Yesterday I had the privilege to work with Tim Rylands, where he interactively shared how to use ICT to engage students and inspire learning – what an inspirational guy. Like many teachers, we all hear about these wonderful online resources, apps and mobile devices such as the iPad, the flipped classroom model, bring your own device (BYOD), twitter, blogs and the list goes on and on.
However, how many of us actually dedicate the time to explore, to experiment, to take a risk and let go of uncertainties? One of the big questions we have is; how? How do we implement all of these fantastic resources into students learning, with the ultimate goal of preparing them for the 21st century competitive workplace? I suppose for many it’s the feeling of losing control, the ‘letting go’ of students to explore and take their learning on a journey that may well deviate from the curriculum or lesson plan, so why not?
On the whole, the way I see it is that we don’t actually have to do a vast amount of work we’re just repackaging and using 21st century technology as a vehicle to engage learners. Something that the majority young people today are familiar with and can already use well, in some cases more effectively than the teacher.
Highlights & recommendations
What really stood out for me was the wealth of free online resources at my fingertips. I can pick and choose from any of these and also relate them to many different areas of the Curriculum. Many are free and all are interactive, which I feel offers a positive dynamic in delivering engaging lessons. These were just a few of my favourite online resources:
The hat – A great way of sharing the responsibility for who goes first in your classroom.
Re shuffle a whole class order, pick individuals, or even pairs. This is great for all aspects of Co-operative learning.
Watch Documentary – Ideal for research, to find some fascinating documentaries. This works across a broad range of categories, one of the biggest, sorted gatherings of programmes to watch, for free, online.
Nearpod – A fantastic way of designing, creating, sharing and delivering lessons on iPads. An app that teachers can use to create quizzes, multimedia presentations, and polls.
Snappy words – An online interactive English dictionary and thesaurus helping you find the meanings of words. You can draw connections to associated words and easily see the meaning of each piece of vocabulary by placing the mouse cursor over it.
Solar System Scope – Explore the planetary bodies orbiting around our sun.
Teachers Media – A free library of over 3500 high-quality videos, supporting teaching and learning in your lessons, ideal for starters and plenaries.
Tagxedo – If you are a fan or Wordle then you will love this. A creative way to display key words in the shape of an image of your choice. When you hover the mouse over any word it forms a hyperlink to your chosen URL linking to a Google search for that particular word.
Talktyper – A Google chrome extension, Speech Recognition which is absolutely free. Great for literacy converting the spoken word to written text.