Good teachers understand that interactive technology, the kind that lets kids explore and create, significantly improves students’ academic performance, and helps to close the achievement gap, especially for students most at risk of low achievement. It prepares students for the types of jobs they’ll have in a complex technological, knowledge based economy. These good teachers further understand that using technology can make things much easier for them, significantly reducing their workload with things such as planning and grading.
But, let’s assume you know and appreciate all those things, and you’re looking for concrete, actionable ways to incorporate technology in your teaching. Lucky for you, I’ve been experimenting with ways to integrate technology in a K–12 classroom for the past 8 years, and I’ve come up with some pretty good strategies.
Here’s a way I’ve been using technology in my sixth grade Social Studies classroom at Inwood Academy for Leadership: Google Forms and Flubaroo.
Google Forms are basically an online survey tool that aggregate results into a Google spreadsheet making it ridiculously easy for teachers to collect and share information. There’s many creative ways for teachers, administrators, and students to use these in an educational setting. I use them for basic quizzes, do-now’s, exit tickets, or class assessments. Instead of handing out a worksheet with three multiple choice questions and one short response question, I’ll put this worksheet into a Google Form so that students can enter their answers right on the computer (or phone, tablet, etc.).
Flubaroo is a Google Sheets add-on; a tool that works with Google Forms. It grades students’ responses on multiple choice questions and creates a spreadsheet with students’ grades on that assignment. It creates reports, emails students their grades, and can do it all in under one minute. One minute! How long do you spend grading worksheets, quizzes, and handouts?
It can be intimidating to use technology in your classroom if you’ve never done it before, but it offers a lot of valuable rewards. Let me know in the comments section of the blog if you have questions about implementing Google Forms and Flubaroo in your classroom.
At Inwood Academy for Leadership, we’re using technology with our students in many important ways. Follow this blog for my future posts. I’ll share more ways I’m using technology in my classroom.