Here is a tips list from Edutopia on ways to make the most of the latest technologies and how to bring new media into the classroom. This is a list of practical ways to prepare students for 21st century success.
- Break the Digital Ice
a. Scavenger hunts, name games, and other introductory activities help teachers and students get acquainted so they can start building a positive learning community. Give this important classroom tradition a 21st-century makeover by integrating digital tools.
- Find Your Classroom Experts
a. Early in the school year, survey your students to find out about their digital smarts. You can take advantage of their technical know-how in the classroom, too, if you know where to look for help.
- Get Off to a Good Start
a. Spend some time on self-management strategies now, and your investment will pay off all year long. A wide array of Web tools can help students get better at managing their own learning.
- Think Globally
a. By using online resources and new media tools for connecting, you will help your students see themselves as global citizens. One of the fastest ways to expand your students’ horizon is simply to connect your class with students who live somewhere else in the world.
- Find What You Need
a. Instead of digging into your own wallet, take advantage of online tools and community resources to find what you need—for nothing. One of the best-known programs is DonorsChoose.org (donorschoose.org), Public school teachers post a specific request on the Web site. Citizen philanthropists choose which requests they want to fund. Kids follow up with thank-you notes. What gets funded? Everything from musical instruments to picture books to classroom technology.
- Make Meaning from Word Clouds
a. Encourage lively conversation about words with the help of tools that turn text into visual displays. Wordle (wordle.net) is a free tool that turns a block of text, or simply a list of words, into a cloud pattern. Teachers across subject areas and grade levels are finding good uses for this simple-to-use tool. For example, as a prereading activity, you might use Wordle to highlight key vocabulary.
- Work Better, Together
a. Collaboration is a skill your students will need for the future. To help them work better together today, try using collaborative workspaces in the classroom. Google Docs, part of the Google for Educators toolkit (google.com/educators /tools.html), is one example of a secure, online place for managing work in progress. Once you help your students set up free accounts, they’ll be able to access their spreadsheets, documents, and presentations anytime, from any connected computer.
- Open a Back Channel
a. Creating a back channel is one strategy for inviting everyone into the conversation. Think of a back channel as a private chat room just for your classroom. Using an instant-messaging tool like iChat or Twitter for microblogging (twitter.com), students can pose questions, make observations while watching a video or student presentation, or share a dissenting viewpoint.
- Make It Visual
a. From document cameras to projectors to interactive whiteboards, these technologies make it easier than ever to use visuals to inspire curiosity, generate brainstorming, and engage diverse learners. Across grade levels and subject areas, good visuals help students build background knowledge as they tackle new concepts. You can use images to set the stage for a story set in a remote place or a far-away time. Primary sources from the vast Library of Congress (loc.gov/teachers) archives, for instance, help students “see” the time period for a story set during World War I.
- Use the Buddy System
a. Teachers can take advantage of a variety of communication tools to share ideas and strategies with colleagues.
b. Classroom 2.0 (www.classroom20.com) appeals to both new users of Web 2.0 tools and more experienced practitioners. It’s a good place to throw out a question and get some quick answers.
c. social-bookmarking tools like Delicious (delicious.com) enable you to organize, comment on, and share noteworthy resources.
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