Special Guest Post from Jeremy at Learning Technologies.
The Education Technology market is closing in on $1.9B and most public-school systems are utilizing 1:1 initiatives to bring more tech to the classroom (Molnar, 2017). The whole school process is being digitized from registration to homework and it is time to stop and consider the vulnerabilities that are being created through technology. First, consider the technology used in administration; registration software, Learning Management System, Student Information System, Website, local servers, and office software. In administration alone, schools are subject to over five vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks and all these technologies are generally integrated with each other. Now add the classroom to the mix. Until recently, I've used roughly five to seven 3rd party integrations with office software during a school year. Now we have over ten vulnerabilities on any given school year that is subject to exposing student and teacher information across the internet. That information could be addresses, social security numbers, grades, assignments, health records, contact information, and online communication.
The ability to collaborate in Google Drive is the best application of Google Apps. Did you know you can comment on a document and assign a comment to a specific person? This is a great help at several levels. Teachers working in teams or students working on projects. This allows you to use a Google Doc like a project planner. Watch the video to learn more. If you are interested in using this as a class lesson, follow this link for a free preview (click the preview option to download).
Everytime we talk about social media in school, it ends up in a discussion over Facebook and student drama. I've often wondered how we could connect with our students in a positive way to teach them about social media and how to use it appropriately. Many school policies ban certain types of social media contacts with kids (I like my job), so what is our alternative? Edmodo is an educator centered social media website. It's simple to use and your classes can connect with you and their classmates. The best part is the teacher controls who is in the class and can easily monitor everything that is going on. I've even set up Edmodo classes for my after school groups to discuss important topics. If you have never used Edmodo before, check out the video and links below. Best part, its free!
Plickers are an amazing tool for classrooms. They are printable student response cards that can be stapled, glued or taped onto your kids notebooks. The best part, they are free. This gives you a quick and easy way to collect responses from bell ringers, questions or whole class assessments. If you haven't experimented with these yet, check out the video below, I highly recommend Plickers.
Pictures are worth a thousand words. I suspect that pictures taken of learning events boost student learning in the same way. My goal is to make images an essential tool of science exploration in school. In this lesson concept, students will learn how to complete an image mark up (taking an original image and labeling important concepts). The basic principle is that students create unique digital products that demonstrate their learning. In one class period with group access to a computer students create an image that highlights important scientific concepts. As students work to create their examples, you will unlock new learning opportunities. Once this skill is mastered, it can be used for anything, labeling insect parts on a specimen collected form the field, making constellation makes of the night sky, the possibilities are endless. Click on the image below to learn more.
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Middle School Resources to Engage Kids
Love this one, simple but effective.
What if Jupiter was a star?