As I posted earlier, I spent a lot of time this summer, learning from other teachers who are generous enough to share their ideas, learning and resources with others.. I truly believe this is the best way for me to access professional learning and growth. A few of my "summer school teachers" stand out and I want to dedicate the next few post to sharing about these teachers, their resources and a few things that I have learned from them over the past few months.
We will start with superstar Kindergarten teacher, Matt Gomez. Our kindergarten teachers received ipad carts at the end of the school year last year which led me on a search for good resources to share with them as they dive in and start using these tools. I was looking for more than just a list of apps. I was looking for ideas of how teachers are using tech as a teaching, learning and creating tool. I found a jack pot of ideas and inspiration on Matt's site. He doesn't write about ipads, or technology, he writes about teaching, learning and students. He just happens to see the value of using technology as tool for teaching and learning. Matt provides great examples of how to not only use ipads but also document cameras, digital cameras, Web 2.0 apps, social media tools and more. He is a firm believer in differentiation based on both the abilities and the interests of his students. He provides ideas that are very open ended and can easily be adapted to different concepts, topics and ability levels. His focus is on his students and learning and not so much on flashy tools. You can tell that technology is a big part of his life and he passes this on to his students. Students participate in Twitter and Skype communities where they learn about students from other parts of the country in the world. Matt is an active social networker leading a #kinderchat conversation each week on Twitter and sharing great ideas and resources not only on his blog but also on his Facebook page and his Pinterest Boards.
A Few Lessons Learned: Here are just a few of the nuggets I have learned from Matt.
Symbaloo: Matt has collected a wealth of resources for his students to use at the touch of a button. He uses Symbaloo Boards to share all kinds of great resources with his students. Here is an example of the many boards he has created for his students to use for "Brain Breaks". Not only did he collect and organize the many videos, he also processed them through the service SafeShare.TV which takes all the extras off the youtube videos so your students just see what you want them to see.
Educreations: Matt uses the free screencasting tool Educreations in a variety of ways in his classroom. With Educreations you can record annotated videos sharing a process or a story. This is a great tool for creating tutorials or having students show and share their understanding on a topic. I loved Matt's idea of using the tool during circle time or small group time with his students. Using one ipad, he asked students to share different ways to make 9. He then passed the ipad around and each student added to the screencast. In the end, they had one video to share many different ways to make 9.
"Playing" with Google Docs: Matt's class had a regular "play time" (collaboration time) with a Kindergarten Class in Montana. One of the activities they did together was play a remote game of "20 Questions" using Google Docs. This type of idea would work well at any level.
Thanks Matt for sharing your thoughts and resources with others.
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