As a digital immigrant (individuals who were born BEFORE the spread of digital technology and who were not exposed to it at an early age), I have to push myself to think like a digital native (individuals who were born AFTER the spread of digital technology and have been interacting with technology from childhood).
It was a major breakthrough for me the first time I took out my phone to enter the contact number of a new acquaintance, rather than reaching for a slip of paper and a pen. Thinking "digitally" is still not second nature for me, but I push myself to do it.
First of all, it's exhilarating! Using the Yard Sale Mapper app to locate yard sales in my area, and then copying the address of the perfect sale into the Maps app and getting turn by turn directions READ TO ME by my phone? WOW!
Secondly, digital technology redefines what's POSSIBLE in your life. This blogging platform is the perfect example. I never thought it would be POSSIBLE for people in Canada, France, and Germany to be reading about my teaching techniques and strategies, but they are.
My iPhone, purchased this summer, has revolutionized the way I organize both my personal and professional lives. I feel a small tingle of pride every time I lift Sophie (That's right. I named my phone.) from the Lanskin (www.lanskin.com) around my neck to schedule something on my calendar or type myself a reminder. If you're wondering what the heck a Lanskin is, check this out:
Needless to say, I am always looking for new ways to integrate technology into my classroom. I use the SMARTBoard every day. My behavior management program is an online application called ClassDojo (www.classdojo.com). We have a class website and a class wikispace. The list goes on and on...
Right now, I am really excited about the latest addition to my digital technology toolbox. It's an app called Remind101. Remind101 is an application that allows parents and students to text a code to a phone number assigned to you by the program. Once parents and students have completed this step, they are added to a roster and you can send them group text message reminders and updates. It is a one way system that only allows parents and students to receive messages, but they can not reply. The teacher does not have to worry about responding to incoming texts. You simply have the luxury of reaching parents with important information in real time.
Since I started using Remind101 a few weeks ago, at least five parents have approached me to tell me how much they appreciate the reminders and my efforts to keep them updated.
To get started, download the app for FREE and send home this reminder that is provided as a PDF when you register. It takes two minutes to set up the class, and parents are automatically added to the roster when they text the code. The simplicity of it, is what makes it so perfect.
I teach fifth grade and several of my students got permission to register their phones on Remind101. I think I gained a couple "cool" points in their eyes when they got that first text from ME. I know the children who have been publicly recognized for achievements like mastering their multiplication facts on Xtramath.org, have appreciated seeing it appear on their phone at home.
Remind101 has earned itself a permanent spot in my digital technology toolbox. I know I'll be using it with classes in the future. Easy and effective is what I like.
(If this little add-on works I'll also be adding Technorati to my toolbox. I need to post this token here to claim my blog on their index so here it goes: UYUMKBGY5WDP)