Bibliography of Resources
Teaching with Technology
By Rachel Nachtrieb
Think Central is an integral component of the Go Math program because it is the portal to all the digital resources for Go Math. In order to access Think Central you need an ID and password that is provided to all teachers whose school/district use a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt program. Elementary teachers have access to all Go Math materials from Kindergarten through 6th grade. This access helps teachers not only plan and teach horizontally across a grade level but also vertically to understand where students are coming from and will be going in mathematics. This also allows teachers to have full access to materials from any grade level, which can be helpful when differentiating for struggling students or challenging gifted students. The Go Math Program is aligned to the Common Core State Standards and Go Math created a tailored program for New York City. Every lesson specifies the standard being addressed and provides multiple opportunities for students to master that standard. The Go Math program has built in differentiation tools with additional reteach and enrichment books, activities, and games. Some of the most exciting differentiation tools are the online components of the program. Students are given an accounts so they too can log on to Think Central. Students have access to iTools which are digital math manipulatives; online versions of their workbook and homework book; animated math models designed to target specific skills; mathematically leveled concepts readers (which are books covering each math topic that students can read, or listen to) to help extend their mathematical thinking. Since the concept readers can be listened to, students who might struggle with reading but excel in math can be challenged to extend that math thinking with a more challenging level in the concept reader. One of the most exciting uses of technology with this program is Soar to Success. Soar to Success allows teachers to use the data from student workbooks to pinpoint areas of struggle and then assign students tasks and activities related to that hurdle. Every student in your class could be assigned content related to a different trouble spot. Once you make an assignment on Soar to Success the differentiated program takes over and moves the child through the program until he or she has mastered the skill.
Scholastic Book Flix is on online literacy resource that pairs fiction video storybooks with related nonfiction texts. These digital storybook videos and digital books are organized into categories on the Book Flix homepage. There are hundreds of book pairings to choose from and I have found many of the texts regularly read in Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade are part of the collection. Students are engaged when watching the storybook videos because they are seeing and hearing the story in a different format (video with moving illustrations). The nonfiction texts are also engaging because there is an option for a digital read-along so students hear a different voice. Vocabulary words are also highlighted in the text; when the cursor is held over the highlighted words a pronunciation option and a definition appear. This is a great tool to use for class read-alouds, to introduce a topic or learn more about a topic, and to foster excitement for reading. In order to use this tool you do need a paid subscription but many schools subscribe to this program as well as many public libraries. I access Book Flix with my public library card. I also use this tool to differentiate instruction by having struggling readers watch the story book video to become familiar with the text and to listen to it multiple times before asking them comprehension questions. I also have advanced students use the nonfiction texts as enrichment to learn more about a topic we have been discussing. Book Flix also provides lesson plans for each paring of texts which can be followed or used for additional ideas to help teachers guide instruction.
Graphite is an amazing tool that helps educators discover the best apps, games and websites for the classroom in one place. To use Graphite you need to create a free account so you can log in. Once you are a member there is so much to explore. You can click on the “Reviews and Ratings” tab to search apps, games, or websites by subject area, grade level, and pricing. Fellow teachers have rated hundreds of educational digital tools which will surly give you some new ideas. If you are looking for digital tools that specifically aligns to a certain Common Core Standard you can use the “Common Core Explorer” tab and identify the subject, grade level, and strand. Then you will be presented with numerous (usually over 20) different tech ed tools that could help teach, practice, and master a specific standard. In addition to providing teachers with a list of numerous digital tools available for use you can use the “App Flow” tab to access hundreds of technology-integrated lesson plans. Graphite is an excellent tool to help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms which will in turn help motivate and engage students. Graphite is growing daily and new technology ideas and app flows are added constantly. Graphite can help by providing concrete applications of these digital tech ed tools.
Aurasma is an application that allows you to overlay pictures, videos, text, and images on top of any image that a digital device can scan. The image that your digital device scans is called an aura. There are so many creative ways you could use Aurasma in the classroom. As an adult I was amazed by this technology, so I can only imagine how extremely engaging this technology would be for students. You could use Aurasma for any subject or topic that you wanted students to learn more information about. If you were teaching a first grade lesson on the United States' flag then you could find a pre-made aura or create your own that would allow students to scan a picture of the flag and then see more information or a video on the device screen. I think this tool is great for independent work and differentiated because you can create an aura out of any image. For struggling readers this would allow the student to scan an image and learn additional information by listening and looking at the over layed images and videos. The information provided with each aura could also be differentiated so some auras could provide basic information and descriptions while other auras could go more in depth by providing more information and explanation. Students in upper elementary grades could even learn to make their own auras, which could then be explored by their classmates.