Ways to Engage Students with Technology

Ways to Engage Students with Technology

It is important to have a class structured around student involvement and helping them focus on what’s important. Technology is a great way to engage your students in class and many educators are beginning to adopt different type of technology within their classes. Let’s see how you can engage your students with technology:

Tweet it! (Using Twitter)

Many students and their parents are using Twitter on their free time. Because of this, a lot of educators have taken advantage of Twitter. What do they use Twitter for? They use it to keep their students well-informed and engaged. It also allowed educators to communicate important information with parents. Since Twitter only allows messages up to 140 characters, students will have to find creative ways to get their messages across!

Some great examples of educators using Twitter is Mrs. Kilgo’s Class, who tweet out news and important announcements, and Room Eleven, which allows students to take charge of the Twitter account and tweet!

Samantha Miller, from TeachHub, came up with 50 different ways for educators to use Twitter in their classroom. Let us know which one you are planning to use!

There’s an app for that! (Using apps)

Yes, there’s definitely an app for this. There are many educational apps within the App Store and GooglePlay that you can use in class. And we definitely know the pain of trying to find the right one. So we will save you some times and have the list for you, right here:

If you’re an Apple lover, here’s 55 Education Apps to use with your students (free, of course).

If you’re an Android geek, here’s 50 Education Apps for you to use!

If you have a favorite app that you love to use in class, just share it with us!

Hey, look at me! (Using visual aids)

If you have more visual learners in your class, it might be useful for you to use videos in class. After all, approximately 65% of the population is visual learners. Visual learners are those who learn materials by seeing them with visuals like graphs, videos, diagrams, etc. So using sites, such as YouTube or PowerPoint, can help you effectively explain certain concepts and ideas to the class. (Also, it’ll keep easily-bored students entertained!)

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

 

 

Overcoming Technology Obstacles in Classrooms

Overcoming Technology Obstacles in Classrooms

Welcome to the digital era, where students are no longer bound to the books and desks in their classroom.  Instead, they now have new technologies that give them the opportunity to explore the world. Clearly, technology is transforming the way students learn. Educators are now faced with a big challenge: how to keep their students engaged and stimulated in the classroom.

There are many barriers that educators face every day in seeking to integrate technology in to their classes, such as lack of support, lack of computers, and no motivation.

Overcome Your Fear of Implementing Technology

We are all accustomed to the traditional ways of teaching and learning: a lecture, face-to-face questions, and tests. We can definitely agree that implementing new technologies in class can be very frightening and it is still considered the main obstacle for technology integration in schools. Educators who are unfamiliar with technology are afraid of the learning curve. Some are skeptical that technology can help improve their teachings while some are concerned about digital footprint, privacy, and cyber-bullying.

You don’t have to jump straight into using SMART boards or expect all your students to have a tablet. Start off by using something you already know! Which take us to our next point…

Keep it Simple

Like we said before, you don’t need to start off with some high-techie lesson! Comfortable with using PowerPoint? Using Google Docs with other teachers?  We are sure that you are already using some form of technology in class (like Voki)! Just start off with something that you are familiar (and comfortable) with and explore different technologies on your free time!

Use the Tools You Already Have

Have only five computers in class? Need to sign up for the computer lab? Some schools have a limited access to computers. But don’t worry, there are ways to overcome this issue. Have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) day in class! Or place them in group to help them learn about teamwork.

As an extra point:

Tip: Always Be Prepared!

There will ALWAYS be something wrong with the lesson that day. The school internet doesn’t work. Another class took the computer lab. The software “decided” to not function properly that day. Or maybe a major power outage in the area. (You might never know! It’s always a possibility!) So it’s up to you to always be prepared for anything that might happen during that lesson and always have a backup plan!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

 

What is a Flipped Classroom?

What is a Flipped Classroom?

imagesMore and more educators are experimenting with flipped classroom. In a traditional classroom setting, the teacher gives a lecture and assigns reading materials and homework questions. Students are required to take notes and they follow instructions given by teachers.

But within a flipped classroom, the lectures and assignments are reversed. This means that lectures/class materials are viewed by students at home before the class and the class-time is devoted to different exercise, hands-on projects and/or discussions. Students can learn at their own pace and receive support from peers and teacher. With a flipped classroom, teachers can be more involved with student learning and provide support to students who need extra practice.

What happens if you’re a first time flipper? The Journal has some very nice tips that you should pay attention to when starting your first flipped class. Some tips for first time flippers are to have a set plan/strategy and start small. If you want to read the entire article, click here.

It might be difficult to try and change your class into a flipped class. Here at Voki, we suggest that you start off small. We are sure that you are already using some form of technology in class (like Voki)! So start off with a technology that you are familiar with and explore different technologies on your free time!

Remember, this is a learning process for you and your students. So just sit back, learn and enjoy it! Have you tried out a flipped classroom, and how is it working out for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Ways to Challenge Yourself as a Teacher

Ways to Challenge Yourself as a Teacher

We should always challenge ourselves to learn more. As a teacher in the new technology era, you have to constantly adapt to the ever-changing technological environment and continuously challenge yourself (and your students) in the classroom. TeachThought came up with 50 different ways to challenge you as a teacher and here’s out top 3 favorite ones:

#14. Present at a state or national conference by yourself.

Your students are presenting in front of their peers, so why can’t you? Lead by example! Attending conferences (local, state, or national) is a great way for you to learn and network. If you’re presenting at the conference, even better! By presenting, you can share your experience with other educators and help others by providing valuable ideas and suggestions.

#25. Smile at every student, every day.

We all have that one rough day: forgetting to set the alarm the night before, missing the first train, spilling coffee on your new shirt, losing all your hard work because your computer decided to crash. It may be hard to smile all the time but it’s worth a try! After all it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown! Smiling is a very powerful tool. It is a subtle message that shows that you are kind and polite. Also, smiling puts nervous students at ease because it tells them that everything is going to be ok!

#47. Videotape yourself teaching and share it with the world.

Have some good materials to share? Want feedback on your teaching style or lesson? Have a great class that you wanted the entire world to see? Record it and share it with everyone! You can share it on YouTube, your personal blog, or any social media sites. Not only that this is a good way to get feedback, it’s a great way to pinpoint what you can do better next time. (Don’t forget to share the video with us if you’re using Voki in class!)

Which ways are you planning to challenge yourself this upcoming school year? Let us know below! If you have other ways that other teachers can challenge themselves in class, share it with us here!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

I Am a Tech-Savvy Teacher!

I Am a Tech-Savvy Teacher!

It’s not easy being a teacher. But what about a tech-savvy teacher? There are tons of applications, tools, and sites out there that teachers are beginning to use in class: Google Maps, EduBlogs, BrainPop, Wikispaces, etc. (Now, let’s not forget about Voki!)

We spotted a checklist from DailyGenius this week that lists out the 10 signs that you are a tech-savvy teacher. It includes having students read your blog, preparing for twitter chats, attending conferences and keepings up to date with the newest tech! Let’s go ahead take a look at them here: http://dailygenius.com/tech-savvy-teacher/

But we’re adding 2 more signs of a tech-savvy teacher; let us know if you agree:

  1. You embrace gaming inside your classroom. Gaming not limited to just OUTSIDE the classroom. You constantly use games, such as Angry Bird and Minecraft, to teach math, teamwork, science, etc. You understand that students are now growing up in an era where they spend most of their time on videogames and computers. You use it to help student explore and be curious about the world around them.
  2. You have A LOT of class trips without leaving the classroom. You and your class visits the most exotic places on Earth: The Great Wall of China, Pyramid of Giza, Taj Mahal. You use applications like Google Maps/Google Earth with your students to explore different parts of the world and learn!

But being a tech-savvy teacher also means that you need certain skills. There are some skills that you can acquire before your next project! Some of the skills include always looking for new learning opportunities, the importance of real world applications in eLearning, and committing to the best learning experience EVER! Check out this article here to see if you have those skills needed: http://elearningindustry.com/top-10-elearning-skills-elearning-professionals

Here at Voki, we think that the most important skill is communicating and keeping up with new tools and applications. It is important to receive good (and bad) feedback. These feedbacks allow learners (and us!) to change and try to get the most out of the user experience. All tech-savvy teachers should keep up with new tools and applications. You will have in depth knowledge of how these new tools and be combined with others and how it can fit into your lessons and your students’ learning process!

So… Are you a tech-savvy teacher? Do you have what it takes to be one? Let us know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!