Read part one and two of this series.
Portsmouth Middle School in Rhode Island is about to embark on year two of the implementation of a 1:1 technology program. Below, I share some of our teachers’ favorite strategies and applications from the past year to engage students in collaborative learning experiences. Explore these 16 suggestions (and bonus resources) and take your classroom to the next level!
Have your students use Google Draw to visually represent concepts and ideas from their reading. These student illustrations are taken from the novel Hatchet. Google Draw can be particularly effective for students who have trouble articulating their ideas in writing.
Ask students to create story arcs to organize their ideas with Google Draw and ask them to add pictures to enhance their graphic organizers.
Create playlists–an individualized digital agenda—that students work through at their own pace during class. The playlists can be chock full of all sorts of content, including websites, videos, etc. The most successful playlists are those that allow students to take notes and organize their ideas.
Provide digital copies of all materials used in class so that students are able to reference them at home and during discussions. Use Google Classroom to store and organize these materials by topic.
Organize your classroom furniture in a way that allows you to monitor student devices so you can make sure they’re staying on-task.
Incorporate video resources such as TED Talks, BrainPop animated videos and Khan Academy content to engage students and present content in different ways. You can upload videos of your own teaching to Google Classroom to reinforce ideas at home. You can also leverage technology to implement a “Flipped Classroom” model in which in-class lectures and homework are reversed. At home, students watch a video of you presenting new material and the next day in class, time is spent on exercises, projects or discussions.
Allow students to collaborate on projects and writing assignments. Group projects allow students to learn from each other and develop communication skills.
Help students create note-taking tools to hone strategies and routines. They can create tools within Google Docs.
Use formative assessment games like Kahoot to collect instantaneous data to gauge how well students are understanding the material. Have students make their own Kahoot quizzes in small groups to engage them in review activities.
Utilize e-books and online texts. Although many students prefer hard copies, some students like having the option to increase text size and use ChromeVox, Google’s text-to-speech application.
Give students an authentic audience for Google Slides projects by asking them to present to the class. If there isn’t enough time to present all projects to the full class, share in small groups.
Collaborate on projects with students. One of the beauties of the collaborative environment Chromebooks create is that teachers can give immediate feedback on student work from any location.
Use subject-specific applications and other tools to enhance lessons. For example, PhET Interactive Simulations allow students to perform scientific experiments without equipment. One class used nearpod, an interactive presentation and assessment tool, to study the construction of pyramids. They examined a pyramid by “holding it” in their hand and turning it in different directions.
Showcase student work around the classroom. These are readings they marked up to demonstrated their understanding of concepts like theme and textual evidence.
Get your students excited about learning by embracing technology!
Using technology to assess students’ understanding and knowledge is extremely valuable. View the Slides Presentation that I created to see some of the websites and applications that Portsmouth School District uses to assess students.
1:1 Implementation in Grade 6
This year the 6th grade team presented to teachers in the middle school and high school about the logistics of the 1:1 program and the way that Chromebooks were used in their classrooms. Click on the 1:1 Implementation in 6th Grade Slides Presentation to view the professional development presentation. This Chromebooks for Teachers handout has additional resources.
I met with the School Improvement Team at Portsmouth High School to encourage teachers to embrace technology and blended learning practices. View the Presentation to the School Improvement Team for access to information about blended learning.
I created Step-by-Steps for teachers who need visual copies and tutorials of applications in the Google Suite.
Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Slides
Understanding the Google Suite Slides Presentation
Chromebook Orientation Presentation
This presentation was created for parents and students entering the 1:1 program. We used this presentation at Chromebook Orientation/Distribution Night. View the Chromebook Orientation Presentation to see the information that was distributed.
Applications and Websites for Teachers
Vocabulary Practice and Interactive Graphic Organizers
Websites to Enhance Teaching and Learning
Free iPad Applications to Enhance Your Classroom
Free Chrome Applications to Enhance Your Classroom