Everyday more and more teachers are starting to use iPads in the classroom. There is always the question of how to get students where you want them to go. QR codes have been the go to way to get students to the correct website quickly. With a QR code they do not have to type in the web address and risk typing the wrong thing and then not working. It makes it much easier for teachers to get the students where they want them to go. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered an app that may be even easier than using a QR code! It is called Chirp!
Chirp does the same thing as a QR code, but instead of the students having to walk up to a printed QR code and scan it, Chirp makes a noise (chirp) that the other iPads pick up and then can go to that website! No one has to get up out of their seat, or walk around with the QR code for the students to scan! Everyone opens up the Chirp app and once the teacher pushes the button to Chirp out the link, picture, or note it comes right up on the student iPad! It can save a teacher a lot of time of having to wait for students to walk around scanning the QR code and usually wasting time in the process! Now the teacher can type in the website on their iPad/iPhone and in seconds the whole class will have the same thing pulled up on their iPad! In education, everything is about time and if you are using iPads in your classroom, this app will save you a lot of time!
We had our technology committee meeting last week and one of the things we talked about was making a time for the teachers to come to the lab and just work on one new piece of technology for an hour. That way they will have some time to figure out how it works and what it will be good for in their classroom. The conversation always comes up when we talk about using technology is "I don't have time." Well, who does have time? I think it is a great idea for teachers to sit down and discover how to use technology together, just like they should plan their lessons together. That way as they discover new aspects to that new technology they can share it with their colleagues instead of just keeping it to themselves. What I do not understand, is why it is such a difficult concept to join those two things together. Planning lessons and planning how to use technology in your lesson together as a team. Every teacher takes the time to plan their lessons for the day or for the week, why are we not already planning to use technology in those lessons? It seems that the common misconception that to use technology you have to teach a lesson and then use the technology afterwards is still hindering the use of some amazing resources. To learn about technology and learn how to use it, you have to try it. You don't have to be in your classroom to try out technology and see if it works. When I am at home, I check out new interactive websites, I download new iPad apps, I watch online training tutorials, etc. I am learning things that I can use in my daily life as well as in the classroom. Once you have tried those things out at home, you have an idea of how they work and what they will be useful for. Then when you are planning your lessons with your team, it is easier to say "Hey I tried out this website and it is great for what we are teaching next week!" Then you can share what you know with your team and you can come up with the best way to integrate that into your lesson. Rather than planning your lesson and then trying to add in technology at the end, work it in from the beginning and it will work out much better!
Resources such as Pinterest and Twitter are great for finding technology in the classroom. You just need to follow the right people and companies who you know will post ideas that will be helpful in your classroom. Sophia.org is a great company to follow on twitter. I have gotten a lot of great ideas and resources from them in the short time that I have been using twitter. I recently just did the Chrome Classroom Certification Course through them and I learned a lot of great tools that can be used with the Chrome Browser.
Any resource that you want to use is going to require some time figuring out how it works. Once you have made that time, it will make your life easier and you can save time in other areas that you normally wasted time, because the technology will make it easier to plan your lessons and create those interactive lessons. So, when someone tells me that they do not have time to try new technology, they are really saying they prefer to continue wasting time and doing things the hard way. Everything is changing and Education needs to change to keep up with the changing times!
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.