“Is it easy to learn? Is it engaging? Is it educational?” These were the 3 E’s Anna Nye, participant in Redmond School District’s first Open Doors to Tech corhort, identified as her evaluation go to’s as she was deciding what was going to be the best tech tools to use with her 3rd grade class this year. With so many apps, tools, strategies, and ideas coming at teachers left and right to best reach students for learning and achievement in class, its hard to decide what and when to use it. So, what do you do?
Anna doesn’t consider herself a “techy” teacher(even though her right hand man is the Tech Director :-), but as she met her students this year, she knew she had to change things up. She saw technology as a way to help channel their energy that was empowering to them, as well as showing growth in their learning. But how?
After being introduced to Flipgrid in Open Doors To Tech, and seeing how easy it was to learn, was engaging, and could be used to help students grow in their learning, she dove right into how it could be implemented in her classroom.
Why Flipgrid? It gave her students an audience as they recorded their thoughts, ideas, and ways to solve a problem. It also gave them a chance to be silly (which they loved)! At first they were nervous about others seeing their video, but what Anna found out, is that after the first use, most kids kept asking to use Flipgrid. As they continued to use this tool, students were able to give compliments of other students work, explain how they solved a math problem on their whiteboard, and watch other student Flipgrids from the class to learn from and improve their understanding.
Okay, so kids loved it, they were engaged, and they appreciated the chance to have a voice. How will it improve their learning and understanding over time?
Anna told me that her next step is to dive into Seesaw, which is an amazing tool that allows students to build a digital portfolio. Students’ Flipgrids will be used to capture growth througout the year in a variety of subjects, along with using some of the already built in tools Seesaw has. But more importantly, students will be able to visualize their growth, hear it, explain it, and get excited over it as the year goes on.
This is a tool that will also allow them to reflect on their learning in a way that will hopefully bring them closer to their goals and empower them to continue growing.
It is so awesome to see new tools tried, like Flipgrid and Seesaw, and working out the amazing way a teacher wants them to be for their students. But, in all reality, one tool, for one class, for one teacher, will certainly not be the correct recipe for all.
My biggest takeaway from our conversation? Pick a tool that you think might be the most impactful for your students, and go for it! Fail forward. We expect our kids to do the same, so with the greatest intentions in mind to empower our students, if it is easy to learn, engaging to kids and meets our needs for them educationally, TRY IT!