Adding Edtech "Touches"

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In my last blog, I mentioned my volunteer work with local schools where we provide mentor tutors to children in our Friends in Schools Helping (FISH) program.  As Orientation Training Director, I am part of the volunteer administrative team, and one of the things we strive to do is have several "touches" with our volunteers each month.  These are small communications and may include things like:  a brief phone call to check in, a short email to convey information, or an informal face-to-face meeting to make sure all is going as planned. These touches are designed to improve communication, prevent problems, and ensure consistency in the program.  

In my professional work with teachers and education administrators, one of the most common challenges that I'm asked about is that of not having time to add technology to instruction.  Lack of time is the #1 reason I am given when I ask, "What is stopping you from doing what you want to do in terms of effectively using instructional technology?"  The solution?  Don't try to do it all at once!  Instead, add small edtech "touches" and build from there!

Today's blog will give you a few examples of what these edtech touches may look like (and how easy they are to include!).  As always, you can contact us to schedule edtech training, inquire about in-service workshops or teacher professional development training, or make a speaking request for Dr. Perdue to come discuss these strategies with your teachers, schools, or districts.

Edtech "Touch" Example #1:  Micro Problems from Twitter

Below find a few Tweets from @RimweLLC and @MathintheNews which illustrate micro problems.  These little touches are a great way to begin a lesson, are highly motivating to students because they are directly related to their real life, and are really easy ways to use technology as an educational resource.

Edtech "Touch" Example #2:  STEM & DIY "Maker" Project ideas

A slightly bigger edtech touch can be accomplished by adding a technology-based or technology-inspired project to your curriculum.  Although this incorporation involves a bigger investment of time (and potentially a little bit of money), it also has a much bigger payoff in terms of student engagement and retention of information.  When I do a project-based lesson with my students or teachers, it is ALWAYS the lesson they remember the most, talk about most fondly, and refer to as one of their biggest learning experiences.    Below are two examples; one is a STEM project inspired by a "Wake up with Al" report after Winter Storm Pax hit our part of the country and the other is a "Maker" project from a local MeetUp group in Charlottesville.

Incredible STEM project for all those affected by winter storm Pax:  the snow plowing robot!  Fantastic project for any Makers out there! My original tweet about it and the video are shown below.

For less than $20, you can experience a DIY "Maker" project that lets you create a pencil that "sings" when you draw with it!  Below are my tweets about the local event I attended and participated in -- everyone in the group (including several kids) successfully made their own "Drawdio" pencil (including me!).  It was AWESOME!  In fact, I have plans to turn this Maker event into a STEM Workshop for teachers!

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Here are a few more photos from the event:

To the right is a close up of my circuit and below is an "action shot" of a Dad helping his son (who, I might add, was WAY better at soldering that I was!)

More resources on this project and Maker events are found in the references - check them out!









Edtech "Touch" Example #3:  Watch (or create your own) Webinar

Often, teachers I work with are hesitant to incorporate technology because they feel their own skills are lacking.  A solution exists!  Thanks to technology tools like YouTube, Screencast-o-matic, Go To Meeting, and many others, there is a plethora of FREE "How-To" material for many instructional technology tools and techniques.  Below I give two examples in the form of instructional webinars that I created for Key Press that demonstrate using The Geometer's Sketchpad.

Edtech training touch via two webinars on The Geometer's Sketchpad:  the first one is "Sketchpad 101" (an introduction to the software) and the second is a more advanced session on using the software in "Guiding Students in 'Seeing Theorems' not just Memorizing Them":


I hope these examples give you the information, motivation, and inspiration to add some edtech touches to your instruction!

As always, I'd love to hear from you.  

References:

My Mentor Badge, awarded by Mozilla

OpenColleges InformEd blog 

The cool snow plow video

Link to purchase materials to make the Drawdio pencil

Charlottesville's Tinkersmiths Makerspace

Local MeetUp Drawdio event

Link for The Geometer's Sketchpad

Link for additional GSP webinars

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The Solver Blog

Author:  Dr. Diana S. Perdue

© Rimwe Educational Resources LLC 2019