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Digital School Start

Posted in Digital Ideas, Featured Post, Teaching Matters

In August 2018, Digitalisation was added into the Swedish Curriculum with the intention that all teachers would prepare the students for the digital age. As WebEnglish.se strives to ease teachers’ workload, we have added Digital Tools. This page is designated for presenting tools, ideas, and the digital learning that the web author encounters when implementing digitalisation in her own classes. 

Right at the beginning of the school year, you can introduce digitalisation to your classes by changing some of your school start activities to include digital tools. On the other hand, Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) gave a good reminder on Twitter:

Do I want students looking at a screen individually the first day of school, filling out Google forms or even or [do I want them] interacting face to face and the students talking to each other and me?

Keeping this in mind, choose carefully, which tasks are better / quicker / more fun / more motivating done digitally and still give you time to interact face to face with the students. Here are some of my ideas to choose from:

Introducing yourself 

For several years, I have used a short video about myself (made with Adobe Spark) that I have shown the students at the beginning of our first class. After the video, they have asked me questions that the video didn’t give an answer to. These questions could be given anonymously on PearDeck, without losing the face-to-face experience and, at the same time, giving courage to the silent ones to present their questions, too. If you make your presentation on Google Slides, the students can ask their questions right there.

Student introductions

When presenting my film, my ambition has been that I would then let the students make their own films. This has, however, seemed too cumbersome and with the flow of new and improved tools coming out, there are several easier ways to let students introduce themselves digitally. Here are some examples:

Vocaroo, for voice recording, either about oneself or an interview with another student.

Flipgrid, for voice (and selfie) recording.

Google Drawings for making a visual presentation with text, pictures, lines, photos and even videos.

Integral Motivation 

I used to let students write a letter to themselves on paper, where they described what a good year they had had as if it was now already the end of May next year. I collected the papers and gave them back at the end of the year. Now there is a site that does it for me: FutureMe.org, where anyone can write a letter to themselves and set the date when the letter will be delivered back.

Students can also make their own, digital Vision Board on any slide- or drawing tool.

Planning

The Swedish Curriculum emphasises the need to let your students be part of the planning process. One way of doing this is presented in WebEnglish.se Planning Page. Instead of using paper handouts to have students give their preferences when choosing themes, for example, you can make a questionnaire on Google Forms and let Google count the voting results instantly for you.

For an open classroom discussion, the best tool to collaborate on the big screen is Padlet, but students can also first discuss various choices in smaller groups just by sharing a Google Document. Gone are the days when one student did all the work in teamwork.

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