Throughout the past five weeks, I have been reading, reviewing, and compiling information found from the following education blogs: The Innovative Educator by Lisa Nielsen, Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness by Michael Zimmer, and Educational Technology Guy by David Andrade. All three blogs hold an abundance of information, concepts, tools, and links, and have all helped enhance my confidence in incorporate innovative ideas into my secondary classroom. The following 5 ideas are not in order of importance, but rather in order of how I think they should be implemented as an educator.
I am not going to link back to the blogs, because much of this information has been shared in my previous posts. I am going to summarize these ideas in my own words- making the connection to what I have learned during my research.
1. CREATE A PERSONAL LEARNING NETWORK
Creating a personal learning network is the first step for educators that are striving to become CONNECTED with ideas and others in their profession. What ways can you do this? Twitter is an excellent place to start, as it’s fast and easy, and the use of educational hashtags makes it easy to navigate and find information. Wikis and blogs are another avenue, writing and sharing personally and also throughout following others. You could also start a Facebook page devoted to either your classroom or professional advice. Other ways include: Ning-Classroom 2.0, Discovery Educator Network, PBS Teacher Connect and Google Educators Forum
2. UTILIZE EVERNOTE FOR EDUCATION
Once you instigate your PLN, it’s time to get organized! Using your PLN, you will be accumulating a mass of new information, all of which can easily kept in check using the free Evernote online source. Links, documents, web pages, images, videos and lesson plans. Once those items are there, they can be accessed on any type of device, making it a slick way to keep all of the important stuff together.
3. BE AWARE OF THE DIGITAL FOOTPRINT
As you start building your PLN connections and posting, writing, commenting, and linking, it’s important to remember that everything is out there. Once you commit to posting something, anyone and everyone can access it and it will be archived for years to come. Be certain that nothing you post will reflect negatively on you as a professional, only referencing your job in general and positive terms. Understanding the digital footprint concept is important for educators in their own personal lives, but even more important for teaching students about it. When you begin incorporating the use of social media into the classroom, it’s crucial for students to be aware of this same concept. As educators, one of the most important jobs we have is to protect our students and prepare them for a bright future. Equipping them with the capacity to make smart online choices is definitely a good start!
4. #BYOD/ALLOW CELL PHONES IN THE CLASSROOM
In our classrooms, a new wave is catching on, and it’s called Bring Your Own Device or #BYOD. This occurs when teachers and administrators allow students to literally “bring their own device” to class. This could include: cell phones, iPads, iPods, or tablets. In using these devices, many goals can be accomplished, including: Easy and fast access to the Internet, discussion posts online, group texting, polling, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.
More specifically, the use of cell phones in the classroom can be a good thing for numerous reasons. They can save schools money, cut down use of the server/network, make it easier for the technology coordinator, speeds up the process of “looking something up” on the Internet quickly, and teaches students responsibility and proper use. Along with this, students can use their own devices to keep documents and other information organized, and could substitute phone apps for paper planners to keep track of assignments and deadlines.
5. EMBRACE SOCIAL MEDIA IN EDUCATION
The point of the matter is that social media is a mainstay in the lives of our students. It’s not going anywhere, but rather only increasing in use and availability. If we, as educators, embrace social media and find productive ways to use it in the classrooms, it can be a beneficial learning tool for students. Not only can social media allow students to connect with their classmates and teachers for education purposes, but it can also be a way to learn solid skills in using social media for something GOOD. Advocate for a cause, spread positive and inspiring messages, and continually be the same person you are online as real-life. These are all amazing reasons to consider finding a place for social media in your classroom.
There they are- the top 5 idea to help integrate technology into secondary classrooms. Each of these areas can be incorporated someway, somehow. They all have a place in our 21st century classrooms.
As my last final project post, I can say that I feel confident that I can take some much-needed steps in the right direction to a more technology-rich classroom. I plan on applying all of these ideas in my quest to become a more innovative educator- one that can reach and teach my students in the best way possible