Now, I don't have the luxury of a class set of laptops, but I do still have the document camera and the projector, which make instruction easier. I also like to try to move beyond those traditional things and allow students the opportunity to use the technology themselves. I want to share with you some of the ways that I have done that (without the aid of a smartboard!).
Glogster is a great educational tool where students can create an interactive "poster" about any topic that they are studying. My fourth graders are working on the water cycle in their science class, so we are working in the computer lab to create our interactive posters. Here's an example of a glog that a past student created:
This can be a great way for students to extend and demonstrate their understanding of any topic in any grade level!!
Wordle and Tagxedo
A great way to make a boring summary activity exciting is by turning it into a word cloud! These word clouds also make great classroom decorations to remind students of the important vocabulary related to the topic they are studying. I often have students individually write a 1 or 2 paragraph summary. Then, I have them pair up with someone. Each pair types in their summaries, with each student getting a turn to type, and then they create a word cloud. I like tagxedo because it has more choices and shapes, and the kids have more fun with it. Here's an example of a water cycle word cloud one of my pairs created:
When I did still have a classroom with its own set of laptops, I used Moodle class management system. If you're interested in using it in your classroom, you can get free moodle hosting from www.e-socrates.org. The system can take some time to learn, but once you figure it out, it is great. Your students all have their own secure account, and you can set up separate "courses" for each class that you teach. If you want students in different classes who are studying the same subject (ie- you have two classes who are Spanish I) then you can add all the students to the same course. Moodle has forums, where you can pose questions for students to discuss, a have a quiz function where you can quiz students and so much more. For our daily warm-up and journaling, I would put in a prompt, students would type in their answers, and then I could check them and respond from home. Moodle even has a gradebook so that you can keep track of all the grades students receive for Moodle work, and then average that into your other grades. Below is a screen shot of another teacher's Moodle course:
I hope that you can use these ideas to help incorporate technology into your classroom and increase student achievement!!