Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to the Using Technology to Reach More Students in the K-2 Classroom mini-course!
I am so glad you have decided to use this course, so you can get a good system in place for using technology in the classroom. This course is going to benefit you whether you use technology like a pro or you feel tech challenged because it puts a simple three-step system into place.
Today, we are going to talk about the why of tech, do a short overview of the tech tools, and I am going to introduce you to the three step system through a webinar I previously filmed. I will also share ideas to go with the recommend tech tools.
Then we will go over the tech tools after that, and I will share some videos on how to set-up or use the tools with your primary students.
Today’s lesson will be the longest because it does include a 40 minute video. However, if you are crunched for time today, it is actually the second part of this lesson, so you can always come back to view that tomorrow. The other lessons should only take you between 10-20 minutes each, and you can spread those out however you choose. You can binge watch it or spread it out over several days such as doing a lesson a day. There are five lessons all together.
I do recommend that you try to do this mini-course within a week, so the system I am teaching makes more sense.
Of course, do what works best for you. It is all flexible.
Are you ready?
Whether you are familiar with using technology in the classroom, or it appeals to you as much as staying an extra five hours in a faculty meeting on a Saturday, this free course teaches you a simplified system to get you up and running with using technology in your primary classroom.
Now, let’s go over the what this is. This system moves beyond having you download a few non-data gleaning apps that have students just pressing a bunch of buttons basically. Those can be resourceful….I am not knocking them because there is an effective way to use those in the classroom too. I just think we need to embrace the use of technology more in different ways more frequently than with those.
What are these different ways? These other ways involve using tech in ways that lead students to use more higher-order thinking. It's maximizing the use of tech in your classroom with teaching strategies that are best practices.
It's leading students to not just be consumers of tech, but to be creators with tech.
Now, my philosophy with tech in the classroom takes a middle ground. I believe tech should not only be used to be creative, but that content should be integrated in there too. After all, Bloom's Taxonomy has knowledge at the bottom for a reason...it is foundational. I mean, you can't expect a student to write about penguins if they have never even heard of one! Plus, you got standards to teach...I don't think I need to convince you that content is important! Of course, we want them to take that content up to higher levels from just knowledge.
There are other ways to teach content though besides pressing a button to get an answer. However, a lot of tech resources these days that actually has content seems to limit it to just that more times than the other way around.
But please don't feel bad if you have used mainly only that for tech. I spent a lot of time this past year reading professional development on using technology in the classroom, and it made me realize I needed to improve in this area when it comes to what I create for students to use too. We are all in this together!
These tech tools that I will be showing you how to set-up will be easy to use with activities that meet teaching standards and involve more higher-levels of thinking.
The email course is not just about what tech tools to use to simplify things and how to set those up. I will also show you short-cuts and the simplest methods I could find with the tech available currently.
This course will give you everything you need to get this going in your classroom. I even give access to free student tutorials too!
I will include some teaching strategies and ideas for K-2 in today’s video, but you will also want to tune in for my free weekly newsletter after that for more.
My weekly newsletter will include numerous teaching ideas, strategies, and activities that can be used with these tech tools! There will be some freebies here and there too. I will also help you wade into using technology more...one step at a time.
So why tech in the primary grades? Why not leave this to the upper grades?
First, it fills in gaps of meeting student needs that traditional approaches don’t always accomplish because of the unique capabilities offered with computers, tablets, and other devices.
Second, the students of this generation need to be transliterate….that is being literate beyond reading and writing and in all mediums. These transliterate skills are way beyond being able to press a button on a screen to select an answer. We do students a disservice if these skills are suddenly thrown at them in the upper grades.
Third, it is a great tool to push them to higher levels with literacy, writing, and other subjects as I mentioned. There are just so many possibilities for project creation that you can’t do on paper that you can with tech. These projects push students to show their understanding, and the activities can also be very motivating and engaging. I will stop at three, but there are many more good reasons too such as less trips to the copy machine and so on!
The bottom line is tech in the primary grades can help you better meet student needs and reach more students.
Many classrooms these days have the technology in their hands, but there are many cases of it not being used in the primary classroom to the fullest of its potential. Let's change that!
My goal is to help you to start with a simplified system that will help you maximize the use of these tools in your classroom.
That brings me to the wading approach. I don’t know about you, but I pick up some of these professional development books and they make my head dizzy. This is how the book goes: Use this app. Use that app. Lots of ideas for upper grades. One idea for primary grades mixed in the middle that I almost did not catch. Use that app. Use this app. Connect this app to that app and that app to this app. Lol! They have some brilliant ideas, no doubt. However, then you got to figure out how you can make it work for the primary grades, how to get the assignments back in your hands easily, how to actually not spend 101 days of school teaching 101 different apps, and so on. It's confusing!
After the brain fog cleared, I came up with a three-step system and three types of tech tools that will help you all wade into using tech in your classroom. One that is optimized for the primary grades. One that focuses on using higher-order thinking skills over the press-a-button-to-hear-the-mouse-clap approach, but that can also include resources with content on them. One that has options for different types of devices and has a way to work with different types of programs that your school may have.
I spent months sifting this all out for you all and putting together content, videos, and resources, so you can breeze past all that brain fog and get this set-up the way it should be. Easily.
The idea is you start small and you build on as you and your class grows. I have named the programs and applications I am suggesting in this course the ABCs of tech tools. Master the ABCs first. Then you will have the confidence to add on as you go.
What are the ABCs of tech tools?
These are three types of tech programs or apps that are versatile, so you don't have to teach students to use a bunch of different applications. That helps you minimize lost class time with the use of technology. However, you will still be able to offer a variety of activities that lead students to create and expand upon their skills and knowledge. You will still be able to integrate content with it too.
We will go over these tools more in depth over the next three lessons. These also have different options to fit various classroom needs and tech requirements that your district might already have in place. All these have free options or are free, so you won’t have to worry about the cost to use this system either!
Since there are options, in the email, I will guide you into finding the right tool to work for you. There will be a little bit of tech details to have a little understanding as to why, but just remember your students won't be seeing that aspect of the tools. They will just see your simple three-step system!
There will be teacher tutorials each day in video format that are about 10 minutes in length. These will go over the basics of the tech tools, give you some tips, and show you how to get these in place for your class.
After the three days of going over each of these types of tools, we are going to talk about how to maximize the use of these together by busting through myths and by offering you some solid tips to get this flowing as seamless as possible.
Then, you can go implement this system. These free student tutorials can easily be shown right before a lesson, so you can easily integrate learning the tech with your other teaching standards.
Getting the right tools in place is probably the hardest part. It involves grasping a little bit of tech understanding, but this course is here to guide you.
You can also find extra support in the Technology in the K-2 Classroom Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2127136364189405
Now, its time for you to watch the video. I put that as a part two, so go to the next part of the lesson.