Google Maps can be used for more than just looking up directions! You can use Google Maps to create a research document or students can create a project showing different places that you are researching! There is an example below using the Texas Revolution Battle sites. You can put a pin in the different places and include a Title, description and picture describing the place where the pin is. This could be a great project for students to work on together showing what they know about specific places that you have talked about. There are several different skills that the students will be working on as they work on this project including; research, collaboration, writing, mapping, and any other skills you may have them focus on. To create your own map, you just go to Google.com/mymaps. Once you choose where you want to start, just put your first pin down and start putting in information about that location!
Classroom websites can be used in many different ways. The biggest part of a website is communication between the teacher and students or parents. Through a classroom website a teacher can give students and parents the ability to access class information from anywhere at anytime. That way, they do not have to wait for the teacher to respond to an email, text message or phone call. And sometimes, teachers don't want to give out their number for that exact reason. With a classroom website, you can post homework for the students, daily messages about what is going on in class and what is coming up. That way anytime the students forget what they need to be working on, they can just go to your website to find the homework or the daily lesson. Also, parents do not always know how to help their child do the homework that is sent home. When you post the homework, you can then post a video about how to complete the homework. This can be a refresher for the student along with showing the parent what is being taught in class. You homework could also be completely online. If you post your homework to your website, the students could complete the homework by responding to a Google Form or another online form. That way, the students do not need to worry about having paper to do their homework. These are just a few ways that a classroom website can be useful, but the possibilities are endless!
To get started with your classroom website, you need to choose a platform to use. I have used Weebly for all of the websites I have created for several reasons. The main reason is that Weebly is very easy to use! The drag and drop format of weebly makes it easy for anyone to figure out how to use it. I have my 3rd and 4th graders creating their own websites and we are using Weebly with them. Weebly gives you a lot of different options that you do not have to pay for which makes it a great option. They also have a couple options to pay for an upgraded website. If you pay for the upgrade, you can get rid of the .weebly.com at the end of your email address along with get access to a few more options when building your website. Another great tool they have is the analytics. In the free version you can see how many people visit your site each day. With the paid version, you can see exactly what pages they visited, and how they go to your website. So you can see if social media is working or if you are getting more hits from Google searches.
If you choose a platform other than weebly, then my directions will not be of use to you. If you are using weebly, you can use the tips and directions on my website training page to get started creating your own website.
There were numerous apps shared last week at TCEA, but there is no way to use every single one of them! When attending a conference like TCEA, you need to take just a couple of the great things you saw and try to implement them. Once you are able to successfuly implement those couple of apps, then you can move on to others. One app that I have decided that I will work to implement into the classroom is Aurasma. I have seen Aurasma before, but I did not know how I would implement it into the classroom.
If you have not heard of Aurasma, it is an Augmented Reality (AR) app. Augmented reality uses your camera on your device and augments it with other images that have been preloaded. It makes those images come to life. There are several images that have been created by the app developer, but what I am really excited about it, is the ability to create your own auras. With the ability to create your own auras, you can have your students create their own videos and images for other people to see by scanning the aura that they create.
My plan is to have my tech club students record a short video about themselves and then use a part of their website to create their aura. Once they have created that, they will be able to tell people to download the app and scan the aura. Once they have done that, the video the students created will pop up and they will hear about that student and why they are in tech club creating their website.
This could be used in the classroom for several different things. I have heard of art teachers recording a video about a piece of artwork and then making the artwork the aura. When scanned they will see the video about the student who created that artwork. You could have your students do a project on a person in history and create a short video about that person. Then have a picture of that person that is the aura to scan. There are so many great ways that you can implement this into your classroom! Please share some of the ways that you have used Aurasma in your classroom or ideas that you have!
Jacob has been teaching for 9 years. 5 years as a 4th grade teacher and 4 years as an instructional technology specialist (iTech). He is sharing some of his experiences and technology that could help other teachers in the classroom.