Our staff members shared the following
- Write About This (http://www.writeaboutapp.com) – This is an excellent app to encourage writing in reluctant writers. Students can often verbalise ideas that result from a writing prompt really well but when they have to write the ideas down, they are unable to do so. With Write About This they can make an audio recording of these ideas first and then type it out while they listen to what they have said. Teachers has seen an immediate improvement in the quantity and quality of students’ writing.
- It now works in New Zealand! Go to https://classroom.google.com and sign in with your GAFE ID (firstname.lastname@example.org) if prompted. You will be offered a choice of using it as a teacher or a student. If you sign in as a teacher, you can create your own Google Classrooms. If you sign in as a student, you will be prompted to enter the class code. The teacher needs to give the class code to students to populate their classroom. For a really great introduction to Google Classroom, please visit http://www.edudemic.com/introduction-google-classroom/.
- Google Classroom adds a dynamic back channel to your classroom and (I think) this is especially helpful in modern learning environments. It has great potential to enable your students to own their learning.
- Another great feature is an online submission box for assignments – very similar to the ‘dropbox’ in many learning management systems. This has been one of the major missing components in the GAFE classroom and I think most teachers will welcome this facility.
- Elim Christian College uses Teacher Dashboard (http://hapara.com), a classroom management tool for GAFE, that enables you to have a peek into students’ online behaviour in the blended (online) classroom. Google Classroom and Teacher Dashboard compliment each other really well and I think the combination of the two tools will enable teachers to run an effective blended learning environment – the (almost) perfect combination of a teacher-directed and student-centred classroom as recommended by Prof Hattie in his Visible Learning research.
The philosophy behind our use of technology
How intentional are we about transforming the learning in our classrooms with the technology that is now available to the teaching profession? The JC staff took some time in their teams to evaluate how they have been using technology (devices, apps, etc) in their curriculum, trying to decide whether the technology has been used in a substitutional or transformational manner. This has proven to be a really helpful exercise and I believe it will help us transform our pedagogy in a meaningful way. As a reminder, here is an explanation of the SAMR model that I have found on Twitter.