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EdTechBaton, a community-led resource for crowdsourcing technology lessons

There is no shortage of lists like “Best EdTech resources for every classroom” or “My favorite 20 apps for teaching.” So it’s not hard for teachers to discover what tools, resources, or apps are popular in classrooms. The hard part for teachers is developing good lessons around those resources. That takes time, and we all know how precious time is. These lists don’t usually give tips for how to implement the tools.

EdTechBaton is a relatively new community-based Instagram project with the goal of providing a source of inspiration for crowdsourcing lesson plans around technology in the classroom. Each day, a different educator “runs with the baton” and shares photos and stories of how they are using technology in their school. These aren’t just teachers; assistant principals, technology coordinators, and instructional coaches, and other educators also participate.

By giving such a wide variety of educators the opportunity to share what is working for them in their schools and classrooms, the EdTechBaton highlights those in the trenches. Ben Rimes, a technology coordinator of a school district in Michigan, wrote about his positive experience participating in the EdTechBaton:

“There’s currently a wave of educational technology celebrities, rockstars, and ‘all star groups’ rising in prominence, and I feel at times that it over looks the quietly competent educators that I see everyday in the classroom.”

On Oct. 3, 2014, Casey Coleman, the Educational Director of the Raleigh Boys & Girls Club showed the community what a STEM Day is like at the B&G Club:

 

Educators all across the country are able to share their experiences with EdTech, which makes this a great crowdsource hub for all kinds of ideas. With such a broad range of schools represented, it’s likely there will be one similar to your own from which to get inspiration.

At a high school in Illinois, students participate in a Tech Support Internship to provide support to the school’s 3500 students, each with their own device:

 

EdTechBaton is open for any educator, whether in a 1:1 school, a bring your own device (BYOD) school, or even a school without individual devices for each student. It is especially interesting to see different perspectives on what EdTech means. Even if you are a teacher with little to no technology in your classroom, you can show how you’re making do with what you have.

This post by teacher Todd Lash in Illinois highlights that the key is critical thinking, which can be augmented by the technology. The technology is not the key in and of itself:

 

The wide variety of posts means there is always something interesting happening. Some days, the posts center around apps or online resources used in classrooms. At this primary school in Texas, a teacher uses Adventure to Fitness videos to get her kids up and moving on a cold, rainy day when they would normally be outside for recess:

 

Other days the posts might be about the Maker Movement or highlighting schools’ Makerspaces. These are labs stocked with tools and gadgets where students engage in hands-on building projects and have the opportunity to create anything from robots to magazines.

Fourth graders in Illinois make a rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland in their school’s Makerspace:

 

Students at a school in California use Arduino and a MaKey MaKey kit in science class. Arduino is an open source electronics platform that can be easily programmed to interact with its environment using sensors and controllers. MaKey MaKey kits are invention kits that turn everyday objects into touchpads that work with any computer.

Science teachers working on lessons with Arduino and MakeyMakey at @hillbrookschool. #teachersfollowteachers

A photo posted by EdTech Baton (@edtechbaton) on

 

If you are an educator, you are encouraged to sign up to run with the baton for the day and share how you are integrating technology in your classroom or school.

EdTechBaton wants to allow educators to easily and quickly get to the heart of what education technology is really about: fostering higher-order thinking and cognitive skills.

Alisa Herr

Alisa Herr is the former chief technical officer of EducationNC.