ED TECH TRENDS
Using G-Suite Tools to Simplify Parent-Teacher Communications
Communicating with parents regarding student success and failure has always been an additional task for teachers to juggle. Teachers at Bardstown Middle School are using Google Sheets to provide real-time communication with parents. If a student has done something incredibly amazing or has decided to make a poor decision, the teacher can scan the student’s retina with their smart device and BOOM…. the parents are instantly notified!
Wait… No. That’s not right. That’s from the movie Minority Report. We are doing something different…. For now!
In recent years, several apps have been introduced that have helped to make communication between the parent and teacher happen in a more realistic time frame (Lynch, 2017). The current apps, such as Class Dojo or Remind, can assign students with avatars, track behaviors, and send out a mass text to parents.
Using G-Suite tools, users can create a Google Form with an attached Sheet to send a customized message to parents based on the information entered into the form. The Google Sheet runs a script in the background and uses formulas based on assigned variables to the entered information. The current communication apps available are great but one of my fellow teachers has taken real-time parent communications a step further. As an aspiring magician, he has taught me a few of Google Sheets magic tricks of my own! A screenshot of the script for this module is provided below.
Do you want to experience the
Complete the form below and prepare to be AMAZED!
At Bardstown Middle School, we are currently utilizing Tiger Alerts. Tiger Alerts is a script written inside a Google Sheet to allow teachers an opportunity to communicate with parents in a real-time. Students at BMS are required to wear ID badges with personalized QR codes. When necessary, a teacher can scan the students’ ID badge (QR code), complete the form and send an email or text to the parent or guardian by pressing submit.
Lynch, M. (2017, January 25). Top 5 Apps for Teacher Communication. Retrieved from http://www.thetechedvocate.org/top-5-apps-teacher-communication/
Lynch, M. (2017, August 13). The Tech Edvocate’s List of 11 School Communication Apps, Tools & Resources. Retrieved from http://www.thetechedvocate.org/tech-edvocates-list-11-school-communication-apps-tools-resources/
Using EdPuzzle to Flip Your Classroom
Trying to reach the students in your class that seem to be disengaged? What about the student that struggles to keep up with taking notes during a direct instruction lesson? Have you tried EdPuzzle?
For the past four years, I have had students complain about me moving too fast or too slow during direct instruction lesson. Several students stopped taking notes and would do poorly on the assessments. I had to find a way to reach all students and provide them an opportunity to learn at their own pace. That’s when I found EdPuzzle.
EdPuzzle is a free video platform that allows the user to embed questions into the video. Real-time analytics provide the teacher with an overview of each students performance (Walsh, 2016). Videos can be selected from a library or users can create their own videos and upload them to the EdPuzzle library. The videos can be assigned to students using a link or assigned through Google Classroom.
After some research, I recorded my lesson using the Explain Everything app, uploaded it to EdPuzzle, and assigned it to the students using Google Classroom. I initially assigned the video as homework and EdPuzzle analytics showed a 32% participation rate. The second video wasn’t much better. Instead of running a completely flipped classroom, I tried a blended approach. Students are now watching the videos in class and taking notes at their desired pace. They are engaged, rewatching segments of the video two and three times, and writing down all the notes. According to an article written by Kerry Walsh, 72% of student polled indicated the format of a flipped classroom helped them learn the material better (Walsh, 2015). In my classroom, the students have not complained once about the lesson or content. The questions embedded into the videos are being answered at an average 84% accuracy rate and the assessment scores have increased by an average 19%.
The use of a flipped or blended format in my classroom has changed my classroom for the better. If you have students that are disengaged, refusing to work or failing to keep up, look into using EdPuzzle in your classroom.
Walsh, K. (2016, September 06). Kelly Walsh. Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2016/09/edpuzzle-tutorial-add-questions-to-videos-monitor-progress/
Walsh, K. (2015, March 18). Kelly Walsh. Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2014/08/flipped-learning-pilot-reduces-dfw-grade-rates/
Gamifying Your Classroom
In an age of technology and instant gratification, holding a students attention and engagement are sometimes difficult. When students are engaged, paying attention, asking questions, and actively participating, they learn more (Lynch, 2017). What if there was a platform where students could play a game, learn how to collaborate, think critically, and learn through failure all at the same time? Wait no more… Checkout Breakout EDU.
I have run multiple Breakout EDU sessions in my classroom, for gifted and talented students during Super Saturday’s at WKu, and recently for the WKU ROTC cadre. Each time the participants are immersed in gameplay while trying to solve a series of puzzles to open a locked box. The Breakout EDU platform offers hundreds of games that are currently available for play ranging from general knowledge to specified content areas (Breakout, n.d.). To make an amazing product even better, Breakout EDU recently launched their new digital platform. The digital Breakout allows users to deliver Breakout games to the students in an online format, with every student being able to take control of their learning experience. I just ran the first digital Breakout using the new platform in my classroom and the students were even more engaged than ever before.
If you haven’t heard or tried running a Breakout before, you should take a look.
Breakoutedu. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.breakoutedu.com/welcome/
Lynch, M. (2017, August 20). 8 Must Have Gamification Apps, Tools, and Resources. Retrieved from http://www.thetechedvocate.org/8-must-gamification-apps-tools-resources/
Student learning is changing and students are being faced with problems that do not have simple solutions. Makerspaces are enabling students to think creatively and critically to solve a problem from beginning to end using trial and error (Subramanian, 2017).
A new trend sweeping across the world of education is the introduction of a Makerspace. I can try and verbalize the definition of a Makerspace but I think the scene from Apollo 13 below is a perfect example of what a Makerspace really looks like…
My school is just entering into the world of the Makerspace. We recently received a grant to begin purchasing the materials. I am excited to see how students use randomly supplied materials to creatively solve a problem.
Subramanian, S. (2017, August 31). Teachers talk: 12 makerspace must-haves for back-to-school. Retrieved from https://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/09/01/teachers-makerspace-must-haves/