Thursday, November 3, 2016

Learning Centers Blog Hop Series: The Technology Center

We are continuing this week with the Pre-K Partner's Learning Centers Blog Hop Series! So far we have taken a look at the math, writing, art, blocks, science centers, and dramatic play centers. This week we will learn a little about how to integrate technology into the classroom!

In my previous classrooms I never really had a specified "computer/tech center."  We had a Smartboard area and two ipads. If I found a Smartboard game or activity that had to do with our topic of study, I would open up the Smartboard for students to rotate through and use during center time. We also used the Smartboard for our daily morning calendar, to listen/watch songs and dances, and in conjunction with math/literacy lessons. 

Sometimes the ipads would be placed at an empty table during center time and students could rotate through a specific game. We've used the ipads to take photos on nature or number hunts and to make our own videos. Ipads were also incorporated into the library center!

Students could scan laminated QR codes with the ipad. Then, the ipad would pop up a familiar story and would read it out loud. For more information on how to create/set up QR codes visit Heidi Songs! 

Click on the image below to download QR codes for your listening center by Teaching is a Royal Adventure. My students loved hearing the familiar stories read aloud and watching the pictures! 

By creating a computer/ipad center or incorporating technology, students are learning: 

- how to type and use a mouse
- about the alphabet/numbers through learning activities
- how to navigate through educational games
- how to problem solve and make decisions
- how to share and take turns

Technology also prepares students for the real world and helps them to be more "tech savvy." 

Smartboards, Smartboard tables, Promethean boards, digital cameras, computers, and ipads can be used to encourage tech engagement in the classroom. 

I have had a Promethean board in one of my classrooms and a Smartboard in another room. I prefer the seems easier to use and there are a lot more teacher-created Smartboard activities to download. I've downloaded activities from Teachers Pay Teachers and also SMART Exchange. The SMART Exchange is nice because everything is free and you can search by subject!

I've also had a Smartboard activity table. It is a touch screen with games/activities. Although it is useful as a center activity, it was hard for my students to use by themselves. I also found it to take up a lot of space in the classroom. 

You can create your own games in Microsoft Power Point or on the Smartboard program. I've found many fun and interactive Power Point games from Pink Cat Studio on TPT. She makes such fun activities that my students loved playing! 

With the Smartboard markers I can create a quick chart or graph. Students can practice writing, drawing shapes, circling items. It's amazing how fast they can pick up how to use the digital markers and eraser. 

We've also used the Smartboard to go on "cultural discovery trips" around the world and to research animals or new places! 

The teachers role is to...

- guide and moniter students with how to use/navigate the technology. Teachers can instruct, model, and practice with students how to use the computer, Smartboard, digital tools, etc. 

- incorporate technology into the classroom to reach a variety of learning styles and to prepare students for the real world. 

- to protect students (with online games, anything connecting to the internet) by taking proper security measures like using passcodes/parental controls. 

- to limit the use of technology in the classroom! Many children these days have access to ipads, cell phone, and computers at home. It's important to make sure classroom screen time is monitored and that you are still providing many hands on real experiences. 

Thanks for stopping by and next time we will discuss the playground and outdoor activities! 

Hop on over to Fun in ECSE to learn more ideas for your tech center!

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