How teachers Can Leverage More Time?

As a social studies teacher I feel strongly that students need to acquire facts, but we want our students to move beyond routine memorization to analyze and make connections with the new information. With the new demands of Common Core standards teachers will be faced with an educational decision to teach content that leads to a deeper understanding, comprehension, and application.

Incorporating technology into daily instruction is one way in which teachers can leverage more time, restructure learning activities so they become more meaningful, and provide opportunities for more rigorous  instruction. Digital tools can be seamlessly integrated into the curriculum to save teachers time and enhance learning time. Some teachers have a hard time envisioning how digital products can be enhanced into classroom instruction. Here are a few ways I integrate technology into my classroom:



I use a program called Infuse learning as a formative assessment with my students. Students can electronically through their cell phones, tablets, or laptops send responses immediately to an electronic spreadsheet that can allow me assess whole-group or individual feedback.


I can then use this information to guide my teaching and instruction. For example, students may answer a critical thinking question from the previous night’s homework. If the spreadsheet or graph reveals a majority of students did not comprehend a concept the assignment I can then reteach or review a particular concept or question. Students send immediate responses to my teacher account which can place responses into an electronic spreadsheet, which allows me assess the whole class or give individual feedback. Through infuse learning, I can send my class a multiple-choice question. The website instantly graphs my students responses, which reveals if my students did not comprehend a concept


For example, students may answer a critical comprehension question applying a historical topic to modern day. Another way I have my student’s use this program is with the draw feature. In pairs they are assigned four vocabulary words. They then need to draw the vocabulary words. They then send the words to the board and as a class we guess the word and review the definition.  This makes for a particularly useful review activity in any class (yes even AP).

Image by: Krista Moroder


Google Forms for Data Collection

I simplified my life with Google Forms.  Google forms can help you plan an event, send a survey, give a quiz, or collect information in an easy way. Through Google Forms responses are automatically collected in a spreadsheet. Responses can be shown in a graph or sorted by spreadsheet column.


I use Google Forms on the first day of school to collect student information, back to school night data, rubrics for projects, and so much more. My students even asked me to make a Google form for a debate evaluation so that no one knew their handwriting with the evaluation.

Evernote for Lesson Plans, Notes, or Assignments 

Evernote is an easy-to-use, free application or website that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Evernote lets your take notes, sync files across your devices, save webpages, capture inspiration, and share your ideas with friends and colleagues.  There are so many wonderful ways to use Evernote for file sharing, lesson plans, digital portfolios writing submission. The ideas are endless! Here is a great Livebinder created by Justin Stallings on all the wonderful features of Evernote.



Online Discussions

Back channeling during class can encourage your students to make comments, ask questions, and provide feedback.  I have used Today’s Meet, Twitter, or My Big Campus as a back channel during class such as with a debate, video, or resource sharing session when I do not want “verbal” discussion. My students enjoy back channeling during videos. My students ask questions, answer questions, and share links/quotes about the topic of the video. I find I can have a more engaging discussion after the video because all of the initial questions were already answered.







Back-Channel in the Classroom

I am looking for interesting ways to bring technology into my classroom. One of my goals this year is to incorporate back-channeling into my classroom. This year I am going to  try back-channeling using Edmodo while my class is watching a video. I think students will be excited to share their information. I plan on posing a series of questions on Edmodo and having students reply to the questions and other students comments.  I just read a Great post from Richard Bryne at Free Technology for Teachers about Back-Channeling. He created the following slideshare post about back-channeling in the classroom.

Here is another Post called five platforms for classroom back-channels  from Richard Bryne at Free Technology for Teachers. Richard Posts mentioned 5 platforms. He posts:

Chatzy is a neat little website that I learned about from Wes FryerChatzy provides a free platform for hosting your private chat area. To use it, simply name your chat area, select your privacy settings (you can password protect it), then send out invitations. Instead of sending out invitations you could just post the link to your chat area.”

TodaysMeet is completely free to use. Setting up a chat area in TodaysMeet is very simple. To set up your chat area just select a name for your room (that name becomes the url for your chat area), how long you want your room to exist, and select an optional Twitter hashtag for your chat area.  

Edmodo is a microblogging service designed specifically for educational use. Using Edmodo teachers can create a microblogging network for their classes. The latest version of Edmodo updates in real-time so that members of group can quickly respond to each other. Edmodo also provides teachers with a place to post assignment reminders, build an event calendar, and post messages to the group. provides a platform for creating your own private micro-blogging community. The free version of lets you create a community based on your email domain. For example, if I had other people using as their email domain, I could establish a community just for people with that email domain.

Although it could be difficult to get enough invites for all of your students to use it now, in the futureGoogle Wave could be a great platform for back-channel discussions. Google Wave allows users to thread conversations, invite people into a conversation at any point, and see the text that others are typing as they’re typing it. Wave also allows you to post links, embed maps, and a myriad of gadgets. Watch the video below for a concise introduction toGoogle Wave.








Today’s Meet- backchannel in your classroom

Todays Meet helps you embrace the backchannel and connect with your audience in realtime.

Encourage the room to use the live stream to make comments, ask questions, and use that feedback to tailor your presentation, sharpen your points, and address audience needs.

Students can have a discussion about class, ask questions, and be engaged in the classroom with the use of Today’s Meet. Check it out Today!

What is the back-channel?

The backchannel is everything going on in the room that isn’t coming from the presenter. The backchannel is where people ask each other questions, pass notes, get distracted, and give you the most immediate feedback you’ll ever get. Instead of ignoring the backchannel, Todays Meet helps you leverage its power.

Tapping into the backchannel lets you tailor and direct your presentation to the audience in front of you, and unifying the backchannel means the audience can share insights, questions and answers like never before.