I am just going to put this out there...I love technology. I think most teachers do! I am always trying to find new ways to use it in my classroom. But I'll admit, sometimes I am intimidated by how much more my students know about technology than I do. I have to confess...I will go to my 11 year old son before I'll contact Apple or AT& T if I have a question about something on my iPhone!!
My students crave technology time...and I am not just talking about using the classroom computers. I am blessed to work in a school district that invests a lot of money in classroom technology. On top of that, I work in a Title I school, so there always seems to be some extra money for this gadget and that one....and I love using it all. Our district is also starting an iPad initiative this fall. In two of our Title I elementary schools, entire grade levels (each and every student and teacher) will each have an iPad. And I have it from a reliable source that every Title I teacher will have one too (I am also excited to have the opportunity to be one of the trainers helping these teachers set up their new iPads and helping them find/use apps to use in the classroom).
One of the cool tech-y things that I use in my classroom a lot are Activotes.
1. Pretests/Post tests- For each of my units in Social Studies I give a pre- and post-test. I usually have about 10 questions and it allows me to gauge where my students are going into the unit. The beauty of this, is with 42 students, I don't have to grade 42 papers. And the data on how they answered the question is at my fingertips instantly. I can also save it in a spreadsheet and I can manipulate the results to form small groups if need-be. To do this, I create a flip-chart in Active Inspire with the questions. Each question can be a different slide/page of the flip chart. You can set the question up as a "True/False", "Multiple Choice" , "Likert Scale" or even have student text in their response. As each question is displayed, students respond on their hand-held Student Response System (SRS) device. Each device has a number and when they send their answer their device number is displayed on the board. When everyone has answered, I click a button to end the poll and data is displayed on my board...I can look at it by percentages, graph it and can even see how each person responded so I can look at individual students (but it displays a number rather than a name). I can then export the data to a spreadsheet to further analyze after class.
2. Informal Assessment During a Lesson- Often when we are teaching we want/need to know if our students are "getting it." With Activotes, I can create a question or two "on the fly" and do a quick informal assessment. Again I can get instant data about who is getting it and who needs further assistance. It is quick and I can move on or pull a small group of students aside and give them a little assistance to scaffold them through the rest of the lesson.
3. Math Facts Quizzes- Activotes is great for those daily/weekly math facts quizzes. Promethean Planet also has quizzes already set up so no need to reinvent the wheel. Their is also a tiered question capability so if they are getting all the facts for a particular number set correct it moves them to the next set* (i.e. when they master their 6's..they can independently move onto the 7's. ) *I do not teach Math..my partner teacher does,,,but this is the way I understand it to work for Math facts.
4. Taking the Class "Temperature"- I think it is really important to get the students perspective on how a lesson went or how the day went form their point of view. I use Activotes as a summarizing strategy for lessons. They can rate how they felt the lesson went, how much they learned, text me items they need more info about, etc. My partner teacher and I use them have our students tell us how they think their day went behavior-wise. We are a PBIS school and use a 3-2-1 score at the end of the day to assess student behavior. This ties into my classroom behavior chart and is also recorded in student daily agendas so their parents can see how their day went. While i might thing a student had a "2" day (need a little work), the students may feel they deserve a "3" (excellent). This provides a platform for us to talk about what makes they feel they should have a 3 versus why I gave them a "2."
If you are looking for a little bit more info on the versatility of Activotes..click HERE.