This month I am happy to be writing another blog post about a useful tip from my classroom. Last month I wrote about Effectively Organizing Your Professional Development Notes this month I am writing about using your data projector more effectively.
Gone are the days when data projectors are a novelty item competing with the tried and true overhead projector machine. A lot of classrooms have been updated to have data projectors on carts or wall-mounted data projectors. Data projectors have so many functions besides just projecting an image, movie or assignment.
1. Use the data projector during class brainstorming or discussions to keep track of ideas. Open a new document in a word processing program or a Google Doc, and type as the students are speaking. This a great visual representation for those who need both auditory and visual methods of teaching.
2. Project an image related to your topic of study to your plain erasable whiteboard. Have the students write on the image with your normal whiteboard markers. This is a great way to see what students know about a topic or to have them build your lesson note as you go.
3. Use it to project a “back channel” while you are teaching your lesson. I like to use a website called Today’s Meet for my students to record their thinking or questions while I am teaching. Today’s Meet is a like an online chat room where people, when given a specific web address, can discuss ideas. This is great for the times where you need to get through your lesson, cannot immediately take questions, but do not want the students to forget their questions. They can ask their question in the Today’s Meet chat room and then you can answer it once you are done teaching your lesson. However, the best part of this “chat room” idea is that if someone in the class knows the answer they can answer it right away!
Note: I would not use this back channel idea until I have taught about digital citizenship, explained the rules for using this site and directly modeled appropriate questions and use. Be prepared for some silliness the first time you introduce this, but the overall benefits and engagement will keep you wanting to try it more often.