Tara, Science in the City: I have been using planbook.com this year and I love it. It is really helping me stay organized and keep on top of things, even when I was in 3 different classrooms this year.
Kimberly, OC Beach Teacher: I expect many teachers will praise their Smartboards, but not me (maybe because I don’t have one?). Rather, while it may be elementary by today’s standards, I’m perfectly content with my document camera, a.k.a. the ELMO, and of course, a projector.
When I first started teaching we used overhead projectors with lots of transparencies. Transparencies were expensive, especially the ones for the copy machine. Additionally, we needed wet erase markers. Later, the transparencies needed to be cleaned, which created a giant mess!
There is so much more that I can do with my document camera than I could do with the overhead projector, but what I really like is that I can have students easily share their work. This was almost impossible before. Now, after any writing, I can ask for student volunteers to share- journal responses, brainstorming, pictures, and essays- they just bring their papers to the ELMO and explain their thoughts. And when they reveal their thinking…that is when true learning happens!
Dawn, Algebra Simplified: I’ve threatened to quit teaching if I ever had to teach long term without my SMART Board or a better solution. I don’t know how I could ever get the job done if I had to go back to the overhead or chalkboard. On the occasional days that a projector bulb burns up and I am forced to return to those former ways, the kids giggle as I automatically try to erase large portions of the chalkboard by making a big circle and tapping in the middle. Having access to the internet in the classroom has also put so many resources in reach of both teacher and students. A few days without the internet, fine. To return to internet-less days for the year, that’s just as bad as not having a SMART board.
Clair, High School English on a Shoestring Budget: I’d have to say it’s Cloud storage. Dropbox primarily at first, but later SkyDrive (now OneDrive.) The ability to work on my files– the same copy!– whether I was at school or at home is the best. After the third flash drive died, several files in it’s digital clutches, and after I grew tired of having seventy-two versions of files depending on what computer I was working on, I made the switch to cloud storage quickly. I like that the file is still saved locally– I have a physical (digital) copy of the file on the laptop and on the desktop, so I can access it even without internet (important since I only had “borrowed” Wi-Fi in one of my classrooms).
Sara, Ms. Fuller’s Teaching Adventures: I absolutely need a ceiling mounted projector. I started teaching when most schools still relied on overheads or projectors on a cart. It is so much faster and convenient to be able to turn a projector on at a moments notice to show the class something important. Ideally I also have an interactive whiteboard but I can survive without that.
Lauralee,The Language Arts Classroom: I am so happy I have email. I can communicate instantly with co-workers or bosses, parents and students. Since I am an English teacher, students often send me drafts of papers and I can send them quick feedback.
I would very much dislike playing phone tag! Email is wonderful technology.
Mrs. E Teaches Math: I don’t consider it “ground breaking technology”, but I would hate to lose my document camera. I use it everyday. I use it to post blank worksheets or notes, I have students put their work on it, and use it to display my calculator. I have the TI Smart View Emulator software, but I really like going “old school” and using the document camera. I could use my computer and projector to project worksheets, but it’s more time consuming than just using the document camera. I could also use an overhead projector, but then I couldn’t show my calculator. I love my document camera!