Jarod Bormann

Jarod Bormann

Jarod was previously a middle school and high school English teacher for seven years. In his last three years, his school went 1:1 with iPads in grades 9-12. Jarod has received his Masters in Instructional Technology and is now a Technology Integration Specialist where he helps other teachers integrate technology into their own classrooms.

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We cover a lot of edtech trends, but which ones are here to stay the course? Iowa-based English teacher turned technology integration specialist Jarod Bormann gives his top five trends that are really leaving their mark in teaching.

If you are one with your ear to ground, I’m sure you have a pulse already on what is transforming instruction in education. As a classroom teacher, I thought I did too. But since changing my job to Instructional Technology, I have had the opportunity to work with educators in varying districts. I have also had the opportunity to expand my understanding by attending more tech conferences. These new experiences have given me a better outlook on what edtech trends are truly shaping education, whereas my prior knowledge mainly came from Twitter.

The real-time commenting tool in Google Drive provides a handy tool for peer to peer assessment - and it's now appeared on its own iPad app. In his creative writing class, Jarod describes how his students love to post meaningful comments on each other's work after swapping their drafts at the end of every lesson. Even the teacher can chip in!

Google Docs has been around for a few years, and it didn't take long for the education world to take note of this powerful tool.

With it's ability to save as you type and to collaboratively write, Google Docs was a student and teacher's dream. When we started a 1:1 initiative with iPads at our school, however, Google Docs was the biggest thorn in my side.

As the iPad boomed in popularity, people soon realised that they couldn't utilise the same Google Docs features on the iPad. Slowly, but surely, Google kept improving their Drive iPad app, allowing me to harness some of the same useful features in our 1:1 school program.

The whole reason for educators to fear Facebook was because "it's unsafe and can't be monitored." Which is partially true, but wasn't convincing enough for me.

Now with 1:1 programs popping up all over, companies like Edmodo, Moodle, and Schoology are developing safe ways for teachers and students to communicate outside of class time. These free online tools are great, but they operate on a more closed basis than Facebook.

However, I don't run my class like that. My class is open, ideas are shared, and if someone goes along the lines of inappropriate, then that's just another opportunity for me to teach.

When it comes to learning, feedback is critical. So when it comes to one's writing, the principle is no different.

I have been teaching English for only six years but have struggled with this feedback process time and time again. I realise it is the most important part, and yet to do it effectively, I must commit literally hours to making sure I do it right. It's the proverbial thorn in my side.

Then when we went 1:1 with iPads in December of 2011, we discovered Notabilty. I played around with it and at first was impressed. I thought it to be a very versatile note-taking app. Then I discovered that it also has the ability to record audio along with the notes. And that's when the lightbulb exploded.

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 11:34

QR code crime scene fun

I've heard of QR codes and have seen them used in mobile advertising. I've even heard of some really good ideas on how to use them in class, including a QR code scavenger hunt. Our school is 1:1 with iPads in grades 9-12, and I've been pondering for a while on how I could use QR codes in my own classroom.

As we approached Ch. 6 & 7 of Huckleberry Finn, an idea struck me. In those chapters, Huck stages a crime scene to make it look like how he was murdered. Brilliant, I know. But most students don't see his genius behind this. So I decided to do a QR code crime scene prior to reading these two chapters.

Monday, 09 July 2012 13:31

How to use iBooks Author as a teacher

This past January, Apple came out with a slick new free app for OSX as part of their initiative to permanently establish themselves into the world of academia. With the popularity of the iPad selling at a ridiculous rate, Apple followed through with Steve Jobs' vision of digital interactive textbooks. The iPad is the device to do it too.

Apple ushers in iBooks Author - an app for MacBooks and iMacs that allows anyone to create a textbook formatted for the iPad. As an educator, you might be asking, "What does this have to do with me?" Good question. Here is the video that Apple put together to show off their product:

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