Tech Tips

GreyEd_techGreyED Solutions is pleased to partner with SmartBrief to provide busy K-12 education technology innovators with “Tech Tips Tuesdays.” Published every Tuesday in the SmartBrief on EdTech newsletter, Tech Tips are written by educators for educators to boost their know-how and expand their skill set. Read Tech Tips here on our site or subscribe to SmartBrief on EdTech to get them delivered directly to your inbox.

 If you’re an educator and would like to contribute to Tech Tips, let us know!

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Using Nearpod for math instruction

Source: SmartBrief EdTech in partnership with GreyED Solutions

As a middle school math teacher embarking on year four of teaching in a one-to-one iPad classroom, I have settled into a handful of apps and digital tools that meet many classroom needs for instruction, assessment, content creation, communication and all-around math learning. Of all the tools at my disposal, my favorite is Nearpod.

Nearpod is an interactive presentation and assessment tool. Teachers can use the platform to create presentations that include interactive elements – video, graphics and drawing boards – as well as assessment exercises, such as quizzes and polls. Nearpod provides a number of ways for you to let students participate in activities and demonstrate what they know. Here are a few best practices to help you and your students get the most from this tool:

Personalize email communications with YAMM

Source: SmartBrief on EdTech in partnership with GreyED Solutions

Need a quick, easy-to-understand way to personalize email communications to your students? Google has you covered.

Check out Yet Another Mail Merge or YAMM, a Google Sheets add-on that allows users to send personalized email messages through Gmail. The add-on merges a spreadsheet of data with a Gmail message template, similar to the way Mail Merge works with Excel and Word. Here’s how it works:

Be a connected educator

Source: SmartBlog on Education in partnership with GreyED Solutions

Connecting educators to each other has a huge impact on the learning environment. As educators build relationships, they can then share knowledge and learn from each other. And when this happens, learning improves for all students.

How can you get started? The key is to start small. Here are some ideas:

  1. Create a Pinterest account. Search for educational topics. Pinterest is a visual bookmarking system. You see pictures that link to websites containing lesson plans, articles and ideas for your classroom and curriculum.
  2. Set up a Twitter account and follow educational people and organizations. (No need to tweet, just lurk.) Suggestions: @edutopia, @ASCD, @eduleadership, @GustafsonBrad, @ShakeUpLearning, @jmattmiller.
  3. Check out Tweetdeck to organize incoming tweets. Search for and follow hashtags. Suggestions: #edchat, #mnlead, #tlap, #edtech, #edchat.
  4. Participate in a Twitterchat. Go to Education Chats and look for a Twitterchat that pertains to your classroom. Follow the Twitterchat during the specified time. If you see something interesting that looks like a link, click on it.

Spur innovation through ‘growth mindset’

Source: SmartBlog on Education in Partnership with GreyED Solutions

Looking for the best ways to use technology to enhance learning? Ask a teacher. The best ideas for integrating technology in the classroom often come from teachers. In their quest to use technology to create amazing learning experiences, these innovative educators take risks, embrace challenges and push themselves to learn new skills.

But these innovators often operate in pockets, while the majority of teachers stick with the status quo out of a perceived lack of expertise and a fear of failure. How can we nudge the tech-wary educators out of their comfort zones?

Improving classroom practice with effective coaching

Source: SmartBlog on Education in partnership with GreyED Solutions 

Recently, I listened to a number of teachers share passionately how their classroom practice has evolved as a result of professional development. What common PD experience catalyzed so much reflection and growth? Coaching.

Effective coaching – literacy, math, technology or data – impacts classroom instruction. Here are three keys to know when implementing a coaching program:

  1. Create a climate where teachers are comfortable sharing openly with their peers about instructional practice. In this climate, teachers recognize that being an effective teacher involves adapting and learning from others. They benefit from the collaboration as well as the collective knowledge and experience.

5 facts educators must embrace

Source: SmartBlog on Education in partnership with GreyED Solutions

The profession of education is going through unprecedented change. Many aspects of teaching and school will eventually never be the same again — nor should they. Although wholesale and fundamental change is slow, there are some things that educators will have to accept and embrace, if they plan on being successful and staying in the profession. They are:

Solving the “how to” dilema

Source: SmartBlog on Education in partnership with GreyED Solutions

At some point we have all had to provide “How to” instructions to friends and colleagues on navigating a website, sharing a document, or on the latest tech tip. You may have tried listing the directions. You may have been a little more adventurous and taken screenshots and added some arrows to help the user see where they should go and what they should click. You may have even combined the two methods. Somehow, you still face the dilemma of not being sure your friend or colleague fully understood what to do.

Take risks to accelerate change

Source: SmartBlog on Education in partnership with GreyED Solutions

Striving to build and maintain high-functioning teams of people in our schools is a layered and complex task, especially when asking our teachers to implement new and fast-changing technology. Even when we bring together the most brilliant minds in our spaces, it can be an art to create a space where those people are pushing themselves and one another to achieve elevated levels of greatness. When a leader pushes for innovation and new practices, we need our teachers to not only take risks, but share in honest reflections about these experiences and plans for continued growth.