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What To Do When You're Low on Technology


Are you one of those teachers that is tired of hearing about everyone else's 1:1 classrooms?  Do you feel like your students are falling behind because your school simply does not have access to technology the way other schools do.

I hear ya.  This was me!

Listen - I get it. I neeever had the luxury of having a 1:1 digital device ratio. Heck - I didn't even have a 5:1 ratio. It was more like a 1:50 ratio.

Truly - in the school that I taught in we had two mobile computer carts for the whole school to share (We're talking, sign up, sign out, roll-down-the-hallway kind of deal...).

But - guess what?  I used technology all.the.time.

Working in a high-poverty, high-needs district, I had to adopt the mentality of "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."


If you find yourself in the same boat, being low on technology, I want to empower you to STILL insist on using interactive and engaging technology in your REGULAR instruction. That's right - I said regular instruction.

That means: make it a priority and schedule it consistently into your teaching schedule.  It may take a few extra steps in your planning, and you may need to get ahead of the game a bit, but it is soooo worth it.

But - I'm not just going to leave you hanging there - I'm going to give you some strategies and tips that helped ME to incorporate technology activities into my regular teaching.



Since I knew I would have to make the most of my technology time, I made sure that the tech activities that my students participated in were super meaningful and beneficial to their learning.

That's when the idea of "Link & Thinks" were born.  If you're just hearing about Link & Thinks for the first time, catch up on all the details here and get a FREE Link & Think below to try them out.


Although I didn't call them Link & Think digital learning guides at the time, the idea was the same.  As I have since left the classroom to create curriculum full-time, I have poured even more energy into creating Link & Thinks to help teachers take learning from good - to great - to engaging!

That all being said - I had to get creative in how I was able to incorporate of technology activities, like Link & Thinks, into my regular teaching since I was low on technology.


HERE ARE SOME LOW-TECH OPTIONS:

Schedule weekly/biweekly technology times where you can use your school mobile carts OR sign up for the computer lab. Try to plan out several weeks in advance for when you KNOW you'll want to have students work on technology activities. If you set up a regular re-occurring time slot (Let's say- every Thursday morning you'll have access to the carts/computer lab), then you'll know when you're making your weekly lesson plans when you can have your students work on a tech activities.

Use technology as centers. If you can get your hands on 3-5 digital devices at a time, set up rotations, with your tech activity, like a Link & Think, being one of them. This works seamlessly if you already use an instructional format (such as reader's workshop or writer's workshop) that regularly uses centers. Simply make one of your centers a tech center!



Have a BYOD Day! That's "bring-your-own-device day" by the way :). OK - don't write this one off, just yet. This option will definitely take a little extra prep to get it up and running, but perhaps you have several supporting parents that might be willing to drop off (or allow their child to bring in) a laptop, ipad, tablet...etc..to use in the classroom for a portion of the day. Of course you'll need to get permission from the necessary channels, but if you can have several students bring in their own devices, then students can work in groups on the devices to complete different technology activities.  It'll be helpful (and reassuring to parents) if you had a place to lock up the devices when you are done using them for the day.

If none of the above options are plausible, work as a whole group. Honestly - this was the most used option in my own classroom, and I didn't even have a SMARTBoard until my 5th year teaching! You can use an LCD projector on a white board if that's what it takes! Project the tech activity up for the whole class to see, and work as a group inviting students to participate.  Ideal? No. Still effective and engaging? Yes.

Remember: Your students are worth the extra effort to make 21st century learning available to them, and you're just the superstar teacher to make it happen!






Workshop Wednesday: Organizing Your Teacher Files With Google Drive



Workshop Wednesday:  Free workshops to teach you how to use google tools to make your teacher life easier!

We are wrapping up our Workshop Wednesday for the Winter 2018 Series with one more tech tool that is sure to make your teacher life easier:  Google Drive.

Google drive is an awesome (FREE) tool that will help you organize all of your teacher files so that you NEVER spend another wasted minute looking for that awesome lesson or student activity somewhere on your computer desktop.

Why google drive?
  • When you save your files on google drive, you can access them from any digital device 
  • Your files with automatically be backed up (even if your computer fails you!)
  • You can easily share your files and collaborate with other teachers from one central location. (no more emailing back and forth!)

I'm tellin' ya - google drive is your ticket to complete teacher file organization and I'm gonna walk you through how to get started from start to finish.

Workshop Wednesday:  Free workshops to teach you how to use google tools to make your teacher life easier!
This workshop is part of my Workshop Wednesday Facebook LIVE series where I'm giving teachers practical teaching strategies and step-by-step guidance for using technology in their classroom.

Each week I'm tackling a new technology tool for either teachers OR students.  I'm walking you through EXACTLY how to use it and how it could make your teacher life easier and have a bigger impact on your students' learning.

In this workshop I walk teachers through the basics of google drive and tips for how to go from desktop file clutter-ville to organization oasis :)

Shall we dive in?

IN THIS WORKSHOP YOU'LL LEARN:

(see time stamps below to jump right to specific topics in the workshop)
  • why you should use google drive (4:50)
  • where to find your google drive (8:16)
  • the layout of google drive dashboard (8:39)
  • how to create a folder inside of google drive (10:27)
  • adding files to folders inside of google drive (13:43)
  • how to share a file with another teacher (15:53)
  • tips for success when organizing (19:29)


WATCH THE WORKSHOP:

Dive deeper into how to get your folders organized in THIS POST with 3 steps to a de-cluttered desktop.

If you found this workshop or ANY of the workshops from our winter series helpful, please share with a teacher friend!

Feel like your teacher files are spewed all over your computer desktop?  Watch this FREE workshop to learn how you can organize all of your digital files for GOOD with google drive.

Workshop Wednesdays: Creating Student Resources With Google Slides

In this free workshop learn how to use google slides to create student resources

By now you may have been bitten by the google classroom bug.  More and more teachers are trying to implement this teaching tool into their classroom.

However - truth be told - navigating this new way of teaching can be a bit overwhelming.  Having not been in the classroom for a couple years myself, I haven't been around other teachers using google classroom.  Instead, I have had to teach myself some of the important and most effective features of a google classroom, specifically google slides, in order to stay current with today's classroom.

I put together a workshop showcasing some of the basics of google slides to help teachers get their feet wet.

The good news:  It's not so scary.

The better news:  This is a FREE workshop and you can dive in RIGHT now! :)

In this free workshop learn how to use google slides to create student resources
This workshop is part of my Workshop Wednesday Facebook LIVE series where I'm giving teachers practical teaching strategies and step-by-step guidance for using technology in their classroom.

Each week I'm tackling a new technology tool for either teachers OR students.  I'm walking you through EXACTLY how to use it and how it could make your teacher life easier and have a bigger impact on your students' learning.

In this workshop I walk teachers through the basics of google slides and several examples of ways you can use this technology.

Shall we dive in?


IN THIS WORKSHOP YOU'LL LEARN:

(see time stamps below to jump right to specific topics in the workshop)


  • what is google slides?  (2:59)
  • where to get access to google slides (8:52)
  • how to get a theme template for your google slides presentations (9:44)
  • how to change the slide size (10:42)
  • overview of google slides tool bar (11:51)
  • how to add a background to each slide (14:56)
  • how to add text boxes for students (20:26)
  • how to add pictures to a slide(24:40)
  • how to add a video (28:02)
  • how to add embedded links (34:18)
  • how to share your google slides with your students (37:41)
  • examples and ideas for using google slides (42:47)

WATCH THE WORKSHOP:


If you found this Facebook LIVE helpful - please share it with your teacher friends!

In this free workshop learn how to use google slides to create student resources







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