Saturday, March 23, 2013

Classroom Technologies

This guest post is by James Wilson, a History and Humanities teacher in Hong Kong. This is cross-posted at
Check out some of James' other blog posts too. They're great!
Classroom Technologies
Tomorrow, at a professional development workshop at my school, I’ll be asked to share my experiences using technology in the classroom. In an effort to both recall and organize, I’ve compiled a list of applications. Those under the heading “Essential” should be added to your tool-kit immediately, though I expect I’m preaching to the choir (or worse still, I’m the choir preaching to the preacher)…
  • Organizes notes, references, photos, videos, and anything else that can be digitized.
  • Amazingly easy to use, and simple to share information
  • Students love the “cute elephant”
  • I use it often for MYP criterion B: Investigating
  • Students create separate ‘Notebooks’ for each project I assign
  • Upon submission of the project, they share the Evernote “Notebook,” which shows me the entire process of investigation.
  • Also highly recommended for adults!
  • imgres
  • Essential Apps: Drive, Sites, Docs, Presentation.
  • Google Docs allows for real-time writing and editing collaboration between students and /or teachers.
  • Google Presentation allows for real-time presentation creation between students and / or teachers.
  • Sites is much more comprehensive with mind-boggling potential for both students and teachers (More on this later).
  • Drive is the place where your google docs and presentations can be stored and easily shared.
  • I feel I have only scratched the surface of what Google offers students, educators, administrators, districts, planets, galaxies, …
  • Incredible collaboration tool. See this:
  • All of the topics along the right menu bar were created by students working together, and editing each others work. This History Wiki functions as a student created interactive text. The students ASK to create new pages… Need I pitch this further?
  • In terms of blogging as an educational tool, I’ve drank the kool-aid, I’m blitzed, and I want more!!
  • In my opinion, one of the most underused, under-appreciated tools out there.
  • If you have doubts, create one of your own, record your reflections, and see if you don’t evolve as a writer and graphic designer. See if you learn to locate relevant information more rapidly. See if you are able to convey this information to an audience in a more creative way than before you started the blog. Then, ask yourself:  ”what does it mean to be literate in the 21st century?” Then, ask yourself: “has blogging improved my literacy?”
Not Exactly Essential, but Fun…
  • I’m a big fan of any technology that allows useful information to come to you, instead of you searching for it… 
  • My students still associate Twitter with comments like: “Doritos for lunch, mmmm”
  • They are surprised when I show them my own Twitter feed, the famous authors, politicians, journalists, artists, academics, think tanks, climate watch groups, design and technology gurus, all-star teachers, etc.. that share their latest ideas with me via Tweets. RSS feeds are even more spectacular in this regard, … I’ll come back to RSS in a later post.
  • I’m new to this one. But as I am looking to “flatten my own classroom” ( get rid of the walls that separate my students from the world that awaits them after graduation) it seems face to face real-time global collaborations via Skype in the Classroom would be ideal?
Hope this was useful for some of you… If you have any “Essential” technologies, do the right thing and unveil those gems right here and now!!  … told you I drank the kool-aid  :D


Aarya UN says:

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