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Five surprising ways to bring technology into the classroom

Coding isn't just for science or math classes. Programming and computational thinking can be integrated into lessons at all levels.

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By Katherine Lissitsa
Kids Code Jeunesse

Our work at Kids Code Jeunesse has always been rooted in the world of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). But that doesn't mean coding is only for science or math lessons.

Part of our mission is to show that programming and computational thinking can be integrated into lessons at all levels (yes, even French and history lessons). This technological approach does not apply only to coding.

Here are five surprising ways to bring technology into any classroom:

Nearpod

Nearpod is award-winning educational software used by tens of thousands of teachers, schools and school boards to teach their students through interactive experiences.

With Nearpod, teachers can easily consolidate their existing documents - whether PDF, Google Slides, or PowerPoint - into a single interactive Nearpod course, for any subject. Nearpod features such quizzes, video polls, drawing tools, and blank text. Classes are easily synchronized with any tool the student has (Chromebook, iPad, iPhone, Android device) and can be taken at the student's pace to give them the flexibility they need to learn at a pace that suits him. The platform also allows teachers to obtain immediate feedback and thus be able to effectively assess the progress of their students.

Nearpod has also launched a virtual reality tool that makes it easy for students to explore faraway places. With or without a headset, students can use Nearpod VR to explore destinations like the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China without leaving the classroom.

Learn Around the World

With the same idea, Learn Around the World also allows students to discover places they can't really go on a regular school trip.

The non-profit organization, run by globetrotter Brandon Hall and his wife, favors virtual school trips. Hall and his wife call them "virtual expeditions"; they travel all over the world and create educational material based on students' questions. They then send the result directly to the class, which receives photos, videos, texts, live broadcasts and, of course, virtual school trips. For example, a virtual school trip to Mexico allows students to choose between four “natural wonders”: the migration of monarchs, cenotes (natural pools), Árbol del Tule (a gigantic tree in Oaxaca) or the Hierve el site. Agua (a set of natural rock formations in Oaxaca). Then, Hall shows them the experience they've chosen during a live stream.

In this way, students can see, hear, experience and experience the world through the eyes of someone who is there. According to Hall, Learn Around the World breaks down barriers of "money, access, time and distance" and encourages "global awareness and digital citizenship for students from kindergarten through high school." .

FlipGrid

To stay in the theme of the video, FlipGrid is a tool that teachers can use to facilitate communication between themselves and their students, as well as between the students themselves.

FlipGrid allows discussions to extend beyond class time and most importantly, allows everyone to express their ideas and opinions without feeling the pressure of having to raise their hands and speak in front of the whole class. FlipGrid is a social learning tool that allows teachers to start a discussion by proposing a given topic to their class, school, learning community, or the general population. Students can then record their answer, upload a short video to the topic space, view other answers, and interact with each other.

Therefore, chatting through technology allows students to formulate their answers from the comfort of a pre-recorded setting, plus the app eliminates the risk of being ignored or buried by voices that carry more.

Buncee

Buncee combines learning and creative expression. Kind of a more animated version of PowerPoint, Buncee is an online tool that allows teachers and students to create interactive multimedia presentations.

If a math teacher wants their students to participate in their lesson, or if a French teacher wants their students to create an interactive story as part of an assignment, Buncee can provide an imaginative solution. Entitled “buncees”, these presentations can include, among other things, animations, stickers, images, wallpapers, videos - not to mention the fact that its own image bank includes more than 8,000 illustrations. Students can even comment on their creations and give voice to their characters through microphone recordings.

According to Buncee, this way of approaching lessons and assignments stimulates creativity and “enables students to become content creators”. The simplicity of the interface, the user-friendliness and the abundance of resources allow students to explore, create and express their ideas in innovative ways.

Kahoot!

Learning platform through games, Kahoot! enables teachers to create fun and inclusive games that turn the learning process into an exciting experience.

Called “kahoots,” the games take the form of multiple choice quizzes that can be answered collectively and that can be used to assess students' knowledge on a given topic. For example, a French teacher can create or use a kahoot to check the vocabulary skills of his students. A geography teacher can organize a game for their students to learn about the different capitals of the world. The platform can be adapted to any subject, it can be used in any language, and it can work on any device, giving teachers a lot of leeway.

Due to its participatory nature, the people behind Kahoot! think the platform is really suitable for groups like classes. Each student plays on their own device and a split screen shows the progress and results of the game, creating a 'around the fire' moment and bringing the whole class together.

So, even if STEAM topics are not part of your daily life as teachers, technological tools certainly can be!

Want to learn more about Kahoot? Carrefour education offers you Kahoot: The interactive quiz.

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