Classroom Technology

Making Tech Use (Early) Elementary

By Ian Quillen — June 28, 2010 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Early elementary school students can gain as much—if not more—from good classroom technology use as middle and high school students. It’s just, like everything else in the lower grades, you have to start a little slower.

That was the theme professed by Maria Knee, of New Hampshire, Kathy Cassidy, of Saskatchewan, and Amanda Marrinan, of Australia, elementary teachers and Internet collaborators who lectured on how to integrate technology into a primary school classroom at the 2010 ISTE ed-tech conference in Denver Monday.

With a little bit of patience and ingenuity, they said, first graders could transform from keyboarding novices to old hands at blog software, flip video cameras, Web conferencing, and Twitter. And with lower elementary teachers’ freedom to develop project-based learning that spans several subjects, as many teachers have done with Skype, the learning potential can be enormous.

Here are a couple of tips you might want to take away from the session:

1. Start Slow. Knee’s kindergartners spend much of the first six weeks of school practicing the same basic skills: blogging and commenting, pointing and clicking, and learning manners for Skype chats. But by January, she said, their skills evolve substantially, and by the end of the year they are working largely independently.

2. Appoint ‘experts.’ Each child learns the technology at their own pace, and teaching each new process (such as how to copy and paste) 20 times over can be exhausting. So, Cassidy says, as each child reaches a new threshold and learns a new function, appoint him or her as an expert to teach other students when they reach the same challenge.

3. Involve parents. Parents may worry about their children doing online-based projects, and teachers may worry about controlling multiple students on multiple computers. So, as Marrinan did with her students, invite a few parents to be chaperons or associate instructors during the beginning of the year when students are first learning the software. That way parents see what students are doing and drop their reservations, while teachers don’t pull their hair out trying to monitor 10 different keyboards. (Of course, classroom management software can help teachers out in this respect, too.)

4. Make friends. Part of the thrill of working with technology is getting feedback from blogs, videos, and online conferences, and expanding the classroom beyond its walls. Plus, if you’re teaching primary elementary school students, you’re going to have good days and bad days, no matter how well you’ve integrated your classroom, and you’ll need the shoulder to lean on. Even if that shoulder is half a world away.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Classroom Technology The Future of Blended Learning: What Educators Need to Know
More than two-thirds of educators expect their use of blended learning to increase during the 2021-22 school year.
8 min read
onsr edtech blended
Classroom Technology Why School Districts Are Unprepared for COVID-19 Disruptions, Again
Bad state policy, misplaced optimism, and a focus on full-time virtual schools left districts scrambling to educate quarantined students.
11 min read
onsr edtech hybrid
Classroom Technology Opinion Some Teachers Are New to Laptop Integration. Here’s How to Manage It
Let students help set expectations and make sure both you and they know how to use the tools are just a couple suggestions educators offer.
15 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Classroom Technology Opinion 20 Suggestions About Teaching in a Class Where All Students Have Laptops
One tip from experienced teachers: Working in a one-to-one classroom is more about a shift in teaching and learning than the use of devices.
11 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."