Friday, November 27, 2015

Back again! - Technology and its Place

If I could only get into a more consistent blogging schedule like a REAL blogger, I might not have to post these "I'm back again" posts every couple of years! (sigh...)

But let's face it, teachers are humans too, and there are only so many hours in the day!

So, it's been so long that I actually had to go back through the archived posts and see what I've already written about.  Let's face it, I started this blog in 2011, and in the edtech realm, that's an eternity!  So long, in fact, that this tool has changed names since I started using it years ago.

LessonPaths (formerly Mentormob) is a cloud-based tool used to create playlists of websites, documents, images, and quizzes.  With an available Chrome extension, Lessonpaths makes it easy to gather materials on a specific topic, or for a specific student with the click of a button.

Here's a sample playlist:

Create your own Playlist on LessonPaths!

This particular example is where I keep my "Brain Breaks" for easy access.  Most of them are YouTube videos, which are particularly easy to organize and access with LessonPaths, but the advantage that YouTube playlists don't have, is that I can also add blogposts from other language teachers whose Brain Breaks might need more explanation, so I save the whole page for reference.  I can add links to Google Docs -- my own or others', images, or even create quizzes and articles, although I don't use those features very frequently (read:  at all).

I think of LessonPaths as a simplified internet filing cabinet that is student accessible.  I have playlists for subtopics, cultural points, individual students -- basically whatever comes along that needs quick organization and quick visual access.  Students like that they can move through the steps at their own pace, see what's ahead, and even skip steps that they may not need -- great for differentiation!

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!


Note:  I just realized I posted this to the wrong blog.  :)  So here are some thoughts:

I had my post-observation conference a week or two ago, and my principal commented on his surprise at the fact that I used so little technology (I am 1:1 with Chromebooks this year).  The blog for which I had intended this post, is my techie blog for WL teachers -- geared to a far more specific audience.  I began that blog, as stated above, in 2011, so my affinity for technology is well known in my building and district.  The lesson that he observed was focused on listening skills, and was at the start of a unit.  I made the thoughtful decision to use low-tech formative assessment checks for a couple of reasons:  First, as great as technology is, raised hands are a far simpler and more effective way for me to get instantaneous information about what students are understanding, and who is on task.  Second, as this is our first year with most classes 1:1, many students are struggling with the leap to so much technology all day long.  To that end, I have consciously decided that if I am able to do something as effectively without technology, I will, because

It's about the learning.

So, my apologies for being too quick on the post, and not paying attention to my own blog title, but...

Tell me how you balance high and low tech!

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