Hi everyone! I am so glad you have tuned in for lesson three! (And glad I did not scare you all off, haha! You are all rock stars already!)
We are going to wade out now to tech tool B.
There are teacher tutorials on video for today. I also have a cheat sheet for today that provides links and information on how to access these apps on different types of devices. These are linked below. The video from lesson one talked about this tool being a part of step two, and it shared teaching ideas to use with the tool in your classroom. The lesson today is about knowing its potential use for your classroom and getting it set-up.
Tech tool B can stand alone on its own. But when you pair it with tool A and C, there is just a whole bunch primary students can do with the combination of the three that will enhance activities in your classroom….meaning more students are being reached and engaged.
Before we cover the different options for tech tool B, let's look more closely at its features. This tool really is super diverse with what you can use it for in your classroom!
Features of Tech Tool B
•These tools allow students to create projects that involve higher-order thinking. It can be used with reading, math, social studies, science, and so on.
•It can be used for differentiating instruction. Win!
•It has features that can assist with learning disabilities and interventions for students who are struggling.
•Students can use their imaginations to create masterpieces.
•You can use it in guided reading, centers, and even with whole groups on interactive whiteboards.
•It can incorporate multi-mediums such as art, photos, and video.
•Students can import digital artifacts such as images created in other apps to enhance their creations. (That means, students can bring in their drawings from the drawing apps!)
•You can give students assignments with actual content on it for them to learn, so it is useful beyond just being a blank screen. That way, you can teach the standards using it too!
•Students can easily collaborate together for a project or work individually.
• Student work can be saved. It will even save automatically when any of these are used with online versions!
•It also provides digital artifacts that you can use for performance assessments and collecting graded assignments.
There is just so many ways this can be used, but you don’t have to let your head spin with all the possibilities. The point is you want to start small and build on to it.
With that three-step system in place, there is no place for feeling overwhelmed with this. Just know that it is maxed out with possibilities for you to grow with it with your class or for students to grow with as they progress to grade levels. It’s kind of like how they would progress with reading as they moved up from kindergarten to fifth grade. They grow as they go.
Why Use Over Something Like Google Docs or Words?
Simply put, it has many features that reach beyond what Docs or Word can do. Plus, it is way easier to add images and manipulate the text. Students can even create "books" with multiple pages that can be printed or used as digital books. It is also very teacher friendly when it comes to customizing with some content for the class.
Which Presentation Softwares?
The ones I recommend are either Microsoft PowerPoint™ Online or Google Slides™. Some of you might already have access to one of these too! If you don’t, Office 365 for Education is actually free to those of you with valid school email addresses! I will tell you later on in this newsletter on how to get that.
I also feel like these tools are not going anywhere and are just going to keep expanding. Especially once they realize how much educators have already embraced this tool to do more than just create presentations. PowerPoint has been around for a LONG time, and Microsoft has been developing theirs with some pretty nifty features to where you might not even need tool A eventually. Actually, you can draw in it with the app versions! However, I am still suggesting a drawing app when on a touch screen be used because those are still more kid-friendly even if they have to import the picture into it. Plus, it just makes it easier for students to work with a flat image once they get ready to add text. Google needs to catch up! However, they have been improving features too. Google Slides is good stuff too!
How Do You Choose?
Your choice between Google Slides and PowerPoint will probably boil down to what your school has made available to you already. If you are a classroom teacher and you don’t have Google Classroom, I recommend going with PowerPoint Online if you got the valid school email address. Of course, you can always ask your admin to get GAFE (Google Apps for Education). Just know that you will not get GAFE overnight, since you got to go through school channels. Now there is a free Google Classroom that you can set-up through your own personal Gmail account, but if you are in a classroom than that is actually not allowed currently. I will explain more about that tomorrow, but just know that it has to do with compliance with privacy laws.
Now it is time to make all this information practical for your classroom.
How Do You Get Microsoft Office 365 for Free?
Here is the link to get the free Office 365 for Education account here. You will need a valid email address from your school.
What is a valid school email address? This is an email address that is tied to a .edu domain currently. That mainly means only accredited schools in the USA or ones that are affiliated with accredited schools in the USA are eligible.
What if I Live Outside the USA?
If you are outside the USA, I recommend seeing if your school can get GAFE. You will not get overnight access, but that is best possibility for you. Click here to link for details on eligible types of institutions outside the USA that can access GAFE.
What if I Homeschool?
To my teacher friends that homeschool, you have a few options. Those of you who are part of a verifiable homeschool co-op can get GAFE. I am going to link to their FAQs, but look for the question that asks, "Can homeschools use G Suite for Education?" They have a link for an interest form, and they will send you more information. Link here to jump there. There is a free version of Google Classroom that does not require having GAFE that homeschoolers can access. Just know that since that is set-up through a free gmail account, there is no privacy when it comes to Google sharing your information for marketing purposes unless you are using GAFE (Google Apps for Education). Although, I hear Google is suppose to be changing that eventually. I hope they do. GAFE on the other hand does meet COPPA, which is a privacy law here in the USA. Also, Office 365 for Education does have a pilot program for homeschoolers, but last time I looked, it was full. Click here for the link to stalk it and see if they open it. Since it is a pilot, that probably means they will be offering Office 365 to homeschoolers eventually too!
Teacher Video Tutorials & Cheat Sheet
I have two videos attached. One of them is for PowerPoint, and the other is for Google Slides. Each is going to show you the basics of how to use the software in the primary classroom. Now if you have any questions about the logistics of how students turn work back in, don’t worry if those questions are not answered in these videos. We are wading out here, and I will have you covered with that information tomorrow.
Here is the link to the teacher tutorials for the basics of using Google Slides and PowerPoint. Click here to link. Password: CandyClassD3#
Find the cheat sheet on tech tool B here. This contains links and information to accessing Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides.
If you have any questions, feel free to post in the Technology in the K-2 Classroom Facebook group here.
I hope you are all excited about incorporating these new tools in your classroom! Tomorrow, we are going to discuss tech tool C. That way, you can be organized and differentiate instruction easily with these tools.
Jolene Mathew from the Candy Class