The district I am a technology coach for has recently provided 6 Chromebooks for each Kindergarten classroom. As a technology coach, I find this so very exciting as it will open up many opportunities for the students. I did not go in expecting everyone to be on board with the Chromebooks, as we all know in reality change is hard. But I did have a realistic idea that the Chromebooks would be welcomed as our system has been innovative in the technology integration and implementation department before I was hired as the technology integration coach.
Fast forward to 2 months later after the Chromebooks were delivered to the classrooms and one strategic planning meeting later... Success! Teachers are working with their students to teach them to log in, log out, access adaptive learning programs, and most of all USING THE CHROMEBOOKS! Small successes here, since the Chromebooks were in the classrooms in March.
After following Christine Pinto over the last year, I feel like I should sing backup in her choir. “Yes. They. Can” Kindergarteners can learn technology skills that are more than consuming technology such as games and sight word apps. There is a time and place for games and practice apps, but there is so much more out there our Kinders can be doing through utilizing technology.
Keyboarding - Once students have mastered letter recognition (wouldn’t using the keyboard be a reinforcement of learning letters and recognition?). Simple sets to teach them how to log onto the Chromebook and logout give students a skill set they will use in first grade as we expand Chromebooks into the primary grades.
Mouse/Touchpad - Using the mouse or a trackpad will help students develop fine motor skills needed to complete daily tasks. The more they are exposed to the use of these tools, the better their use of them will improve.
Creativity - Allowing students to learn technology skills embedded in learning activities is key. Technology is secondary to the learning objectives/goals/targets. When technology is integrated in such a way that it can enrich, extend, or add a layer to the instruction that does not trump the learning goals, learning becomes so much deeper. The collaboration and communication that can take place during creativity activities.
6 Chromebooks for a class of 15-20 students. After reading Learning First, Technology Second by Lisa Kolb, it really helped to change my view of technology integration. In her Triple E framework and ideas in the book, the one that really shifted for me was her emphasis on co-use of technology. Two or more students on the same device. This somewhat flies in the face of the 1:1 movement in technology, but she emphasizes that many of the analog instructional activities that have the greatest impact are activities that involve social learning. Social learning on technology helps to solidify learning for many students. Students in co-use activities can deepen their understanding of technology and the content by helping students learn skills and concepts. I have emphasized even with the Kinders to not do something for a classmate on the computer but to EXPLAIN. This is critical and higher order thinking skills. It helps you to really think about the task and explain it to someone else to teach them. Boom! Embedded skills all over the place.
In the simplest form, this blog should have simply read, “Kinders can, just let them!”
About the Blogger
Cristin M. Dillard is a serving as the Education Specialist for Library Media at the Alabama State Department of Education.
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