Bringing the Joy Back with Tech:Tips Tricks and Psychological Shifts!Presenter: Lisa Gurthie
Is the love of learning still present for you and your students?Tech can help you bring it back, even in a low-tech classroom and even with jaded students.(plus if joy is omnipresent in your room, tech can keep it fresh!)

What is Joy with Tech all about?
This session discusses ways to use tech during planning and class time to enhance your strengths (and those of your students) while minimizing weak areas. Tech lets you to customize your teaching as you, your students, and the world change because it is YOU who knows best how to put it all together. Your gifts as a teacher can never be replaced by tech, but they can be strengthened.
Here's the

presentation outl
Presentation Outline-interrupt for questions as needed.

1. Intro (see joy video linked below. Learning should be joyful like that.) How a non-techie teacher came to love tech.
2. Imagination-teaching strength visualization and arts activity including legos or drawing option.
3. A "Click Tour" of this wiki and explanation of highlights*.
4. An example of tech-based arts integration - an adaptation of a Dance you PhD TED talk

*Most Important Takeaways:
Our job is no longer Data Delivery (the knowledge of the world is in their pocket already)
We need to teach them to access and assess
Useful sayings of tech folks use: You can not drink from the firehose of the internet.
Fish in the internet stream for what you need, let the rest float by.
and above all:
"Flip" Bloom's taxonomy- start with creation. It uncovers the diverse genius in the room and infuses rigor. Don't forget the arts.
To bring yourself some joy: Evernote, Twitter, and Yammer are my most useful webtools as a teacher.

What are the "psychological shifts" referenced in this workshop title?

  • Realize you are not "behind":

  • Reverse Bloom's Taxonomy:
    • Using tech to work authentically from the top down instead bottom up creates buy-in. Students see what they still need to learn and why--so the lower taxonomic work becomes meaningful instead of drudgery. Also guards against non-gifted kids never getting real rigor.

  • Consider creativity not as fixed and optional but as teachable and essential for students' future work and life:
    • Employers report not a knowledge deficit but a creativity, teamwork, and flexibilty deficit in their workers today. Consider thisteacher's use of tech to spruce up her multiple choice tests toward work-transferrable higher order thinking skills. (Meta moment: Note the flexibility deficit link goes to a photo I took during UNCC's college orientation and was able to share with you from my Evernote (more below). When you put photos into Evernote, the words become instantly searchable. even handwritten words.)

  • Reframe student apathy:
    • Your students aren't lazy, they do want to learn, and you can motivate them by giving them power, choice and community through tech! Kids can't be disengaged from your content when they are creating it. Also use tech like social media to keep abreast of things your students care about so you can make curriculum connections. This pays great dividends according to Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson

  • Joyful learning isn't just for kids:
    • On our evaluations, using tech can help us rack up points on a bunch of teacher rating areas--not just the ones directly related to tech! Also using tech for teacher PD can make it fun, crowdsourced, convenient and personalized to your needs, not a chore to dread, avoid, or endure. Virtual PLN's like Twitter Yammer and even Facebook put YOU in charge of your own professional development, keep you from relying on out-of-date info in today's fast changing field, and save you time by not having to reinvent the wheel!
    • Speaking of not reinventing the wheel... these webtools make the pdfs you find at teacher share sites editable in word or powerpoint:

Which "tips and tricks" are useful?
Below are the ones I incorporate. There are plenty more interesting ways to use edtech . Choose a few that mesh with your gifts and goals:
  • Evernote:
    • Evernote is the single most helpful tech tool for me as a teacher. Use Evernote to organize lesson plans and teaching resources. Everything you find online can be saved to Evernote. Also, you can save and share photos in evernote and the words on the document you photograph become searchable. Also teach students to use it at school and on their phones. They will never lose their work and can even take photos of homework assigments written on the board, etc (remember, the handwriting becomes searchable). I share info of use to my students by making my evernote file public then pasting the link on my wiki.

  • Memorization Help:
    • Online Flash Cards and game sites take the drudgery out of the base level of Blooms and sites like Flashcard DB offer spaced repetition for maximum retention. Kids can study anytime from their phones. Memrise offers great mnemonics, Study Stack lets them play games with the card terms.

  • Widgets and Apps:
    • Great for kids with smartphones who don't like traditional study methods, who don't have a lot of free time, or who don't carry their books around. The ones my kids use are Evernote, Edmodo, SAT prep and AP prep apps, and subject-specific apps. Have students search your curriculum topic at their device's app store to begin finding a few.

  • Demonstration and explication video sites:
    • ItunesU (now on the start menu from your school computer!) RSA Animate, TED, TedEd and Khan Academy can be used to flip, reteach, enrich. (don't ignore Amidst the misanthropic comments are videos of academic merit, rare footage, and ones that activate humor and mnemonics for learning. Update Thanks to the awesome Gaggle session, I learned that your students can watch youtube videos via gaggle tube!)

  • Online Classrooms like Gaggle, Schoology, Edmodo:
    • Edmodo offers classroom access around the clock, discussions solidify learning through a social component that adds meaning and clarifies thought, badges motivate and are a tangible demonstration of competency, paperless assignments, file hosting, autograded quizzes and more.
    • Bonus: You'll be surprised and pleased when the class clown contributes a useful link over the weekend and when the quiet kid's brilliant Edmodo comment leads students to seek their opinion during class! Can combine classes- we used Edmodo for a project with a school in Egypt and with a college here.

  • Participation and Feedback Assistance:
    • Socrative(for smart phones or web based) or
    • Poll Everywhere (for texting-no smart phone needed) are great for increased participation and feedback- Instead of one student answering, they can all answer. You can write questions beforehand or solicit everyone's response to verbal ones off the cuff as you teach!
    • Today's Meet for "backchannel". I've used backchannel during lectures and it was ok, but a language teacher suggests leaving backchannel open during worktime so students can get questions answered by other kids without disturbing the quiet or her editing conferences.

  • Video Conferencing:
    • Skype brings local or global experts and student tutors who would otherwise be unable to come into your room. You need to fill out a permission from at the IT website two weeks in advance. Try Mystery State.

  • And favorite use of tech is...

Integrating Arts through Tech-- Find art and videos online (RSA Animates are good) and have students use them as a catalyst for...

      • Poetry and Creative Writing- Show artistic videos and poems like spoken word about the essential question of your topic then have students write their own.
      • Dance- Movement wakes up class and engages higher order thinking-- Teens are very shy to this idea and very vulnerable to embarrassment so it takes a good deal of warm up but is so worth a try if you really want to see joy! (warmups include: Playfair cooperative (non competitive) team building activities that use the whole body, forced choices questions where students move into lines and corners for each answer, Frozen Tableaux (this is the best way to warm them up to dance. Give them a key word from your unit and have groups of 3-6 arrange their bodies into a Frozen Statues type scene that depicts that keyword or idea in some way (advise them to consider scenes at mutliple height levels--some kids sitting/reclining, some standing, some up on a chair) . You the teacher being willing to dance also warms them up.) To get higher quality performances, critique similar students skits and performances from youtube - point out things you do and don't want to see in theirs or have them do it "wrong" first. Once they think can with their bodies, show your students the first part of Jon Bohannon's Ted talk about a Dance Your Phd , turn them loose to dance their chapter topics and you have created higher order thinking, and joy with a low-tech, arts-infused lesson you can use again and again! Sometimes they don't realize they don't understand until they try to interpret it through dance.
      • Tech-enhanced Visual arts --Try Thinglink, creating infographics*, photo storytelling with powerpoint (link goes to page with student example) as well as Storybird, Glogster, creating symbols for topic synthesis, and don't forget movie making. (Sometimes students come in with videos that school computers can't read, but Pixorial may fix that.
      • Music- CMS computers have a program called Audacity built into the start menu. I've had students make presentations with it even though I don' t know how to use it *
      • Oratory and Dramatic Performance- Well-done oration is a neglected art form kids appreciate that directly impacts common core and 21st c. thinking skills. Tech brings the most gifted speakers in the discipline you teach straight to your students. Watch a speech, use media literacy to analyze performance together, and then try out their style. I've tried the timed pecha kucha slide format for added interest. They can perform their orations live while a classmate films. Sites like Xtranormal, Animoto and Voki can be a help to shy students.

*Remember the first psychological shift-you don't have to be an expert at a tech tool to begin using it. When you create an air of collaboration, the students who are interested will teach themselves and inspire the others for next time!

What to do with all these finished artistic expressions of higher order thinking?

Use tech to find real-world audiences for student creations! Publish writing in a blog glog or ebook, upload to the net (great for shy kids), enter their finished products into contests (see the monthly grant newsletter usually in CMS directline. Click here for more on digital authentic assessment


  • Here's Inspiration if you doubt the value of trying joyful learning with tech. Advice against coercion and the quest for A's and toward exploration and joyful learning
  • Creating autonomy, mastery and purpose in the classroom: The 20% Project (it's what gave the world post-it notes!)
  • the world's largest database of infographics. * Here's a lesson implementing summarization, creation of infographic art and movement that arose out of a discussion on Yammer:
      • Have students make their own infographics instead of a powerpoint or traditonal report. First view examples of good (and bad) ones and discussing what's effective and what's extraneous. I notice that there is a lot of info on the web about turning one's resume into an infographic so this is a skill they can use. Could even be an intro activity in August. Have students create infographics of themselves.Here is an example of what i meant by taking info a student might normally do a powerpoint or report on and turning it into an infographic instead...complete with a citation of sources at the end!… (Thanks to @Jill Thompson) another thing you could do is have the class turn their own bodies into an infographic ...arrange themselves into position as a graphing of some piece of data that relates to class. If nothing speaks to you at you can always google the topic kids are studying plus the word "infographic" and you'll find something that could work as a physical graph.
  • Efficiency Tools:
    • Class Dojo
    • : "--"If it's Not Free, It's Not For Me!" This Livebinder has tons of free resources for teachers (more for middle) tabbed by subject- including free creative commons clip art sites for your class ( this page's clip art courtesy of Discovery Ed and DK)
    • for url shortening and automatic qr code creation to integrate smart phones. (My school which is over 70% free reduced averages 6 smart phones with data plans per class so qr code activities like scavenger hunts are possible in groups.)
    • Here are more tech resources than you can shake a stick at: If you don't find what you want here, go to his homepage.
    • Check out Yammer's Webtools group for many more.

joy. (also proof that youtube has redeeming qualities for society)

Here's his new one.
Bonus--absolutely free, just for stopping by this site today!This link changed my teaching:Dr. Beverly Tatum's Stages of Racial Identity DevelopmentRelationship, Respect, and Relevance must be present for the traditional three R's (reading, 'riting and, 'rithmatic) to be joyful and treasured.