Friday, August 5, 2016

My technology integration goals for a new school year

iPad and school supplies
This school year I will be transitioning into a 4th grade classroom after about 15 years as a digital coach. Prior to my work as a digital coach I taught 4th grade for eight years. Over the course of my travels from school to school as a digital coach, I've met a lot of awesome teachers doing a lot of awesome things with their students. I've worked with many of them and explored many digital tools. Now I'm ready for my own classroom!

I'll be team teaching with a reading coach who will focus on ELA. I will teach math, science, and social studies for the other half of the day. Naturally I've done a lot of reflecting this summer on what I want to do with my students. I've thought long and hard about how I envision using technology as a tools to help my students. I've come up with this list that I don't feel I can compromise on. None of these digital tools or opportunities was available when I was in the classroom before, so I look forward to seeing what my students and I can accomplish with them.

Mystery Skype - I'm so excited to have my own class this year where I can do as many Mystery Skypes as I want! My goal is to Skype with all 50 states.

Global Learning - I've signed up to participate in Adventure16 and I want to investigate projects at Digital Explorer to find something for my students to participate in. I realize our social studies focus in 4th grade is Nevada, but I strongly feel that students should become global citizens as well. My goal is to find a global project we can team up with someone to work on and then find something local as well.

Interactive Notebooks - I'll be using Interactive Math Notebooks, but I want to explore adding a digital component with the goal of being a full digital interactive notebook next school year. Ideas I have are to use augmented reality with the printed version (links to demonstration videos, digital manipulatives and tools, etc) and explore something like Google Slides for full on digital notebooks next year.

iPad tools - I know I'll have at least 7-8 iPads in my room, but I hope to have a complete cart. Regardless, a few apps I want to have students use are Book Creator to create math books either as a digital portfolio or skill/unit based evidence of their learning. Explain Everything would be the perfect companion app for this project.

GAFE - students have full access to Google Apps for Education, so we'll be taking full advantage of those tools, including Google Classroom.

Blogging - I'm a strong believer in blogging so my students will definitely be using blogging as a way to reflect on their learning. I'll continue this blog with a focus on digital tools I discover and how we are using them in our class. Our class website will also have a blog as the home page to keep parents informed of our work.

Remind - speaking of keeping parents informed, I also plan on using Remind on a regular basis. I was on the parent end of it this summer with a non-school related event my kids were involved in and I absolutely loved it!

Websites - there are several websites that will be woven into our class work: XtraMath for math fact mastery, explore to increase keyboarding skills, GoNoodle for those important brain breaks, and EdPuzzle to hold them accountable for videos we see.

Plickers - our school has CPS Responders but I don't really like them. I'm going to use Plickers instead, which I think will give me a lot more flexibility and power with my formative assessments.

Presentation tools - I am big on teaching students proper presentation skills and giving them a variety of tools to demonstrate their learning. I also can't stand PowerPoints, so instead we'll learn how to use powerful tools like ThingLink, Haiku Deck, and Adobe Spark.

Video making - I will have a green screen station set up in the corner for students to create videos to demonstrate knowledge and learning. I'll have Do Ink's Greenscreen to integrate with the other video and picture apps.

Augmented Reality - I mentioned using AR with interactive notebooks, but I really want to explore using AR in a variety of other scenarios as well. I'll need to explore a few apps and see real case uses in the classroom.

Whew! Now that I look back at that list I see a lot of fun this year! I don't think I've bitten off too much, because a lot of this will integrate well with our curriculum. I always love to see real use examples from other classrooms. Please share your ideas and tech integration goals with me in the comments below!


  1. WOW!! I teach second grade and have just begun trying to integrate more technology into my teaching. I've been taking blended learning classes, so that's where this stems from. I really think the station rotation set up is very doable for second grade. I also have just set up a blog and we started using it last week. I can't wait to read their replies. You are providing so many wonderful opportunities for your students and getting them ready for college learning. Best of luck!

  2. I am so impressed by your plans with your students. You have found a way to integrate technology into every aspect of your classroom. Your fourth graders will be so lucky to have a tech-savvy teacher, and I know they will love learning in your class. You are offering such a variety of skills for them to use in the future. It is inspiration for me as a teacher to bring more technology into my classroom. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  3. I like your idea for an interactive notebook. I am trying a digital interactive notebook this year as well. I am using our chrome books as an interactive notebook in doing our "bookclub" jobs, students will type thier responses and share with their bookclub group, then students will be able to respond with their thoughts on the subject as they are reading the same book. I can't wait to begin and hope I find success.
    Amy Widdison

  4. It is nice to look at other ideas for technology in the classroom. Converting an interactive notebook to a digital form is good. I like the Remind program so that parents and students can be reminded about any information that is needed. The Tech Challenge is a great idea between teachers. Any mode of communication is present. Tweeting is especially current.

  5. I love all your ideas for integrating technology in your curriculum. Your students are lucky to be in such a technology rich environment, they will learn a lot that will help them as they move up in grades. I will definitely be returning to this list when I return to the classroom, I would love to implement some of your ideas. Now that they school year has started, how has it been going? Was it difficult getting everything set up and running with the students?

  6. I liked reading about all the different technologies that can be used in the classroom. Some of them I was somewhat familiar with such as I pad tools ( I used an I pad in my classroom to teach first and second grade students with autism) I recently finished an Intro to Google and learned a lot. I particularly liked the Google Chrome store for Apps and Extensions. I downloaded Jing for capturing screen shots and I love that. I also took a Blended Learning Class and used PowToons as a presentation tool. Have recently added Skype to my Ipad and have used FaceTime reqularly. Some of the other things you have listed I am not familiar with but tomorrow is another day. :)

    1. I have read and viewed many ideas for using technology in the classroom. I do not have computers in my high school classroom but there are two computer labs in the school. They are available by appointment only. I am not very tech smart, but look forward to implementing some of these ideas and technology in the future.

      Annette Jordan

  7. I liked all of the different technology that you will be using. Do you think it will be hard to keep up with everything? Now that we are halfway through the year did you change anything that you wanted to do. I admit I have computers in my classroom and labs to use but I am not very tech savvy. I am getting ready to take a Google class to help me.

    1. Going back to the classroom after so many years has been very overwhelming! I've found that I can't do everything that I wanted to do, but I have been able to make use of some technology. I was lucky enough to get a class set of iPads, so my students use them every day. We just got through using Book Creator to create a book of Nevada symbols. Students love that tool and are trying their hand at other books. We use Xtramath every day and a website called Zearn for our Engage NY math.

      We've done Mystery Skypes with almost 20 states and tried out blogging. I use Remind all the time with my parents. And of course we use GAFE on a weekly basis.

      There is still so much I wish I could do, but first I've got to get myself acclimated to the classroom again!

    2. Thank you for the reality check. I, too, had envisioned more digital goals for my class. I now know I need to get the support of my parents next year before I can truly have the technology integrated class of my dreams. With 2/3 of a year under your belt, what will you make sure you keep for next year's class? What new technology integration goal do you want to implement first next year?

    3. Wow - excellent questions! I definitely want to keep blogging, but change the way I did it from this year. The students didn't get into posting as quickly as I wanted, so they haven't done as much writing. I think this has more to do with how my writing block is structured more than anything else.

      We'll keep using the iPads, but I think I will show them more apps sooner in the year. Now that I've shown them one or two apps, they really like them and are trying some things on their own. I fear that I held them back too much this time.

      I do want to expand my use of Google Classroom more, but that requires me rethinking how I do some of my assignments.

    4. This is my first year at my current school, they are integrating more technology into the mathematics curriculum. Some teachers are using schoology and others are taking workshop learning to use Google Classroom. I understand that eventually all classrooms will use Google Classroom. We have a limited number of computers so I do not know how we will manage. As I learn more about blogging am more motivated to encourage my students to blog.

  8. Wow! Your list of things you wanted to use was very helpful! I have heard of some of these, but can't wait to try a few new ones out that I haven't heard of before. I read in the comments above that you used Zearn for Engage NY. My school uses STMath. DO you know if Zearn is similar to STMath? I will be signing up for Zearn tonight to check it out. Thanks for some ideas and recommendations!

    1. No, Zearn is completely different from STMath. I've not used STMath as a teacher, but I saw a demo on it when I was a digital coach. I thought its approach to teaching math was very good and I'd love to give it a try some day. Unfortunately I don't think the school I'm at will ever have the money to purchase it.

      As for Zearn, I'm becoming disenchanted with it, mostly because I'm becoming disenchanted with Engage NY. Zearn is pretty much an online version of Engage. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it though.