Week 4 – 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge

This post is week 4 of 8 in the #8WeeksofSummer Blog Challenge for educators.

What a great prompt, Penny! I will look forward to hearing what tools others have mastered or experimented with this year!

New tools I discovered are more than ones I mastered, to be sure. It was a good year for new tools. Here are a few of the most significant tools I picked up.

  1. Zoom – Without a doubt in one year we went from amateurs floundering around in a foreign program to successfully running all kinds and sizes of virtual meetings. After a year, I’ve run Zoom meetings with one and two students for tutoring sessions to classes full of English learners to a hundred in church school general sessions. In addition, we have been to funerals, weddings, surprise birthday parties, going away celebrations, family gatherings, all staff meetings, and more. Really, when I think of the growth, not only in the ability level of myself and participants to use the program, but also in the growth and available features in the program itself, the difference is startling. I was able to work with first through eleventh grades this year. It was so fun to use annotation tools, the whiteboard, breakout rooms and more with all of the different age groups. It really was amazing what we all learned. I don’t believe our futures will ever be the same. We are not going back for a lot of our meetings; Zoom will stay with us after the pandemic.
  2. Flipgrid – It is hard for me to believe that my first assignment on Flipgrid was only in March 2020. It was the first assignment  gave after the lockdown began. I learned so much about this program, as did my students.
  3. Nearpod – When I did a long term sub position in high school this year, I used Nearpod, and made a mistake showing the teacher’s view instead of the student view on a slide that definitely would have been better to keep anonymous. That was an example where I definitely had not yet mastered a program.
  4. Google Classroom – I had only toyed with Google Classroom earlier. I had created a classroom for my second graders a few years ago, but I never learned enough or had reason enough to commit to really learning. Fast forward five years, and we were all thrown into learning how to use Google Classroom. KG to grade 12 students and every teacher in our school. That is one of the monumental tasks our Senior Leadership Team pulled off this year. Wow. They did it and we did it.
  5. Google Drive – We really polished our skills in using Slides, Forms, Sheets, and more. The students did too!

Those are the ones that come to mind right away. What about you?

What new tools did you discover and/or master this year?