Meaningful Technology Integration in Early Learning Environments explains how technological tools can support a learner-centered and play-oriented early childhood curriculum and promote relationship building among children, families, and the wider community. I can not agree more. I loved the idea of using digital cameras within the classroom to take pictures of the children’s ongoing project activities, field trips, and art projects. Students can than use those photos for portfolios or projects. Teachers can also use them to assess student learning. This idea is also apparent in the article Digital photo journals in a K-1 classroom: A novel approach to addressing early childhood technology standards and recommendations, by Ching, Wang, and Kedem. However, Ching, Wang, and Kedem go into more detail about how those uses of technology might effect a student’s social isolation levels. I agree with this in some extent. I think that too much time on technology alone will result in more social isolation. However, that can be said with anything. I think it needs to be used appropriately and with good intent.
I also agree with its point about the internet being a powerful research tool. I also agree that in order for the use of the internet to be successful in primary grade classes, extensive modeling and explanations must take place.
There are many science resources available for teachers to use in the classroom. One being ExploreLearning. I think that ExploreLearning is a great resource that has a wide-range of subjects. It is also a great resource to get students engaged in learning. The gizmos may have the student think they are playing a game, when really they are learning. I think it is has the most advantages due to its large selection of different topics and grade levels. It also is very aesthetically pleasing and easy to use.
I also love Edheads. Edheads is a web-based application that motivates students to work harder in school by helping teachers connect their math and science lessons to real careers. It is a paid membership program. However, there are free games available on their site. The application includes games and activities that promote critical thinking. You can become a surgeon and perform virtual knee surgery. Or, you can become a geneticist and help a family determine if they carry a genetic mutation. After looking around on the website and playing around on the games, I believe that this application is fantastic. It is engaging and really gets your mind thinking. It also allows students to connect what they are learning to careers they can have in the real world. When students can make these connections, it can lead to a deeper and greater understanding of the content. It also can set the student up for success after school. It can expose them to STEM careers they may have not knew about before.
Noel Enyedy, Joshua A. Danish, Girlie Delacruz, and Melissa Kumar, authors of Learning physics through play in an augmented reality environment, presented a case study in which they researched how 6-8 year olds investigate motion and Newtonian Force through the use of augmented reality. I believe the implementation of Augmented Reality games into the classroom can result in a more meaningful learning experience. I could not agree more with this article. AR games allow teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum in a meaningful way. It reminds me of the craze Pokemon Go. This game can be considered an AR game because players use real-life location to “catch pokemon.” If such a simple game can get people motivated to go outside and walk around, maybe AR games can motivate students to learn.
I believe that incorporating technology into mathematics curriculum can reduce the stigma that mathematics is too hard. By implementing simple technology, such as a calculator, time can be taken away from tedious and monotonous work, like basic math facts, and focus attention more on critical thinking skills. Technology, such as applications and manipulative software, could also make mathematics more engaging and interesting to learn.
I’ve used some great mathematics technology resources within the classroom. One that stuck out with me is Geogebra. Geogebra is a mathematics software for all levels of education that allows users to create and manipulate data in regards to geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus. I loved using Geogebra because it presented the information in a visual manner, which made it easier for me to understand. It is a free program that you can access through the website.
Merilyn Buchanan, author of Classroom technologies as tools not toys: A teacher’s perspective on making it work in the classroom, describes how teachers should be implementing technology into mathematics classes. Sometimes, we don’t usually think of implementing technology into mathematics classes, especially those of younger aged students. When we think of technology in math, we think of graphing programs. However, there are some great resources our there for early childhood aged students that can really improve their math skills and math learning more meaningful. I also agree with Bachanan’s three phases of implementing the technology. I think it’s important that the technology being used is not just being added for show, but that it actually supplements the curriculum and adds to learning.
Bratitsis and Amanatidou, authors of Counting sounds: An ICT musical approach for teaching the concept of the angle in kindergarten, describes how using music can help young students learn geometry. This article was very interesting to read. It makes sense. If you go into any pre-k or kindergarten class, they have songs for EVERYTHING. It helps students learn by memorization which is essential at that age.
I’ve used some great ELA technology resources within the classroom. One that stuck out with me is eSpark. eSpark is an application that allows students to increase their ELA skills based on their individual needs. This software can be used on an iPad for younger grades. It is a “quest-like” application. Students must go on “quests” in order to progress. These quests require students to read short texts, watch movies, play skill-based games, answer comprehension questions, or create their own movie responses. Each student’s eSpark is set to their own reading level and skill set. There is also a web-based digital projects for students in grades 3-8. It allows teachers to monitor student progress. It has the ability to email you when one of your students reaches a new standard or needs additional support.
Amelia K. Moody, author of Using Electronic Books in the Classroom to Enhance Emergent Literacy Skills in Young Children, discusses the use of E-books within a classroom. I have personal experience with this as a guided reading teacher. This year, my school purchased a new E-Book software called Reading A-Z Kids (or RAZ Kids for short). RAZ Kids is an extension of the program Reading A-Z. It provides a library of differentiated books at 29 levels of difficulty students use to practice reading in school, at home, or on the go. A great thing about RAZ kids is it allows students to read on their own level, practice close reading skills, practice reading and writing connections, use interactive tools, and answer constructed response quiz questions. I have seen how RAZ Kids makes young readers more confident, which in turn will help boost their reading levels.