EdTech Methods: Yet Another Class I Wish I Took Earlier

When I entered my student teaching year, I barely knew how to construct a lesson plan. I didn’t know how to design a lesson to achieve learning targets. I didn’t know what a unit plan even really looked like. I got overwhelmed and barely caught up.

If EdTech Methods was a semester or two earlier, I would have really been able to use more of this stuff in my teaching earlier. Now it’s the end of the year and I know my way around Google tools like none other and I feel this weird guilt that I wasn’t good enough throughout this class and definitely not good enough for my students. I want EdTech earlier than the last semester at UP. It deserves to be earlier, but still close to student teaching. I say that purely out of the fact that I feel profoundly more confident in a hands-on type understanding of classroom technology and wish that was the case before I had such a turbulent year.

Basically the only complaint I have is that I found the blog difficult to navigate. Is WordPress the best site for this? I don’t have any alternatives because the knowledge of educational technology I trust is exclusively from this class.

Google Trends as the First Step in Research

A student is looking at an essay prompt, he or she is overwhelmed and intimidated. They’re torn because they can’t decide what they want to write about, but the teacher was so insistent on leaving the prompt more open to the students.

A student has chosen what to write on, but doesn’t know what angle to take with it.

Maybe they’re looking for a fast and analytical way to compare and contrast two or more concepts.

Fix all of this by putting Google Trends in front of students. Teachers can use Google Trends as a measure of popularity over time within the last decade or so, giving students a statistical understanding of cultural relevancy that they can then analyze to understand what pulls people toward certain things. For example, if you search the names of some Shakespeare plays, you can see that people search Shakespeare way more during conventional school seasons, dipping in winters and summers. It’s a whole new source of information that gives statistical data accurate to what is relevant in the world today.

Check it out!

Student-Submitted Essay Questions: A Flipped Classroom with You Still at the Reigns

So if you’re like me, you’re often proud of your students by their interesting, deep questions about your material. The kind of stuff beyond “How is this relevant to us?” and “Can I go to the bathroom?” So how do you incorporate their deeper, more engaging questions into the curriculum without losing track of the lesson plan you’ve worked so hard on?

Google Slides’ ‘Presenter View’. For a technology-literate classroom beyond the normal curriculum, just put up a Google Slides on presenter view and ask students to post their profound questions on the powerpoint. The best way to do this would be within the unit beforehand, whenever one of those questions comes up, ask students to write it down and save it. Then, when they’re looking at the powerpoint, they’ll get on their devices and submit the question. Then, students can be challenged to answer the question (in an ELA classroom that might take the form of a strong thesis statement), then they can compete for the best answer possible! You still control everything that goes on the screen, but the students control and respond to the rest.

This model could also be used for more open-ended trivia or test-prep, if you wanted.

Poetry Annotation: The ‘Sickest’ Way to Read Poetry

For the life of me, I don’t know how I’ll integrate screen captures into my instruction, but at this point in time I think it’s worthwhile especially as more and more schools go 1-to-1 with devices. I wish this was usable on the iPad though.

You’ll definitely see how janky my control over the writing tool is as you watch my video, but I suppose that was a learning experience. So enjoy listening to my awful, sick voice try to explain annotation in a format that flat out does not work.


Featured image by Felix E. Guerrero

Visualizing Gatsby

I don’t know if anyone else was like me with this, but for the life of me I didn’t understand anything inside F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby until my junior English teacher showed it to us. I think a lot of the culture that the text revolves around is lost on people on the West Coast.

As such, I decided to develop a gallery of images so that my students will be able to experience the WASPy world of Gatsby.

So when I searched through all of this stuff, I found a ton of cool stuff that really captures a diverse picture of wealthy and poor 1920’s America. It was easy to find all of this so I guess I’ll do this sort of thing whenever I’m working with less culturally-familiar images in literature from now on.

Check out my gallery here !

Ways Working at a 1-to-1 iPad School Isn’t Great: A Series of Complaints Despite Privilege

Hey whatta ya know, I’m actually in this class!

At my current placement at Seton Catholic Vancouver, we’re in a new building with new technology that only the computer science teacher/IT guy can touch some of the time. I’m actually barred out of some of the stuff in the multimedia podium.

That being said, the school is very technologically literate and has 1-to-1 iPads. At the moment, some classrooms are being fitted with Apple TV’s and each podium is outfitted with a DocCam and HDMI port to the projector. In terms of software, teachers use the gambit of Google apps on the Apple devices, and most materials are distributed via Google Classroom.

As an English teacher, what I want to know is how to integrate technology into the classroom to complement the more subjective aspects of the field. I want something more beneficial to the students beyond the current use of their iPads as dictionaries and thesauri, or to assign something so mundane as a “blog” from the perspective of a character from Moby Dick.


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