Thursday, August 2, 2012

Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices as Tools for Learning

1. It is important to tie in technology to the objectives because the ability to use and master technology is essential for today's students. As educators, it is our job to teach students these skills that they will need to be successful later on.

2. Holding students accountable for their learning is essential in every classroom. It is human nature to rise only to what is expected of us. This holds true for children as well. If no accountability is required, students will accomplish little, as very little is expected of them. The purpose of learning centers is to reinforce the concepts being taught. Having students be accountable for their learning while there encourages students to stay on task.

3. I really liked studyladder.com. It had many relevant activities for students in PreK. This would be a great website for students to go to in a teacher guided small group and later on in centers (using the laptops). Students can be held accountable by registering the class on the website. I might also ask students to write or draw a picture of something they did on the website.

I also liked TES iboard. There are many good interactive lessons that can be used on the Active Board. Once students are comfortable using the Active Board and rules have been established, this can become a learning center. Again, I would ask students to write or draw a picture of something that they practiced on the Active Board.

4. I love, love, love the Ipad! Two apps that I found that I really enjoy are "Animal Preschool Circus" and "Abby-Basic Skills Preschool". Both have free versions, and to access the full content is only $1.99.  I would typically use the Ipads in a teacher-led small group. I would be monitoring and guiding students, therefore they would be held accountable for their work on these apps.

5. Ipads can also be used as research tools. For instance during a unit on structures, students can use the Ipad to find images of different kinds of buildings. They can also use the blocks in the block center to create their own structures, then use the Ipad to take a picture of that structure. Students can then compile these images into a digital photostory or animoto story.

Technology Tools Within the Classroom

I am new to the district and my school is in the process of being renovated (I will not have classroom access until August 16) so I do not know exactly what technology devices I will have access to. Therefore, I am going to speak in hypothetical terms at this point.

How would I use these devices in my classroom?

Netbook--A class set of these could be used to access instructional websites (Starfall.com comes to mind right now). Because of the webcam capabilities, they could also be used to Skype with our sister class during  our weather unit (see previous post).

Ipod--In PreK, we do not have specials teachers to teach PE or Music. The Ipod would be a great way to organize the music needed for these activities. Having the ability to create playlists for a specific day or activity would eliminate the time wasted trying to forward through to the right song on a CD.

Ipad--As an owner of an Ipad, I can personally attest to the multitude of wonderful apps that are out there, many of which are free. With an Ipad, I could download apps based on a specific skill we are working on. Having 3 or 4 Ipads would allow me to focus on a skill in small group. I am not sure of the capabilities of the Active Board, but if possible, the Ipad might also be hooked up to the Active Board to allow for whole group instruction when introducing a new skill.

Technology can be a wonderful thing. I hope that I will have the opportunity to have at least 1 (or all!) of these tools in my classroom!!

Online Digital Projects

PreK Digital Project:

Objective: The student will compare different weather patterns in different parts of the country.

Time Frame: This would be a month long study. It would be implemented in late fall.

Technology Tools: Skype (to allow each class to collect data from another part of the country); Google Docs (students will create a graph on MS Word, which they will upload to Google Docs)

Plan: Students will use Skype to connect with another classroom and collect data from another part of the country throughout the course of a month. Each day students will record their data on a graph. At the end of the study, students will use the information to determine what kind of weather each place had the most/least of, etc. Graphs will then be uploaded to Google Docs.