Sometimes I wonder if teachers feel under pressure to always do the 'dog and pony' show when it comes to technology integration. I've been working with some teachers at Forest Trail showing them that the little things in life can make a huge difference in learning engagement, learning outcomes and meeting learning targets.
Ms. Palmer and I have been working all year with a small group of children in a resource classroom. Her students have to learn in 'byte-size' pieces, with frequent breaks and immediate feedback. Wait, that's how ALL children learn right?
Over this past year we have put together innovative, engaging lessons that have really ignited the students imagination and inspired them to climb to even greater heights.
I am always looking at ways in which to get students problem solving. One application we found that worked with this particular population was Botlogic: a fun, challenging and educational game that allows children to interact with a robot. They learn about counting forwards, backwards and have to use problem solving skills to get the robot home. We tried some activities from code.org but found them to be too difficult for the students thereby increasing frustration levels. Another great fit for this classroom were the programmable floor robots, Bob and John as featured in this blog post. It's not always easy to find the 'right fit' but with a little effort and reflection we got there!
Learning Games & Data Collection
One of the biggest challenges teachers have, in my opinion, is gathering data in a timely manner and responding to that data to meet the needs of every single student they teach. There are many apps out there that can gather data but none more fun than Skoolbo and Motion Math.
I was introduced to Skoolbo last year and it was an immediate hit with the students. Unfortunately the site had a lot of issues and we stopped using it. A couple of months ago a teacher brought to my attention that the app was up and running again and so we decided to give it a another shot. I am glad we did. Not only did we get a bulk upload easily we were able to get students logged on with a simple code. They play math and literacy games adjusting to their ability level and the teachers get to see their results.
Another app that achieves the same goal is Motion Math, an app we have been lucky enough to be piloting across all elementary schools in the district.
You see with technology learning really is more fun! AND what a way to get data without the students even knowing about it!
Increasing Reading Engagement
There is no doubt that the more we read the better we read. It is not easy however to excite learners whose DRA levels are low and comprehension is hard. EPIC! took care of this for us by introducing EPIC! for educators. The excitement to 'get reading' is now tangible and students get instant feedback on minutes read and can even rate the books.
Movement in the Classroom
We all know the brain research in relation to movement and learning. We still see way too many children sitting for way to long and wonder why they aren't listening. GoNoodle is a wonderful resource for all classrooms but it is especially appropriate for the resource classroom. After the little 'bite' of learning, we MOVE! And yes, both Ms. Palmer and I are up and moving too. Footage to follow!
I was lucky to be given the gift of Bob and John, formally known as Dash and Dot. When the students at Forest Trail first got a glimpse of these incredible 'creatures' the excitement was tangible. My son in second grade took him on a tour of the school just to pique the kid's interest. Before I knew it teachers were booking me up to introduce them to their class. Once we got the apps loaded off we trotted to some classrooms!
The first app we explored was the Go app. This allows kids to:
They loved making him dizzy, change colors and make all sorts of noises!
The next app we explored as the Path app. This app allows the students to:
The next app we looked at was the Blockly app. This app allows students to:
Bob and John are now a very integral part of the FTE community! We are hoping to kit them out with some Falcon memorabilia!