Guest Post by Andrew from Match Next
Hi all - Andrew here from Match Next. For anyone new to the blog, allow me introduce myself. I’m a big DC sports fan with a pretty streaky jump shot. Also, I joined the Match Next founding team about a year and a half ago as the ‘tech guy.’ As part of my job I research and test out all sorts of technology that might be helpful for our school. When we find something that works, I help roll it out in classes. Here’s the blog I wrote about my research and testing process.
Next week I’ll start writing posts that give lots of grainy details on a particular tool we’ve used. Today, let me catch you up on the big picture of what technology we use now.
What we use regularly:
It’s a pretty short list. And frankly, nothing in here is particularly revolutionary. If “blended learning” schools were salsas, we’d be mild. That’s because a lot of the spicy stuff isn’t that good yet, in our opinion. More on that in later posts.
Here’s the list of tech we’re using so far this year:
|Kindles||Hardware||Independent Reading, Literacy||E-reader|
|Accelerated Reader||Software||Independent Reading||Database of quizzes for pleasure-reading books|
|Google Forms, Docs||Software||Literacy||Survey tool, Word Processing|
|Khan Academy||Software||Math||Math practice problems|
|ST Math||Software||Math||Math practice problems (conceptual)|
How do we actually use all these pieces?
Chromebooks: We have one of these laptops per kid (ed-tech nerds like me call this being a “1:1 school”). If you’re not familiar, Chromebooks are a low-cost ($200 - $300 each) laptop. They’re so cheap because they only really do one thing - go on the internet. That’s it. No downloading, running crazy programs, etc. In addition to our 50 that we use regularly, we also keep 10 spares in case any student computers go down.
Kindles: Our students spend the first hour of every morning reading on their Kindles during our Independent Reading period. Sometimes there’s a handful of students reading a paperback book, which we’re fine with as long as they’re reading the book they want to read.
Accelerated Reader: Students take a short quiz on Accelerated Reader whenever they finish a book. The program has a quiz for almost every book our students would ever read. In some rare cases, though, we’ll have to make our own quiz if AR doesn’t have one. Each quiz typically takes 10-15 minutes for students to complete.
Google Docs: We use this pretty much every single day. Our Literacy Director, Debby, uses Google Docs to distribute content to students. It’s the easiest way we’ve found to share stuff with all the students.
Google Forms: Super easy to use survey tool. We use Google Forms for the majority of our Literacy assessments. Last year, we only used it for multiple choice questions. This year, we’re having our students complete both multiple choice and open response questions on Google Forms.
Cram: Our replacement program for “Anki,” the flashcard program we used last year for our students to practice their math facts. We’re using Cram similar to how we used Anki, but we like it because kids have to type in their answers rather than just self report if they knew it. Students are on it for about 4 minutes at the start of every math period to practice math-fact flashcards.
ST Math: This is a software we use to help lay the conceptual framework of math concepts students will eventually learn in class. They’re on it about 2-3 times per week, for a total of about 90 minutes.
TypingClub: Our 5th graders are learning how to type. They’re on TypingClub 4 days a week for about 30 minutes each day.
Next time: I’ll post my first software review on ‘TypingClub,’ the software we’re using to teach our students how to type. Stay tuned.
If you’d like to talk shop: firstname.lastname@example.org