Q: I always read your recommendations for apps and other ways to introduce technology in the classroom, but I find actually implementing what you suggest intimidating. Is anyone out there really doing it?
A: I have no doubt that many teachers read this column and think to themselves, “Can I really use all of this technology?” The answer is yes—if you’re willing to put some time into planning. For this time investment, your payoff will be engaged students doing multidimensional projects that facilitate learning on several levels. If you need to see real-world examples, take a look at the work of Karen Searles, who has impressively integrated technology into her dance education work in Texas. She teaches at Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock, Texas. Her blog, created on Google’s blogging platform, is ngdcdance.blogspot.com. It’s a great example of how you can advocate for the work you do in the classroom with text and videos.
Searles puts iPads in the hands of the students and uses them for playing music, viewing project guidelines, videoing work and even editing. She’s also a fan of Google apps. Her students use Google Drive (including Google Docs and Slides) for assignments, and she polls the classes with Google Forms. She also uses Kahoot, a free game-based learning platform, to create fun assessments. Best of all? Searles has put lesson plans on her blog, so you can see how she builds the technology into her work.
Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.