I recently attended the CAIS workshop titled, “So Many Tools, So Little Time” at Hamden Hall. It was billed as a “speed dating” for tech tools where teachers listened to brief presentations with the hope of sparking interest in a new tech tool. The following is a brief synopsis of the topics offered; one or all may spark your interest! Links to the workshop presentations may be found here.
Scratch, not just for games!
Scratch is a program developed by MIT in order to teach kids about programming concepts. Kids are engaged in problem solving and creative experiences as they use the program to create games and beyond. The following is a list of applications for this program in your classroom.
- Students can use Scratch to animate creative writing assignments
- Students can use Scratch to explain concepts and teach concepts taught in class
- Students can create games to test the knowledge of classmates
Lee Bruner, (tweet him at #ipaded), academic coordinator at St. Luke’s School, shared his wisdom and top apps for learning. He began his session by asking teachers to think about the following questions when considering using the iPad in the classroom.
1. What is the wow factor vs. the educational factor of an app?
2. How will success be measured?
3. How much time will be spent learning how to use the app?
Find Lee’s great list of must-have apps here:
Nikki Cingiser, a kindergartner teacher from The Children’s School, excitedly spoke about how Twitter has changed her professional life. She described her journey using Twitter to make connections with educators all over the world and how she has been able to collaborate with kindergarten teachers to create meaningful projects for her students.
Wolfram Alpha is a “computational knowledge” engine which helps you “answer questions, do math, instantly get facts, create plots, calculators, unit conversions, scientific data and statistics, help with homework—and much more”.
Mathematica is a technical computer program which offers students a deeper exploration of mathematical concepts.
Blogging to Think –
“Blogging may be the most important kid of writing we can do in our classrooms.”
Jeff Schwartz, an English teacher at Greenwich Academy, began his session with the statement above. He stressed how writing promotes learning and thinking and feels that blogging should be:
- writing to learn
- writing that gets lost
He suggested designing blogging assignments to address the following:
- open ended questions
- explain concepts to novice readers
- task asking kids to take on different perspectives
- what did you learn?