WHAT WE KNOW NOW: BEST TECH DISCOVERIES FROM REMOTE LEARNING

As remote learning ends, classroom technology is here to stay!

Lauren Racela, OFLA Technology Integration Committee Chair
French Teacher, Milford High School 

As we jump into a new school year, many of us are grateful to be back in a face-to-face school environment. After a variety of different remote and hybrid environments, many teachers are reflecting on a few of their favorite technology pieces from last school year that they can keep in their plans for this year. For this article, I consulted with the members of the Technology Integration Committee to compile a list of technology supports we are carrying over from last year into this school year. 

  • Jamboard slides as digital whiteboards. Many teachers use Jamboard already, but I hadn’t tried it until last year. I loved using Jamboard slides as digital whiteboards for small groups of online students. It’s a great way to monitor students in real time during independent work!
  • Blooket. This tech tool seemed to gain a lot of popularity last year! Blooket is an online game to practice vocabulary. There are many different game modes to choose from, so any of your classes can find something they love to play!
  • Digital classwork through your LMS. One huge benefit of being hybrid last year was the way it streamlined and organized the distribution and collection of classwork. This year, I am keeping many of my daily graded classwork assignments on Schoology, the LMS in my district. There are a few benefits to this. First, students who are absent can complete the classwork from home instead of having to come back to school and get a paper worksheet from me. Second, electronic submissions ensure that everything ends up in the same place. No misplacing makeup work! My goal this year for my own classroom is to digitize all graded classwork with the exception of assessments. 
  • Flipgrid. This one has already stood the test of time. Last year, it was great for monitoring speaking and language production. When students are back to a face-to-face environment, I have them record skits and we watch them in class. This is amazing for upper levels to practice more independent forms of language output. 
  • EdPuzzle. This is another familiar tool that proved to be extra helpful during remote learning. I have made several EdPuzzle assignments using videos that I recorded of myself. It’s almost like students are sitting in on a lesson and answering questions in real time. EdPuzzle could even be used as a listening assessment. 
  • Daily slides. A slide with the day’s agenda, objectives, links, and homework can be a helpful and consistent tool to start each class period. Posting the link to these slides can also be helpful for students who are absent to check from home. Plus, it doesn’t take up any whiteboard space!
  • Music. As some of our students re-adjust to in-person learning, playing songs in the target language can be a great way to connect them to culture, break the ice, and have fun! I play music at least once a week, even if it’s just during the last few minutes of class for students to absorb as they wind down.

If you found yourself teaching online last year, you probably have your own technology tools you’re bringing into this school year. I think this year is the ideal time for teachers to find the perfect balance between traditional and tech-forward classroom tools.