Hi everyone! I am so glad you have hung in here for the final lesson! Look at you! Wow! Many of you got your ABCs of Tech Tools in place, so you are ready to now maximize the use of them in your class. I also want to bust through any myths, so you can use these with confidence.
Today, I am going to keep things simple because you already have done the hard parts.
It does not take having a bakery full of every kind of app to be techy in your class or to maximize tech in your classroom to meet your student’s needs. All these things being bombarded at us surely make us feel that way, but really, you just need the main ingredients to bake cookies. You can always add “new ingredients” as you go. Later on, you may want to add some video or an app that looks appealing for your classroom. Chances are that video can be incorporated with tech tool B & C, and maybe that final product from that appealing app can be shared easily in a learning management system.
Even if you do not add anything on, you can certainly feel great that you have set the foundation for the next teacher to build on the following year. You are doing great even if you only stick with these tools! There is so much you can do with these tools to cover a lot of different standards!
Are some of you still skeptical?
I want to bust through some myths with some helpful tips to overcome these obstacles, so you can walk into your classroom with confidence to reach your students.
Myth #1: Logging in is going to take away all the time that would make this a benefit.
I get it that sometimes we don’t get the luxury of picking usernames and passwords. Those can sometimes be hard for young students too. However, there are some workarounds to this that might have you skipping past logging in constantly.
If you do have to get students to log in regularly though, I promise it is not the end of the world. I mainly have spent time in kindergarten, and I had students logging in daily with great success. Sure there is usually a few hiccups along the way, but it really is not that bad! I had kindergarten students who had to log in daily to special software for either English language learning or because of special needs, and they would do that just fine as part of centers while I was teaching across the room in a small group. Just make sure they have that accessible with something like my free editable secret agent badges linked below.
Now, I will go over some work arounds for Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams. If you have to use another LMS, you may want to read both of those to see if you can get one of those work arounds to work for your learning management system. I would especially be looking for the toggle feature.
Google usually does not log you out unless you log out, and a lot of other apps will keep you logged in also.
If you are 1:1, then why not use the passcode to get into the device and stay logged into that actual app? That is way more simpler. Passcodes to access a device are usually just four numbers. It secures the device from others accessing it. Assign students an iPad, and give them a unique passcode to access the device. That way, they can bypass needing to enter a username and longer password, which takes time.
If you are not 1:1, you can still use the passcode method if using Google Classroom. Google has a way where more than one person can be logged into the same device at the same time. That means, they only need to toggle to their account, which is way easier than trying to log into their account.
When assigning more than one student to the same device, I recommend looking at your small groups to make sure students are not assigned to using the same device at the same time during small groups. Use small groups as guides to assigning the devices. Although, I would not recommend the toggle method for older grades, but with primary students, I think students can be trusted more. Clear expectations also helps! I have a blogpost here that shows how students can toggle to log in easily with Google Classroom. I will link the post below.
If you are using Microsoft Teams, this information was covered in the video from lesson four. If you watched that and got it, you can skim on down. For those who dazed off, this is for you! (That would be me, haha! I absorb more with reading than video.) In Teams, you might not have a toggle. However, students do stay logged in, so if you are 1:1, you don’t have to worry about them logging in every time. You can simply secure the device with a passcode.
If students have to share a device on a desktop, you can assign them each a different browser. Teams currently works in updated versions Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
If students will be sharing a tablet or iPad, they will need to log in when switching. However, there is an option to pick from different usernames once signed out, so they would only need to enter the password since it will store more than one username. They will need to be signed out to do that though.
I do encourage you all to ask Microsoft for a toggle feature through their Office 365 for Education area. They recently added one to OneDrive, so it is possible! This educational version of teams is currently pretty new, and I think they are willing to listen to some feedback to improve this resource for educators. The more people request it, the more likely they will add it.
If you are using the OneDrive folder system, then you can also just keep logged in and secure the devices with four-digit pass codes as long as that is fine with your school.
Myth #2: This is going to be too hard for students to use.
Students pick up things easily with technology. Sure, there are some fancy features in these apps, but students do not need to know all those features. Stick with showing them the basic features to accomplish the projects on their levels, and they will pick it up! The basic features are not complicated at all. I know some of my chat in this mini-course might has included some techy talk, but that was so you could understand what to choose for your class.
With the free webinar, I am going to walk you through how to introduce these tools to your students in three easy steps and include some lessons for the primary grades to use with those steps. It will also include free tutorials you can show your students in your class! These student tutorials are simple, short, and to the point of what they need to do. You can do this! They can do this! You are going to reach more students using these tools, so don’t let doubt steal that it-can-be-done mindset!
Myth #3: I don’t have time for technology.
While actually getting it set-up and reinforcing this to students might take some extra moments in a lesson, it is going to save you time in the long run in many other ways. While the webinar will give you lesson ideas for using these tools to reach more students, my weekly newsletter is going to send you time hacks, ways to save time with your responsibilities as a teacher, lesson ideas that will help you extend your reach to students, and more. Extending your reach to students also reduces class time by keeping your class moving forward.
The only way tech won’t save you time in the classroom is if you don’t have a good system and you are trying to use 101+ apps that you are not familiar with at all. Knowing your tech tools and having a system that maximizes the use of those features saves you time. Bottom line.
Myth #4: Technical complications are going to make this too difficult.
It is true that technical issues happen to us all. Technology may seem magical sometimes, but it really is still just a baby that needs to grow up. It can give us fits. It can sometimes not be so intuitive to use. That is all true. However, you don't have to do tech all alone. With support from others, you can overcome those tech complications because someone probably has an answer to help you overcome that difficulty right in the group. Support can be found in the Technology in the K-2 Classroom Facebook group.
Free Login Badges
Find the login badges here.
Here is the post I referenced above about using Google Classroom when you are not 1:1. Click here to link.
Using tech in the primary classroom is going to help you reach more students. With a simple system like the one presented in the video for lesson one, you can easily integrate technology in the classroom. Tech tools A, B & C are versatile applications that can be incorporated across different subjects and content. You can do so much with these three tools!
Also, make sure to check for my newsletter, where I will share more ideas for using with these tools. Thanks so much for going through this mini-course. I hope you found this very resourceful, and that the content and free resources here will help you to help more students to thrive in their learning.
Thanks and God bless,
Jolene Mathew from the Candy Class