At first, encouraging grade 3 students to bring their own devices can be a daunting task. From ipods to blackberries, laptops to androids..incorporating these sometimes “incompatible” devices can seem overwhelming at first.
Fortunately, I have found that using a multitude of platforms is not nearly as difficult as I had once though it might be! Once I realized that using technology should be “task” oriented rather than “app” oriented it all became much easier to wrap my head around.
For instance, having access to the internet at a student’s desk can be invaluable way to bring alive concepts that might otherwise remain abstract for young minds. In grade 3 Social Studies, learning about a rickshaw in India can be much more tangible with a quick search of google images.
All devices “draw” apps that can be a motivating force when used as a virtual whiteboard. I have found that students are more relaxed and willing to take chances when asked to share their answers this way as compared to the traditional pen and pencil method.
Cameras in the classroom can be a valuable way for students to capture evidence and share their learning. One of my favorite activities this year was when my students participated in a “Fraction Scavenger Hunt” and had to report back to the classroom with picture evidence of 1/2, 3/4, etc.
Students often use their devices for writing purposes. It can be as simple as typing their agenda message, to as complex as updating their personal blog.
Using a variety of devices seems to getting easier all the time. Websites such as “Infuse Learning” which is a student response system, are recognizing the diversity of hardware available.
Of course, it is impossible as a teacher to be a master on every device and operating system, and one thing I have learned is that is okay! Young people of fearless when it comes to utilizing technology and students learn valuable skills by becoming masters on their own systems. Never underestimate the technology problem solving skills of even your youngest students!
by Tracy Wirtanen