Instructional Tech Tidbits

May 4, 2015

Happy Monday!


The school year is almost over and I can imagine just how happy you are to be able to go home and focus on your families. Over the summer, think of some ideas to add some pizzazz by incorporating more technology to what you are already doing...which is great teaching! There is more to integrating technology than merely making the tools available for students. Technology should also engage students and liven up lessons. Below is a short video clip of a helpful tool that allow teachers to more effectively incorporate technology while having students to engage with this tool. Interactive whiteboards, no matter the brand name, are meant to be used interactively with your students. Please continue to read below as I present methods to integrate technology and some examples of cool projects I used with my students in the past.

~ Mrs. Robinson, Ed.S.

"Taking the bull by the horns"

For many teachers, it may be difficult to accept change and understand that methods for learning are ever changing. The first step to successfully integrating technology is to understand this concept and embrace trying something completely different in the classroom. Students' attention may be refocused and geared towards technology tools; however, the teacher is still a very essential tool in the process. Technology is ubiquitous, and students spend a great deal of time on some type of technology tool but may lack the ability to use them in educational ways, and, therefore, need to be guided on how to use these tools collaboratively and effectively.

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Integration Suggestions

So you only have limited technology in the classroom? Don't fret. Use some of the following suggestions to help you no matter what tools you have available. All of the following suggestions can easily be modified to incorporate student activities.
If students have mobile devices:
  • Have them record group discussions using their voice recording apps.
  • They can create videos using apps such as Animoto.
  • Have them compose comic strips on apps like Strip Designer or PhotoComic (.99 in the app store).
  • Students can access and upload content on Edmodo or Google Drive.

If students have access to laptops or computer labs:
  • Try real-time polling and quizzing using Plickers, Edmodo, Google Forms, Socrative Student and Socrative Teacher Apps.
  • Students can have live discussions on sites such as TodaysMeet.
  • Have students explore digital note taking using Evernote.

If there are only three to five computers in the classroom or library, students can rotate in centers to complete the following activities:

  • As an application of skills or knowledge activity, have students write a blog using Kidblog
  • Have students create digital stories using Voicethread
  • Students can make movies using Animoto or Movie Maker for Windows.

If the classroom only has one computer:

  • Upload classroom information on Google Docs.
  • Assign a student each day to be responsible for class notes.
  • Start a class blog and have one student at a time write a blog.
  • Record screen casts for online instruction/flipping your class.

If there is a whiteboard and projector:

  • Skype with students outside of the classroom, possibly in other areas to see how other students learn or interact.
  • Utilize interactive websites like BrainPop.
  • Try Scholastic's whiteboard activities page.
  • Show videos that relate to the lesson.
  • Find interactive activities or create them, allowing students to touch and manipulate objects on the interactive whiteboard.

Classroom examples of the integration of technology using free resources

Cool Example #1

Students created license plates using the Paint program that comes pre-installed on Windows operating systems that you have in your labs/classrooms. First, students have to research their chosen state and write a report using some of the facts they discovered during research time. Then, they create license plates with at lease one fact about the state at the bottom of their license plate.


Students created brochures using MS Publisher for their school's Alumni Director to advertise for the Medical Careers Magnet Program offered at the school. I made it into a competition. The top 3 chosen by a panel and me were taken to the Alumni Director to select her number one choice.

I have walked by so many classrooms where teachers are so creative with creating assignment where students draw, write, and use their creativity on paper and posters. Let's take this one step forward and use some of this free technology and allow them to use this same creativity. 21st century skills are so important, because our students will be expected to use their creativity with technology in future occupations, so let's get them acclimated to using their technology in a positive, productive manner.

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Students created a 45-second commercial using Animoto, a free online resource. Of course, in future projects for their business, they used more in depth technology to create another commercial, but this first commercial encouraged them, because everyone could do it with little to no major issues. The second set of examples below are audio files, where students used Audacity, a free open source tool that allows them to create podcast, edit sound files, and much more. The two examples below are audio files of their Christmas radio commercial and their business radio advertisement using their own voice, echo and sound effects, and some used their classmates for additional voices.
KB Christmas Radio Commerical

What instructional technology question do you have for me?

Please let me know if I can assist you with any form of technology for your classroom and students.

Lana Robinson, Ed.S., Instructional Technology Coordinator

“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”

- Dr. Maya Angelou