Articles Tagged with: social media

How Social Media Can Improve EdTech

Being nerdy with Google Glass in 2015

As a full time teacher, you have way too much to do at one time. Too often educational technology tools are either suggested to or pushed on teachers as one more thing to figure out. This is incredibly frustrating and it doesn’t have to be. My name is Elisa and I am an education specialist at DIG-IT! Games.  I was (and still am) a huge advocate for educational technology. My prior roles in my education were as a high school Spanish teacher and technology integrator who ran some professional development opportunities for my colleagues. I was always interested in tools to make my class and teaching not only more fun, but also more effective. One of the most frustrating parts of this, though, was signing up for a new tool and then spending hours to figure out how it works only to find out that it just won’t work for you. I always thought to myself, “Well if they just changed this it would be PERFECT or “It’s too bad it doesn’t do that” and then I would write the tool off and go about my business. From my Twitter feed, I can tell that this is the frustration of many teachers out there. Since leaving the classroom, here is what I’ve figured out:

Edtech companies only work FOR TEACHERS. Without teachers, they will cease to exist. If some teachers somewhere aren’t using their product, the company will fail. This puts teachers and administrators in an amazing position. They have the opportunity to give feedback and have a hand in making products that are perfect and that they want to use. I know I never really gave this much thought while I was teaching (possibly because we have so much else to do, that writing an email to a company wasn’t a priority) and now that I’m trying to elicit reaction from teachers, I realize how important this process is.

The age of social media has made it so easy to facilitate customer service between clients and companies. Twitter especially has become a way to get instant help, feedback, or advice between teachers and companies. Since I am one of the people monitoring our Twitter account here at Dig-It!, I can honestly say that I’m so excited when teachers engage, ask questions, or just give feedback.

So here’s my ask to current teachers. Stop being silent. If you like a product, tell them why. If you hate a product, tell them why. If you have an idea for an improvement or a feature, tell them. Follow companies on social media and interact with them. You’d be surprised at the reactions you might get like early access to features or some other incentives. This is the only way that you are going to get the product you want and need. If you are trying to use a product and need help, reach out on social media. I know I’d be so excited to answer those questions.

Today signals the beginning of a long-awaited break for many teachers. I am less than a year removed from the classroom and I can still feel the excitement of having a few days off and coming back for what will be the home-stretch of the school year. I know that some of you will not touch anything related to teaching during this break and I know that some of you will be doing lesson plans at some point.

I challenge you to follow at least 1 company whose product(s) you use and try to interact with them. I will be on our handle (@digitgames) if anyone wants to chat about using educational games in the classroom. Also, I am doing some feedback and research on our game, Excavate, so if you’d be interested in helping me out, I’d appreciate it! We are also presenting at the ISTE 2017 conference and would love hear from you there.  Reach out on twitter, comment below, or email me to set up a time to talk about games in the classroom with one of our speakers.

 

Have a happy and safe weekend and if you are on break, enjoy it!

 


Ready, Set, Pin: Dig-It! Games is Pin-teresting

It’s the end of August and we know where teachers are. They’re in the classroom, cleaning and organizing, decorating bulletin boards and planning out seating charts; they’re in professional development for the district, talking about standards and assessments and training on the newest technologies; and they’re on Pinterest, pinning ideas for units and activities, rules posters and homework sheet templates.

Pinterest Announcement

Since July, according to Buzzfeed, there have been 72 million back-to-school Pins—from lunchboxes to school supplies to homework stations to ways of fighting fatigue. This week, Dig-It! Games launched our Pinterest page with boards for:

  • Ancient Maya Culture Unit
  • Middle School Math: Common Core Activities
  • Roman History Unit
  • Back to School: Middle School Teacher Tips

Part of our mission at Dig-It! Games is to promote cultural understanding through the study of ancient cultures. Our founder and CEO, Suzi Wilczynski, is a former social studies teacher and archaeologist. We specifically develop our games to meet the needs of middle school students, and we know that middle school is a time when students are discovering who they are and determining how they fit into the world. Students are looking to know where they come from to figure out where they’re going. By studying ancient Rome or the Maya culture, students develop analysis skills to lead them to a better understanding of the world around them.

Our hope is that our Pinterest page will serve as a resource for educators to quickly find exciting activities and tips to help teachers better plan the school year and implement game-based learning in the process.

  • Our two flagship games—Mayan Mysteries and Roman Town—were the inspiration for our ancient culture Boards on Pinterest. Within those, you’ll find teacher-created resources, printables, and engaging videos. Because Roman Town is set in Pompeii, there are volcano-building exercises and diorama activities for students to get hands-on with the content.
  • With a focus on math through our Loot Pursuit series (Tulum and Pompeii) as well as 3 Digits, we wanted to introduce some fun math resources that are Common Core-aligned for middle school teachers. In our Middle School Math board, you’ll find lots of free resources from Teachers Pay Teachers that can be used as games for review or center activities.
  • We also want teachers to feel ready to get back in the classroom. Our Back-to-School Board provides tips and resources to get the year started off on the right foot, with decorating ideas and first-day games to get to know students.

As we develop and produce new games, we’ll be updating the Pinterest page to reflect related resources. Follow us on Pinterest to stay informed! (Psst—we’re looking for vocabulary Pins…)