In this end of the year activity, my classroom reviewed coordinate pairs and related the idea of coordinate pairs to latitude and longitude. This then led to the additional use of technology in the classroom.
Contacting the parents, I asked how many students either had a smart phone, or could get access to a smart phone for an activity at school using latitude and longitude similar to Geocaching. The response was great so I went on with the activity. I also checked the school perimeter to determine how far out our internet reached so that some students could use their ipads or kindle fire if they didn't have a phone. Then I contacted the parents once again and told them what free APP would work best for the Mac products, and the android products. (I decided on Easy GPS since you could enter latitude and longitude and it seemed fairly accurate.) Parents then downloaded the apps and sent them to school with their students the day before the activity was planned. (I also asked for parent volunteers to come and help monitor the school's surroundings for safety while the students were running in every direction.)
The day before the activity I taught the students how to enter the latitude and longitude in their phone and find a selected location. All went well and the students were ready to get started. The day of the activity I had several parents show up and students had their devices. I knew not all students would be able to bring a phone so I broke them up into teams of 4 with someone who had a device. I gave them their worksheets and sent them on their way. (I did learn an important lesson. Some students showed up with their devices only to find they did not charge them the night before. If you do something similar, make sure they have the devices fully charged.)
Over the past few years, the use of technology in your lessons has become expected in the classroom. Here are a few ways I bring technology into the classroom. These are all very easy to incorporate and can be very powerful.
Plickers is a website app that I have used numerous times in the classroom. You can use the software either with an ipad, or with any smart phone. It truly is a powerful tool. First you print a group of cards that are marked on different sides of a weird shape as either A, B, C, or D. Then you train the students on how to hold the cards. This is all explained on the Plickers website. You go on to create questions and post them in the app. You then select the correct answer and fill in the multiple choices. I usually create the questions with the computer since typing with the laptop is much easier than on a tablet or the phone. You can also skip the questions if you have a paper or digital copy of the questions already. You just go to the Plickers app, type the question number, and put in the correct choice; A, B, C, or D. Then show the students the question on the overhead or on the computer, have them hold up their card, then scan them. The app scans the students instantly and gives you a digital percentage (Bar Graph) of how well your students did on that particular question. It also tells you exactly who got the question wrong, which shows who you need to pull and reteach on the question concept.
ShowMe is an app that is much like Educreations. It allows students to create their own lessons and instantly posts them online. You can access the lessons using the app once you setup an account. I started using ShowMe when I found Educreations did not allow you to just download the app and post it where you wanted it. They have recently fixed the problem and now allow you to download the lessons created. Using ShowMe is very easy. You download the app, students create a lesson, it posts instantly once they save it. You can then go to the ShowMe app and view the lesson. The lessons are automatically assigned an URL, which makes it easy to make a QR code for your lesson. The only problem is, you can only do about 10 ShowMe's with the free app before you have to delete one to create another. This truly brings not only the posters in the classroom alive, but opens up a world of possibilities with students creating lessons, and posting help for homework. All of which students just scan and never type a wrong URL taking them places they shouldn't be going.
I truly hope this helps in ideas to incorporate technology in the classroom for almost any lesson. If you have other ideas on apps or other technology to bring into the classroom, please let us know.