Category Archives: technology

#sschat: A Professional Learning Community from the Comfort of Your Couch

sschat_logoThere are a lot of factors that affect our access to good professional development: district size, geographic location, budget (both your’s and your school’s). So what’s a teacher to do when you’re one of the only social studies teachers in your building, or you want to try something new but the people in your department still won’t give up their precious overhead projector?

There is one outlet where you can find solid PD, often hosted by leaders in the field, at least once a week: Twitter Chats. As Chris Hitchcock, one of the moderators of #sschat, describes how she felt when she discovered the hashtag:

#sschat offered this whole new world of collaboration, support, and interaction that was fascinating and really helpful.

Have I piqued your interest yet?  Continue reading #sschat: A Professional Learning Community from the Comfort of Your Couch

Graphic Content: Using Visual Communication in the Social Studies Classroom

imgresOne of my favorite ways to present information to students is through the use of infographics because they are visually appealing and easy to read, even though they can contain a wealth of information.  In the past I have been a huge proponent of not recreating the wheel when it came to infographics because it is so easy to search for a topic and find something that has already been created and can easily be used in the classroom.  That was until I was introduced to Piktochart, the easy-to-use infographics creator. Continue reading Graphic Content: Using Visual Communication in the Social Studies Classroom

What I wish “they” know

ipad pencilJill Weber is a middle school social studies teacher in Cheney, Kansas. She’s the latest member of the KCSS board and writes at A View of the Web. Pasted below is one of her recent posts.

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In my preparation classes to become a teacher, technology was a factor.  I learned how to set up a website, how to save to a flash drive or floppy disk, and came up with ideas for lessons that incorporate technology for students to use.

I use none of that in the way it was intended.  Everything has changed.

Technology has been a part of my teaching career each one of my 10 years.  Although, I never would have guessed how fast and drastic the changes in technology has occurred in the last three years.  The lengths that technology has advanced in education have shocked me, and I’ve still got a good 20 years left.

In the 10 years I’ve been working as a teacher, I have found myself on both end of the technology spectrum.  I have been completely lost and not excited about new changes while relying on someone else to help me or teach me the new tech.  More recently I have found that my role with technology in school has evolved to more of a leader/instructor on incorporating tech in the classroom.  Never would I have thought 10 years ago that I would have an elective class that focused on using technology to broadcast various media projects created by 7th and 8th grade students.

But here I am.

Over the years, and throughout my role with technology I have found myself muttering “I wish they knew . . . “  When I struggled with technology there were things I just really wanted those who “got it” to know about me and my journey, why it was a struggle, or what caused my hesitation.  Now that I’m more of a teacher in the area, I find I have a whole new set of wishes for the “other side.”

This post is not meant to point out one side as being “better” than the other.  More to raise awareness for all of the teachers behind the front lines.  Those of us who are expected to incorporate the vastly different technology that is placed in the hands of the students in our rooms.

I have reached out to other teachers in my district and PLN for the “wishes” they have.  These come from teachers of all disciplines, ages, subjects, and technology levels.

To the “tech savvy” teacher.  Here’s what those who struggle with technology wish YOU knew:

Continue reading What I wish “they” know

It’s a Google World and I’m Just Teaching In It (Part 2)

Flubaroo_small_promo_440x280Building off of my last post about Google Forms, I want to introduce you to an add-on called Flubaroo which can turn your form into a self-graded quiz (yay for efficiency!).  The steps are very quick and simple, like most things in the Google universe, and is a great way to save some trees and implement technology in your classroom.

Continue reading It’s a Google World and I’m Just Teaching In It (Part 2)

If These Walls Could Talk: Maximize Your Classroom’s Instructional Potential! (Part 1)

On Friday, November 13 my good friend Joe Zlatnik of Basehor-Linwood Middle School and I had the honor of presenting at the NCSS national conference in New Orleans.  In addition to taking every possible opportunity to eat Cajun food, we spoke with a group of about 40 teachers from across the country about strategies we have used to utilize our physical classroom wall space for instructional purposes

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I am a firm believer in trying to give conference attendees as many practical ideas as possible during a session and this year we offered up four activities I have attempted at both Tonganoxie and Gardner Edgerton high schools.  What follows is Part One of this presentation, with parts two through four soon to come.

Strategy  I: If These Walls Could Talk: The Aurasma Concept Review

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(Please note that I am in no way connected with the Aurasma app, it is simply something that was shown to me by a media specialist that I thought was cool!)

A common problem that all teachers face is the reality that there are many students who need assistance and only one teacher to go around.  Worse yet, how often do students need a refresher on a topic they are studying without anyone to ask other than the almighty Google?  The Aurasma app provides an innovative way for kids with smartphones to receive that refresher from the teacher him or herself in the comfort of their own home.

Continue reading If These Walls Could Talk: Maximize Your Classroom’s Instructional Potential! (Part 1)