The 2013 Galileo Learning Summit hosted at Fraser High School had over 450 educators in attendance. The day was kicked off with a keynote by Will Richardson that got everyone thinking about what our classrooms look like compared to what they could look like. He promoted connected learning and creativity over rote knowledge and content. In the end, we need and can have both. Modern classrooms have the ability to integrate technology, teach content, and foster creativity in students.
Modern classrooms can be a place of collaborative learning and authentic creation. Available to students and teachers in 2013 are a variety of powerful technologies that can support teaching and learning. There were dozens of breakout sessions on a variety of engaging instructional topics. I gave two presentations at the 2013 Galileo Learning Summit, each of which attended to incorporating available technologies and apps into the classroom in practical ways.
Often we hear about educational technology, or “edtech,” in schools and educator circles; however, the connotation of this term has grown to focus too heavily on the “tech” and not enough on the “ed.” While the technology, devices, and apps are all awesome, the teaching and learning must remain the primary focus. My colleague Andrew Taylor, of the Galileo Project, and I brainstormed how we could share what we do with technology in our classrooms without the sessions being reduced to an app-exchange. We decided that the focus must be explicitly put on instruction, just as we do in our teaching, and explore how the technology can support instruction.
In a series of three sessions, we presented on instructional strategies that have been shown to increase student achievement and creating a BYOD environment in your classroom to support teaching and learning. We had such a demand for our first session on Marzano’s Essential Nine that we did back-to-back rerun sessions of our presentation for the conference. In the final session of the day, I focused on how we can allow students to use their own mobile devices or computers in class to integrate with lessons and activities. By the end of the day, we had worked with about 120 educators from districts and schools around Metro Detroit, and everyone took away something they can use this fall when the new school year starts.
In our first presentation, we explored some instructional strategies like comparing and contrasting, using Nearpod, Lino and Symphonical. We also looked at summarizing techniques using visual notes on Thinglink and Tackk. For the full set of strategies and technology tools, you can check out our slide deck below. The BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, session continued right where our instructional strategies with technology session left off. The biggest question educators have about using mobile devices in the classroom is centered on what to do when not all students have a device or the same device. We explored a variety of options for group-oriented mobile device activities that support teaching and learning. Examples included consensus building using audience response apps like GoSoapBox, InfuseLearning, and Socrative. All of these free web apps allow students to contribute ideas via their mobile device and for the teacher to display information about students’ responses to the entire class. We used these to administer group quizzes, have groups collaborate on problem-solving, spark class discussion and test hypotheses. We also looked into the many ways you can use Evernote in the classroom, such as digital student and teacher notes, project or learning portfolios, or shared to-do lists for class reminders.
In the end, it’s not about the tech–it’s about what you do with it.
WHO: In the first session, I co-presented with Andrew Taylor from Grosse Pointe North High School
WHAT: This session focused on using technology with some of Marzano’s essential instructional strategies.
WHERE: You can get the slides here: 5 Indispensable Instructional Strategies Supported By Technology
WHY: It’s not about the technology, it’s about the instruction
WHO: In the 2nd session, I presented my Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom.
WHAT: This session focused on what BYOD looks like in a classroom and how to get started with mobile devices in your classroom.
WHERE: You can get the slides here: All Aboard the BYOD Express!
WHY: Students have devices, let’s teach them within their own context
Feel free to get in touch about these presentations, or follow Gary & Andrew on Twitter. It would be great to hear about your experience trying out any of these tools with your students. If you’d like to have a presentation or staff development event on these topics at your school, you can request a presentation on the contact page.
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