So, having grown up with a dad that tinkers with computers for fun and always being interested in problem solving myself, I always loved tech! How much cooler was it when during college, I found out that tech was cool!?
Then, upon entering the ed sector, I found that lots of people are not very tech-literate. I’m not going to push this point but the concern I see is that because people just assume “tech is better”, they pilot these insane programs that claim to do insane things (improve kids’ reading by 2 grades in 1 year! Intervene and plug in all the holes in a kid’s Algebra, etc), and in a sense, just gives the teacher a lot more work.
So, after about 2 years of excitement, my enthusiasm faded. I realized that in reality, these tech substitutes are for the poor – the ones who lack the resources to simply hire another helping hand in the classroom. Instead of adding a teacher’s aide 3 times a week to move a teacher-to-student ratio down, they add a class set of computers with the hopes of “differentiating.” Don’t get me wrong — there are some good programs out there. But those exercises really only hit the drills and the very low levels of Bloom’s.
Not to mention – a class set of Chromebooks? UGH. Internet’s not dependable AND Chromebooks blink off about every .5-2 hours!!! They turn on fast enough, but it’s so frustrating.
The “flipped” classroom is another cool idea. Almost every kid has an access to a smartphone. But, again, internet access, a quiet room to study/listen to the lecture, the English ability to listen to Khan’s fast-paced explanations? So many barriers. This would only work for middle-income and up. Basically.
So, where do I like my tech? I like it high quality (think: iPads), to facilitate classroom collaboration (more on that later, but for now, jump on over to my DonorsChoose page and donate if you can! Use code INSPIRE to double your impact until 9/9).
AND I like it in my OWN teacher planning and fun supplements.
Here are some amazing things I found this past week:
Common Curriculum. Normally, I’d describe, but if you’re a teacher, you’ll understand as soon as you click through it and experiment. It’s amazing and from the looks of it, it’s only getting better. Free too! Perfect for extended lesson planning!
Flocabulary!: Now, Flocabulary is good on its own just subject-specific merit. It’s a paid service, but I think it’s so worth it. If you’re skeptical, you can try a trial run. I totally encourage it. BUT what’s even MORE impressive, is its vocabulary lessons. I am SO stoked to try it! They have this awesome rap with high level words and definitions embedded, then a cloze exercise, definitions and other vocabulary exercises along with it. So, all I have to do is press play, implement, and pace! So easy. Until I have a better handle on teaching, I’m going to go for something ready-made. This is standards-aligned as well. Woo hoo!