Technology

Click here for a link to my technology blog where I write about using technology to flatten classroom walls and reach out into the global learning community. I curate articles of interest relating to technology (and other fields of education) using Scoop.it. Click on the links for Digital Literacy and Education and Technology in Early Years Education.

The use of technology in the classroom reflects the increasing use of technology in our every-day lives. Technology is integrated into all areas of the curriculum as a tool to support teaching and learning. The children use laptops, iPads and iTouches to help them express their thoughts and ideas, access information, collaborate and create, and document and share their learning journeys with their wider learning commmunity. Over the course of the year, the children explore a range of web-based tools that help them work collaboratively to construct knowledge about the world. Through the class twitter account, blog and collaborative writing wiki, children develop an understanding of the concept of a “digital foot-print” and the power of digital communication. Click here to read a about how we have been developing our class learning network (CLN) and our learning community.

Below are some examples of how technology supports teaching and learning across the curriculum:

Using tablet computers to support teaching and learning with young children

Using VoiceThread to make a “school tour” for our Kindergarten friends in Canada, Indonesia and England

Using a Google doc and Skype to communicate and collaborate in order to co-author a story book with a Kindergarten class in Canada. We published the book using iBooks and shared it in iTunes so that children all over the world could enjoy the story.

Click here to read about the process.

A stop motion movie as part of a unit of inquiry into How We Express Ourselves, and a writing focus on Fictional Narrative

The children were delighted to get a response on the class blog from the developer of this app after he listened to their review!

A role-play scenario in the home corner develops over days and becomes a movie

Using VoiceThread to do our “handshake” as part of a Flat Classrooms global project

Five year olds explore possibilities with PhotoBooth

Students created their own patterns for others to continue

Using speeded-up video clips of engagements as a reflection tool: The children requested that this story be speeded up. It became one of their favourite stories! They have listened to it again and again and love to video each other reading stories so that they can watch the accelerated motion replay!

Students independently selecting tech tools to support a self-initiated inquiry: Students decide to interview other student to gain and disseminate information about a mysterious dead piano. This idea came entirely from the children and the footage was taken by the children. I helped with editing.

Using Twitter and Blogging as a Collaborative Writing Engagement
Through the class blog and twitter account, KC have found friends in other schools around the world. We have got several other Kindergarten classes on our blog roll, and they in turn have added us to their blog roll. Several times a week we check the other blogs and leave comments. We also check our blog for comments left by others. We are following classes from schools in other countries on our class twitter account and have got followers from other schools and from the YIS community. We regularly respond to questions on twitter and tweet our own questions to find answers from “experts” in other countries.

Writing blog comments and tweets has provided the children with meaningful opportunities to write for an authentic audience. They are highly motivated to interact with the children from other classes. They have a myriad of questions and wonderings. Often, a post on someone else’s bog will excite the children and inspire an idea for our class. The children are intrigued about a video that one class is making on counting from 100 to 1 and have asked that class to share the link to their video. They want to know if another class has Autumn right now and how other children celebrated Halloween. They are interested in a survey another class did on how children come to school and they want to conduct a similar survey in our class, and share the results with the other school, to compare how children come to school in different countries.

Using the data projector, we project the blog or twitter page on to the wall so that everyone can see. I type as the children dictate. The children observe as I think out loud, modeling how writers revise and edit the text. The children offer suggestions on how to make to a comment better. They notice when I leave out fullstops and instruct me on when I need to use upper-case letters. Together, we think about our audience. We discuss word choices and wonder how to help our readers form a clear picture in their mind. We add details so our readers will understand us better.

We also talk about how our comments will be interpreted, and discuss our responsibility when we interact with others over the World Wide Web. These five and six year olds are learning to be thoughtful and responsible digital communicators. Digital citizenship starts in Kindergarten!