What a Summer!!

This has been one of the most professionally rewarding summers I’ve had in a long time.  I’m taking some doctoral classes and have been immersed in some rich dialog and learning with some really neat friends and colleagues at Bethel University.  Our journey together as researchers has spanned three summers now, and the cohort I’m in has been a blessing.

I’ve also begun to expand my Professional Learning Network (PLN).  The teachers, administrators and authors I’m learning from have made me a more connected principal.  It’s been an amazing adventure and some of the educational technologies that I’m most excited about right now would not even be on my radar if it weren’t for my PLN.

Best of all, I’m able to take some of the innovative tools that I come across and share them with staff members at our school who are also exploring areas of passion.  Together we are really integrating some neat ideas and opportunities for students in our school!

Without further ado, here are my (current) favorite educational technology tools:

1.)  Twitter.  Connect, learn, grow, share, rinse & repeat.  Need I say more?  Hands down the biggest difference maker for me as a reflective and connected principal.

Aurasma

2.)  Aurasma.  Although I’m just scratching the surface of Augmented Reality (AR) apps, this one is a keeper!  It has ignited my imagination and the power of AR to bolster student creation, imagination, excitement, communication and creativity is limitless.  I originally entertained thoughts that this app may just be a glorified QR code generator, but it’s so much more.  To see a VERY basic example of what Aurasma can do check out my AR Resources page on this blog (second tab).

TouchCast3.)  TouchCast.  Got communication?  This app has all the bells and whistles you’d ever want to start creating your own podcasts.  Best of all….it’s easy to learn and has a very professional aesthetic.  I’ll admit my first TouchCast was an epic fail, but sometimes that’s where the best learning occurs.  If you’ve ever pondered replacing a traditional classroom/school newsletter with an interactive podcast that’s intuitive and fresh TouchCast is a MUST SEE.  Love. This. App.

Smule AutoRap4.)  Smule (Auto Rap).  Ever wish you were a rap star?  This speech converter is my wife’s nemesis!  A principal named Curt Rees shared this one with me, and I spent the better part of a day creating school related rap songs with my three young kids.  Can you imagine the creative potential in an elementary classroom?  Instead of a summative assessment at the end of a unit, how about a solid rubric and Smule’s Auto Rap App?!!  PS – Here’s a sample off my kids’ first solo album: http://khush.smule.com/autorap_52195b7a1902c&v2

5.)  WordPress.  I really enjoy writing, reflecting and sharing.  WordPress has been a fun new tool to connect with others and document some of my own learning as a school leader.  (Thanks for reading this blog by the way.)

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About Dr. Brad Gustafson

I am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at www.BradGustafson.com or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad

Posted on August 25, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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