Leslie Swanson-Anaya on episode 145 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast
From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis
Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter
Leslie Swanson-Anaya @InspiredLeslie elementary teacher of the year for Texas region 15 has ideas for awesome technology stations. These apps will work for all ages of students and subjects. Learn how she helps students learn and progress using technology.
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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.
Five Ideas for Technology Stations
Friday, September 8, 2017
So Leslie, what’s your first idea?
Idea #1: PBS Learning Media
Leslie: Well, my first idea – and one I have used in my classroom at the teacher-led station – is the interactive PBS LearningMedia. There are so many resources in there. Teachers, it’s so easy to log in, look at your grade level, your subject area, and pull up and interactive that you can actually use to augment the lesson.
Vicki: Oh, fun! Give me an example of one you’ve used that you thought was awesome.
The Cryptology using Algebraic Expressions Lesson
Leslie: The kids really loved the Cryptology one. We used it when we were solving equations. The students are given an equation, and they solve for the unknown variable. Then they have to match their answer to the country code to see where the criminals were coming from. They thought that was really fun!
Vicki: Oh, fun! And we forgot to mention that you’re actually an Elementary Teacher of the Year in Texas for Region 15, so these are elementary kids doing these really cool projects.
OK, what’s your second?
Idea #2: Flipgrid for a Collaborative Station
Leslie: My second one is Flipgrid. It’s a really amazing app for kids to collaborate with each other. At the collaborative station, I would set up a question that I ask the students. They would use their code to log onto the grid. Each one of them in the group can go ahead and give a response to that question and share the things that they created digitally as well.
Vicki: That’s such a fun tool, and we actually have an EdTech Tool Tuesday about that that I’ll link to in the Show Notes if you want to more about Flipgrid. This is one I’m going to be trying in the fall. It’s really cool.
- See Flipgrid: 6 Fun Ideas to Engage Students in Collaboration with Teryl Magee
OK, what’s next?
Idea #3: Nearpod
Leslie: Nearpod. It’s an AR/VR app, but it’s really neat because you can set it up as teacher-led, so I can actually control what they’re seeing from my device to their devices. They can also work together, pair up with a partner, to solve the problems and go through the different steps that I’m sending them. It’s a really amazing app, as well as I can also take them though different virtual tours.
Vicki: OK, so some people may not know what AR and VR stand for. We’ve talked about both of these, so I will include previous shows in the Show Notes. But explain just a little bit more about what these do.
- See: Aurasma and Augmented Reality in the Classroom with Dr. Tim Green
- See: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in the Classroom with Steven Anderson
Leslie: Augmented Reality just adds another layer to what you’re looking at. So for example, if I’m showing student gallons or pints, it will add a layer to actually compare – they can visually see — how much they’re looking at to compare it.
Vicki: Cool. And then how about the VR piece?
Leslie: The Virtual Reality takes them on a tour using their device or their Virtual Reality Glasses. They can actually be in another place and see inside of it. So if I took them to an aquarium, or another country, they can see different spots within that 360. They can actually turn around and see everything that’s in that space.
Vicki: What devices are your students using?
Leslie: We use both Chromebooks and iPads.
Vicki: Cool. OK, what’s your fourth one?
Idea #4: Google Expeditions
Leslie: My fourth one is Google Expeditions. I’m really passionate about this one because they have so many resources. It’s really important for especially my students who come from a low socioeconomic background. (They) haven’t had the experiences they need to connect new learning to. I use this one quite often to help create experiences so they know what we’re talking about. Especially with my ESL students and special ed as well. It helps give them a frame of reference.
Vicki: So give me an example of a Google Expedition you love.
Leslie: Well, I took my students on an expedition actually to an aquarium when we were learning about different careers and personal scinotes. We were exploring different areas or things that they might be interested in, so that they could then go look those up. They knew what career it was, what it entailed, and they could look up what kind of education they needed for that career, what the annual salaries were, and things like that.
Vicki: Cool. So we can kind immerse and help them travel and see the world without them having to leave the classroom.
OK, what else?
Leslie: It’s amazing.
Vicki: What’s your fifth?
Idea #5: LearnZillion
Leslie: My fifth one would definitely be LearnZillion. That’s also a really easy one to set up. You just set up an assignment, you give the kids the code, they can do it at their individual technology stations, and they log on. It’s also aligned with state standards so you know that the students are working on activities that are aligned to what they’re supposed to be learning as far as the content goes.
Vicki: Oh, there’s so many! Five fantastic ideas! Now you’ve got a lot more ideas in #EduSnap17, and we are going to a book giveaway. But let me ask you this, Leslie, how do you keep up with all the tools out there so that you know what to bring into your classroom?
Leslie: A lot of times I just have to do some research, look some things up and play with it. I did learn quite a bit from Jaime Donally, from AR/VR in EDU, and then all my PLNs that I connect with on Twitter have taught me so much. The best learning that I’ve had thus far was definitely at ISTE 17. It was amazing!
Vicki: Oh, wasn’t it so much fun? Educators, I just want to encourage you. Leslie is modeling for us — in some ways she may or may not know what I call it – but I call it, “Innovate like a turtle.” Taking 15 minutes, two to three times a week to learn something new ad to level up. And then when you go to conferences, just immerse in them and learn everything you can to bring back to your students. This whole idea of having tech stations and having these resources can really help our kids engage with the world, even when they can’t travel.
So, follow Leslie online and get out there and be remarkable! And I hope you can use one of these ideas.
Leslie: The really best thing about not necessarily knowing all of these apps and how to use them is (that) the kids are so forgiving, you learn together and you learn with them. It’s OK to have a faceplant every now and then because we learn from it, and we grow, and it’s just awesome.
Vicki: It is awesome. I’ve never heard anybody say it like that, Leslie. “It’s OK to have a faceplant.” I guess it is. I certainly have had my own faceplants, but I won’t say I enjoy it. (laughs)
Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford
Biography as Submitted
Leslie Swanson-Anaya received her undergraduate degree from Schreiner University in Kerrville, TX. She was a stay-at-home mother and foster mom for many years before pursuing her teacher certification credentials. After advocating for the educational needs of the children in her care, she felt a calling to pursue her teacher certification from Texas A&M- Commerce. Currently she is pursuing her M.Ed. for Concordia University Texas.
After serving as a special education teacher in Dallas ISD, Mansfield ISD, and Abilene ISD she found her teaching home in Brownwood ISD. Currently, she teaches sixth grade math at Coggin-Intermediate. As a strong proponent for student-centered instruction, she uses a blended learning model for her students using a strengths-based approach to differentiate for all student needs. Mrs. Swanson-Anaya believes in teaching the ‘whole child’, as evidenced by the strong relationships she has formed with her students, parents, colleagues, and school community.
Her professional interests focus on leveraging edtech resources, combined with solid pedagogy for student benefit. Ms. Swanson’s current projects, fueled by a passion to make a positive impact and inspire students to strive for the same, include creating blended learning experiences that incorporate student collaboration, to foster a growth and innovation mindset. Her practices will be featured in the upcoming EduMatch publication, as a contributing author, EduSanp17: A Snapshot in Education. In addition, she serves as a panelist for PBS Teachers’ Advisory Group, and is a Learning Ambassador of Atomic Learning. Finally, she was recently honored with Elementary Teacher of the Year for her contributions to the learning community in Brownwood ISD.
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