Thursday, November 6, 2014

SMAR -- A method to engage students with technology

The 2014-15 school year is well underway!   And for many, the classrooms are filled with all sorts of gear: Chromebooks, iPads, & Smartphones (along with other BYOD)...

BUT the gear alone, will not change instruction in the will not necessarily impact teaching and learning.  Dr. Ruben Puentedura has developed a method of seeing how technologies might impact our students.

Here is a great website that will help you understand how the method works:

The important thing here is this:  Many classrooms get stuck at the SUBSTITUTION level.  That is to say that we often simply convert a paper worksheet(#analog) into a Google Form (#digital).  Many never get past the "let's let tech perform the same tasks we always did on paper" hurdle...

Technology in the classroom is about creating opportunities! Opportunities for collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking...  It is not about giving students an alternative to taking notes or demonstrating how much they can rememberize!  It's about getting off of low level Bloom's Taxonomy and getting to a place where the technology becomes a tool that students use to explore subjects in ways that cannot be replicated in any #analog manner & then creating solutions (e.g. apps, webpages, presentations, answers) that have NOT existed before...

I encourage teachers and administrators to review the method and Blog of Dr. Puentedura: to help them make their classroom technology a more powerful tool for student engagement!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer of 2014

As a result of all the snow days this past winter, the Summer of 2014 is only 10 weeks this year...


So to make the best of it here is a Summer Tech List to get you ready for the 2014-15 School Year!

Hit one per week and you'll be #Geek-to-go!

1.  Get on Twitter!  For the love of pete, it is seriously the best professional development a teacher or administrator can participate in!  Follow me -- @JasonSmithCSBO

2.  Discover how Google Apps for Education can change your classroom!  Here is a link to my Google Bootcamp Training Handout... and my Gmail/Calendar Help Handout

3.  Signup, Download and Use EVERNOTE! -- More info about it's awesomeness here

4.  Signup, Download and Use DROPBOX! OR, or Whatever the cloud storage , get your stuff out of the "dirt" and into the "cloud"...  That way you can access everything from anywhere from any device...

5.  Mirror your Text Messages to the Cloud...  Try Mighty Text and MySMS — mirror,  send and receive txt messages from your Gmail Inbox & iOS device: FREE | Android | iOS | MAC | PC

6.  Check out EDMODO and CLASS DOJO -- Great classroom tools to keep kids on track & keep track of behavior!

7.  Find an online Student Response System-- I like Infuselearning and Socrative.  Quick and EASY tools to assess students right now, on the fly or at a scheduled time...  ALSO GOOGLE FORMS IS AWESOME AT THIS!

8.  Create a Trailer for your Classroom next year...  This is super easy!  Step 1, go to and make a Channel.  Step 2, use your smartphone to record a video of yourself "selling" your classroom (maybe just the syllabus, be creative and fun!) Step 3, Share to your Youtube Channel.  Step 4, put it out there where they can find it (using your Facebook page or Tweet it! or on your Weebly, or by text message (remind101) or hang it around the quad on a sheet of paper, with the bottom sections all torn #youknowwhatimean?)

9.  Go Mobile -- Get that iPad or Tablet or Smartphone set up to do it all! Email, Calendar, Tweets, Evernote, Dropbox, etc...  YOU DON'T NEED YOUR PC ANYMORE...

10.  Establish your WEB Presence...  Build a Blog (like on Blogger or Weebly) or a WIKI (like on Wikispaces or Google Sites) or use FACEBOOK (build the right kind of page!) -- Whatever the type, you need a place that students and parents can come to to find all your junk!  

The tools and skills listed above take time to get your brain around.  One tool per week during the summer will pay off in the Fall!