At the University of Portland’s School of Education, I recently led an edcamp-style morning session for our entering MATs. Our session’s objectives are as follows:
- Create a framework for students to investigate educational technology in small project-based learning groups.
- Create a student-centered learning environment that removes the instructor from the spotlight.
Remind your students that educational technology tools are more than just bright, shiny items; they can be used to motivate them to investigate, collaborate, create, push change, and take action.
I prepared a Google site called “Pandemic Teachers’ Toolkit” in advance, which featured ten free (or freemium) ed tech tools.
A brief summary, instructions on how to log in, samples of the app in operation, a how-to video on using the app, and instructions on how to get a sample project from the app to a Padlet showcase were all provided on each app page. The apps were numbered from one to ten.
I logged in 42 students the morning of the session, and I began with a brief introduction and a synopsis of the morning’s events. I used Keynote to create a short presentation about the apps, complete with screen pictures that highlighted each programme and what it could accomplish. I then utilised Zoom’s built-in breakout group feature to divide the students into four groups of four. Each breakout group was given the task of exploring the app with the relevant number.
Each student in the breakout group was instructed to explore the given app in parallel and assist one another as needed. When they finished a product with the app, they added it to the relevant Padlet, along with their thoughts on how to use it.
I was able to go in and out of breakout groups as needed as a Zoom host. Anyone with a question could use Zoom to contact me. We gathered again after about 30 minutes of work and reported our findings. You can’t be in both Zoom and Flipgrid at the same time, for example, because they’re vying for your camera. (How come I hadn’t considered it?)
Then we went through the process again, and I made ten new random teams. Some students ended up using the same software again. As a result, they declined to join that group. I was able to quickly notice this and move them to a new group. The second app was explored for another half hour by the students. They added their work and observations to the appropriate Padlet once more.
Their app-posts were really intelligent and imaginative, I should say. And their observations were accurate. I provided a Google Form exit ticket as a last touch. Their responses proved that they valued the experience and that it met its objectives. Learn more about Ed camp click here.
Here are two of the exit questions and responses from the students.
WHAT ONE THING DID YOU LEARN TODAY ABOUT YOURSELF?
- I discovered that when new technology is described well enough, I enjoy exploring it.
- I enjoy working alone! When it comes to work alternatives, it is my first pick. However, I did require the assistance of my companions at times, so I’m grateful they were available!
- I love meeting new people outside of my cohort! During the summer term, I became considerably more comfortable with online teaching.
- I’m much better at navigating new apps than I anticipated.
- I needed to test something before I could understand it, therefore I was grateful for the opportunity.
- I appreciate experimenting with the many options within an app to better understand how to best utilise my creativity and instruction.
- With these different platforms, I discovered that I’m actually a pretty rapid learner, which makes me feel better about heading into the school year next year!
- I enjoyed figuring out how to use the tools. Learning by doing rather than being told how to do things is always more enjoyable for me.
WHAT ONE THING ABOUT EDTECH DID YOU LEARN TODAY?
- These items are completely free! And a lot of it is already integrated into the apps I use. It’s fantastic!
- I have a lot more free, practical options accessible to me than I realised this morning.
- I’d heard of some of these online tools before, but hadn’t used most of them – this was a great opportunity to learn how to use them, and I’ll definitely be using them in my class.
- How user-friendly the majority of apps are….
- It was a great surprise for me.
- There are many more resources available than I had anticipated. They were also a lot easier to operate than I had anticipated! They were remarkably user friendly for someone who has trouble with technology.
- There are a plethora of additional possibilities for distant learning! I’m going to spend some time just messing around with these apps and websites.
- There are a number of easily accessible edtech solutions that could make remote teaching more effective that I was previously unaware of.