit I could not get into it.
I really disagree with the idea that people want to check in and hear about everyone’s mundane activities. Why would anyone want to know whether or not I am filling up with gas or is taking out the garbage? If you go with the theory that it is to keep in touch with people far away then they can’t meet you at the mall or go for a walk.
I will consent that it does have some uses. My school will tweet when a bus will be late or it lets parents know what is happening with their children while they are inIsrael. Overall I think that many, if not most, people tweet the STUPIDEST things. Also my page gets filled up constant retweets of stupid things.
This being said, what are the uses for twitter in a school setting? I work in an elementary school and there is not much use for it. These students are not allowed to have cell phones or PDAs in school.
Perhaps they could access it from the web, but I do not see the purpose.
One idea that could be done is have each child read a paragraph or two and tweet a summary. The 140 character restriction does lend itself to great summary skills.
While learning about Jewish history, students can create a twitter account as if they were a figure from history and tweet about the events that are happening “as they occur”.
As with anything, you can probably find a way to integrate it into Jewish education. I am not sure it would be the best use of time or the best idea. I guess I still need convincing. I am keeping an open mind. I would tweet this, but it is too long.