Monday, November 21, 2016

An Easy Way to Weekly Inform Teachers & Parents of Great Technology Integration

Minnebytes: 100+ Examples of High School iPad Integration 
This Year (3 per week)
Sometimes teachers and staff travel long distances to attend technology conferences hoping to return with a few new, good ideas that they can take back to try in their own classrooms.  There are certainly some great conferences out there where this can happen. But often I think we fail to realize that we are surrounded by all sorts of colleagues who are doing great things in their classrooms every day. If we had a way to know what these ideas were and when they were happening, we wouldn’t even have to leave our building to get some great ideas.

Over the years we have tried out a variety of ideas and multiple ways to make this happen. We've had success having our teachers share their ideas and best practices for technology integration with one another in short presentations at monthly staff meetings, sharing ideas at “Roundtable” with colleagues during training classes they are attending as part of our continual staff development, sharing and/or recording teacher presentations of their best tips and ideas and making them available online for others, as well as running our own summer workshops and training conferences in house for our teachers. 

Most recently our high school instructional technology coaches have been putting together a weekly newsletter highlighting three ideas for integrating iPads in the classroom. The instructional tech coaches see these firsthand as they are out in classrooms working with teachers each week. They snap a photo, write a few sentences describing the lesson they observe, explain how the lesson fits in with our Teaching & Learning Framework, and then put each of them on a slide in a continuous Google Slide deck.

The high school instructional tech coaches send a weekly email out to all high school staff, so that not only do the 175 teachers see these ideas, but the admin, paras, and all other support staff do, too. This is a great way to further educate everyone about the possibilities and power of using iPads and technology in instruction. Rather than having the content and ideas in the email itself, they made a link with just an image teaser such as the one pictured, so that everyone has to click on this link to get to the content. This allows us to see how many views the content is getting per week by using the free analytics tools available through 

In addition to informing our staff and allowing teachers to see one another’s ideas without having to travel anywhere to get them, we also decided to share this information with our families, too. Each week in the parent email newsletter, we are including a link for parents to view: “3 Ways MHS Students Used Technology This Week to Maximize Learning.” So far we are averaging about 84 views/week. The Google Slide show is a live file that we just add to each week, so each time the email gets sent out there is new content for viewers. There is no extra work required and we have the added bonus of having our parents become more knowledgeable about how an iPad and technology are used by their child and the school as a whole, which is great! 

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