|Students work to deduce the location of their Mystery Skype pals.|
Your second technological ultimatum is the use of QR codes. While they look like mindless squares of the tv-after-midnight of yesteryears, they are brilliant ways to engage students. Kids love the empowerment that comes with scanning a code and watching the beauty unfold. Even if that beauty is a math problem that could have been delivered via worksheet, it now becomes exciting, enticing and something that drives students toward achievement. There are many QR creation sites out there, but I find myself gravitating consistently to two heavy-hitters. The first, qrstuff, is a great place for making QRs that link to YouTube, websites, Instagram, Dropbox and so much more. We frequently use these in Rock Valley for linking to YouTube readings of stories for independent reading or Listen-to-Reading times as a part of our Daily 5. In the middle and high schools, QRs have become a valuable way to differentiate for our students who require tests be read aloud to them. By creating an oral version of the test via GarageBand or other audio recording method and uploading to Google Drive or Dropbox, one can link that file to a QR. Voila...adapted tests without students having to leave the room! One of my favorite QR activities involves the second go-to site, this one from Classtools. This QR Treasure Hunt Generator allows users to very efficiently type in questions and answers to form a list of generated (and numbered) QR codes ready to use around your classroom or school. All you need is a few devices with free QR readers on them. At Rock Valley, we have found this to be a terrific way to build review lessons or just create school-wide fun! The site explains each step in layman's terms, and it does all of the hard work for you. No excuses. Try it.
The third thing you absolutely must try is Minecraft as an educational tool. While a somewhat spendy app in terms of cost, simply putting the app on a handful of devices or allowing
|Student devices were brought in to make it cost-effective|
|Derek takes fellow classmates on a virtual tour of his Cell City.|
As we near winter break, I encourage each and every one of you to take some of that time to dream up something new. Try one (or ALL) of these suggestions. You won't be disappointed. I'm always here to help.
Be better today than yesterday.