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What’s Happening with Tech in Elementary Grades?

by Lori Gracey
tech in elementary grades

Back in the days when I was a technology director, I followed a long-standing practice of giving the best and newest technology to students and teachers at the high school. That meant that the high school’s older devices got moved down to the middle school level, and the middle school tech was given (gladly) to the elementary schools (who received it somewhat grudgingly). While this was certainly not a best practice, it was very common as we believed that computers were more complicated (at that time) and so should go to older students.

Today, however, while technology is more powerful, it has become much simpler to use. And that’s great news for elementary students and educators. Elementary students were born into a world filled with amazing technology resources and tools and will live and work in that world all of their lives. It is critical that they master the tech and how it can best be used for life-long learning.

Current Technology for Elementary Students

When we look at the amazing learning that is happening in the elementary grades these days, what technology devices are we seeing? Here’s a look at just a few of the popular ones that kids are enjoying.

Computers, Laptops, and Tablets: Whether it’s an iPad or a Chromebook or a desktop computer, elementary students from PreK on up are learning to use technology. While each district may provide a different type of experience from carts to a 1:1 rollout, the activities that students are doing are increasingly complex. You will see them not just absorbing information, but creating new products that showcase their own learning.

Robotics: One of the newest technologies that elementary learners are using is robotics. Whether they are programming the Dash robot, an Ozobot, or solving problems with LEGO robotics, students at a very young age are mastering the basics of computational thinking and computer science. Check out this article for tips on implementing this tech with your students.

Distance Learning/Video Conferencing/Virtual Reality: Students are bound by their geographic location any more. With a basic computer camera and a free program like Skype or a smartphone and a $6 headset, they can travel the world and beyond. Take a look at these resources.

What all of these technologies are enabling young learners to do is to sometimes be the teacher, to investigate their own new ideas, to learn from and collaborate with each other, to become powerful digital citizens, and to prepare themselves for the future.

Professional Learning Focused on Tech in Elementary Gradestech in elementary grades

If you are an elementary educator and want to increase your knowledge of best practices with technology in grades PreK-5, then consider taking part in TCEA’s Elementary Technology Conference in Galveston, TX June 9-11. This innovative learning experience targets devices, tools, strategies, and resources that are best suited to meet the needs of young learners. Sessions for teachers, librarians, and administrators at the conference are smaller so that you can get to know the presenter and have your questions answered. Continental breakfast and a full buffet lunch is included both days, and you’ll also receive an awesome t-shirt to wear home.

What can you learn at the Elementary Technology Conference? Well, take a look at just some of the amazing topics that will be covered.

  • Blended Learning Beginner’s Guide
  • Open House with a Techy Twist
  • Digital Writing Choice Menus
  • Making Vocabulary Interactive
  • Rhyme, Rhythm, and Reading
  • Supercharge Your STEM Stations
  • Affordable Augmented Reality
  • Jammin’ and Jigsawing’ with G Suite Edu
  • Makerspace and Design Thinking in the Primary Classroom

In addition, you can sign up for an additional learning opportunity that features a three-hour deep dive into one of five specific topics:

  • Incorporating ISTE Standards in the Elementary Classroom – Explore the ISTE Standards for Educators in this hands-on workshop. You’ll have a chance to learn what the standards look like and how knowing them can help you document your success and growth in your teacher evaluations.
  • Full STEAM Ahead for Grades K-2 – Explore a variety of STEAM-related activities that you can replicate in your classroom with your students. You will leave with plenty of ideas and resources to reinforce critical STEAM concepts.
  • Full STEAM Ahead for Grades 3-5 – Explore a variety of STEAM-related activities that you can replicate in your classroom with your students. You will leave with plenty of ideas and resources to reinforce critical STEAM concepts.
  • Learning with a Twist of Google – Learn creative ways to address content area standards with Google. The session content will focus on grades 2-4, but the ideas can be applied to other grades as well.
  • Improving Learning Through Research-Proven Strategies – This workshop will focus on research-proven teaching and learning strategies that accelerate student learning and engagement. Discover what approaches work with students, which ones may present distractions, and how you can better ensure important content is conveyed in a way that creates lasting learning for your students.

Each pre-conference workshop is just $49 and will provide you with a fabulous start to the new school year. Sign up for one today and register for the best learning experience you’ll ever have with all of your elementary friends!

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