Undoubtedly, the Covid- 19 pandemic has slowed the pace of the world. It has closed some businesses temporarily or unfortunately in some cases permanently.  However, such a pandemic has graced us in a time where technology is king.  There are very few things, if any, under the sun that technology has not impacted.  From banking to medicine and of course the classroom.  From PowerPoint presentations to Edmodo and Google classroom to Cam Scanner, I have it all at my disposal. Covid-19 has also come at a time of App-sensation.  An individual can talk face to face or share a photo or document with anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world.  A time where students are creating sticker emojis of their principals. So how do these Apps fit into an everyday science class or any classroom for that matter? From gaming apps like Kahoot to popular social media apps like Tic Tok and Twitter can be used for teaching and learning.

Kahoot is an educational gaming platform that allows a teacher to set up a quiz and even conduct a survey. The teacher creates a class and invites students to the class by giving them a pin.  Through video conferencing outlets such as skype and zoom the teacher and students log in at the same time and the games begin. Click and read a question, select your answer, submit your answer and done. At the end of each game, scores are available in real-time from highest to lowest and students know who reigns champion. But here is the best part, a teacher has marked an assignment for all thirty students in a matter or of minutes! “Talk about a game-changer”.

I have seen nurses and teachers take to the new kid on the block Tic Tok to create videos showing off their skills and talents.  The very same app can be used by students to do the same. Students can be placed in groups to create a model of the human respiratory system or give a presentation on cells.  Students can compartmentalize the assignment for each group member to work on. They can then make a video based on what was designated for them, then put the pieces together to make one video all from the comfort of their individual homes.  In this one assignment, a number of Bloom’s Taxonomy has been met, application, synthesizing and designing all with the use of Tic Tok.  Not to mention students are given an opportunity to show their creative sides.  “We can certainly dance to that”.

If anyone wants to know or respond to a specific topic or global event, just take to social media, like twitter.  The same can be done for a teacher wanting to discuss a topic that is related to a current global issue, such as Covid-19. Teachers can create a Twitter account post a question and invite students to an online discussion. In real-time their thoughts are expressed and fellow students are able to give commentary on each other’s points of view.  Not having the experience of limited access to technology as they do in a classroom, students can now do quick research on the topic at hand and give well thought out and educated responses.  “Now there’s a tweet”.

As a teacher, some of the greatest challenges of using technology in a classroom are high cost and the negative ways it can be used.  However, the one desktop that was once in every home is now in every hand in every home in the form of a cell phone, tablet or laptop.  To meet the challenges of high cost and misuse, the availability of free apps with responsible guidance can certainly make such challenges a thing of the past.

 

Written by: Bradia Braynen