Sunday, May 29, 2016

Kindergarten Goes Googly!

Don't underestimate the growth of a kindergarten student!

Mooresburg kindergartners have been on a fun-learning adventure! I was blessed to work with Jessica Drinnon (teacher) and 29 students as they fully embraced technology during the 2015-16 school year. The journey included Google docs to type stories & find supporting pictures, Google forms for assessments & data collection, QR codes for centers, Google Classroom to complete assignments & answer class discussion prompts, virtual reality with NearPod, and Padlet for Q&A, brainstorming & communication with other students. 

Is your head spinning?? Yes, kinders used all of these technology tools to support learning goals and no they are not privy to a full technology classroom. Full disclosure & the amazing part...
  • students are in a rural, low socioeconomic school (Title I)
  • majority of the students DO NOT have computer access at home
  • majority had never used a keyboard until entering kindergarten
  • classroom IS NOT 1:1 (1 device per child), in fact this is not even in the ball park
  • teacher had daily access to 5 computers in her class and a few iPads
  • students rotated to utilize technology
  • teacher scheduled the computer lab & used it when it was available
I point all of the above out because I have often heard...
  • I can't use a computer with young students because I don't have enough for all of them
  • the computer lab access is limited because I'm not a tested area
  • my students don't have computer skills
  • my students don't have technology access at home
  • my students lack keyboarding skills
  • my students are in a poverty area and learning to use technology is not feasible
  • I simply don't have time to teach by students technology integration because I have to teach my content

    Kinder group proves that lack of technology skills, limited access, and socioeconomic constraints aren't issues as long as a motivated teacher provides the inspiration and expectation!

As an Instructional Technology Specialist, I have goals for technology integration. They always start with the motivation level of the teacher because it takes a motivated teacher to integrate technology to support learning goals. Jessica probably thought I had lost my mind when I suggested Google Classroom. Yet, we grew together because she was willing to work with me and invite me into her classroom. She found a balance and infused technology to create a blended learning environment.

The students amazed us by taking each new learning activity in stride. Barriers were not a problem because the teacher didn't let them stop her from working with the students until they overcame them. The students encountered a few bumps along the way but you'd never know it because they persevered.We discovered that technology skills are developed when students regularly use technology as part of the learning process. Honestly, we never dreamed the students would do as well as they did but they rose to the expectations set by the teacher. More importantly, the teacher never gave up. This is significant because she chose to embrace new techniques and adjust pedagogy methods to include implementing technology. She didn't get discouraged and she gained inspiration from the students. 

Looking back, I can say the kinderpups rose above every challenge and embraced new learning ideas. All students were engaged in learning! They loved to "type" instead of "write". Did it take longer? Absolutely! Was it worth it? Absolutely! The kids were PROUD of their work! They were excited to demonstrate their Google skills during Camp Google on May 25, 2016. Plus, several ask their parents to let them use Google Classroom this summer. Yes, they want to "type" (aka write) over the summer! In my opinion, blended learning leads to engaged learners!! I was blessed to be a part of the process!

Read about Camp Google at:  

Thanks PCS for the kinder shirts & David Pauley/Greeneville City Schools for the Twitter cookie cutters that were used at Camp Google!

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