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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How to evaluate digital learning environments

Source: SmartBrief EdTech in partnership with GreyED Solutions

Today’s learning spaces are evolving to meet the needs of contemporary learners. More and more classrooms include desks and walls with writable spaces, hands-on learning tools, flexible seating options and responsive learning technologies.

But how effective are these spaces? School stakeholders want assurances that these digital environments are meeting students’ learning needs. My district, Ithaca City School District (ICSD), uses qualitative and quantitative metrics to measure the effectiveness of these spaces and ensure that they support instructional goals.

ICSD’s mission is to “Engage, Educate, and Empower.” The data we gather is aligned to this mission and used to inform continuous improvement efforts. Our instruction focuses not on technology tools but on the instructional strategies used by educators to engineer learning. Accountability metrics follow suit, representing the student achievement results we seek and not the tools used to meet that end.

Modeling digital leadership

 Source: SmartBrief EdTech in partnership with GreyED Solutions

Education leaders have the responsibility to model, for our students, teachers and communities, what real digital leadership looks like. We should not ignore, or be afraid, of digital tools. Indeed, we should be the ones opening the doors for the digital resources and applications that can enhance learning and instruction.

Here are two platforms that provide opportunity for education leaders to pave a digital pathway:

7 ways technology can support education equity solutions

Source: SmartBrief EdTech in partnership with GreyED Solutions


How can technology help drive equity in our schools? Here are seven ideas to get you started:

  1. Tools for citizenship. Shaping students into responsible citizens is central to the role of education. As more and more of our lives are lived in digital spaces, it is essential for educators to use the technology tools available to support this work.
  1. Amplify student voice. When students don’t have voice at school they often have ill-prepared voice in the streets. Technology tools coupled with a culture of create, make and design can support this work.

Mobile learning outside the classroom

Source: SmartBrief EdTech in partnership with GreyED Solutions

Learning outside the classroom is a great experience—and easy to do. It doesn’t matter if your classroom includes one-to-one tablets, mobile device carts or student-owned smartphones. Your students can move out of the classroom to local events, historic sites and ecosystems with their mobile devices in hand. In three steps, your students can go mobile with their learning:

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.