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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cool Things I Want to Do with Technology in Need of Prioritization

1. Invert the classroom. Definitely too big a project to do all at once. Maybe try for once a week in one class?

2. Class blogs that students contribute to and comment on.

3. Send assignments and reminders as text messages.

4. Send assignments and reminders on Facebook.

5. Use polleverywhere in class more than one time as a novelty.

6. Survey students at points throughout the year to prompt them to reflect on how they learn.

Obviously I can't do it all because, my goodness, those poor children. I feel a little like I am holding a bunch of hammers, in search of a nail. Are you using any of these successfully? If so please tell me about it.


  1. Kate,
    When you are creating surveys, you could use Google Docs, specifically a form in the spreadsheet.
    This would give you more control over the data, is free, and you could just post the link to the form on your page in facebook.

    Just a thought.

  2. Good point. I always forget about the Forms in Google Docs.

  3. i suppose lots depends on your school context.

    i don't feel comfortable integrating cell phones & facebook into the classroom - i'm too scared of the wrong parent / administrator taking a hard stance against that. and aside from that, do your students really want to have math class enter facebook or show up on the cell phone after school?

    #1 and #5 stand out as the ones worth your time and effort, and also as the ones with the fewest hurdles / potentially negative side effects.

  4. @jeffreygene I hear you about being leery of cell phones/Facebook. Last year when I set up the FB fan page, it was voluntary whether kids "became a fan" or not. I invited 2 sections (around 50 kids), and around 25 became fans. I don't think it would be a thing I would want to mandate. And with the cell phones, even though lots of them have one, some of them don't, so again it wouldn't be a thing you'd want to mandate. Just an option.

    So the question is, is it worth setting up and maintaining, if it's not something you expect everyone to use. I think the answer is potentially "yes" because of all that stuff about how choice increases motivation. Let the kids decide what method of getting information works best for them. As long as it's technologically and time-feasible for me.

  5. re: inverting the classroom, a lot of my students don't have Internet access at home or only have dial-up access to a free email server.

    This is on top of the ones who work until 10:00 or are taking care of 3 kids.

    I run across these things a lot and just have to acknowledge they're teaching from different universes.

  6. I've used polleverywhere a few times (mostly novelty, too, I admit). Cell phones aren't required; for those w/o cell phones and/or SMS, I had students log on to web polling site to participate. Worked great.

    Inversions - I had a HS math teacher who often did this (not video lectures, but instead time spent in class asking Q's rather than lecturing himself) and it worked pretty well. I have not tried this much myself, but look forward to hearing what others are doing in this area.

  7. I get the impression that "inversions" really depend on the class. The AP social studies teacher at my high school did something like that -- reading at home, discussions among the students in class, himself staying out of the way except to guide as gently as possible -- and it turned out great. When I've visited him since, he says ours was the last graduating class of AP students he felt could handle it.

  8. These are great ideas, Kate. I'll have to run them past our tech coordinator, who will have to ask permission from the principal, who will check with the district-wide tech coordinator, of course. Don't you love bureaucracy?

  9. I have been seriously thinking about using Twitter in my class. I was thinking I could send homework assignments daily, quiz/test reminders, etc. Also, I was going to push it during open house and let parents follow my tweets if they want to so they can me more involved in their student's education!

  10. @Matt @UA See I thought inverting would be a good idea for on-pace students (vs honors students), because they could do the sit-and-listen-and-maybe-take-notes at home, but then in class they would be getting support for practice and problem solving. I'm trying to answer the "I got it in class, but then I was lost on the homework so I didn't do it" issue.

    @Jim My advice is to find out who has the decision-making power to open things up, and then bug them every day. My access at school was very buttoned down 2-3 years ago, and it took me and a few other persistent squeaky wheels about a year of complaining to the right person.

    @MM Let me know how Twitter works out, if you decide to try it. It doesn't seem like many students are already using it, so I haven't considered it.

  11. Kate,
    I know I have quite a few students in my class that are using twitter so maybe it has picked up over there in FM as well. I will keep you posted.

    I tried to use today for review for the summer school final exam. It was ironic to me that the same students who will not get off their phones during class usually, were reluctant to participate in the polls. For the students who did participate, it went really well. Do you have a good way to get equations entered in the polls?

  12. MM are you local?
    I haven't played enough with polleverywhere to know anything about equations. As I alluded to in the post, I only used it a handful of times for inconsequential things.


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