As an instructional technology instructor in Georgetown County, South Carolina, there are wonderful opportunities to work closely with teachers and students because they use educational technology in a meaningful way.
It is clear that COVID-19 has changed how teachers support teaching and learning using educational technology. During the “Emergency Learning Era” of the epidemic, educators became quite familiar with edtech resources and developed many new skills and strategies to integrate those resources with instruction. However, as the learning community temporarily moves into what I think is the world of post-covid education, the skills and competencies created by teachers and the edtech tools they acquired can be used in new ways in your classroom. Here are some of the best strategies and skills I’ve recently learned about the new technologies I started using during the epidemic:
Write around the room: It’s a great activity to do with high school through high school age students, and capitalizes on the devices that students have received and the keyboarding skills that students have acquired while learning from a distance. For those of you who are looking for creative ways to reinforce important skills related to story structure as well as inspire your students to write, keeping your students “writing around the room” is a fun way to get your students excited about writing.
Every student needs a Chromebook or laptop or tablet with word processing software like Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Give each student in the room a different story starter. Mix it up if you want … Make the beginning of some stories funny and others informative. Set a timer for 3-6 minutes and instruct the students that they have been given the task of writing the beginning of that story. At the end of the timer, ask students to get up and go to another device anywhere in the room and continue the story on that device. Set your timer for 3-6 minutes again and ask your students to write in the middle of this new story. When the time is up, ask students to go to different devices once more to write the end of the third story. Many times students will start their writing section with a new font or font color which makes it easier for them (and me) to track their progress through that part. The real fun is in reading the story. I love it when students throw a plot twist and surprise us all!
Moment review spores (with a twist!): Let’s face it … it happens to all of us. We end up having a great lesson that we are most satisfied with ourselves, when we realize that we still have 10 minutes left for lunch and nothing is planned to fill that time. With online students, this was the perfect time to have a bio-break – now, with students in your classroom, you must have a plan for the gap. The good news is that your students always have important skills and topics to practice and review. You can review quality / department information, integer activity, prefix / suffix, verb tense, physics information, important historical events, and anything your students may need in a moment’s notice!
Quiz software is something we all learned during the epidemic. For this strategy, it’s as easy as signing up for a free account with an online quiz game developer like Blooket. I hired Bluket when we were forced to teach remotely and it was just as effective (if not more so) when it came to live class sessions. Warning: Your students are going to get excited, and maybe a little louder. Blueket is very similar to the popular Kahut! The service, however, allows Bluket to decide which game format you want to present to your students for that session. My students have always liked the “Battle Royale” game because Bluket randomly puts them on the team (with very stupid names) that will compete against each other. Both platforms offer a library of reviews created by other educators. These games have been life-saving for me as we have returned to face-to-face instruction and found ourselves adhering to a strict schedule.