5 Educational Technologies To Try This School Year


Are you ready to try something new in
your classroom this year here five hot new technologies you can try this year Number one: Mystery Skype. Skype in the
classroom gives students a way to connect with others outside their schools in
engaging interactive ways. My favorite way to get started with Skype is an
activity called Mystery Skype where there are two classes partner together
from around the globe usually in the western hemisphere so time zones matchup
but where students don’t know where the other class is from. In this student-led
activity the students take turns asking each other questions to slowly narrow
down where each other is Skyping from and in doing so learning about other parts of the world
as well as developing communication and problem-solving skills. We can help you
with good a classroom webcam and even be there for your first Skype activity to
guide you and your students through it. The Skype in the classroom website fully
guides teachers on how to run a Mystery Skype with it being as easy as playing a
visual 20 questions on the spot to assigning various roles for students to
keep everyone active. With our new Skype for Business client installed on
our district computers this year, teachers no longer need to get Skype installed or
create Skype Accounts. Simply type the name of your Skype contact in the Find
Someone bar and then select from the Skype directory to search from – it’s that
easy! Number two: MinecraftEdu. Minecraft has been played by ninety million plus
kids around the world and there’s a version built just for schools called
MinecraftEdu. Teachers from around the globe are using MinecraftEdu to have
students building in this virtual 3d block world across the curriculum
including measurement and problem solving and math, recreating scenes and
locations in social studies and science, inventing solutions to design challenges,
telling digital stories in language arts, celebrating their faith in religion and
much more. There are nice teacher controls built in
to help keep students on track, along with readily available world templates
and lesson ideas for teachers. The EmTech team can help you get going through
hands-on PD and work with your students to get you started, so if you’re
interested in taking the plunge with this very engaging student tool let us
know! Number three: Coding clubs. Experts
believe that coding skills will be as much a basic skill for our students as
reading and writing. Aside from that, learning to code developed a whole set
of computational thinking skills along with numeracy and literacy skills. There
are plenty of options for getting started with coding your students from
the Scratch block-based programming language reachable for students as young
as kindergarten and challenging right up to high school. In Scratch, students can
design animations, digital stories, games, and more to represent their learning. Another option includes TurtleArt, a design tool that combines art and
numeracy to help students visualize coding challenges. Some coding
applications extend to the physical world such as Dash and Dot or Lego
robotics where coding controls a robot. There even mini drones which can be
controlled by coding. Starting a coding club at your school or in your classroom
is easy, and we would be happy to provide support for you getting started. For
those who want to just dip their toes into the coding pond, look forward to
the Hour of Code activity this upcoming December where schools are given
numerous coding activities ranging from very simple to very complex that can be
completed in one hour or less. Number four Maker-Centered Learning Having students design, invent, and make
things can not only help them understand and control the world around them, but
can also develop problem-solving skills and a disposition towards persevering
through challenges and seeking new knowledge and skills not to mention
confidence in themselves as learners. Making can involve any number of
materials from cardboard to electronics to wearable computing to digital media
and is more a way of learning that a specific technology. That said, some
common technologies involved in making are things like Makey Makey where
users design their own keyboard controls for their media; 3D design and
printing, digital media creation with iPad apps or the Adobe Suite, Raspberry
Pi computing devices and much more. Wherever you’re coming from we’re happy
to work with you in implementing making as a way of learning in your classroom
or school. Number five: Green Screen videos. Green screen videos are a great way for
students to share their understanding in creative ways, telling stories, explaining
concepts, delivering virtual news broadcasts and more. What was once an
expensive and complex technology to implement is now very easy, using only a
solid background and inexpensive easy-to- use apps such as the iPad app Green
Screen by DoInk, or Spark-o-Cam for the PC takes the complexity out of
chroma key video production and focuses on students creativity. Our team can
guide you and your students and getting started with green screen videos for
class projects or live student digital broadcasts. So those are five hot educational
technologies you may wish to try this school year. While you may not select all
or even most of these, we hope there’s at least one of these technologies that
you’d like to give a try this year. For more information contact anyone from our
EmTech team or email [email protected]

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