Monday, March 31, 2014

Tracy's Tuesday Tech Tip: Let's Get Ready to Rumble!!!!

In what seems like a lifetime ago, I served as a basketball referee for both youth and up to freshman basketball games. I always loved March and the tournaments where everyone started out equal and played at least two games. Even in youth sports, there is NOTHING like officiating a championship basketball game between two cross town rivals.

Needless to say, March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year. While I may be in 8th place out of 10th in our pool, I just love the atmosphere that the basketball games bring, and even more the learning we can do for it. Perhaps high school teachers can discuss probability and scoring in a March Madness Contest. Maybe elementary and middle school teachers can make connections to social studies by studying different college locations. And for our three and four year old students, we can make connections in writing and speaking about dreams of jobs and goals of the future!

Monday, all of this came alive for us at Blair as had March Madness Mania! This event involved our students answering questions about their college ranging from the name and location, to mascot and attractions in the area. They also had an opportunity to describe what their future careers and aspirations are.

Students and staff used a variety of tools ranging from YouTube Links, QR Code Reader and Skype to connect to the college, then Google Drive and Explain Everything as they recorded their facts and opinions about their college and explained their learning. Many of the presentations were absolutely stellar with some awesome connections about that particular college experience!

While taking on a major event can be a bit intimidating, watching how our students' eyes lit up and how enjoyable the experience was makes it so worthwhile. Try out something - even in a small way in your classroom - couple a connection to history with some QR Codes that digitally describe via video or voice recording what happened. Even try out Skype in the Classroom to make some connections! If you are interested in trying this event or something similar in your classroom, feel free to browse our resources in our March Madness Mania Folder. All are welcome to copy any resources and tailor to your classrooms and needs.

Web 2.0 Tool: A bit in the spirit of a contest, one of my music colleagues, Corey Murphy, discussed Kahoot at a recent professional development session. Kahoot is a web tool (no app required) to engage learners in thought-provoking questions with game-based, blended learning. Definitely a great way to check for understanding and further engage a topic and heightened participation. Thanks Corey for sharing!

Innovative Practices: Our iTechU Scholar Tech Team recently finished filming part of an anchor chart video that we are putting together for a first grade classroom. From the ideas of Omar Masis, a first grade teacher at Blair, he sought to create a way to have students be reminded of the steps to learning that an anchor chart can provide through demonstration. Our iTechU Scholar Tech Team took footage of the steps outlined on the anchor chart, of which we are turning into a video and QR Code that is easily scannable to enable our learners to have a quick reminder of essential components of learning. What an innovative way to tie-in tech tools - thanks Omar!

What are your ideas? Reflect, Share & Comment!!! We welcome your questions, reflections, ideas and shared collaboration as we work to make a difference in the lives of our youth of the next generation!!!


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