This post is the second in a series of articles emphasizing the importance of teachers and the tools that can assist them in today’s digital age.
I recently wrote a post stressing the importance of teachers, and not solely technology, as the education community strives to navigate the myriad of possibilities in the digital age. Teachers have been, and always will be, the driving force in education, but they must be prepared for and be ready to prepare students to thrive in today’s digital landscape. The students of today are a lot different than those pupils of only a few years ago. This means that the teacher of today must be knowledgeable in those technological advances in order to lead students. A working knowledge of basic education technology enables teachers to keep a leg up on the competition. And by competition I am referring to the various technological distractions that are at the fingertips of all children in America today. Young people are bombarded with digital stimuli from the moment they wake up until the minute their heads hit the pillow each night. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and game consoles are continually beeping, clicking and pinging; notifying them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The educators in today’s schools have a lot more competition than their predecessors did. It’s a wonder any learning gets done in this age of instant digital gratification.
I can’t emphasize enough that technology can and will help teachers at all levels of experience increase student engagement. The amount of applications available to the classroom teacher is endless! There is software for behavior management that utilizes teacher smartphones to tally positive and negative student behaviors remotely. There are applications to make student research and presentation easier and digitally relevant. Quiz-making applications allow teachers to create, administer and assess almost instantaneously. Flash cards can be created using a web-based browser so that students can access key terms and concepts using various devices in the comfort of their own homes. Amazingly new, better and faster applications are being developed on a daily basis. It’s really quite remarkable! Teaching at this moment in history is unique.
I have selected six applications for teachers to “get their feet wet” with in order to begin their journey into the digital age. These apps have been chosen because they are simple to use and can be implemented instantly in any teacher’s classroom regardless of his/her technological ability. Click the image below for a brief overview of these awesome apps.
In the interest of not overwhelming teachers who are unfamiliar with the education technology revolution, I will introduce and describe just one app in each weekly post. This week’s featured application is:
Class Dojo is a web-based application that is completely free and very easy to use. I’ve been using it in my 6th grade classroom since January, and the students think it’s awesome! This application is marketed as behavior modification software, and many educators use it in that capacity. Click the images below to view Prezis created by the folks at ClassDojo which explain exactly what this amazing app can do in your classroom.
The best feature of this application is the way teachers can utilize it to randomly select students. There is a “random selection” button on the class screen that quickly accomplishes this task. When teachers use this to call on pupils in class, they are always “on their toes” anticipating being selected. I use this feature often in my classroom when choosing students to respond to questions, to come up to the SmartBoard or to share an idea or strategy with their peers.
I recently demonstrated this app at a faculty meeting and it really “wowed” the crowd. I set up a demo class using the names of teachers and administrators who attended the meeting and randomly selected participants. The feedback I received was extremely positive. In fact, I was approached by many teachers over the next few days who said say that they had set up ClassDojo in their classrooms.
If you haven’t already visited the ClassDojo site, you can click on the logo below to do so. I highly recommend it. 🙂
- ‘Teaching History in the Digital Age’ – Call for a New Breed of Teachers (etcjournal.com)
- Digital Media- New Learners of the 21st Century (lmdawson82.wordpress.com)
- Kids Need STEM Education in the Digital Age (wnyc.org)