Middle School Math and Technology
North Rockford Middle School
Rockford Public Schools
“It may be cliche but start slow and build. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Use the technology to enhance your style.”
Shelly is a master teacher who has incorporated technology for many years in both her technology and math classes at North Rockford Middle School. She has found that technology has allowed her students to learn in new ways. “By using the online platform provided by our math book, Big Ideas Math, students get instant feedback about their answers. If they don’t have the right answer, they can analyze their work and make corrections. If they can’t figure out the right answer they know to ask questions to figure out what they are missing. Technology also allows me to differentiate and give my students choices about how they practice and how much they practice for assessments.”
Some highlights that Shelly has experienced by integrating technology into the classroom is the student communication she has with her students. “Students can send me messages through Schoology, Rockford’s Learning Management System, to let me know they need help or schedule a time to see me. Sometimes I can explain what they need to know to allow them to complete their homework. I think it has made me more approachable in the classroom.”
“Technology has transformed the learning in my classroom.”
Mark is an innovative, creative teacher who for the past 2 years has been working in a pilot program at Rockford Public Schools. During the pilot program, Mark has empowered his students to communicate much more, both digitally and face-to-face. Mark has transformed his teaching and students’ learning with effectively implementing technology across the curriculum. Below are some insights from Mark about the impact he has experienced:
“Technology has transformed the learning in my classroom. I am able to differentiate in ways never before possible because there are multiple copies of me in electronic form. Before, I simply wasn’t able to be in two spots at one time. Now I can. This allows the students to learn at the pace that best fits their needs, receiving support or an additional challenge, if needed, through electronic resources such as videos I’ve created. As a teacher I’ve always wished that I had more time. Technology has provided this oh so coveted resources. When I give an assessment or an assignment the students receive instant feedback as to how they did. I no longer have to spend hours grading assignments. Instead, I can spend that time figuring out how to respond to that feedback.
The greatest change that has come as a result of this technology is the change to the students. Now no matter what challenges may lie in the way of the student learning I have the tools and resources to help them overcome those obstacles. Whether it is allowing a student struggles with extreme dyslexia, use a speech to text app to amaze his classmates with his immense knowledge of anything science. Or its providing the opportunities for a book to be read to them so the students is able to participate in class discussion about a text that otherwise would have been too hard, we can do it.”
Can you describe one or two of your tech integration highlights?
“Last year I had a student who was severally dyslexic and it effected everything expect his intelligence. Ordinarily he had difficulty expressing his thoughts onto paper. I will never forget the day I showed him dictation in a speech to text website. His eyes lit up and before I could even finish explaining what it was he had taken back his laptop and was racing off all of the facts he could find about Sharks. To see how excited this student was to finally be able to write, was amazing.”
What is a suggestion you might make to a teacher who is just beginning to integrate technology?
“Solider on! You may experience difficulties; you may feel like it is your first year of teaching again but charge ahead. The students will shock you with all that they can accomplish and the parents will be ever thankful to you for the differences you have made.”
Keep up the great work Mark, and I know you will continue to soldier on, while also helping other teachers soldier on too.
Delton Kellogg Elementary
Delton Kellogg Schools
“Technology has transformed my classroom. I feel like students are much more engaged and eager to work. I feel they can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding more clearly and more efficiently.
Karmin Bourdo is a master teacher. She is very thoughtful about her technology use and only utilizes technology when she’s sure it is enhancing learning for her students. Please enjoy reading about how integrating technology has added value to her classroom.
“Technology has transformed my classroom. I feel like students are much more engaged and eager to work. I feel they can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding more clearly and more efficiently. Time is always something we never seem to have enough of and with our technology we can access real time data with my students instantaneously.” – Karmin Bourdo
Are there any programs that have helped you achieve what you described above?
“I have absolutely fallen in love with Seesaw. It is an app that allows students to access six different features like… taking photos, accessing their camera roll, videos, typing, a microphone for recording themselves, and a drawing feature. Students are able to take a picture of their writing and record themselves reading it. Or, they can take a picture of the book their reading and record themselves reading it for fluency, explain their artwork, their math journal and instantly share it with their loved ones at home on their “personal” journal page. Then, parents that are connected will get a notification that their son/daughter has uploaded something to their journal page and they can “like” it or comment on it. Parents are enjoying the “sneak peek” into the classroom and what their little one is doing throughout the day. It is a great way to communicate with parents. And the Seesaw app is free for teachers and parents. All items must be approved and only their parents see their son/daughter’s journal page. I can tag the entire class in a post also with class made videos and assignments.” – Karmin Bourdo
So what advice do you have for teachers who are only beginning to integrate technology into their classrooms?
“Start small at first, find a few things that you are comfortable with and implement them first. Then try other ways to challenge yourself and your students. I look for technology that is going to give me the biggest impact with my students and for apps that inform my instruction with a quick formative assessment for fluency, story elements, and their understanding of nouns and verbs. The Seesaw app allows me to keep an electronic portfolio for each individual student.” – Karmin Bourdo
6th-8th Grade Social Studies
Sparta Middle School
Sparta Area Schools
“The integration of technology in my class room has had a huge impact on learning.”
Keith and his students have experienced how technology makes teaching and learning more efficient and empowering for kids.
“The integration of technology in my class room has had a huge impact on learning. First, students are naturally drawn to technology. They want to use it and interact with it. They are engaged with it and know how to do many things already. The key is focusing that interest so that they are learning. The old days of sitting and getting are gone in my classroom. Students are constantly exploring, asking questions, learning, and teaching each other. Second, technology is organized. It has forced both students and myself to be digitally organized. Students lose far fewer things because it is organized inside of their Schoology account.”
What is a highlight you’d like to share from integrating the technology?
“One of the technology highlights in my classroom has been student blogs. Each student has their own blog and uses it for two purposes. One is to communicate with each other. They can comment on each other’s work. They challenge thinking and clear up misconceptions. Second, it is a digital portfolio. Students share their work with their parents at conferences. They can look back at previous assignments as the learning spirals throughout the school year.”
What advice would you recommend to teachers just beginning to integrate more technology with students?
“My suggestion would be to start slow. You do not have to change everything overnight. Start with one thing, maybe www.postermywall.com. Have student make a poster about their learning that will be hung in all of the classrooms in your grade. Then, add another option on the next project. Pretty soon students will know how to use five or six options for projects. Now they have choice. They can pick the vehicle that will work best for them. My journey with technology started last year. In my mind, this is a three year process. By the end of the third year, I feel like things will be established in my classroom for the entire year.”
Great work Keith! The skills and tools your students will certainly continue to impact their learning for their futures.
Ludington Area School District
“Technology integration has allowed me to teach to meet the needs of all my students by being able to effectively differentiate instruction.”
Sarah O’Connor has seen technology integration pay dividends for her students and herself because she sees her students as individual learners.
“Technology integration has allowed me to teach to meet the needs of all my students by being able to effectively differentiate instruction. Students are eager to try learning in multiple ways through the variety of apps and by using Canvas. When creating class projects it is amazing to see the variety of technology resources students will use to reach their goals. On my end, technology has impacted me by seeing the reaction on my student’s faces because they are able to use it to reach multiple goals. Technology makes students eager to learn and probes the young mind for further learning.” – Sarah O’Connor
Many districts are hesitant to allow devices to go home at early levels like first grade, but Sarah sees the benefits clearly.
“Students come to school daily and share what they do at home, from the books they make, stories they read, or problems they solve. I can see the skills I am teaching them at school being used at home and where they continue their learning because they are so excited by what they can accomplish and create.” – Sarah O’Connor
So what are some of your classroom highlights so far this school year?
“This year we are currently publishing a class book through student iPads and laptops through Student Treasures. This is a project I have done every year and am excited for it to now become technology based. It has gotten students very excited on being able to write a story by using technology. The biggest factor is that each child has a page that adds to a whole story, we are working together to create one piece. They are very eager to see the end result. (The picture below is of my class and I. We are writing our class book based off of Mo Willems Pig and Elephant books. We are currently writing Pig and Elephant Visit Ludington)
Another great experience in my classroom this year is when my students learned how to blog and be part of a conversation when using the app Kid Blog. I am able to use Kid Blog to add discussion about many lessons that go on in my classroom. Students are able to take pictures and post their thoughts. They highly enjoy using this to share what they have learned, ask questions, and post results. I have currently been using this for my weather unit in science and students are eager to share their findings through pictures and discussions.
I have also started using Osmo to enhance student learning. With this interactive tool students are able to solve problems by using their iPad and manipulatives. It is amazing to see students take their learning in their own hands to solve problems.” – Sarah O’Connor
That’s impressive. How do you get to a point where you can incorporate so many digital resources?
“It does take time to plan but it gets easier over time. With continual practice it gets easier for students and even yourself. Take a step at a time to reach a goal and you will get there. Students understand a lot more than we think, they are a great resource for teaching each other. I many times have classroom student ‘experts’ in different areas and they are willing to help other students. It is amazing to see the interactions between students and what they learn from each other.” – Sarah O’Connor
Keep up the great work Sarah!
Communications by Design
660 Ada Dr SE
Ada, MI 49301