Shining EdTech Examples

The Teachers’ Lounge website is what the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District has created for sharing information and best practices with educators. I recently mentioned the webinar that’s happening on March 5th where we’ll explain how Teachers’ Lounge has made strides toward building a community of support during a time of great change.

Unfortunately during the webinar, we probably won’t have much time to dig into the specifics of how a website can benefit educators within a district. I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the wonderful things teachers are accomplishing in PBVUSD, and how recording best practices on a website can help teachers gain insight regarding blended learning.

Teachers don’t have a lot of time to visit other classrooms–mainly because they have their own students to teach most of the day. I’m fortunate enough in my position to visit classrooms and see highly motivated educators shaping highly motivated students, and then I can share the experiences on Teachers’ Lounge. If you’re a teacher or administrator looking for effective ways to incorporate technology, here are some great examples:

  • Mr. Pinheiro’s classroom management and organization are a beauty to behold. If you’d like to learn about the wonders of Google Slides, Tab Management, and creative ways to house 1:1 devices, this link will be extremely helpful.
  • Ms. Torbert used a release day in an innovative and effective way. Instead of visiting each teacher’s classroom (the traditional method), she invited the teachers to her classroom during their prep time so they could observe her students using various programs in her classroom. She split the kids into stations of two or three students, and they demonstrated many great websites and online resources. If you’re an administrator looking for how teachers can train other teachers at a school site, check this out.
  • Ms. Camp is a shining example of how to successfully blend technology and instruction in the classroom. On Teachers’ Lounge, you’ll see her students use Class Dojo, GAfE, and Edmodo, as well as participate in some truly creative projects.
  • Mrs. Higgins optimizes the physical space in her classroom with whiteboards and couches so students have their own places to problem solve and learn. She also uses a wide-range of educational programs such as GAfE, Padlet, That Quiz, Front Row, and Edmodo, which moves her toward ‘Redefinition’ on the SAMR Model.
  • Mr. Goings’s instruction takes blended learning to a new and improved level. This lesson is based upon a perplexing question: “If I were going to stack Big Macs, one on top of another, how many of them would I need to reach the moon?” This prompts the students to ask many questions in order to solve the problem. If you have time, I recommend checking out this page.
  • Mrs. Tiffin has a paperless classroom, so her students use the 1:1 devices and GAfE to learn, collaborate, and create. Here’s a lesson where she teaches how to write an objective summary of a text. This is a great example of how to use devices in a junior high ELA classroom.

A website can become the central hub for connectivity and best practice resources. Without Teachers’ Lounge, YouTube, and a willingness to share, none of the above links would be possible. School districts must use the tools at hand to give teachers glimpses of what it looks like in other classrooms. This will help all educators become confident in blended learning strategies.

Teachers’ Lounge

As I’ve stated before, school districts need a central hub where teachers can access resources and discover best practices. In the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District, we’ve created a website entitled Teachers’ Lounge where teachers and administrators can find information that includes ‘Appy Hour’ dates and times, lesson plans, professional development, YouTube videos offering looks into teachers’ classrooms, and much more. Schoolwires, Inc. recently wrote a piece about the site (a PDF can be found here), and on March 5th at 3pm (Eastern Time) we’ll be sharing how we’ve used Teachers’ Lounge to engage and train the educators in our district.

If you’re interested, please join us on March 5th for this free webinar. You can register for the meeting here to see our presentation and ask any questions you have. For a more in-depth look at our thought process, be sure to check out A Brave New Classroom, which discusses solutions for tackling the 21st century issues education is facing.