Oh, what our youngest learners can accomplish if only given the opportunity. Students arrive at school curious and eager to learn, full of wonder and questions. Provided the appropriate scaffolds, these students can use technology to not only access content to answer their myriad of questions, but also to create content to teach not only their peers but even their parents and teachers! This is the first blog post in a series addressing the excuses we often hear regarding our youngest students and their use of technology in the classroom.
My students can’t even log in!
The following tips and tricks can ease this process. Give your students a chance. Believe in students, and let them surprise you! Our youngest learners can do much more than we realize. Read the entire post and you will be sure to find a tip that is applicable to your particular group of students and the devices available in your classroom.
Students teaching students
Empower students to teach each other. Once a couple of students learn to log in, they become expert teachers who then teach other students. This maximizes the impact and empowers kids! These first and second-grade students loved becoming teachers for their peers.
User Logins on Chromebooks
Got 1:1 Chromebooks? Log each student into the device using the “add person” feature. Once logged in once, students will only need to log back in using their password. They will not need to type in their entire username. Teach students not to sign out of their device, they can simply close the Chromebook. This way, they will only need to log back in with their password if the device goes completely devoid of power.
Assign Shared Chromebooks to a Limited # of Students
Got shared Chromebooks? Set up 3 or 4 user accounts per device, each with a different log in picture. Students need not log in with their entire username, they simply find their picture and type in their password.
Seesaw is Simple!
Got Seesaw? Students can use the app Seesaw to scan a QR code and find their name when submitting work. (Use the shared devices setting within Seesaw). Seesaw is available via an app on Chromebooks as well as on iPads. Students don’t know how to read their name when submitting their work? Select a picture of each student as their avatar and they can look for the picture next to their name. Even preschoolers and transitional Kinders can do it!
Got any web-enabled device? Use Nearpod to have students log in with a unique 5 letter code. Next, instead of having students type in their name, some teachers have each student type in their classroom number (each student in the class is numbered 1-20 for example). Teachers of primary students love the live session feature on Nearpod, as students are locked into each slide and cannot move ahead or behind in the presentation. Our Kindergarten teachers love Nearpod as a first step in introducing technology.
Invite Students First
Got Classroom? Google Classroom is a great place to curate information to send to primary students, and to push assignments from which they will create content. To ease the process of logging into Classroom the first time, invite each student into your class using their email address (even if Gmail is turned off for students in your district, it will still work). This way, students will not need to type in the class code. After inviting students via email instead of class code, you can complete the initial process for them so that they are ready to go! Make sure the students are logged into their Google account when they access classroom.
Super Slide Tutorials
Create tutorials in Google Slides using screenshots and layering transparent circles and arrows onto each slide. The tutorial can be used in a variety of methods and can be accessed again and again, year after year. The tutorial pictured below was used in a first grade classroom the first time they had ever used Chromebooks. Using this tutorial, the first graders logged into Classroom, filled out a Google Form and submitted it, wrote their first and last name in the classroom stream via post using appropriate capital letters and the space bar, and began inserting images onto a Google Slide presentation that was pushed to them via Google Classroom. All in less than an hour. The first time they had ever used Chromebooks. If provided scaffolds and opportunity, your young students will be accomplishing more than you had first believed as well!
Stay tuned for episode 2 of No More Excuses! TK-2.
Katherine Goyette is an Educational Consultant for Technology & Integrated Studies for Tulare County Office of Education. Katherine holds professional learning sessions for teachers, coaches, and administrators regarding pedagogically sound EdTech integration in the classroom, project-based learning, interdisciplinary learning, and professional learning communities. Formerly, Katherine was an administrator, coach, and taught at the elementary level. Katherine’s Google Certified Innovator project sparks innovation by facilitating connections amongst educational leaders at all levels. www.siteleadersconnect.org. Katherine’s certifications include: Google Certified Trainer & Innovator, Apple Teacher, Microsoft Innovative Educator, & PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator. She has spoken at numerous events including CUE National Conferences, ISTE International Conference, and has been featured as a guest blog author for CUE and EdTechTeam. Katherine maintains her own blog at www.WonderExploreLearn.com.
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