Update on #oneword2023 #author

This month has gone by so fast. So far, my #oneword2024, #author,  is off to a great start. As I shared in my last blog post, I chose this word because I want to focus on not just telling my story, but creating experiences that celebrate milestones coming this year and also pursuing professional growth opportunities. Four weeks in, I am off to a great start. Since 2024 began, I have run over 77 miles and on Friday,  I hit a new personal record with a 10 min 25 sec mile on my 5 mile run using 4 minute run/1 minute walk intervals. In addition, I am editing and finalizing two different articles for publications and can't wait to share the final publications with you soon.  Plus, starting this week, my Winter conference season begins with TCEA this upcoming weekend, followed by the VSTE/VASCD Power of Coaching Conference the following week. So much excitement is in store!

TransformED: Amplifying Learning Using Tech Tools

Two weeks ago,  I focused on how you, as an educator, can create a learning culture that not only encourages your learners to pursue their interests and passions, but also to view online resources with a critical eye as they do so. It is vital that we help our learners to better understand best practices for using online resources, while also helping to understand whether or not a source is credible or not. With the amazing resources at our disposal with Artificial Intelligence and generative AI, we all have responsibility to help our students determine the validity of the sources they encounter.

This week, we will focus on how you can learn about new technology resources and discover them alongside your students. As educators, it is natural to feel like we need to know it all, before introducing new tech tools to our students. However, there are many benefits to co-learning technology with your students.

How can I learn about new tech tools alongside my students?

To model this process this week, I am going to focus on using a program that I love that recently released many updates: Desmos Classroom. Using this as a case study is the best way for me to address the benefits of co-learning with your students, while giving you the tools that you need to do this yourself. So first, I will give an overview of the program and then share some great co-learning strategies using this program as an example.

What is Desmos Classroom?

When I present about my session, "Tech Up the Math," Desmos Classroom is usually one of the most popular tech programs that I share. When I share about Desmos Classroom, I share how it checks off all the boxes of my VMI, which connects it to ISTE Standards.

2. Multimodal:  This program also provides students with opportunities to use multimodal thinking. Desmos' sketch pages offer students the chance to share their thinking using drawing and text tools. In addition, students can also response to math response questions using audio.

3. Interactive:  Desmos has several interactive components. One of my favorites is the polygraph. (Think Guess Who for Math and image to the right). Students are partnered up and ask each other yes or no questions based on math concepts. The chooser gets to select one of the 16 cards and the guesser asks yes or no questions to figure out whicj card the chooser selected. Another interactive component is the ability for students to see three of their classmates' responses if you select that option. Last, Desmos offers a Challenge Creator, where students can create challenges that their classmates can answer.

Co-Learning Desmos Classroom: User Interface

One of the things that I love most about Desmos Classroom is its user interface. On the teacher side (teacher.desmos.com), there is a Teacher Dashboard that allows you to not only see the students' view but also look at each students work on the Teacher View, or student completion on the Summary View. This feature can make co-learning a new tech tool easier.  It is also super easy to login as a teacher, create a class, and invite students in using either Google or Desmos using students.desmos.com. There is even an option to join an activity with a single session code without logging in.

Co-Learning Desmos Classroom: Lesson Plans/Activities

Another great feature that Desmos Classroom has is its premade activities with lesson plans included. You do not need to start from scratch to use a Desmos Classroom activity. There are many premade activities including their all new K-5 Collection that is just right for my elementary friends. These lessons and activities include teacher notes for you to refer to and some have lesson plans too. You do not need to recreate the wheel and many states, Virginia included, are now aligning Desmos activities with their curriculum.

Co-Learning Desmos Classroom: Accessibility

Desmos Classroom is also very accessible. In their beta features, it includes a text to speech option. In addition, the icons that this program features are universally understood. I will never forget teaching a third grade class using Desmos when one student started talking into her laptop. When I asked her what she was doing, she pointed out the microphone and shared she was recording audio. I had never noticed that feature before she pointed it out.  Desmos Classroom even has braille settings in their accessibility menu!

Next Steps

Consider how you are co-learning new technology with your students? What experiences have you had trying this out. What suggestions do do you have? Are there any that I should add to my toolbox or maybe I shared one that sparked your interest?  I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below.

A reminder and a huge thanks to Kyle Hill for hosting the Recharge Learning Virtual Bash that features 50 workshops and  is offering free access to everyone who reads my blog to the Bash until June 2024.  Click this link to join. Two of my sessions are included in this bash too.