When I first discovered Google Cardboard a few years ago, I was instantly intrigued. The idea that cardboard, magnets, lenses and a smartphone could create an interactive, immersive virtual reality experience excited me. I purchased a few headsets, placed them into the hands of a few eighth-grade students and watched their amazement as they rode roller coasters and swam with sharks. My interest was piqued and I was eager to explore more uses in the educational setting.
“Diary of a Tech Teacher” was born many, many years ago. My initial reasons for creating this blog included the need for a place to share educational technology resources with my colleagues. As a Middle School Technology Coordinator, I serve as a resource for teachers looking for ways to create innovative learning experiences for their students. I decided that posting ideas, tech tools, and resources on a blog would be an ideal platform to use.
This idea didn’t exactly take off, for many reasons. I found it hard to stick to a schedule, became overwhelmed with work and life, and decided to put it all on the backburner. Getting back to writing has been on every “back to school” goals list since I began because I recognize the tremendous value in reflecting on my work, writing regularly and sharing my thoughts publically. As an educator and parent, this is what I hope my students will do, so why am I not?
This past spring, I found the perfect inspiration to get me back on the blogging track. ISTE Blogging Buddies is a blogging community for ed tech coaches. In small groups of 5 or so, individuals commit to writing at least one blog post a month in addition to reading and commenting on group members’ blogs. I am excited to begin this process, to learn, to write, to connect and to grow as a professional.
It’s been a while since my last post, despite the fact that my phone chimes with a reminder each Thursday afternoon that it’s time to blog. I’ve procrastinated for a variety of reasons, the most prominent being the lack of a clear purpose for blogging. I’ve decided it’s time to break out of the rut and to begin by simply taking pen to paper. It made the most sense to dedicate this post to listing the reasons I want to blog. Here I go….
I blog to:
- Share my experiences with other educators. I have gained so much from the wisdom of other teachers via my PLN that I need to share my experiences. I hope to contribute to this collective knowledge by offering my successes and my failures.
- Reflect on my teaching in order to improve my practice.
- Maintain a portfolio of my work as an educator.
- Become a better writer and communicator.
NCGS15 – Wearable Technology3I’ve had the pleasure of presenting at this year’s NCGS 2015 conference, “From STEM to STEAM”. The conference was a celebration of girls’ education and a call to increase opportunities for girls to pursue leadership opportunities and involvement in STEAM fields. Thanks to St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, VA and the NCGS for organizing and hosting three days filled with inspiration, insight and innovation in girls’ education.
I’ve included a link to my presentation and QR code to my presentation on wearable technologies.
I found this list of 7 habits of highly effective teachers using technology interesting and worth sharing. Notice that habit #1 is, “They always start with the why”, recognizing that using technology is not always the right answer if it does not help, among other things, with performing tasks more efficiently or does not positively affect student learning.
I love summer vacation for obvious reasons. I treasure the rest and relaxed pace but I also find it a great time for learning, becoming energized and finding inspiration for the upcoming school year. For those of you who share this excitement, I’ve created the following list of websites, guides and blog posts to hopefully inspire you for trying something new next year. Enjoy!
1. Review 77-Things-for-Teachers-to-Try-This-Summer. This guide features web tools and technologies organized by subject areas.
2. Consider networking with other teachers by joining the Twitter conversation!
3. Read Edutopia-Top10Tips-NewMedia-2011 for practical uses of technologies in education.
4. Create a Diigo account and join a group of educators with the same interests.
Free Technology for Teachers is a blog I love to read because it’s chock full of fantastic free resources available to use in the classroom. It’s a great resource because Richard Byrne, the author, finds tools for teachers and also offers concrete examples for using them in various contexts.
This guide published by Richard Byrne lists 77 web resources for teachers. He has organized it by subject area and there are some great web tools highlighted. Read it below!
Screenleap is a quick and easy to use tool allowing you to share your computer screen with others. All you have to do is visit http://www.screenleap.com, click “Share Your Screen Now” and invite others to view your computer screen. You can invite others to view your computer screen via email, text message or by providing the link on your Moodle page. This is a great tool to use with students in 1-1 computer environments and it works on computers, tablets and smartphones. Use Screenleap as an alternative to having your students look at a projected image on the Smartboard or whiteboard as they look on their computers instead I thought it was great because it does not require any setup, registration or downloading. Try it out!