A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

For teachers for whom nerd isn't their first language-Step Three: Exlpore


A few days ago I talked about wrestling with how to best integrate technology into my classroom and with what software, hardware, apps, etcetera etcetera. My blog posts have been inspired by a post by the folks at the Committed Sardine and they intern took their ideas from  and article on Edudemic. This is the third installment and, for me has been the most fun.


You' defined what you need and you've done general research on the options out there. (Remember, the Edudemic piece was designed for a more IT crowd, not necessarily an in class teach--I'm liberating their ideas for my own nefarious purposes.)

Alignment--does the app match how "you" do things and your level of comfort with technology?

Last summer I participated in an online seminar and one of the presenters did amazing things with Google Earth using the layering tools. I loved the idea and so tried to replicate in my classroom--it was one of my best fails. I'm comforatable with technology but didn't have the bakground or the time to master it for my students (I am playing with it again this summer--hope springs eternal!)

Support--How well does the app play in the sandbox?

I've said this before on here, as an educator, I am something of a Dr. Frankenstein. A piece from here and a piece from there. For me, I need to be able to use a piece of something without being tied to all of it. For some of you, a plug and play is just your cup of tea. This is the time to find out.

Engagement-Do your charges ask for more?

When I teach exploration and colonization, I have used clips from Colonial House, a PBS 'reality show" where a couple dozen people are given a little training on how the people of Plimoth would have lived and then sent to an uninhabited portion of Maine to try their hand at it. On the PBS website, there is an interactive history quiz, Would You Have Survived in the Colony. The player makes decision as a the governor of the colony and at the end of the game, you are told what the colonists fate would have been under your leadership. I had intended it as an in class exercise, but I have had kids spend an evening playing the game, researching the best boats, the best ways to manage a crew, hygiene, and religious considerations of the era.  It is consistently a hit and draws them in in a way a straight lecture couldn't.

Data/Accessibility-Does the app realize its all about ME?

This particular metric is designed for the IT crowd. The in-class parallel might be: how easy is the app to navigate? How many windows before you get what you need? Can you access it from multiple computers using the same passcode? Several cool apps don't work for me based on the way they've set up the application, website, ...

Cost-To paraphrase the ATT commercials, "Free is better." or ..."What's an budget?"

We are all living the dream of highly paid, uber financially supported edumacation programs so money isn't an issue. Right?

Fit--Finally, is the app a good fit for teacher, student and parent?

The fourth step in the process suggested by Edudemic is "Select" but it is solely focused on IT so I'm not going to write about it. The in-class corollary is partnering with administration and IT either preemptively or during the forgiveness getting stage.

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