I’ve had quite a few conversations recently about writing and technology at the elementary level. Some teachers feel that it’s not developmentally appropriate. Many of us are using the Lucy Calkins’ Writing Workshop materials, and there’s either no mention or very little mention of integrating technology into that model. These concerns are definitely valid, especially for me as a past primary level teacher. I don’t think we need to scrap using pencil and paper to teach learners how to write. However, as much as I honor these perspectives, we need to push through and find ways to provide some opportunities for our students.
This past summer, I worked with primary-level educators in a course and we focused specifically on this topic. Lo and behold, a few months later, all of the teachers have found ways to weave in digital tools in support of the writing process. Some have delved into Kidblog, others are introducing the tools in Google Drive, and others are using various iPad apps. This is all happening with students at the K-2 level! Yes, they can!
Last week I attended the VermontFest conference in lovely Killington, Vermont. It was sponsored by Vita-Learn, our ISTE affiliate. I did a presentation on the topic of writing and technology at the elementary level. It was well-received. I’m sharing the site I put together for the presentation here. There are many resources, ideas, and examples there for you to peruse.
One component of the class and the presentation was to build a repository of ideas collectively. I borrowed Tom Barrett’s (@tombarrett) idea for the Interesting Ways series and have created our own Interesting Ways to Integrate Technology into Writing at the Elementary Level. Feel free to add to it.
I encourage educators to use these resources and let me know how things evolve. Writing permeates most of what we do; let’s make it engaging and powerful.
Comments and ideas are more than welcome!
Image created by me at canva.com
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Posted in collaboration, Common Core, integration, iPad, learning, pln, sharing, tagged Augmented Reality, Common Core, Olympics, PLN, Theme Week, Voicethread, Writing on March 6, 2014|
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Wow- It’s been a month since my last post and I don’t know where the time went!
Here are a few things that have been happening:
Theme Week- Each year our building with 3rd-8th graders has a Theme Week hosted by the related arts teachers (Music, Art, P.E.) and the World Language teachers. Instead of students going to those classes, they go to a few workshops based on a central theme – this year it was the Olympics. Other adults in the building pitch in to make the groups smaller and the offerings larger. The tech integration team did a workshop using Augmented Reality this year. We only had our groups for one session, about 70 minutes. In that time, students created short videos about an Olympic sport, athlete, or country. Then they selected a trigger image and set it up in the Aurasma app on the iPads.
Some of the Olympic trigger images used to access the videos students made.
Voila! Now there are trigger images all over the school that anyone can scan and then view the videos that pop up.
We culminated Theme Week with the annual Faculty-Student basketball game. We streamed it live via UStream and recorded it for future reference. The students came from behind to win it- and the gym erupted at the final buzzer!
We have many more teachers using Voicethread or getting ready to use Voicethread. This ranges from first and second graders for an exploration of constellations, to middle school students describing their families in French for pen pals in France.
First and second graders have become news anchors and have put together a news video to share. The topics of their features have to do with various aspects of the community around our school.
Teachers had another in-service day focused on the Common Core. We also took a closer look at some SBAC sample items. In addition, the teachers shared and celebrated their work this year on implementing Common Core writing standards. We captured some of that sharing on video. I was happily surprised by the amount of technology being integrated into the Writing Workshop model. There were many teachers reporting out the positive aspects of Google Drive and blogging as critical elements of the writing process. (third-fifth grades)
I’m noticing that I am devoting less time to staying connected with my PLN via Twitter or Google+ and am reflecting on what’s taking priority over that. I feel disconnected and am not benefitting from this great resource of mine. Time to re-examine that!
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