6 Tools to Incorporate Technology into Winter Olympics Lessons

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The Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics takes place in PyeongChang, South Korea on February 9 with the featured walk of athletes from around the world. A record of over 100 medals in 15 disciplines will include four new events – big air snowboarding, freestyle skiing, mass start speed skating, and mixed doubles curling.  The Olympics will wind to an end with the closing ceremony taking place on February 25.

It isn’t difficult to search Google to find many lessons for teaching about the Olympics. The TeachersFirst website includes 49 free resources with the Olympics tag, and many apply directly to the Winter Olympics. These searches, however, don’t always provide enough information to add technology through standards-based lessons correlated to ISTE Standards for Students. These standards provide a framework to ensure student voice and growth in a constantly changing technological landscape.

In addition to the ISTE Standards, consideration of the SAMR or other similar model helps provide a framework to incorporate technology into lessons. This model allows us to assess the use of technology in our classrooms starting with the use of technology as a substitute for something we already have and leading up to using technology to create and implement tasks in ways that would be impossible otherwise.

Keeping ISTE Standards and SAMR in mind, these six of the newest tools found on TeachersFirst Edge offer a wide range of uses and the opportunity for creativity for you and your students as you follow the progress of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

  1. Chartico – this easy to use site creates colorful bar charts using your information. Instead of using graph paper or online spreadsheets use Chartico to track Olympic medal winners by country, sport, or events. When complete, click done and share using the unique URL created for your chart. To incorporate your final work into any other project, take a screenshot and save on your computer as an image.
  2. MapStory – using maps to learn about the Olympics and Olympic athletes is a natural connection. MapStory takes maps a step further and uses them as a starting point for telling stories with the addition of layers including videos, text, and images. Instead of placing markers onto the wall map on your classroom, try using this tool or one of the many other mapping tools to create an online digital story of the people and places that are part of the Olympic story.
  3. Anchor – share the daily stories from the Olympics through a class podcast using Anchor. Have students research the latest information from local or national news sources and include their thoughts and perspectives through the podcast. Anchor offers the ability to add music from Apple Music and Spotify. Try finding international music to share as part of the broadcast!
  4. MySimpleShow – have you had students research and explain different Olympic events? MySimpleShow is perfect for sharing this research! This tool creates animated explainer videos using templates or your PowerPoint presentations. Record your soundtrack then publish to YouTube for sharing.
  5. Breaking News Generator – design a professional looking front page for a newspaper using this tool. Upload your picture then fill in the blanks to create your image to download or share via URL. Use this tool to share the latest Olympic news or as a preview of upcoming events.
  6. Sway – now that your students have researched and shared information about the Olympics, Sway is the perfect presentation tool to share their final product. Use Sway to create an analysis of the Olympics as it ends including the charts, maps, videos, and podcasts created by you and your students.

Most students hold a natural interest in the Olympics. This interest may be due to the participants, the sport, or the spectacle involved in the events. Whatever the reason, this is a perfect time to take advantage of student interest and guide them toward deeper learning through the use of the many online tools available.

What do you do to incorporate technology into your study of the Olympic Games? Share your ideas or projects in the comments.

About the author: Sharon Hall

Sharon Hall was a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Math teaching. With over 15 years of classroom experience as a National Board Certified teacher, Sharon shares her content knowledge and reflections on ideas for basic classroom technology integration with us.

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