Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why I Tweet and Use Kidblog In Kindergarten!

Last week one of my students created a post on their kidblog about something they designed with materials at their home. My student took a photograph, created a title and some words to describe what he created. He created something that “worked with electricity”.
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Afterwards he sent me a tweet to tell me that he had just created a post. I was able to tweet back using twitter to communicate and connect with my student. I am modeling how to be a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen through an authentic learning opportunity.

On Monday my student shared his kidblog post he created with the class. As you can read from the exchange of tweets I had with my student he understood how to communicate with me to let me know that he had something to say/share. (click on photograph to enlarge) This is a reflection of how young students can use social media in regards to their learning. This young child is beginning to understand and experience the power of using social media and blogging as platforms to connect and reflect with others. This is how I can help educate and give my young students meaningful experiences with social media and blogging.
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Some observations I made while my student was sharing his kidblog were very telling of the awareness being created in regards to the technology I am using in Kindergarten. I was also thinking about the opportunities my young students have had to make observations and be reflective about those tools as well in regards to their learning.

My student was at the computer using the mouse and went to touch the screen. He said; “Oh wait, this isn’t an iPad or a SMART board. What side of the mouse do I click Mrs. D.” Right away I was reminded about the tools we use and how important it is to use a variety of tools to help students become flexible and adaptable when they are interacting with their learning. He adapted right away and continued to share.

I then asked my student why he tweeted me. He said; Because I wanted to tell you what I did on my kidblog.” Another student shared; “That’s communicating!” Yes it is! Wow! This is really amazing to me because my students are developing an awareness of audience, how to communicate in ways beyond the classroom walls and experiencing the feeling of receiving comments and compliments in regards to their discoveries.

Kidblog is a platform available for all of my students and their families. It provides endless opportunities for them to connect, collaborate and celebrate what is important to them. Kidblog is a wonderful way for my students and their families to share their discoveries outside of the classroom and an opportunity to experience how to use kidblog in a safe, kind and responsible way.

Twitter is a way for me to model along with my students and their families the value of being connected and sharing with others. Through experiences like this my students begin to develop an awareness of audience. They experience the “how to” use social media as well as the importance of receiving feedback from others who make connections with what they are sharing.
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Through this type of interaction my parents will understand and experience the value of using kidblog and twitter in regards to learning. The beauty here is that my students and their parents are using the technological tools together, at a young age. This gives everyone opportunities to engage and enrich their learning experiences in meaningful, safe ways. As an educator I am responsible for my students, but also their families. I try to be transparent in my thinking and practice when using technology so my families will do the same.

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It’s All About The Learning!

I have been thinking a lot lately about a question I am asked often; “How do you keep track of how much ‘screen time’ your students have?” and “How much time should my child be on an iPad?”

Both of these questions bring about a lot of deep thinking and a shift in thinking on my part.  My response is always in regards to learning because the focus of my work as an educator is always about the learning.  The learning is the center of everything I model and explore with my students.  The learning is vital and key when thinking about engagement and relevance when I work with students and their families.DSCF2226

Too “keep track” of how often or when one of my students is using an electronic device would shift the purpose of what I am doing.  The learning would not be authentic, but rather something to be “checked off”.  Technology offers all educators, parents and students a way to enhance and enrich their understanding of what they are discovering and learning.  I love how technology supports my ideas for exploring and creating new learning opportunities for and with my students.  I often think of endless examples of how this might look and sound like in Kindergarten.

Just by having iPads in different parts of my classroom my students understand that this tool/device is there if they choose to use.  For example many students create and design many things in Kindergarten using a variety of tools.  Why not think about a way to record and document that creation or design with a tool that provides your student/child to share what they have discovered?  This is the importance of using and having technologies available in meaningful, responsible ways.  This is how I can model for my students and their families the importance of having technological tools and how they can be utilized.

photo (1)The iPad has many different unique features that can be integrated in an almost seamless fashion.  I try to think of this device as another opportunity to enrich and enhance the learning that is explored.

Learning special features of different geometric shapes is a great example.  In Kindergarten we explore shapes.  We examine shapes within and outside of our classroom.  Geoboard is a great app that can help my students create and design their understanding of geometric shapes we explore because it provides equal learning access for everyone.  This is a very powerful way to engage all my students.  As mathematicians we explore how we know a triangle to be a triangle, etc.  This app gives all my students equal access to their understanding and learning of our topic.  I also have geoboards too!  By having a variety of tools, I am able to provide a variety of learning opportunities for my students.  Learning opportunities that support my students thinking.  My students take risks with their learning because it is encouraged and modeled daily in the many learning activities we explore.

So the time my students spend on an iPad is important, but it is not what drives the learning.  Learning opportunities are everywhere.  I try to model explicit ways of how technology enhances what we are exploring and learning about.  Learning is the center for everything.  From rich, authentic learning opportunities my students use a variety of technologies that support their explorations and understandings.  For me it is always about the learning.  Technology helps bring the learning to life!

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Connecting and Sharing Using Skype!

This morning was amazing in Kindergarten!   One of my students is in Florida this week at Disney World.  He called us this morning to say hello! The students were so excited to say hello!  Later I received an email from a parent who has a child home sick and very upset that he can’t attend kindergarten!  She asks for my name on Skype so they can call us and check in!  Wow!

This type of connection is vital and important in the work we do as educators.  Using Skype my students and their families have opportunities to experience how to use technology in a safe, kind and responsible way.  I think about how amazing this is that not only my students, but their families understand the importance of being connected!

This is a great example also of how important it is to have an interactive and connected classroom culture.  This begins to develop prior to Kindergarten even starting.  Classroom culture helps support, encourage and give people a voice and opportunity to share what they understand and learn.  I always focus on the learning and the connections we make.  It is through these ideas that my students and their families feel a part of all the learning and everything that we do during our busy days together.

With so many technological tools available, it is so important as an educator to use these tools in very explicit and meaningful ways.  Through the authentic modeling, my students and their families begin to experience how the tools enrich and enhance learning.  Everyone has a voice in Kindergarten. We develop close relationships through our connections with each other. Our connections become meaningful and engaging not only because of what we are learning, but how we are learning.

Just think about what you could do with Skype.  Endless opportunities!

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