Teaching with Tech Newsletter

April 2019

Tech Fiesta - Nacho Average Tech Conference

As you hopefully saw in the last newsletter, DeKalb County School's 2nd Annual Teaching with Tech Conference will be Friday, June 28th at Northeast Alabama Community College! The theme for this year's conference is Tech Fiesta - Nacho Average Tech Conference. For competition this year we are going to have a chips and dip/salsa showcase, so get your best recipe ready and don't be afraid to bring the heat! Prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place winners!

The registration is based on a first come, first serve basis so go ahead and get signed up. We will open registration to educators outside of DeKalb County Schools at the beginning of May.

Below is a preview of some of the breakout sessions that will be offered...

  • Google Classroom
  • Creating with Chromebooks
  • GAFE for Littles - How Early Elementary Students Can Use Google Apps for Education!
  • Chromebook Basics
  • Flipgrid
  • And many more...
Also, Eric Curts from Control Alt Achieve will be our keynote speaker. Eric has been a Technology Integration Specialist for almost 20 years and is a Google Certified Trainer and Innovator. His blog is one of the most read and recognized EdTech blogs in the education world. He will likely be sharing his wisdom in a breakout session also!

Chromebook Simulator

If you are used to using a computer that runs Windows or macOS, it will likely take some time to become familiar with a new computer such as a Chromebook. This is because these computers use different operating systems. After using an operating system such as Windows or macOS for a long time, we get used to little tricks that help us work more efficiently. Learning how to use a new operating system can be frustrating and confusing because many of the tricks and shortcuts we used in Windows don't always work in the new system.

Google has created a Chromebook simulator to help you become more efficient and effective when using a Chromebook. Click here to check it out and hopefully learn some of the new tricks and shortcuts.

Excellent EdTech Educator

This month's Excellent Edtech Educator is Lyndsey Franklin. Check out the interview below to see what Lyndsey has been doing with her students. She also has some great advice for others who are looking to incorporate technology into their classrooms.

Hey, Lyndsey! Thanks for being featured as our Excellent EdTech Educator this month. To start off why don’t you tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been teaching, what do you teach, etc?

Hey! Well, I teach at Geraldine High School. I’ve been married for almost 10 years to my husband, Bradley. We have three wonderful children-Braxton (9) and twins Barrett and Libby (5). In my spare time, I am usually at the ballfields with my kids, but I also enjoy reading and crocheting.

I am currently in my 5th year of teaching. I taught 1st grade for one year, before moving to 5th grade. I teach Science and ELA and I truly LOVE what I do!

That’s awesome! So what is your favorite tech tool and why?

It is so hard for me to pick one favorite tech tool. I have so many that I love!

Nearpod is definitely the tool I use most in my class. I have been using this consistently for about four years. I love it because it is so interactive and it allows all students to be engaged in learning. My students love the activities, 3D images, and virtual field trips they can view from a Nearpod presentation.

I really like Nearpod too! I love that you can engage more students in the lessons and ask questions to all students instead of just the few that normally respond. Are there any other tools that you have been using lately?

A new tool I started using this year is Edpuzzle. This tool connects directly to Google Classroom, so it is super easy for students to use. Edpuzzle has educational videos for your students to watch. These videos can be imported from different sites (YouTube, Nat Geo, and Khan Academy). As students watch the video you have assigned, they will answer questions that pertain to the content in the video. This is a great tool for reviewing and/or reinforcing a lesson.

How have you been able to use technology to impact your students?

The students we teach were born into a technology integrated world. Anytime you are able to connect learning with technology, students instantly become more engaged. By including technology into my daily instruction, my students are more willing to participate and collaborate with their classmates. Technology has also helped transform my students from learners to creators. They love being able to take the things we learn in class and produce technology related creations. We recently used Book Creator to make books on the Sun. We were able to share these books with our Kindergarten students. Not only does technology make learning more fun, but it helps prepare our students for the future.

That is such a wonderful thing about using technology with our students… it helps them move from consumers to creators. Also, having your students share their creations with younger students is fantastic!!!

I’m sure that you have experienced some “failures” or setbacks along the way. What have you learned from those experiences?

When using technology in the classroom, there will always be setbacks. I have had so many lessons, that I thought would only take a day or two, turn into a week or longer. I have learned to be flexible with my time and be patient with my students. I think they have also learned to be patient with me as well. A lot of times, they are able to figure out a tech problem before I can. They know a lot more about technology than we give them credit for, so another thing I have learned is to not be afraid to ask my students for help.

We need to model learning for our students. Trying new things, which can mean setbacks, affords us that opportunity to learn in front of them.

Any words of encouragement for the faculty of DeKalb County Schools?

I would encourage you to not overwhelm yourself with technology. A lot of training and conventions can put you in “technology overload”. My advice would be to choose 2-3 tools to use each school year. Focus on those tools until you feel like both you and your students have mastered them before you introduce anything new.

Collaboration within your grade level and/or content area can also be very helpful. If you find a tool that you love, SHARE IT! My coworkers are amazing! We are always sharing new technology ideas with each other to help better our instruction.

I completely agree with both of your statements. Start small with technology! Become a master at one tool that really enhances student achievement, and then move on to learn something new. Also, collaboration with colleagues is so important… we need each other! And I have heard great things about your co-workers as well.

Ok, one last question… Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

I’m going to have to go with 1 horse-sized duck.

This is such a funny question and a little ironic. First of all, I am TERRIFIED of horses! I had a bad experience horseback riding when I was younger and I will forever hold a grudge on all horses. Also, my son’s first word was “duck” and he was obsessed with ducks as a baby. We actually bought him a duck for his first birthday and raised in it a little swimming pool in our backyard.

I believe with the proper training and strategic planning, I could take on anything. ☺

Haha! Love the attitude! Thanks so much Lyndsey. Keep up that good work!

Tech Integration Specialist

Abbey Thomas

Abbey serves as the Technology Integration Specialist for Henagar, Ider, Moon Lake, Plainview, Ruhama, Sylvania, and Valley Head.

Rob Hullett

Rob serves as the Technology Integration Specialist for Crossville, Collinsville, Fyffe, and Geraldine.

If you have any questions or needs please don't hesitate to contact us!