I walk into class and deposit my phone in its designated cubby. Students aren’t allowed to use phones in this class. I then walk to my desk, take out my pencil, and start drearily copying the notes down. The teacher walks up to the board and starts on her usual lecture for our notes. As I look around, I notice around half the class is asleep and the other half is staring off into space. After the notes, we get a worksheet to work on for the rest of class. All the students occasionally look at the clock in hopes of the class will soon be over. As the bell chimes, it’s a mad rush to grab our phones and get out of the class. Soon, I am in my next class, talking with my friends while checking what the weather will be like later in the day for my soccer practice. As the teacher calls us to attention, we sit down, put our phones down, and take out our computers. In this class, most of the instruction ties in technology. The teacher then says it is time for notes. We all open up a blank page on our computer and get ready to type. No one is sleeping in this class. Everyone is giving all their attention to the front of the room. Then, when the notes are complete, we all open a new tab and work on our websites that we made. No one looks at the clock once.
Technology can help with a lot of a lot of classroom problems, such as students not being engaged, introducing new ways to do activities, and new ways to organize. However, putting technology into a classroom ineffectively, for example writing a blog instead of a paper, just to say that it is used does not help students. If it is used to create interesting activities and increase the productivity of student organization, then it could be the best tool. The way students are taught has changed surprisingly little despite the innovations in technology. Students are now more savvy and more interested in technology so using it effectively as a teaching tool is very important. “It is not that they don’t want to learn. They just learn differently.” (Rewired, 2010).
There are so many apps and websites out there that can help students in all areas. Sometimes, it is hard know which ones are the most productive. I have found some of the apps and websites that I think very helpful in different subjects. In English, creativity flourishes. The most beneficial way for the students to apply the material in English class is to use it to create something. Here are some great websites and apps:
Weebly is a free website creator that lets students make their very own website safely and easily. This website could be about basically anything that has writing, reading, or speaking tied in. Social media, blogging, and sharing are a huge part of the workplace now while also being a great platform for students to share their work with other students and teachers. This would allow students to make their own websites which is both interactive and fun. One topic idea would be for the students to make the website about their career interest. I went into detail about this in my previous blog.
Twitter is a wonderful app/website for this but is not completely censored and safe. Students would have to be vigilant about who they follow and what they view. Twiducate would be a safer alternative to Twitter. Twiducate lets teachers make a class and choose who is in the online class. They can also control the posts in the group. Either of these can be used in a way to promote healthy interaction and collaboration in and out of the classroom. If used properly, both could be forums for innovation and great ways to practice critical writing. These platforms allow students to communicate and share their work with other students and teachers while also building their digital footprint. An activity that these could be used for would be a Twitter (or Twiducate) chat. Students would pick a topic then express their opinions with other students in a constructive way. This would let students share their thoughts while practicing their critical writing skills.
IMovie is a great program that allows students to make a well polished video. This app could be used to create videos that show students fluency in speech while bringing in material and creativity. An example of an engaging activity using IMovie would have students making a public service announcement about a current problem in the world. The PSA would be a fun activity for students to express themselves creatively while working on their speaking skills.
Organization is a very difficult aspect of school, only getting harder as people get older. The Homework app is a great way to help students keep track of the work that they need to do for classes. It also helps them balance the school work with extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs.
All of these apps and websites are beneficial ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. They could all be used to make all aspects of English. The key to using them in a helpful way would be to understand the way to use the technology.
Technology can be incorporated into all subjects in school, weather it is math or music. The key is to implement it in away that helps students comprehend and understand the material. For example, a good app for learning guitar would be Yousician. It takes you through daily lessons that include songs and techniques. PHet is a great website for science. It has a lot of labs and hands on activities that would get everyone involved. Immune Attack is a great website for biology. It is a slightly fictional game that is scientifically correct and a fun way to get students involved. If students are struggling with math, Get The Math is a website that shows how math is applied in real world scenarios. This shows the students that what they are learning will be can be used in the real world. Kahoot is a fun review game for all subjects. Personally, I find it very helpful and extremely fun to play. All of these websites and apps are free and very helpful for students.
“But there is more to it than their heightened ability to multitask, search the Web, listen to music, update their blogs, create Web sites, make movies, play video games, and text friends on their cell phones. These young people are the first generation in history to know more about the most powerful tools for change in our society – digital information and communication technologies – than their elders: their parents and teachers.” ( 21st Century Learning, 2009). This generation is very tech-savvy and can use technology with ease. This is why technology helps them learn so much. Students like to be on their phone or a computer. This is the new “hands on learning” method. Technology gets students interested and helps them learn.
PHet – PHet can be found at the address https://phet.colorado.edu/ .
Homework app- This app can be downloaded from the App Store. If the students do not have Apple products, an alternative would be myHomework Student Planner which is on the Google Play store.
Kahoot- To create a Kahoot, the address is https://getkahoot.com/?utm_name=controller_app&utm_source=web_app&utm_medium=link but for the students to access it, the address is https://kahoot.it/#/ . Students can also play from the app can be downloaded from the App Store and the Google Play store.
Weebly – this website can be found at the address http://www.weebly.com/start/site?c=mkt_w_nwk:BingSearch_camp:B-S-Brand-Alpha-US_ag:Weebly_campaignid:142063230_adgroupid:6090895944_keywordid:kwd-142079019789_adid:15955372275 .
Immune Attack – Immune Attack needs to be downloaded onto a computer to play. It is available for download at http://immuneattack.org/ .
Get The Math – Get the math can be found at the address http://www.thirteen.org/get-the-math/ .
Twiducate – Twiducate can be found at https://www.livelingua.com/twiducate/
Twitter – Twitter can be found at https://twitter.com/ .Twitter also has an app that can be downloaded both from the App Store and the Google Play store.
Imovie- Imovie can only be downloaded from the App Store but an alternative would be to film using a phone camera then downloading a video editing app.
Rosen, Larry D. Rewired: Understanding the Generation and the Way They Learn. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Trilling, Bernie, and Charles Fadel. 21. Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our times. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009. Print.