I used to teach in a district in which I was forced to use smart boards, eInstruction, etc. I actually got in trouble if I used my white board rather than the technology! I thought all the gadgets in my room were great, but I was frustrated at how the kids really were focused more on the gadgetry rather than what they were learning.
There is ONE piece of technology that I feel has greatly improved my teaching and allowed my students and I more time to dive deeper into the concepts that I teach. Especially since our time is so short, I want to maximize it and make the most out of it.
Enter Educreations. It's an app currently available only for apple products, however it will soon be on the android market as well. This is an interactive whiteboard that also allows you to record your voice as you teach!
It. is. awesome.
It has transformed my teaching to be able to really focus on student needs rather than trying to produce worksheet after worksheet.... It also has brought so many more students into the understanding level, rather than the exposure level of teaching because I can then truly meet my students needs inside the classroom rather than hope they are learning how to meet their needs outside the classroom.
I never understood why we focus on the independent work outside the classroom. Yes, I believe it's important, but I really can't tell where my students are at conceptually until tests. So here's what my classroom looks like now:
I create my lessons on Educreations and record myself teaching them. Here's a few screen shots of my first lesson my students will watch this coming school year:
The neat thing is you can upload it to the educreation site and set it so that only your class views it. I can see how many views it gets and my students can ask questions if they want/need online and I will receive it like instant messaging.
Here is a link to the first video my students watch at the beginning of the school year. It's the one with the above screen shots :)
This is what my students watch on the day before I would normally teach it. I send home with them blank notes that we used to do in class. This now is their only homework. When they come through my classroom, I expect them to have watched and taken notes. Now, instead of starting from scratch, I have a little bit of a foundation to go a little deeper with them on. I can see what areas we need to work on as a whole class, and which areas I need to focus on with individual student needs.
Last year, my overall class percentage when from an average of 83% (whole class) to 92%!! Not only were my tests better, but their comprehension was better. I found they weren't "regurgitating" facts and information, but had a chance to digest it and allow it to take root in their learning.
Image how great that would be for a key class like Algebra?!
Have you tried Educreations in your classroom yet? If so, leave me a comment with your thoughts.... or just leave a comment b/c I love reading them :)