A new year means new beginnings. With each new year, we are given the opportunity to start afresh, think about what's going really well in our classrooms, and consider what we would like to change or improve for the remainder of the school year. If you haven’t made a teaching resolution yet, why not resolve to learn one new educational technology tool a month? One way you can do this is by growing you PLN (Personal or Professional Learning Network). Katie Muhtaris and Kristin Ziemke, authors of Amplify! Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom, refer to their PLN as their tribe. Your tribe might consist of colleagues, teachers from around the world, bloggers, education authors, professional organizations, or even strangers on Twitter. Consider adding the authors of the books below to your tribe - they will inspire you as you resolve to learn one new educational technology tool a month.
"Using technology doesn't mean that we throw out those strategies that we've found to be successful with students," write Katie Muhtaris and Kristin Ziemke. "It's not the tools-it's what we do with them that counts. Katie and Kristin start with our most important educational goals-literacy, independence, and critical thinking-and helps you connect them to the technology available in your classroom or school. You'll help students dig into texts, research their questions, and create powerful learning communities by using digital tools effectively, responsibly, and in combination with trusted artifacts and print resources.
In Innovate with iPad: Lessons to Transform Learning in the Classroom primary teachers Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen provide a complete selection of clearly laid out engaging open-ended lessons to change the way you use iPad in the classroom. By simply downloading a few basic, open-ended creation apps, your students will engage in the learning process and demonstrate their newfound knowledge in the way that works best for them. In addition, throughout the book Karen and Kristen provide beginner and advanced lessons and quick tips and practical suggestions to make the integration of iPad go as seamlessly as possible.
Don't fear the devices! In the willing teacher's hands, this is a new and welcome age to harness for exponential learning. It is a frontier where technology equipped teachers learn alongside students and utilize current tools to maximize collaboration, creativity, and communication in relevant ways. Classroom Management in the Digital Age guides and supports established and transitioning device-rich classrooms, providing practical strategy to novice and expert educators K-12.
The use of tablets, digital cameras, webcams, and other technology is the new normal in many classrooms. Teaching in the Digital Age provides teachers and administrators of young children with innovative strategies to embrace and integrate technology in to the classroom. It explores the many ways technology, such as tablet computers, MP3s, videos, photographs, audio recordings, webcams, projectors, and publication and presentation tools can be used to enhance a classroom's complete curriculum and assessment. Tips for using these tools are included, as well as learning activities, worksheets, resources, and a framework to plan, evaluate, and reflect upon the learning experiences. This resource will help early childhood educators not only add technology to the classroom, but also embed it across the curriculum.
Offering the know-how born from years of classroom experience and clear steps for getting started, Connecting Comprehension and Technology provides practical lessons that teach students how to navigate, evaluate, collaborate, and communicate through digital resources. Not limited to specific hardware or software, lessons are designed around technical functions; tools readily accessible to students in their world and easily adopted in your school, whether you are taking your first steps into technology or looking to leverage existing resources.
One tool that has really helped me to grow my PLN is Twitter. I was skeptical at first, but following other talented educators and technology leaders has tremendously helped me remain innovative. Instead of scouring the Internet for new ideas, a quick Twitter search often provides me plenty of fantastic tried-and- true ideas. In the video below, I will teach you how I use Twitter.
Could you still use a little more inspiration? Check out www.edublogawards.com for awesome teacher blogs.
As a teacher, what will you resolve to do in the new year? Whatever you choose, remember that when you feel like giving up, a resolution is about being determined, sticking with it, and having faith in yourself.