Educational Technology

Smart Seating Charts: A Revolution in Classroom Seating Plans

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smartseatingDepositphotos 36184557 s 2015 300x199 Smart Seating Charts: A Revolution in Classroom Seating PlansEvery experienced teacher knows that there are distinct advantages to having assigned seats in the classroom, not matter what kind of seating arrangement you have. Learning clusters are great, but they are much less helpful if students are not working well together. Smart seating charts allow you to create classroom seating plans which fit your needs and preferences, without spending hours agonizing over the logistics.

Creating a seating plan that fulfills every student’s needs is quite difficult. There might be students with visual impairments who need to sit near the front, students who learn better when they are sitting near a wall, students who absolutely cannot sit together, and the list goes on. There are an unlimited number of possible parameters that can lead to the ideal layout. Once a teacher knows what is best for each student, creating a setup that fulfills the best interests of every individual in the classroom community can be extremely time consuming.

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5 Great Back To School Technology Projects and Activities

Depositphotos 85046956 s 2015 300x214 5 Great Back To School Technology Projects and ActivitiesThere are lots of ways to incorporate technology projects into your back to school repertoire. With students and teachers just getting to know each other, using technology in the classroom can be a great way for everyone to shine as an individual. There are lots of digital tools out there which can help make this year’s return to the classroom better than ever for your entire school community.

Back to School Technology Projects and Activities

1. Fakebook Pages

This Facebook-style website allows you to create profiles which can then be printed as a PDF. By incorporating colorful images and personal details that they would like to share with the class, students can express their individuality. Profiles can be printed and hung up around the classroom to add an engaging personal touch, or presented individually directly from the computer, giving each student the opportunity to shine and work on presentation skills.

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Can Cell Phones in the Classroom Be Educational Tools?

CellphoneDepositphotos 31995557 s 2015 Can Cell Phones in the Classroom Be Educational Tools?The odds are that you will find cell phones in the classroom no matter where you are, unless you are in a school enforcing a zero-tolerance policy. Kids in elementary school are already engaged on an almost constant basis with personal devices. While the initial reaction to smartphones in the world of education was to eliminate phones from lessons, today there are so many ways to promote productive cell phone use in class. With the right tools and the right attitude, an educator can transform cell phones from a constant distraction into one of the coolest educational tools.

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The Ideal Classroom Designed by Today’s Educators. What Would It Look Like?

designing the ideal classroom conflict copy 13 1 The Ideal Classroom Designed by Todays Educators. What Would It Look Like?

 

Hertz Furniture is proud to present the Designing The Ideal Classroom Infographic detailing what today’s educators think our classrooms should and should not look like.  We surveyed a cross- section of educators including school principals, ed tech specialists, consultants, designers, and administrators.  They responded to questions about the most important components of a classroom, what ideal classrooms should and should not look like, what color scheme the ideal classroom would incorporate and more.

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Closing the Digital Divide? WiFi on Busses

Example of Digital Divide: Girl doing homework with school bus wifi

digitaldivide 199x300 Closing the Digital Divide? WiFi on BussesAs internet skills become increasingly important and teachers incorporate more and more technology into the classroom, the digital divide widens. The digital divide, the social and economic inequality created by lack of access to technology, is growing and there is no more critical technological tool than internet access. With internet homework becoming increasingly popular, students with no wifi or high-speed internet at home are at a distinct disadvantage. 

If educators, taking into consideration their less fortunate students, stop requiring internet homework, everyone loses out. With such a drastic measure, all students will be missing out on the opportunity to develop the skills and reap the many benefits of the internet, including access to information, collaboration and communication. On the other hand, teachers can’t require every student to have internet at home. The solution is to find a way to provide internet access to all students outside of school. This is quite a daunting feat in poor and rural areas. 

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BOOK REVIEW: Tech Out Your Classroom: 6 Projects to Meet Common Core and ISTE Standards by Amy Prosser

techoutCapture 300x210 BOOK REVIEW: Tech Out Your Classroom: 6 Projects to Meet Common Core and ISTE Standards by Amy ProsserOverview:

Amy Prosser takes the time tested practices of researching, writing and presenting which every one of our students needs to learn and weaves technology into six technology-rich, customizable projects aligned to Common Core and ISTE Standards.

 

The projects are:

Revamping Research Papers

Epic Student Presentations

Powerful Digital Storytelling

Spreadsheet and Chart Magic

Simple Screencasting

Why Blogging Won’t Die

The author provides the standards addressed in the project,  the tech tools and collaboration information that you need, details on how to plan the project, examples and grading considerations.

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Blogging Your Way through Class: Class Blogs

Depositphotos 57498989 s 2015 300x300 Blogging Your Way through Class: Class Blogs A class blog offers an excellent tool for getting students to actively participate in lessons while learning some great twenty-first century skills. If you are thinking about starting one, there are some unique platforms designed for education which will make a worthwhile investment for your classrooms. With concerns like security, accessibility and ease of use, choosing the right platform is critical when starting to utilize a class blog. 

Blogging classes learn how to express and publish their thoughts. Children as young as kindergarteners can start to enjoy posting answers to questions and prompts assigned by the teacher. As students get older, they can respond to peers on class blog forums and maintain open conversations. This is a great tool for students who might be less likely to speak up in class. If students are required to respond to questions or answers from their peers on a blog, they can carefully construct their posts before publishing and participate without being forced to speak. Teachers can request for assignments to be submitted via the class blog as well, which allows them to easily keep track of who has handed in what and provide feedback on drafts in progress. No matter how old your students are, blogs help them work on proper typing and internet skills, both of which are becoming increasingly important. 

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Technology and Personalized Learning: An Ideal Teaching Strategy?

Technology and Personalized Learning: An Ideal Teaching Strategy?

Depositphotos 84699838 s 2015 300x199 Technology and Personalized Learning: An Ideal Teaching Strategy? Wouldn’t it be great if you could give each child exactly what they need? With personalized learning, educators have the opportunity to tailor material to each student – at least in theory. While this new individualized approach has become a hot new trend in education, it’s important not to jump on the bandwagon before you understand all of the ramifications. Personalized learning through technology may be just the revolution our education system needs, or it might just be another passing fad. 

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Transforming the Classroom for Today’s Techy Students

Depositphotos 1968052 s 2015 300x199 Transforming the Classroom for Today’s Techy StudentsLet’s face it. Even the youngest children can search their pressing questions on a computer. Good ol’ Google has made knowledge acquisition as easy as click, click, click. In today’s digital and technological environment, with our techy students, the future of the teacher-run classroom might be on its way to becoming obsolete. Or is it?

Student behavior is notoriously more challenging for the educator. Students quickly bore in the traditional classroom where the teacher is the lead and disseminator of information. For students used to quick changing, full color images flying at them from their iPads, frontal teaching no longer flies for their acquirement of knowledge.

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Flipping-Out On the Flipped Classroom

Creative lesson in a Flipped Classroom

Depositphotos 51578105 s 300x200 Flipping Out On the Flipped ClassroomWith this technologically savvy generation wanting to capture everything on their iPhone (“Honey, I have a great clip of the baby coming out to post on youtube for all to see.”) to the desire for 15 minutes of fame (or more), one the latest teaching innovations to hit a local school near you is the flipped classroom.

 

A short description of a flipped classroom is as follows: Students watch an educational video for homework and then use their newly acquired knowledge to complete related activities and projects in the classroom. Teachers can either create and post their own videos or use a wealth of other teacher’s videos for their lessons.

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With Technology in the Classroom, The Teacher is No Longer Center Stage – Part II

Technology in the Classroom

Depositphotos 11634380 s 300x199 With Technology in the Classroom,  The Teacher is No Longer Center Stage   Part IILast week we explored some of the positive aspects of technology in the classroom. When used correctly, technology encourages students to be active learners, inspire greater creativity and thinking-out-of-the-box, and can even motivate underachieving or less social students to shine. Let’s take a further look at some pros and cons of this latest addition to our schools.

 

With the new tools at hand, many programs can be personalized to enhance specific needs of students. Interactive games may be more engaging than book learning and therefore, students may feel more enthused to practice and review areas until they master the subject matter, such as in math, spelling and geography. In addition, adaptive software can be geared towards special needs children with specific goals in mind. Student assessment can be done online freeing the teacher to spend more time with each student.

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With Technology in the Classroom, the Teacher is No Longer Center Stage

Technology in the classroom

Depositphotos 27552953 s 300x199 With Technology in the Classroom, the Teacher is No Longer Center StageMost people believe that technology use in the classroom is a must to assure that our students have the skills and creative fortitude to function in this fast paced, Facebooked, iPhoned world. Assuming that schools have the budget for proper infrastructure, Internet providers, routers and modems that can handle the traffic generated by classroom use, hardware and software which are up-to date, and maintenance and repair staff on-call, what is the teacher’s role and, for that matter, what is the student’s role with this new reality?

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Is Social Media in the Classroom a Necessity or Distraction?

Students using social media in he classroom

Depositphotos 10450050 s 222x300 Is Social Media in the Classroom a Necessity or Distraction?I recently had a telling experience while sitting at a friend’s dinner table. The mother asked her son how his class was today. He answered, “It got deleted”. Let’s be honest. Unless you are living under a rock, most of us are not only reliant on our computers for daily functioning but are also involved with social media in one form or another. In this digital era, our youngsters may no longer know the difference between something getting cancelled and something getting deleted.

 

Though I have no doubt that by the time our elementary school students graduate high school there will be many more “new and improved” digital social outlets, social media today is more than just a way to connect to friends. It has evolved into a serious tool used for education and business as well. As many of our young people are practically born with a Smartphone in hand, is bringing social media into the classroom a necessity or a distraction?

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Flipped Classrooms: Educational Revolution or Unrealistic Mistake?

Flipped Classrooms: Educational Revolution or Unrealistic Mistake?

 

Hertz Furniture video blogger Mor Rossler discusses the flipped classroom. This style of teaching reverses the order in which learning and lessons are shaped. Watch the video and leave a comment with your thoughts. What’s your experience with flipped classrooms? Do you think this is an effective teaching style?

 

 

State of the Heart Technology

Teacher telling a story to a group of students
As a school principal for nearly 20 years I played almost every role, as all administrators do. However, there was one role I relished the most. Surprisingly, it was not my position as head of school, coordinator of curriculum or community leader that was to become my legacy, but rather my talent as a captivating storyteller.