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Archive for September, 2012

Implimenting Technology; Middle School Computer Lessons

I wanted to review something that would be relevant to me and my building. I immediately went to the “Tech &Learning” web site to look. Initially I was looking for an article on security for classroom use Ipods and Ipads. Because there is a debate in our district whether to force teachers to submit their school Ipads to be locked down and made all the same. I am obviously against this. But, what I stumbled upon was a short article about a classroom app that looks really useful. I am always searching for tools that teachers can use in their classrooms and I am eager to share what I find. Most recently I have shared “Evernote” and “Google Drive” with my staff. These useful apps should be on every educators device.

            The article that I found was a review of an app called “Class Dojo”. The best thing about it is that it is free! Free of course to you if your school has basic tech tools, if not you could use your own smartphone. Class Dojo is a behavior tracking program that monitors the student behavior in your classroom and shows the results to your class. As soon as I read the concept, I thought it could be a brilliant tool in the fight against student apathy and classroom disruption. I am always looking for things that teachers can add to their bag of tricks for technology and classroom management.

            Teachers can create an account and create their classes and personal avatars can be made for each student. As teachers monitor the room they can make positive or other observations for the class right on their device. This data is instantly displayed for students to see in the class. Teachers can make classroom behavior goals and the entire class will feel like they are a part of reaching it. This is designed for use on an Apple device but can also be downloaded on a pc.

Reflection:

As a school administrator, purchasing and implementing new technology can be a delicate dance. Where you decide to spend your precious technology budget is a vital decision that can affect your school in a very positive way if done properly. On the other hand, if you don’t do your homework your shiny new technology will sit in a corner with an inch of dust on top. I believe the most powerful classroom tool is the teacher, I would start there, simply ask “What new technology would you like available to you?”. What I would not do is to go out and order 30 document cameras and present them at a staff meeting. In that case you will see the whole spectrum; 10 may use them, 10 may open the box the rest may not even pick them up. I think asking first will give the best direction.

I feel that the 3 best tech tools for a teacher are wireless mouse, projector, and working pc, it goes without saying that you also need internet in your building.

            Now comes the question of implementation. This is where I feel that we are now in my building. I hope that my teachers see me as a leader in educational technology. When I am in any teachers classroom, not necessarily for a observation but for any reason, I like to suggest tech tools that they might find useful. Thus adding an aspect of technology to a lesson that may not have that. This new thing could help reach learners in that class that may not be engaged. Yesterday, I was in a language arts classroom and the teacher was discussing a song, he was trying to explain it to the class with little success. I suggested that he pull it up on Youtube. Simple and effective and most importantly free! Now that teacher has a whole new thing to add to his lessons. So, as far as implementation goes, my philosophy is; take what the teacher is good at and add a little technology to the mix and everyone will benefit. Also, use what you already have available to you, what are your free resources? It does not have to be a directive like

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