A super nice member!
I teach: Social Studies, Civics, History, World Events
To ages: 13 to 15
I use Excel to create tables, graphs, and charts. I love that you can put data in a spreadsheet and then the program can create all different kinds of graphs and charts to display the data. I have used it extensively for analyzing and visualizing student assessment data, which went into reports and staff presentations. I have also used Excel with students. One of the best examples was when students were completing a country project in which they had to make demographic data comparisons between their country and the United States. Students learned how to fill in the data on the spreadsheet and create graphs. Then they drew conclusions based on the data they visualized
I used this program to create my original class website, like many of my coworkers too. With some help from our IT department, I was able to get a simple site up and running pretty quickly. I came across challenges with maintaining the site when I needed to work on it at home, however. I wasn't able to get the program loaded on my home computer for some reason. Last year, I switched to Google Sites so I could easily access and update my site from any computer. Although it wasn't for me, my coworkers who use it for their classes find it works well and report that it is pretty easy to navigate without too much tech support. They are able to create class calendars with links that are useful for the students.
I have used Prezi a few times to present information about class requirements. I like that the presentations can be full of animation and images that are engaging, which is especially nice for students, in terms of keeping their interest through a long informational setting. I plan on spending some more time getting to know the program this summer so I can see if it would work for me as a substitute for PowerPoint presentations.
I use Google Docs to upload documents to my website. I have a calendar for each class. At times, it is very useful to be able to link assignments to the calendar, which Google Docs makes easy to do. Students can download the assignments if they misplace them or were absent on the day they were handed out. My only frustration is that it can be a bit time consuming to upload all of the documents and change the privacy setting to public so the link is accessible to everyone.
Dropbox is great! A coworker introduced it to me earlier this year, and now I keep all of my curriculum’s materials there. As a teacher who has to move classrooms, I am able to access all of my resources as long as I have the Internet. The ability to create and share public folders is another great component. Another coworker who uses it often sends me links of her documents. It is especially helpful for large PPT presentations that are slow to send via email. I no longer have to carry a jump drive with me or bring my laptop home. All of the files are synched so you never lose track of updates you have made to any of your files. I should also mention that the customer support is excellent. Earlier this year, my computer was stolen and the person who took it deleted all of my files, including Dropbox. The Dropbox tech support was able to easily recover all of my Dropbox files within a few hours. Bravo.
YouTube is an excellent resource for classroom teachers. I use YouTube clips for all of my classes to engage students and add depth to my lessons. Students appreciate the use of videos and the links are easily integrated into a PowerPoint presentation. The teacher component of the site makes it easy to find quality video clips on a variety of topics. The links provided are quite good and teachers are encouraged to add other topics and links that they use so I am sure that the number of high quality video clips will increase. As with any video, I always preview it to make sure that the link is still active. Also, be aware that some schools have filters that don't allow YouTube, so make sure you can access the site.
Microsoft Word plays a vital role in my teaching. I use the program to make the vast majority of the documents that I create. While I mostly use it to create reading guides, video guides, assignment directions, and actual assignments, there are a number of templates available that can also be used by classroom teachers and students. There is a huge variety of fonts, formats, and styles that enhance assignments. Tables are one of my favorite components of the program. I use them to create calendars, charts, and much more.
In addition to using it myself, my school has a site license so all of the students have the opportunity to use it in the computer labs and the library. My students type essays and complete projects using the program all the time. Beyond just typing, students can learn how to format various types of writing, insert images into a document, create posters, etc.
The only challenge that I have in using the program is relearning basics each time the program is updated. I also need to be sure to save documents in earlier formats so they can be accessed easily.
I use PowerPoint regularly to accompany the lectures in my Social Studies classes. The program is easy to use and students tend to be more engaged with a topic when there are visuals accompanying the content. My PowerPoint presentations most often include notes, images, and links to videos. As I have gotten more advanced with the program, I find that using some of the tools such as highlighting, arrows, voice bubbles, and custom animation have improved student engagement in the topics we are studying. One point that should be noted is that when students are taking notes throughout a lecture, it is important to make sure that you aren't moving too quickly between slides. There is also the option of printing out handouts for your students.
In addition to using it as a teacher tool, I have various projects throughout the year that allow students to create multimedia presentations on a particular topic. Most students are comfortable with the program and are able to incorporate content, images, video, and sometimes even music into their presentations. The only challenge is the time it takes to share all of the presentations in a class, though that’s less a challenge of PowerPoint than presentations in general.
This site is useful when supporting students with study skills. Students can create their own flashcards or use existing sets. I tell students that they can use Quizlet as a substitute for a regular unit review sheet. Many students enjoy studying using the site rather than writing out a review because they enjoy being on the computer. I have not used the sharing/group feature yet but some of my coworkers have told me it’s a viable way to encourage students to study for exams together. I have only explored the history topics but there are sets of flashcards already created on a great range of content. Overall, a great study tool!
This is a great tool to create a simple class website. There are templates that you can tailor to the individual needs of your class. Or you can create your own webpage with links and formatting. For my class, I created a website that has links to my class calendars for the different subject areas that I teach. I am able to easily update the calendar, provide links to our school grading program, and list contact information. In addition, I am able to link documents to the calendar assignments by uploading them to Google Docs. However, it took me a while to create the page. I had to get used to the various tools and decide on the appropriate template. Decisions, decisions.
One of the major benefits of creating a Google Site is that I am able to update the page from any computer at any time since it is web-based. All I have to do is log on to my Google account. This has been a huge help as I do a lot of work from home and don't have to bring home my work computer. I have not used yet used it as part of the curriculum but it certainly could be used by students to create a website for a particular topic we are studying.