As communication apps and learning technology continue to evolve, O’Dowd teachers are constantly collecting new tools to enhance the classroom experience – especially when remote. “Our teachers use the latest tech tools to help build community among peers, and to offer students more creative avenues to express what they are learning,” shares O’Dowd’s Instructional Technologist Natalie Chilese.
Here are the top three ways O’Dowd teachers top the charts with technology tools:
- Show What You Know
Teachers from multiple disciplines, including religion, science, history and world language, use FlipGrid, a web-based video tool specifically built for teachers and students. FlipGrid enables teachers to raise a discussion topic, and students create their own videos to respond, demonstrating what they’ve learned in an empowering rich-media format that includes text, drawing, and even custom stickers. “FlipGrid is an amazing way to build community and facilitate really stimulating classroom discussion,” says religion teacher Liz Remigio. “It’s much less stressful for students than presenting live, and we get to hear so many different voices and perspectives – especially from students who might be less inclined to raise their hands. Plus it’s fun!”
- Group Chats Build Community
History teacher Matt Lane uses Slack, a communication platform originally designed for enterprise but which many universities have embraced as a more dynamic and efficient way to manage group projects, class notes, and share information. “I use it to build community, in and out of the classroom,” says Matt. Through Slack, students engage in new opportunities to learn from each other. “We can have a group chat about world history topics that’s more casual and easier to participate in than a formal classroom discussion,” Matt explains. “It gives students fun ways to share what they’ve absorbed, ask questions of their peers, and connect with each other. Plus, we have class debates on the best candy bars!”
- Social Media – Learning to Evaluate the News
With social apps like Instagram and TikTok becoming a leading news source for young people, religion teacher Molleen Dupree-Dominguez uses her Ethics and Media course to teach students standards by which to judge news. “Verifying reliable news is a critical skill for citizens in a democracy,” asserts Molleen. This fall, her students used their creativity and content-making savvy to produce TikTok videos that educated their peers about how to seek trustworthy and reliable news sources. “My students have been leaders in demonstrating how TikTok can be used to communicate a message,” she says.
Embracing tech tools has been a game changer for student learning, communication, and community building. From assigning a guided meditation from Calm before Finals Week, to leveraging the apps that students use in their daily lives, O’Dowd teachers are always finding innovative ways to inspire academic excellence.