Sunday, August 9, 2015

Starting the Year with Digital Writing

Thank you to Margaret Simon for hosting DigiLit Sunday.  Please visit her site, Reflections on the Teche to read how other educators are integrating technology into their classrooms.

As the school year hovers ever so near, it's time for me to think very purposefully about how I will be integrating technology into my classroom.  One of my fundamental beliefs is that the technology tools available to us are just that...tools.  They become one more tool, alongside pencils, pens, paper, books, and staplers (to name a few) in our writing workshop.  These tools allow for choice, one of the most important foundations of writing workshop.

So, where to start?  I've learned from past experiences that it's important to focus on a few core tools depending on my purpose.  It used to be I jumped on every new tool I learned and then wanted to share it with my students.  I'd create projects (oops..there goes the choice) for the students to do that incorporated these tools, and then we'd move forward to the next tool I wanted to try.  There wasn't time for the kids to learn the tool well, and be purposeful about which tool best served their needs.

While chatting with Kelly Riley, the new tech teacher assigned to our school, I talked to her about what those core tools should be and how we could help students understand the purpose of each.  Our plan is to let students explore each app/tool in small groups and create a chart that describes the tool and how it can be used.  Here are the tools we will begin with this year:







Google Apps for Education gives students access to:

  • word processing documents 
  • spreadsheets
  • presentations
  • drawing tool
  • saving photos
  • mind mapping tool
  • calendar
  • work is automatically saved
  • can be accessed from anywhere at any time
  • can be used collaboratively
  • other apps can be linked to it
  • can be shared with others


Explain Everything is an interactive screen casting whiteboard app that students can use to:
  •  annotate text
  • record presentations
  • share their learning with others



Pixie is a creation tool that allows students to share ideas using:
  • voice narration
  • text
  • images
  • original artwork
  • can be shared

Noteability is a note taking app that allows users to: 
  •  take handwritten notes with a stylus
  • type notes
  • annotate text
  • organize notes
  • record voice
  • can be shared

iMovie creation of video where students can:
  • import images
  • add voice narration
  • add background music
  • import video
  • add transitions
  • can be shared

In addition, my students will be blogging.  I'm still up in the air as to which tool I am going to choose for our blogging platform.  

Let's continue the conversation.  Which will be your core tools?


5 comments:

  1. Julie,
    First love your post! You're making me think about about what core apps I want to begin with. I love your core, they are ageless and allow the students to learn basic tools they will be using throughout school and work while easily integrated with more technoglam tools! Thanks for pushing me!

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  2. Julie, thanks for the information on all the tools we can use to create. Voice and Choice Matter! I created my first iMovie for today's challenge. I hope you use your tech tools to join me for Summer Splashings.

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  3. So many great tools to choose from. We are not a Google school system, so I don't think I'll be able to use any of those awesome tools. My students will blog at kidblogs. They love this platform and so do I. I'll have to try out some of the others you mentioned to see if they work with our network blocks. They can be so frustrating. This year I want to see what we can do with padlet. Thanks for linking up and always being on the forefront of technology.

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  4. This is a great way to introduce a variety of tech tools to your students - I bet my students would learn a lot more quickly this way than if I took them through my favorite tools step by step. I tended to do what you said you did at first - require projects using certain tools. This is a much better way to do it! I'll be thinking about which tools I want to include this year. Thank you for sharing your favorites!

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