Technology in Primary Grades

Technology is ALWAYS evolving and by the time I finish this post, there will be even more advances in the world of technology. This can be especially challenging when teaching students in primary grades. I know because I have had a 1:1 second grade classroom for four years now. 

Although the students may be familiar with tablets and smartphones, they are very odd when it comes to interacting with four-year-old laptops ("You mean, I can't just open an app to get there, Mrs. Barnett? What is a homerow again? What's a browser?").

My school identified this issue, and my principal ordered each teacher four personal tablets to be used for centers. Now the only problem is... Downloading apps from the district webpage is painfully difficult! The following are some helpful tips I have for when it comes to using laptops and tablets in the classroom. 

1. QR Codes- Will these ever be a thing of the past? I think not. QR Codes make navigating to websites quick and SUPER easy for students... Especially younger ones who may not know how to type let alone identify letters. Identifying the app icon is much easier than typing a webpage for lrimary students, and it saves time for learning and interacting with quality rich websites. Simply copy and paste the link you are wanting students to log onto into a QRCode Generator. Doing this can save you hours of learning throughout the course of the year. 

2. TinyURL- Maybe you have dinosaur computers, like my own, which do not have QR Scanners (aka cameras). I'd like to share with you my favorite: www.tinyurl.com/ Go to this website, copy and paste the link you are wanting students to log onto into this website, type in a name if you'd like, or let the website generate a irk for you, and you have a tiny, or not-too-long, URL that your students can easily remember. 

3. Safeshare: I love YouTube and I especially love songs on YouTube, but I don't love the Victoria Secret ads or the Jose Cuervo ads that go along with them. Use www.safeshare.com then copy and paste the url into the page and it will display your video AD FREE! Hooray for no underwear ads! 

4. Plickers: We used to have activotes in my classroom which were like little remote controls that I could take a poll on and my students would answer or vote. These were super engaging and my kids LOVED them! The only problem was that my batteries began to die and anytime I had to get my computer reimaged, the program would wipe out. I knew I had to find a better way to gain formative assessments on my students, so my Digital Tech Facilitator introduced me to Plickers. I printed out these cards for free, and I now use my phone to scan. I don't have to remember numbers or anything, it just shows me who answered what on my phone. The only catch with this is that you have to plan for your questions and type them in ahead of time on the website: www.plickers.com So I encourage you to try it out, but also, plan your questions carefully! 


I know that many of you are familiar with most of these, but I'm telling you, these have truly been the best for me and have made teaching using technology so much easier and more pleasant for me. 

Let me know in the comments what technology makes life easier for you in your classroom. I'd love to share some more ideas! 

Warm wishes! 

Sarah 

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