How I transfer my old lessons to a digital format.

June 1, 2017
Lauren Martin
Lauren M., M.Ed

With more and more pressure to incorporate technology into the classroom, how can veteran teachers keep the lessons they love in the new technology-based classroom? If you want to keep your traditional lessons but you need strategies to introduce technology into the classroom, use the effortless EdTech tools below. If you are intimidated by technology, the easy classroom technology ideas below are perfect for the least tech-savvy, most technology-challenged teacher out there.

Start Class with a Video

Hook student interest, use technology in the classroom and get the chance to load the video ahead of time – when you have no tech-savvy witnesses. You have two options to start incorporating technology into the classroom.

Option one is to use an educational video to replace or introduce your lecture or mini lesson. Simply visit Teacher Tube, Khan Academy or Brain Pop, and type your lesson focus or specific academic skill into the “search” bar. You can also use Ted Ed to “create a lesson” and search and save video links, but avoid YouTube videos as most schools do not allow you to play any videos with “youtube” in the URL link.

Once you find an educational video that teaches the relevant Math, Science, Social Studies, ELA, Spanish or French skill, save the URL link to a word document, PowerPoint or web browser on the computer you use for full class PowerPoint presentations. If you do not use a SmartBoard or PowerPoint projector, you can also use a document camera or traditional projector to display the video from a tilted laptop screen. Simply load the video and test the image and volume in advance to start class with an engaging technology focus. If you are too technologically challenged for these methods, but you teach secondary students, simply display or print the URL on strips of paper and instruct students to search the URL on their personal phones or tablets to watch independently – no tech skills required.

Option two is to use an inspirational video to start class everyday with a 5 – 10 minute supplemental activity that will improve classroom culture and teach emotional intelligence. Visit Wing Clips to browse thousands of film clips from blockbuster movies that teach a specific emotional intelligence trait. Search by movie title, theme or category to focus on a different social emotional learning aligned skill every day. Categories include Civil Rights, social issues and motivational-themed film clips. Themes include anxiety, activism, bullying, choices, compassion, courage, grit, integrity, optimism, respect, self-esteem, resourcefulness, and more. If your school allows YouTube and you want videos that explicitly teach emotional intelligence and positive citizenship, browse hundreds of videos from the educational nonprofit, Every Monday Matters. Subscribe to receive a new video every week straight to your inbox. Then follow the same steps above to start class with a daily film clip and whole class discussion or writing response.

Google Docs

If your school is mandating blended classrooms focused on technology, your students likely have access to personal computers or iPads. If you are not tech-savvy, simply edit traditional PowerPoint presentations and student handouts to have explicit instructions that students can read and understand completely independently. Then email soft copies of these student-guided materials to every student to access and complete from their personal laptops or tablets. Students can complete worksheets or respond to prompts you send them, and email their edited soft copies back to you. It is easy with Google Docs. Follow the simple steps below:

  1. Visit docs.google.com and create an account or login using your Gmail email and password.
  2. On the top left hand corner, click the blank page with a blue “+” on it to “start a new blank file.”
  3. While your document will automatically save while editing, save it using your specific lesson number and/or title by typing where it says “Untitled document” on the top left corner.
  4. Copy and paste your traditional lesson’s PowerPoint and/or Word document text into the document.
  5. Edit and format the text until the document is ready to share with students. (Keep in mind that students will complete assignments online by typing their answers on the Google Doc student worksheets, independent practice handouts, exams, essay pages or homework assignments that you create and share).
  6. Click the blue “Share” button on the top right corner.
  7. Type or paste all of your student emails into the “enter name or email addresses” tab. (Consider saving all student emails in an easy to access document to easily copy and past the same emails instantly).
  8. Type any clarifying instructions in the “Add a note” tab, if you want generic or specific instructions to appear in the body of the students’ received email. Share the above instructions with students new to Google Docs. Make sure to include a generic instruction to: “Click the link. Read all directions and text in the attached Google Doc. Complete the student handouts in Google Docs. Click the blue ‘share’ button to email me your completed work when you are finished or at the end of class.”
  9. Click the blue “Send” button and wait for students to complete and “send” their Google Docs back to you.

Introduce your new technology-focused blended classroom by having a Google Doc day every Friday. You might decide to embrace the EdTech classroom and go green by using Google Doc in the classroom every single day.

Student-Led EdTech

Are you still uncomfortable with incorporating Edtech into the classroom? Put all of the responsibility on students. Teach your traditional lessons and then assign an independent in-class or homework assignment that requires only students to use technology.

Regardless of what you are teaching, instruct students to complete an independent project, exit slip or homework assignment to “show what they know” using Pixton Comic Maker. Simply instruct students to login to pixton.com and to create a comic strip that illustrates the skills, concepts or steps they learned in class that day. Visit Pixton Comic Maker to view examples of how students can illustrate their understanding of story elements, math formulas, scientific processes, historical events and Spanish conjugations – using comic strips, storyboards, mind maps, timelines, character maps, plot diagrams and more. Pixton allows your students to demonstrate their own generation’s natural curiosity, creativity and tech-savvy abilities in the classroom. Voilà, achieve effortless EdTech in the classroom without lifting a finger.

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