Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tech Savvy in Primary

My students and I will innovate.

My students and I will redefine our learning environment.

My students and I will remove the 4 walls of our classroom. 

My students and I will infuse technology in our day to take our learning to the next level. 

The start of the year is the time of year when setting up routines is so important.  The first few weeks can make or break a school year. We, as teachers, painstakingly help our students build their reading stamina, discuss the writing process and show them all of their writing tools and choices, and review math skills from the previous year to help prep them for new information. 

Are we doing the same with the technology tools in our rooms? 
Not always.

When I think of a parent, administrator or fellow teacher walking into my room, I don't want them to say,

"Look at the students using technology!" 

I want them to say, 

"There is amazing learning going on in this room. Oh, and they are using technology to help with that." 

The learning should always come first in the conversation and the tech should come second.

However, to make that happen, you have to include it in part of your routine. You have to put in the time to get the reward of a smooth, tech-infused classroom. 

My tech infusion philosophy: Technology should be a tool that your kids use to help elevate the level of their learning. Just as your students grab for a pencil or pen when they need one, they should see their tech device as a tool to use when needed and when it makes sense. Students should not see the device as a place for games but instead as a place for creativity and information sharing. 

In my classroom, you WILL see:

  • students focusing on a few creative-based apps.
  • some students choosing to use devices and some choosing to accomplish their goals in other ways. 
  • students collaborating and actively discussing their current projects.
  • clean and organized iPad screens so students can easily find what they are looking for. 
  • iPads that contain a 10-12 apps. 
  • iPads being used in reading, writing, math and science. 
  • iPads that are not being used. 

In my classroom, you WILL NOT see:
  • an app specifically for each subject area or center. 
  • students "plugged in" and not talking to each other.
  • students always using devices at the same time. 
  • students spending time looking for apps. 
  • iPads filled with apps.
  • iPads being used in centers only.
  • iPads always being used every minute of our day.

To help get our tech infusion going quickly and efficiently, I follow up our Digital Citizenship Boot Camp with an App Boot Camp. During this App Boot Camp, we go over the five apps and few web- based tools that we will use all year. These tools can be used at anytime and in any subject area. 

I don't want to spend our time going over apps that do just one thing, like a spelling app or flashcard app. I would prefer my students become experts at these 5 creative apps and use them to accomplish their goal.

So, it's time to pick your 5 favorites!

Here are my 5 favorites:

1. Drawing Pad - great multi-function drawing app  - $1.99
2. ScreenChomp - perfect for explaining thoughts - free
3. Pic Collage - nice presentation and organization tool - free
4. iMovie - the best movie making app out there - free
5. QR Reader - needed for getting information to students - free

A Few Web Tools:
1. Today's Meet - backchannel resource for sharing thoughts - free
2. Padlet - great place to hold and share information - free
3. KidBlog - our go-to location for our academic portfolio - $29.99 

In the next few weeks, my students and I will be showing you why these apps are just right for us and the many great features of these apps. 

What apps or web tools are in your top 5? 

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