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 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!
This lunchtime learning session focused on using Twitter for professional development. Twitter is a great tool for connecting with other educators, finding and sharing resources and engaging in conversations with like-minded teachers.
For More Information:
You have probably seen QR codes everywhere, from magazine pages to billboards. The QR in QR code stands for Quick Response. Any phone or other mobile device with a camera has the capability to act as a barcode scanner, reading the information in the code. Once a user scans the code with a smartphone, iPad or computer, they are directed to a website with more information. Try scanning this code, where does it take you?
These QR Codes can be easily created and printed or posted to a website. There are many free QR Code generator programs available which ask you to input a website, click create and the code is generated for you!
Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom:
- Add QR codes that lead to book trailers or book reviews to the backs of classroom books.
- Add QR codes to math worksheets with websites or videos that help explain the concept.
- Add QR codes to reading material that lead to an audio recording of the material.
- The following examples were found on the website: http://blog.simpleK12.com
- Create a page on your wiki or blog, or craft an email or a handout to give to parents that includes links to student work. Along with the links, put a QR code for each of the virtual projects. This way, viewers have the option to view immediately via their smartphone, and if they are viewing a print version, they don’t have to enter the URL into a computer.
- Put QR codes on all of the elements on your periodic table poster, link them to a wiki page or better yet, a fun video showcasing that element. Challenge your students to come up with a better idea, and have them bring in their own QR code.
- Inspirational quote up in your classroom? Include a code that brings up a photograph of the author.
- Have a classical poem up instead of a quote? Use a code that takes you to a podcast of the poem.
- Music teachers can create codes that link to podcasts of classical music. When you’re playing a particular piece in class, attach the related code on the music itself, so students can listen to the recording at home.