If you could show off one of the ways you've used technology in your classroom, which one would it be?

Coming up in January I am running a section of our faculty inservice. I have a large chunk of time to use in any way I want. Part of my intro presentation will be demonstrating how teachers at my school (St. Johnsbury Academy) effectively use technology in their classrooms. In that same section I would also like to show off how teachers at other schools are using technology in their classrooms.

What should I present to my fellow faculty members? What's the coolest thing you've done?

Also -- if you had an hour to teach your faculty anything you want about instructional technology, what would you teach them?

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There's a fine line between keener and weiner and I tend to walk that line frequently. I've experimented with a lot of technologies and have learned a great deal from other teachers. Thankfully the folks at the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Georgian College keep me grounded in pedagogy....in any case, you can see some of the things I do on my blog, Paramedic Tutor under the eLearner and eEducator tabs. e.g. Webacasting, screencasting, podcasting, wikis, etc.
Last year, with 4th Grade we read about the great Yellowstone National Park fire. In small groups I got the students to script a news report with two studio anchors, a roving reporter and two witnesses for the reporter to talk to. We filmed the news report in scenes, and compiled it in iMovie - complete with a PowerPoint designed intro credits, on screen names as subtitles for the anchors and reporter, and used a stock garage band tune for a news jingle intro and outro credits. Hard work, but worthwhile. They came out really well.

This year, I have not had the chance to do much yet. I started a class website this year, www.mrwylie.com, so hopefully that will lead to new things. I also began compiling useful tech tools to use in education on my new blog at www.educationtechnologyblog.com

Not sure what I would teach the faculty, given the chance, so I will think on that. If you have a staff at varying degrees of technical comfort, you would have to choose something that all could use or benefit from. Maybe digital camera techniques/uses. I think ours are underused, but I could be wrong, and everyone, regardless of grade level could do something with them.
Shakespeak definitely :) Make your PowerPoint interactive: check www.shakespeak.com

It takes a free [<20 people] download and you can add open or closed questions. During the actual presentation you ask your students to react by mobile phone using TXT, [mobile] Internet or Twitter. Reactions come in real time [but can be filtered] and are immediately shown on the screen.

I teach a 6th Grade Computer & Technology Integration class.  I have 150 6th Graders every semester.  The last 4 weeks, we have a huge class project I call the "Rap It Up Project"  This is a cumulative project covering many of the topics and tasks we learned in class. I have developed this project to both cross the curriculum AND cover some things we have done in class. 


Students get into fake "Rap Groups" of 3 to 4 students.  Over the next 4 weeks, as a group, they must:

  • Come up with their own "stage names" and rap group name
  • Hand write an original school related rap song from a list of topics I created
  • Type the final version of their song in WORD following strict formatting rules
  • Choose 7 cities to visit on their Concert Tour and map out their Tour Route on a Blank US Map
  • Map out and print directions of the Concert Tour using www.mapquest.com
  • Create a logo to represent their group on www.logomaker.com
  • Create a group budget with formulas to track expenditures on the Rap Tour in EXCEL
  • "Book" hotels in each Tour City or actually research hotel costs on www.priceline.com, then take screenshots they paste in WORD as proof of the hotel prices.  These prices are then entered into the EXCEL Budget.
  • Type a fictional journal entry in WORD detailing their adventures in 2 of their Tour Cities.
  • Hand Draw Concert T Shirt Designs based on the Logo they created on www.logomaker.com
  • Finally, groups record their Original Rap Songs using AUDACITY.  They record their songs to instrumental beats I purchased. 
  • Each group must then present their work to the class the last few days of the semester. 


There are many steps I have left out, but this group project does a great job (IMO) crossing the curriculum and mixing some old and new online resources.  I have students who are now Juniors in High School come back to me still asking if I do this project and they can still rap their songs.  Pretty awesome.







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