― Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
So thought I had better use less paper this year to save a tree or two.
The biggest challenge when you start the year in education, is that in e-learning what you used last year has been updated or superseded. This results in a whole new learning curve taking place. One of my cousins who has worked at the top end of IT security for 20years recently mentioned that he found it difficult to keep up the changes. If he is in the industry how can we who are trying to teach and keep up. Even in the industry he has to say we are using this tool for at least a year.
I think that as educators we often put so much pressure on ourselves and our students when we are constantly changing how we do things. I remember a student saying, they get so frustrated with technology as there is too much to learn. The student complained that every teacher was doing "their" thing and teachers didn't realise what students had to do. If one teacher has a Wiki, another is using Moodle, Edmodo, prezi, etc. there is always something new to learn and it can become too much. Especially for highschool students who may have a number of teachers.
Gee, I thought students were the digital natives? We as educators need to realise that students can get overloaded with technology learning just like everyone else. Schools or at least year levels need to focus on what is to be used so a consistency is gained and students are not spending time learning a technology when the should be learning a subject. Of course the real shift in assessment needs to happen in that students are free in choosing their own technology so that they can best demonstrate the outcomes in which the assessment is based. This of course requires students to have the outcomes and assessment clearly explained.
Well off my soapbox and onto what choices I am making in the classroom. To start the year Planbook is my new teacher planning diary. Seems very easy to set up, check out my youtube on it. At $12 a year it is cheaper than the teachers diary and helps me keep things organised, which if you ask my wife is something that needs to happen! With team teaching this year my teaching partner can easily check out my lessons and see where the class is up too. Looked at a couple of others Planbookedu and ATC Electronic teachers diary, but the first did not present daily lessons well and cost $25 for full features. The second did not work with iPad had a poor lesson presentation unless printed and crashed too many times on the Mac for my liking, although the concept is wonderful as an all in one tool, student information and gradebook. Cost was $49.95
Secondly, I am using Excel for my grade book, with the Cloud On App I can easily update marks on the iPad as well as on the computer if I use dropbox, google, box or Skydrive. Now to narrow down which cloud I will use, of course no other person would have mixed their clouds, a bit of stuff here a bit there! Guess I have some sorting to do.
Thirdly, I am using TeacherKit app for anecdotal behaviour notes, attendance and those quick anecdotal grades that don't go into gradebook. As I am able arrange photos of the students with a seating plan it should be great to start the year.
Less paper hopefully more success, and better organisation. Of course Evernote is where all my notes, staff meeting, planning meetings and ideas go into. Let the year begin.