Friday, August 30, 2013

Teaching for Today!

Lately I've felt like I have been in fast-forward mode.  Everyday I am driving to a different school district to provide technology integration training to a staff at a school.  Of course, every school is different.  I've provided training on going 1:1 for when the students come back, Schoology, Google Drive, etc.

Most teachers are excited to learn the new tools and new tricks to use in their classrooms; however, it always comes back to time.  If you are working on something that is going to be great, it will take some time on your part as a teacher.  We can all think back to the first few years of teaching.  We were excited to start our career and help students!  We were creative with how we set up our classroom, how we taught the lesson; but some, have lost this passion.  Some teachers are stuck in the past and don't want to update materials in fear it may "take extra time."  This saddens me as a former educator.  I can't tell you how many hours I use to put in over the summer months preparing for my next years classes. I knew some assignments were amazing because of the way my students reacted and I also knew I needed to revamp others.  I would also bring work home past 3:05 because I needed to.

We are living in a world that is much different than the past.  While, technology can be scary at times, it can also be extremely exciting!  Keep thinking positive thoughts about HOW this will change your student's thoughts about certain subject areas. Our students have never lived without technology.  They do not know the days of a rotary phone, is that, it's not.  I never knew of a time without color TV.  As always, things change in our lives.  I think back to my grandparents, they didn't have calculators but my parents did. Did the use of calculators change their teachers style of math, probably.  It was new and different, but technology is not going to go away.

I like the Norman Rockwell picture below for several reasons.
1. I can see the love the teacher has in her eyes for her students.
2. It shows how *most* of our classrooms still look the same.  All students sit in neat rows looking at the front of the room.  
3. And of course, it's a Normal Rockwell :)

But seriously, if your classroom still looks like it did when you attended school you need to revive it!  Students need 21st Century Skills and one of those skills is working together and collaborating.  Go ahead and put your students in pods.  It may spark a conversation or better yet, creativity!  We, as teachers, are no longer the ones who hold all of the information.  If we don't know the answer to something, we "Google it" -- yes, times are a changin'.  Instead, allow your students to use iPads, Androids, Laptops, Phones, etc in your class (gasp!).  The need for memorization is not needed, as we have access to knowledge at our fingertips!  Encourage students to use the web or certain apps to find the information that is requested.  You'll be amazed at how excited they will become.

I'm sure you can relate to having out-dated textbooks.  Instead, have students read current events as they are happening!  Follow Twitter hashtags regarding wars in other countries.  The way that I found out about the Boston Bombing was because of Social Media.  I do not watch the news (like my parents and grandparents did) - instead I get my news off of the Internet.  I go to CNN, Facebook and Twitter to find out what is happening in the world.  I don't have to wait until a certain time of the day to find out "what happened in our world" or "what will the weather be like".  

When setting up your classroom this year, please take a moment to reflect on this article.  Think about what will be BEST for the STUDENTS of TODAY.....not what will be the easiest to do.

In Education,
Kara Damm :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Quick and Easy Ways to Use the iPad When Teaching

Several teachers have no idea where to begin when it comes to teaching with an iPad.  Without the proper professional development; staff will continue to be lost on how to incorporate this wonderful tool into their classroom.  I have spent the past 2 years researching ways to use the iPad as a teaching tool rather than an expensive gaming system, email reader, or surfing the web.  If you are interested in learning more about how to teach with an iPad, please consider attending the SW/WC iLearn Classes held this Fall and Winter.

1) Use it to help flip your classroom with several different recording apps.
2) Invite others into your classroom via Skype
3) Do formative assessments with your iPad

To learn more please visit: