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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Starting the Year on a Positive Note

Mary Beth Hertz

K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

Back in May, I asked readers to think of five things they'd done well over the last school year. I followed it up with a post on my personal blog reflecting on what I thought I did well. Now it's time for the school year to rev up again, and I'm hoping to not only keep doing what I did well, but also set some goals for the coming year.

As this blog is a tech integration blog, I want you to think about something you want to do better or something new you want to try this year. As I have stated in many previous posts, the worst thing you can do when trying to bring new technology into your classroom, whether it be a simple web-based tool or a piece of hardware, is try to do too much.

With the proliferation of Web 2.0 tool lists, blogs about successes teachers have had with particular endeavors, webinars, wikis, online communities and more, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.

Don't Try to Be a Superhero

Pick one new tool or site to try with your students during the first report period (making sure, of course, that it fits nicely with what you will be teaching). Decide how you will manage it, developing an implementation plan. Think of all of the things that could go wrong (i.e. Internet goes down, computer failure) and plan for them. Maybe even talk to a colleague and see if there is something you both want to try with your students. Then you can share what's working and problem solve as well.

Some Ideas for Implementation

  • Try out an online learning management tool like Edmodo, Collaborize Classroom or Schoology to manage assignments and get your students interacting around content
  • Use Prezi instead of PowerPoint for any slides you may need for a lesson
  • Use Dropbox with an added DropitTOme folder to allow your kids to hand in work digitally
  • Use Google Docs to co-plan lessons or units with your colleague(s)

If you are looking for tools to use for the upcoming school year, I suggest you check out Jerry Blumengarten's amazing site, Cybraryman.com!

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