Sunday, January 5, 2014

Help! I Have To Use Technology with K–2 Students!

Guest Blog by Tya Tyrell

I have often heard K–2 teachers ask “How do I integrate technology when many of my students are just learning to read and write?” Well I have a solution for you. In this blog post, I will share some ideas for simple and engaging ways to integrate literacy and technology. There are only a few steps in order for you to get started.

Integrating Technology with Ebooks
My school uses the Being a Writer™ program, which includes the writing process as students learn to write. One simple way of including technology is publishing student work through an eBook. After completing a unit in Being a Writer, students have written a story that’s ready to be published. I ask my students to pick out a piece they would like to make into an eBook. You can use PowerPoint to create an eBook. Here are the steps:
  1. Simply have the students create a slide for each section of their story (beginning, middle, and end, or chapters).
  2. Don’t forget a Title Page slide.
  3. Once the students have typed their story, show them how to import clip art or pictures from a file to help enhance their story.
This is just one way of creating an eBook. If your students are more advanced with the use of technology, try or Here, students can type, draw, and import pictures to create eBooks, or they can turn their books into published pieces (either paperback or hardbound).

Virtual Field Trips to Integrate Technology
Another way to integrate technology with literacy is to create a virtual field trip to meet the Common Core Standard of asking and answering questions. A virtual field trip is a way to have students explore one or more designated websites while purposefully reading for information. As a teacher you will need to set a purpose (for example, visit Sea World to learn about ocean life) for your virtual field trip as well as a list of questions based on what you want the students to visit. I use open-ended questions to check for understanding rather than short, one-word answers. I create questions according to my students’ abilities.

You can see an example of a virtual field trip form by clicking on the image on the right. The virtual field trip my students love is a trip to San Diego Zoo. They have live webcams and a kid section including audio for non-readers as well as games. This form is a Word document that you can customize with your own questions.

Some of you might ask how I manage a virtual field trip in my classroom. I have students in pairs or small groups to work on answering questions. Every day, a few groups of students use the computers during literacy block time. I have bookmarked the website they are to use and modeled how to use the Internet and the website. With the younger grades, I only have the students use one website with links from that website. For instance, I use, where there are no ads for the kids to accidentally click on and many links to navigate.

Tya Tyrrell is a second-grade teacher in North Carolina. She has been teaching for eleven years and has completed her National Boards Certificate and has a masters degree in elementary education. Additionally, she has Gifted and Intelligence License. Tya also works part time as a consultant with Developmental Studies Center.

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