I subbed for a fifth grade class today at P.K. Yonge, University of Florida's Developmental Research K-12 school, and I almost had a cow! I was working with an awesome intern who basically had already learned the ropes and did most of everything the teacher left in the plans. But when we went to math, I noticed she suddenly became somewhat glued to her phone and I thought, "now that isn't very professional." Turns out, I spoke too soon! She was using a Kagan app on her phone! For those of you who aren't familiar, Kagan strategies are what's been in for more than just a few seasons in education. Dr. Spencer and his wife, Laurie Kagan are the "gurus," so to speak. Kagan strategies, in a nutshell, exist to keep students actively engaged in their learning.
This Name Selector works by randomly going through the names of the students in your class with a sound similar to the wheel turning in Wheel of Fortune. The intern, used it as she taught math to choose different students to answer. It is a great way to give everyone an equal chance to try, cancels out favoritism or oversight and gets the kids excited to be chosen to participate rather than dread being called on.
It is amazing to me that no matter how much I learn about technological advances in education and even though I live in a digitally-driven society, I still find awe in these new discoveries. It never once occurred to me that these phenomenal educators and researchers we have learned about in my education courses had put out anything other than books, classroom activity kits and instructional DVDs. I was completely unaware that these people, though cutting-edge in their pedagogical techniques, were developing apps! Seems silly, right? I guess I too, still need to expand my view of all the possibilities there are to incorporate technology in education (not to mention stop being a smartphone hold out and give up this dinosaur of a phone so I can equip myself to be on the forefront of the digital education revolution).