So much to do, so little time to do it. That is often how I feel, especially at certain times of the school year, and I know many of my colleagues feel the same way. Since it is part of my job to help facilitate technology integration, I tend to send a lot of ideas in their direction. While no one actively averts their eyes or quickly runs away when they see me coming, I know that some may feel like they have to explain why now is not a good time to do/add/try something new. I get it. There just is not enough time, or else the time is not right at the moment. And while there may not be time to do/try/look at everything, maybe there is time to do/try/look at/read just one thing. This week I am sharing many things, so perhaps pick one to open, read, or try.
Pass the Mic
If you are having class discussions in the form of Harkness, Socratic Seminar, Fishbowl, or the like, then this app is for you.
This first app comes at exactly the right time. I was recently sitting with one of my English-teaching colleagues talking about how her Harkness discussions are going (she loves them), and our conversation went on to talking about how cool and useful it would be to record one and then have her students watch it and break it down the way sports players watch game film. Coincidentally, and I’m going to say, it was meant to be, Equity Maps and two articles (“two” and “articles” are links to each article) talking about it, showed up in this week’s Shipley PLN Lower & Middle School Edition. What Equity Maps does is record the conversation, play each person’s contributions, and visually shows how the conversation moves from person to person. The premium version ($9.99) even allows you to note the type of comments and contributions made by each student. Not only will this be useful for you the teachers, but also for your students to help them grow their discussion capabilities.
6 things to try- here are 2
Jennifer Gonzalez, aka the Cult of Pedagogy recently shared her 6 Ed Tech Tools to Try in 2020. One of the ones she mentions is Parlay. Parlay is a looks like it will work as a complement to class discussions in that it helps students practice first in an online space using either their (Parlay) or your own topics. Parlay is a paid tool but even if you are not interested in or able to purchase it for your class, the topics, links to related articles, and videos along with discussion prompts is still browsable and searchable by nine subject areas and would be easily adaptable outside of the tool (perhaps in the discussion section of your LMS, as a topic in Flipgrid, or a subject of a threaded podcast. If you are interested in using it and getting the full experience, it looks pretty robust.
The next one she mentioned that I think looks really useful and you can start using it right away is an ice-breaker, class/group activity site called PlayMeo. Playmeo has hundreds of activities searchable by type, program outcome, or learning theme and then further filterable by time, size of group, and exertion level. This is a site you can pay to have access to all the activities, or you can have access to the 44 free ones. I am all about free and feel like I could easily make use of the 44 and will potentially utilize the Paired Share Debrief at our upcoming White Fragility check-in. Each activity comes with directions, a video, variations, and other resources (like this FREE Instant downloadable book Sure-Fire Ice-Breakers & Group Games). A reminder that if you like things like this, you can check out this list of Brain Breaks sites/downloads I curated as well as Go Noodle.
Let me Count the Ways
50 Shades of Grey, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, 50 Ways to Say Goodbye,
50 Ways to Use Sutori
Let’s go with 50 Ways to Use Sutori. I love Sutori. It’s easy, students can collaborate on a shared timeline, there are tons of resources for all classroom subjects for all ages, you can now upload any kind of file directly from your device to your Sutori story, and it’s free. There is a paid version ($99 for a teacher) of course that you can get even more features (like inserting videos and other cool things), but to get started right away with something you can use to teach with or your students can use to write an alternative book report or share their learning, then you can easily start with the free version and go from there.
So, what will your one thing be . . .