Another year, another very worthwhile day spent at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference (PETE&C) Discovery Educator Network Pre-Conference! Not only did I have the opportunity to spend the day with the amazing folks from Discovery Education, but I learned about several new tech tools on the educational scene as well as various accompanying instructional strategies that can be integrated throughout the K-12 curriculum. Although I was only able to attend three of the 15 sessions offered (the only drawback of the event), I acquired a number of effective ways to engage and inspire the digital natives of the 21st Century – information I am excited to share with others.
My most favorite session of the day, “The Collective Brain”, was facilitated by DEN Director Lance Rougeux. This PD focused on ideas, tools and resources that teachers can utilize immediately and seamlessly in their classrooms. A few include…
- e.ggtimer: A digital timer that can be used for beginning and ending classroom activities
- Yasiv: Visual book recommendation service that helps users find a product from Amazon’s catalog
- A Google A Day: Teach students information literacy and advanced research skills by having them find the answer to the “Question of the Day”. Once the answer is entered, Google will indicate whether or not the user should continue searching the Internet. A great bellringer activity!
- Screenr: Web-based screen recorder makes it a breeze to create and share screencasts; No download or installation required. Great for creating tutorials!
- Text the Mob: Even though the name implies “gangster”, this polling service actually allows users to survey the audience (students) through their cell phones. For schools that allow the use of mobile technology, this is a great tool for immediate feedback and/or formative assessments.
- SuperLame: Upload pictures, add word balloons, speech bubbles, thought balloons and/or audio, then export it. Use new image as a writing prompt or story starter.
Most impressive were the instructional strategies Lance shared with participants. One example was “AEIOU”, an acronym for Adjective – Emotion – Interesting – Oh! – Umm?, a technique that can be applied to the integration of Discovery Education (or any) video clips and/or images about a particular topic being taught in one’s content area. A must-have for a teacher’s visualization/literacy toolbox!
For more details about Lance’s training as well as other “Day of Discovery” breakout sessions, check out the DEN blog.
As Lance would say, “Is our brain full yet?” I know mine is!