I don’t know about you but I like to have a plan. From to-do lists for day-to-day planning, to looking at the year as a whole, I’m getting ready for a fantastic 2018. You might already have some big goals in mind for the upcoming year… a learning activity you’ve designed for a group of students, a plan for bringing more student choice into the classroom, you name it! Ready for some EdTech Inspiration?
As we dive into the new year I wanted to share a list I created for “EdTech Inspiration” in 2018. It’s not a to-do list, or a collection of must-haves, but a place for you to start if you’re not sure where to get started. Just like learners of any age, “we don’t know what we don’t know.” So I put together this list of a few things to consider over the course of the year. It’s not a list of things to do as much as a place to stop by for some inspiration for technology integration over the course of the year.
January – set and share a goal
What is the one big thing you want to accomplish this school year? Maybe you read about project-based learning last year and want to try it out in an upcoming unit of study. Maybe you want to give students different options for “showing what they know” at the end of a deep dive into a new topic. Whatever you decide for your goal for this year, share it with someone else. This person could be another teacher on your grade level team, a former colleague who teaches two time zones away, or an administrator or instructional coach in your building.
February – try out a new formative assessment routine
Checking for understanding happens in many ways in the classroom and this month is a great one to update a current routine or try something totally new. You might use exit slips at the end of your class period everyday and decide to try virtual exit slips with Spark Post instead. You might be looking for a new way to check for understanding in the middle of a lesson and want to try out a tool like Nearpod or Unio to embed questions into your normal instruction. If you’re not sure where to get started with formative assessment, here is a free poster with a handful of tips.
March – ask students to reflect
Reflecting on learning is an important part of preparing students to become lifelong learners. At the end of a daily lesson or after a multi-day learning experience. Student reflections can give you information on their takeways to check for understanding. It can also help students think back on their learning process over the course of the school year. Try a tool like FlipGrid for video reflections.
April – explore virtual reality
I’m a big believer in the power of virtual reality in the classroom. When students are diving into a book with an unfamiliar setting or getting ready to explore a new topic in social studies, a virtual reality experience can change the way they interact with content. Explore virtual reality in the context of your learning goals by thinking about what type of content – either 360 degree image or video – would help students better understand life in another part of the world. If you’re not sure where to get started, download this free ebook with extra resources.
May – capture community stories
Digital tools make it easier than every for students to capture stories on the go. You can get outside to visit different parts of your local community (or school community) to connect stories to your learning goals. For example, if your students are studying ratios they might capture a story from a local chef about the role measurement of ingredients play in their career. Here are a handful of great tools for capturing stories.
June – share a reading list
Whether your school is in session during the month of June or not, you can use this month to share a reading list on social media. Your reading list might include favorite titles that your students explored over the course of the school year. It could also include some of your own favorites. Sharing a reading list on social media – maybe your Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest accounts – is more than showing off your great work from the year. When you share socially you provide a great resource to others who might be on the look out for a set of favorites. Here are two of my book lists: Gift Ideas for Teachers: Books I’ve Loved This Year + Extras and 5 Books to Inspire Digital Reading Responses.
July – find a podcast
Summer is the perfect time to find the perfect teacher podcast. You can use this list of podcasts to help you find a new podcast. Don’t limit yourself to traditional education podcasts, you might also commit to trying out something totally new. A great storytelling podcast might serve as inspiration for using podcasts to use in your classroom.
August – commit to try something new
As you dive into the new school year, commit to trying something totally new. This could include a commitment to leaving feedback in student documents in Google Classroom during the first quarter, or having students document their science projects by creating interactive ebooks. Your commitment to trying a new strategy, tip or tool doesn’t have mean introducing something bright and flashy. Reflect on the previous school year and commit to trying something that can solve a problem you came across or address a need you noticed.
September – attend a virtual event
Carving out time and finding financial support for a conference can definitely be a challenge. During this month, attend a virtual event like a webinar hosted by a professional development organization, publisher, or favorite EdTech company. If you’re not sure where to find a virtual event I share the ones I’m hosting each week in my newsletter and events page. You can also check out an organization’s page, like ASCD to see on-demand webinars to watch at anytime that works with your schedule.
October – create a project exemplar
What do you want to see students create this year? Maybe you’d like them to design a website chronicling the connection between a math topic and stock market investment, or create a movie showing off the perspective of a notable figure during a historical event. Creating an exemplar can help students envision your expectations for a final project and help you anticipate any issues that may arise as students dive in.
November – participate in a Twitter Chat
Twitter chats have totally transformed the way I think about professional development and I’ve shared some of the reasons on this website. Participating in a Twitter chat requires you to log into Twitter at a specific time and answer a set of questions around a topic. It’s a great way to expand your professional learning network and find educators passionate about a particular topic.
December – find a partner-in-tech
A partner-in-tech is a person you can turn to when you’re in need of advice, want to share an accomplishment or obstacle, or to chat about your goals for integrating technology into your classroom. In my book Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom I share lots of tips for making the most of digital tools in your classroom, including planning for ways to put your ideas into action. Your partner-in-tech might be another person in your school, a teacher friend in another state, or someone you connected with during a Twitter chat.
No matter what your goals are for this year, take time to think about what you’d like to see your students accomplish and how you would like to grow professionally. Don’t forget to share your goals on social media, with a friend or colleague, or in the comments below!