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Technology in the Classroom

Instagram in the Classroom: Innovative Uses

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Instagram in the Classroom: Innovative Uses

Do you have an Instagram account? Instagram serves as an extensive teachers’ lounge, offering a wealth of teaching ideas, from creative bulletin boards to classroom organization tips. It’s a valuable tool for expanding your professional network and enhancing your classroom technology skills. Here are effective ways to utilize Instagram to enrich your classroom.

Extend Your Learning Through Educational Hashtags

Teachers continually seek to expand their knowledge, and one effective method is through hashtags. Hashtags provide an effortless way to discover relevant educational content. By searching a hashtag, such as #teachersofinstagram, you can access a variety of posts and photos related to that specific topic. This includes classroom lesson plans, seating arrangements, and more. Here are some popular hashtags favored by teachers:

  • classroom organization
  • instagramteachers
  • classroom ideas
  • classroom management
  • teacher inspiration
  • teacherspayteachers

Share Student Work

Teachers can leverage Instagram effectively by sharing their innovative ideas. Whether it’s a brilliant lesson plan on mammals or a creative teaching strategy, sharing is as simple as tapping your finger. This allows educators worldwide to discover and utilize your inspiring concepts.

Connect with Other Educators

Instagram offers educators a valuable opportunity to connect and exchange ideas. Educators can gain fresh insights and forge new relationships by networking with fellow teachers on the platform. Many teachers have formed connections with strangers who share their passion for teaching, sometimes leading to lasting friendships with colleagues who teach the same subjects or grade levels.

To find educators to connect with, navigate to Instagram’s people or tags section. For instance, if you teach 6th grade and want to connect with other teachers in that grade, search for “6th grade teacher” in the search bar. Enhance your profile by including your grade level and relevant information in your bio. This helps other educators with similar interests locate and connect with you quickly.

Access Teacher Resources

One of the most effective uses of Instagram for teachers is to curate a collection of their favorite resources on the platform. By saving photos that inspire you, you can organize them into personalized collections such as “teaching tips” or “organization ideas.” This feature allows educators to easily access and reference valuable teaching materials whenever needed.

Instagram serves as a valuable resource for teachers by facilitating connections with like-minded individuals and providing access to a wealth of teaching ideas from the convenience of home. It offers a platform for free professional development through collaboration and sharing with others who share your passion for education.

Teach Students About Themes, Books, and Poetry

Teaching students the concept of “themes” can be made engaging by having them analyze the accounts of famous individuals, places, or businesses on Instagram. For instance, students can compare the marketing “themes” of two well-known brands, TJ Maxx and Gucci, and discuss the distinct narratives each brand portrays despite selling similar products like clothes.

Another practical use of Instagram in education is exploring poetry and literature. Students can delve into “Instapoetry” accounts featuring bite-sized poems for analysis and even create their own “Instapoetry” to compare with peers.

Additionally, Instagram offers a digital “book talk” platform where students can share their thoughts on books through images or short videos. An exciting assignment could involve students creating their own “book talk” posts to share with classmates after completing a novel.

Instagram is a valuable resource for teachers. It offers opportunities for networking, sharing resources, and implementing innovative classroom activities. With some creativity, educators can leverage Instagram to enhance learning experiences in diverse and engaging ways.

Frequently Asked Question

How can Instagram benefit classroom teaching?

Instagram enriches classroom learning by providing a platform for sharing teaching ideas, connecting with educators worldwide, and accessing various educational resources through hashtags and curated collections.

How can teachers use Instagram to enhance student engagement?

Teachers can engage students by analyzing brand marketing themes, exploring “Instapoetry” for literary analysis, and conducting digital “book talks” to discuss novels visually.

How do educators find and connect with other teachers on Instagram?

Educators can find and connect with fellow teachers by searching relevant hashtags like #teachersofinstagram or specific subjects and grades. Enhancing their profile with educational details facilitates easier networking.

What are some practical ways to use Instagram for professional development?

Instagram serves as a tool for free professional development by enabling educators to collaborate, share teaching strategies, and stay updated with innovative classroom activities and trends.

How can teachers organize and save educational resources on Instagram?

Teachers can create personalized collections on Instagram to save and categorize their favorite teaching resources, such as lesson plans, organizational tips, and classroom ideas.

How can Instagram be used to encourage creativity and collaboration among students?

Instagram encourages student creativity by creating “instapoetry” and sharing digital “book talks.” It fosters collaboration by allowing students to interact and share their work with peers.

Conclusion

Instagram offers educators a powerful tool to transform classroom dynamics and enrich learning experiences. By leveraging its capabilities to share ideas, connect globally, and explore diverse educational content, teachers can foster creativity, collaboration, and engagement among students. Whether through analyzing marketing themes, exploring “Instapoetry,” or conducting digital book talks, Instagram opens new avenues for educational exploration and professional development. As educators continue to innovate and adapt to digital platforms, Instagram is a dynamic resource to enhance teaching practices and inspire lifelong learning in the classroom.

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Technology in the Classroom

Task Lighting vs. Ambient Lighting: Understanding Your Needs

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Whether energy-efficient or not, lights are advantageous in certain ways. Like, they assist you in viewing everything clearly, and hence, keep you safe. Light can improve your mood as well, particularly the natural light, for which you can install motorized blinds Manitoba. Nevertheless, there are types like ambient and task lighting. Let’s grasp their differences to cater everyone’s needs. 

Understanding Task Lighting & Ambient Lighting

As the name specifies, task lighting is more task-oriented. This functional lighting is more direct than the other one. Hence, they provide enhanced brightness. The example includes the adjustable reading light that people often use either to read books or working on a laptop.

The ambient one, however, is also known as general lighting. It caters to the landscape of a room. Also, this lighting is helpful in setting a tone. This indirect one is more of a soft light and provides an entire room with equal brightness. 

Guide on Task Lighting vs. Ambient Lighting

Visibility

Ambient lighting gives a calming effect to the room; therefore, you would relax in such an area. But, this can hinder visibility. As this sort of light is not that bright, you may notice inadequacy in direct light intensity to perform certain tasks. Also, if indirect lights are overhead, you have to cope with poor clarity throughout the room. 

On the other hand, direct or task light is brighter and hence can offer good visibility. As illustrated before, for tasks where a good source of luminosity is needed, you can use this kind. You can even adjust their heights or distance with ease, if they are in the form of adjustable reading lights. 

Calming Environment

Ambient lighting is smooth and offers a comforting effect. Such an atmosphere is attained because of the light being given off from various sides. You can create such an environment whenever you want. Therefore, they work best in areas like hair salons and spas. 

This advantage does not exist in direct lighting. It is brighter, and obviously direct, hence, not a comfortable choice. It can put strain on eyes, thus, there is a possibility of irritation. Also, it is responsible for distracting glare. The downward trajectory of this lighting makes the ceiling dark. 

More Focus

For putting more focus to a particular object, task lighting is perfect. It highlights directly and is helpful in highlighting the features of, for instance, objects placed in a store. This somehow enhances the aesthetic value of, such as, walls; hence, perfect to make the décor prominent as well.

Ambient lighting is efficient to provide clarity but not like the one we mentioned before. This lighting is all about balance and covering more area, like the entire room. Therefore, it is not a good option if you require more focus, either on an object, or to perform an intricate task. 

Safety

Task lighting is favorable in providing safety. This is because it casts the direct and bright light to a particular place. For example, you might have seen them being installed in roadways and stairwells. 

Ambient lights supply a bit of deception which is not useful for improving safety, particularly at night or darker areas, where there is lesser access to natural light. However, you can opt for the latter. Install custom window blinds shades and control the entrance of this light.

Size Deception

The source of lighting is not quite visible in ambient lighting which gives the deception of the size. More likely, it will provide the impression of larger size. But, them being not visible, does not affect its beauty and comforting skills. Nevertheless, your room will appear much bigger. 

Alternatively, task lighting is, as told before, more focused. It clarifies the visibility of anything, including the room size. Therefore, there is less possibility of deception, which is both good and bad, depending on your priorities. 

Conclusion

Proper type and installation of lighting is very necessary. This is because all categories serve a different purpose and everyone deems to have a separate preference for their house interior. In this article, we discussed two of such kinds, including task lighting and ambient lighting, and some of their differences.

Task lighting is more direct, focused and bright. This one is better when you require attention to a particular thing or work, disregarding the surrounding. Moreover, it is a safe option because of the clarity it provides. However, the drawback is the intensity of illumination. Your eyes might not feel good after such an exposure, therefore, there is a probability of irritation. Moreover, if you desire to make your small room look bigger, you need ambient lighting and not the task one. 

The ambient light although has lesser safety skills and brightness, this indirect lighting is definitely calming. If you demand a room filled with cozy and less intense glow, you need to work on this kind. Also, you will be unable to detect the position of the light source. 

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Technology in the Classroom

Balancing Screen Time in Classrooms

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Balancing Screen Time in Classrooms

Classroom dynamics have significantly evolved in the past decade. Computers, iPads, and Smartboards now rival traditional tools like pencils and books. Technology has seamlessly integrated into education, offering vast benefits. However, maintaining a balanced approach to screen time is crucial for fostering a healthy learning environment.

Why Screen Time is Important in the Classroom

Understanding the distinction between recreational “screen time,” such as gaming and social media use, and “educational screen time” is crucial. According to a recent 2023 review on the Effects of Excessive Screen Time on Child Development, when utilized for educational purposes, screen time can significantly benefit a child’s learning and development, provided it remains balanced.

The amount of technology integrated into classrooms should be tailored to the students’ ages and specific learning objectives. Educational screen time offers several advantages, such as enabling personalized learning experiences that cater to individual needs and learning styles. It enhances engagement by capturing students’ attention and boosting comprehension and retention.

Moreover, exposure to technology in the classroom prepares students for future careers, familiarizing them with digital tools they will likely encounter later in life. This early familiarity with technology sets a foundation for their professional development.

Rules About Screen Time Usage in the Classroom

Students frequently use smartphones in classrooms, often in violation of school policies. According to research by Common Sense Media, students spend an average of 43 minutes daily on their smartphones during school hours and check their phones anywhere from 72 to 500 times daily. This additional screen time and classroom usage can lead to excessive screen exposure.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine highlights various negative impacts of excessive screen time, including sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, attention deficits, and obesity. Given these risks, it is crucial to establish clear rules and guidelines for students regarding screen time usage in the classroom. Here are some strategies to guide students effectively:

  • Differentiate between active and passive screen time: Active engagement in educational activities can have positive outcomes, whereas passive content consumption may lead to adverse effects.
  • Communicate expectations: Define how technology should be used to promote a productive learning environment.
  • Set time limits: Implementing restrictions on screen time helps prevent overexposure.
  • Use technology as a tool, not a replacement: Ensure that technology enhances rather than supplants traditional instruction methods.
  • Promote responsible screen time choices: Educate students on making responsible decisions about their screen use to develop self-regulation skills.

By implementing these strategies, educators can help students navigate screen time responsibly and maximize the benefits of technology in the classroom while minimizing potential drawbacks.

Alternative Teaching Styles that Do Not Use Technology

Technology undoubtedly enhances classroom learning, but several alternative teaching styles prioritize hands-on learning, collaboration, and creative expression without relying on digital tools:

  • Hands-On Learning: Encourages students to actively engage with materials and concepts through experiments, projects, or interactive activities.
  • Collaborative Learning: Emphasizes teamwork and communication skills by involving students in group discussions, problem-solving tasks, or cooperative projects.
  • Creative Expression: Fosters individuality and innovation through activities like art projects, writing exercises, or drama performances.

These teaching styles diversify learning experiences, cater to learning preferences, and promote critical thinking and social skills.

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is a structured teaching strategy where students collaborate in groups, each contributing equally to achieve a common goal. This method emphasizes teamwork, communication, and social skills without relying on technology. Educators favor this approach for its ability to enhance student motivation and active participation in learning activities.

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered, teacher-facilitated approach in which students collaboratively work on a project over an extended period. This method actively engages students in solving complex, real-world problems or challenges.

With minimal reliance on technology, PBL aims to develop 21st-century skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving, emphasizing hands-on learning and creativity.

Montessori Method

The Montessori method is a self-directed, hands-on approach to learning that emphasizes individualized pace and autonomy. Integral to this method is acquiring practical life skills and a deep understanding of various cultures. Social development plays a crucial role, alongside the freedom for students to select their activities, fostering independence and self-motivation.

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning offers a compelling alternative to classroom technology by prioritizing hands-on activities and real-world experiences over digital tools. This approach encourages active participation, collaboration, and personalized learning, fostering a genuine passion for learning without reliance on screens.

Traditional Teaching Methods

Traditional teaching methods, such as lectures, class discussions, group activities, non-digital games, chalkboard instruction, textbooks or novels, role-playing, and visual aids, have stood the test of time for effectively conveying information and deepening understanding of concepts.

While technology offers engaging learning experiences, educators must be mindful of screen time. Using digital tools purposefully is crucial, ensuring they enhance rather than replace student learning. Establishing clear guidelines for students and educators can transform screen time into a positive educational tool.

Educational Resources for Both School and Home

Here are some resources to support maintaining a balanced approach to screen time, whether at school or home:

Common Sense Media: Offers reviews and guidelines on age-appropriate content and screen time limits.

American Academy of Pediatrics: Provides recommendations and resources for parents and educators on healthy screen time habits.

National Education Association (NEA): Offers articles and tips on integrating technology in education while maintaining balance.

Edutopia: Provides strategies and articles on effective technology integration in the classroom.

Family Media Plan from HealthyChildren.org: This site offers tools and templates for creating a personalized family media plan to manage screen time effectively.

These resources can help educators and parents navigate the challenges of screen time management and promote healthy digital habits among students.

Digital Learning Contract

Students can sign a digital learning agreement to pledge to be a responsible and respectful digital learner. Here are a few contracts from Common Sense Media.

  • Digital Learning Pledge for Grades K-5
  • Digital Learning Pledge for Grades 6-12
  • Digital Learning Pledge for Home

Resources for Educators

  • Digital Citizenship Curriculum
  • Free multimedia curriculum materials from The Media Education Lab
  • Screen Time & Activity Finding the Balance
  • Children and Screens: Interdisciplinary research and essential information on digital media and child development

Resources for Parents

  • Create a Family Media Plan
  • Screen time guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Screen Free Parenting
  • Beyond Screen Time: Help Your Kids Build Healthy Media Use Habits

Frequently Asked Question

Why is balancing screen time necessary in classrooms?

Balancing screen time helps maintain a healthy learning environment by ensuring that technology enhances rather than distracts from educational goals. It also promotes physical activity and social interaction among students.

How can educators determine appropriate screen time limits for students?

When setting screen time limits, educators should consider students’ age, developmental stage, and specific learning objectives. Guidelines from organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics can provide helpful recommendations.

What are some strategies for integrating technology effectively in classroom instruction?

Effective integration involves using technology to support active learning, collaboration, and personalized instruction. Educators can use educational apps, interactive websites, and digital tools that enhance engagement and learning outcomes.

How can educators promote responsible screen time habits among students?

Educators can promote responsible screen time by teaching digital citizenship skills, establishing clear rules and expectations for technology use, and encouraging students to self-monitor their screen time and online behavior.

What are the potential drawbacks of excessive screen time in classrooms?

Excessive screen time can lead to physical health issues like eye strain and poor posture, as well as behavioral issues such as reduced attention span and social isolation. Balancing screen time with other learning activities is essential for holistic student development.

How can parents and educators collaborate to support balanced screen time?

Collaboration between parents and educators is critical to promoting balanced screen time. They can communicate regularly about students’ technology use, share resources on digital literacy, and establish consistent guidelines for screen time at home and school.

Conclusion

A balanced approach to classroom screen time requires thoughtful consideration and proactive management from educators, parents, and students alike. While technology offers valuable learning opportunities, it is essential to integrate it purposefully to enhance educational experiences without overshadowing critical aspects of traditional learning.

By setting clear guidelines, promoting responsible digital citizenship, and fostering a holistic approach to student well-being, educators can ensure that screen time contributes positively to learning outcomes while nurturing critical thinking, creativity, and social skills necessary for future success. Embracing this balance ensures that technology remains a supportive tool in the classroom, enriching education while safeguarding students’ overall development and well-rounded growth.

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Teacher Resources

Top EdTech Tools of 2019

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Top EdTech Tools of 2019

Teachers can leave a lasting impression by integrating the latest educational technology tools into their classrooms. The range of trendy tech options is vast, making it challenging to navigate. Here are five educational tools that enhance student learning, foster digital curiosity, and transform learning experiences.

Bulb

Bulb is a versatile digital portfolio platform enabling students to effectively curate, share, and showcase their work. It organizes content into shareable pages where teachers and parents can offer feedback. Students personalize their pages with themed folders, exemplified by Kaiden’s Star Wars-themed interface.

His bio and interests are prominently displayed, showcasing his academic journey from kindergarten memories to current achievements in math and other subjects. Bulb supports uploads of various formats like worksheets, videos, and presentations, fostering a comprehensive display of student accomplishments. Educators benefit from a free version accessible across devices, making it ideal for students from elementary school onwards.

Edpuzzle

Edpuzzle revolutionizes video-based learning by addressing common issues like intrusive ads and limited student interaction opportunities. This app empowers teachers to select and customize online videos to align with specific lesson objectives. Integrated features allow educators to embed questions strategically, prompting students to pause and engage actively with the content.

Edpuzzle also monitors student viewing times to ensure comprehensive learning engagement without skipping. Furthermore, teachers can enhance clarity by adding voiceovers where necessary. Available for free to educators and compatible across devices, Edpuzzle significantly enhances the educational video experience.

Google Tour Creator

Google Tour Creator empowers students to craft immersive virtual tours using images from Google Street View or personal photos. The tool offers versatile applications, whether as a writing extension, part of a research project, or for extracurricular activities. For instance, students researching Rome could compile images of landmarks like the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain into a virtual tour of the city.

Alternatively, they could create a tour of their school using self-captured 360-degree photos, aiding new students and staff to navigate the campus. These tours, accessible on iPads, desktops, and Google Cardboard, provide an engaging educational experience across various devices.

classroom

ClassroomQ streamlines seeking help in the classroom, offering a user-friendly interface for teachers and students. Teachers establish a class code that students use to join, enabling them to request assistance by clicking the “Assistance Needed” button. This action queues students in an orderly manner, displaying their position in line alongside others.

Teachers can efficiently manage and address student queries in the order received, ensuring a smooth flow of classroom interaction without disruptions to ongoing lessons or fellow learners. Developed by and for educators, ClassroomQ is a free platform to foster proactive help-seeking behaviors among students who may be hesitant to ask for assistance.

GooseChase

Looking to spice up your classroom activities? GooseChase combines the thrill of traditional scavenger hunts with cutting-edge technology, delivering a unique learning experience. Teachers create hunts using the Game Manager on the site, designing missions that students complete by submitting photos, videos, text responses, or check-ins.

It’s versatile for pretests, reviews, or establishing classroom procedures. Picture students filming themselves demonstrating effective questioning techniques or capturing where class missions are posted. GooseChase boosts student engagement with endless possibilities, making it a must-try educational game.

Frequently Asked Question

What are the top EdTech tools of 2019?

In 2019, some of the most acclaimed EdTech tools included Bulb for digital portfolios, Edpuzzle for interactive video learning, Google Tour Creator for virtual tours, ClassroomQ for organized student assistance, and GooseChase for interactive scavenger hunts.

How do these tools benefit students?

These tools enhance student engagement and learning by providing interactive and personalized learning experiences. They facilitate creativity, collaboration, and effective communication among students and teachers.

Are these tools accessible and integrated into the classroom?

Yes, these tools are designed with educators in mind. They offer user-friendly interfaces, comprehensive support resources, and the ability to seamlessly integrate into various educational settings and curricula.

Are these tools accessible for different grade levels?

Absolutely. These tools cater to various grade levels, from elementary to higher education, accommodating diverse learning needs and styles.

Are these tools cost-effective for educators?

Many of these tools offer free versions or affordable pricing plans for educators, making them accessible options for enhancing classroom learning without significant financial investment.

Can these tools be used on different devices?

These tools are compatible with multiple devices, such as desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones, ensuring accessibility and flexibility for students and teachers.

Conclusion

Navigating the vast array of ed tech tools in 2019 can be daunting. However, prioritizing impactful options such as Bulb, Edpuzzle, Google Tour Creator, ClassroomQ, and GooseChase ensures students are engaged and benefit from enhanced learning experiences.

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