Alternative Teaching Methods · Google Hangout · Information Literacy

4 Digital Tools for the Classroom

We at Schools’ Library Service have been using several digital tools over the last few months and would like to share how we have used them, giving examples and hopefully inspiring you to use them too.

Padlet

PadletWhat is Padlet?

Padlet is a software people can use to make and share content with others. It is a post-it board where multiple items can be added such as video and web links within a shared environment. There are many posting options depending on whether you want to keep the board private or public.

How can it be used in the classroom?

Book Groups: Padlet can be used as a discussion board for students to share their ideas about a chosen book and then allows for others to comment on those ideas. Adding a digital element to a book group can add diversity to sessions and help increase the excitement and interest for those perhaps a bit reluctant to join in verbally. We have used this as a way for international collaboration with students in Arkansas using a book called Wonder by R. J. Palacio. We created the padlet and posed a question to get the students started. We then gave them the link and let them talk freely. It can be moderated but we chose to moderate as the lesson progressed so that students could see and respond immediately.

We were also very lucky to have an author (the brilliant Caroline Lawrence) who was willing to respond to questions posed by students on a padlet board. She made it even more fun by responding in real time and making it into a live discussion.

Website Evaluation: A padlet can be created for a classroom topic. Students are requested to search for a website they think is appropriate and of good quality which they are then asked to share on the padlet. In the lesson, students are asked to evaluate the selection of websites giving pros and cons as to the value of each website. The teacher then has a class discussion about which websites should be removed and for what reason. The students then have a good selection of websites for their research.

What we like about it

Not only is it simple and easy for students to use, Padlet is also an interesting way to meet learning intentions. It allows students a varied platform to communicate and comment and gives them time to reflect on their thoughts about a particular subject or question.

Another major advantage to using Padlet is that it allows children to communicate with other children all around the world without need to worry about their safety and security.

Flipgrid

flipgrid

What is Flipgrid?

Flipgrip is a video discussion platform where a Grid can be created for your classroom topic to spark discussions. Students respond to the topic with short videos. The videos can be moderated and privacy rules can be set. It can be either used as a classroom resource or used to collaborate with other classes around the world.

How can it be used in the classroom?

Topic based videos – We worked with a class of students who were starting to think about future careers. After giving them some questions to consider, they were asked to video their responses. This worked well for those students who would rather talk than write.

International Dot Day – Flipgrid can be used for general book discussions but we used it recently for International Dot Day. The book The Dot was read and the students created their own dot pictures and then a grid was created to share and discuss both the pictures and thoughts about the book with others.

For new ideas and inspiration follow  on Twitter

What we like about it

This tool allows students to familiarise themselves with a video platform whilst also teaching them to try and keep their ideas and thoughts short and concise.

This is a great tool when collaboration in real time is not possible, which is especially relevant when communicating with students in a different time zone! Students can still ask and respond to questions via video which can feel much more tangible than a written response.

Kahoot!

Kahoot
Image from  https://kahoot.com/what-is-kahoot/

What is Kahoot!?

Kahoot is a game based learning platform. A Kahoot can be created with multiple choice questions or you can choose from any of the Kahoots which have been shared publicly by other users. Each player can answer the questions on their own devices (which need to have an internet connection) simply by following a link or going to the website and entering the game pin. Games can also be displayed on a shared screen so the class is all playing together.

How can it be used in the classroom?

Kahoots can be created as an interactive way to start a new topic, as a way of evaluating understanding at the end of a topic or just as a bit of classroom fun!

Teachers CPD session – Not just a tool for students learning, we used it to demonstrate how easy it is to use to teachers but also to find out what they knew (and enlighten them if they didn’t) about what our service did.

This link takes you to a section on their website where they have plenty more ideas of how this tool can be used.

What we like about it

Kahoots are very accessible, even to young children as you do not need to worry about them logging in or remembering a password to access quizzes.

A bright and bold design means that even the simplest of Kahoots look great, but there are also options for adding images and videos to increase engagement.

Google Hangouts

yr 1 Hot Springs

What is Google Hangouts?

For those of you who haven’t heard of Hangout it is the same as Skype, a way to talk to each other via video call. It can be for talking either one to one, or used in a classroom setting.

How can it be used in the classroom?

Mystery Hangout – A Mystery Hangout is used for international collaboration when two classrooms across the world connect and ask each other questions to discover the other’s location.  A Mystery Hangout gets students to focus on the concept of asking good questions, communicating well, critical evaluation and reflection, which are all at the heart of Information and Digital Literacy skills that are needed by all students today and a key aspect of the new Guernsey curriculum.

Bringing experts into the classroom – Being on a small island it is not also easy to get speakers into the classroom which makes Google Hangouts an invaluable tool. Some of the people we’ve had speaking include a media specialist from London talking to a group of students about advertising, and a women from India talking about her culture to students studying India as their topic.

Shared classroom – Slightly different from the above was an Indian class connecting with a class here in Guernsey. It allowed both sets of students to learn about each other’s cultures through questions and sharing music and pictures.

One of the tricky aspects is finding a school around the world to collaborate with. A great place to start looking is Google+ communities especially Google Hangouts in Education  and Technology in Education. If you have access to a librarian then it’s always a good idea to ask them as they are great for linking educators to educators.

What we like about it

Anyone with a Google account has access to Hangouts which makes it very easy to connect with a wide majority of people.  It opens the doors of the classroom to real world learning.

 

Written by Jodie and Elizabeth

 

2 thoughts on “4 Digital Tools for the Classroom

  1. Hi Nichole, we use tools like Google+ communities such as Google Hangouts for educators, Connected Classrooms and technology in education. We also follow a lot of educators and librarians on twitter and connect through conversations. We have just recently found Nepris.com who for a small fee a year will provide ‘experts’ to talk to your class. We have also signed up to https://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org as there are many schools across the world looking to connect. I hope this is helpful! Elizabeth

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