Using technology in the classroom serves many purposes; it engages the students, motivates them, and also adds greater depth and complexity to our lessons. Over the last few years in my classroom we have switched from cassettes to CD’s to iPods. We went from video to DVD to streaming video on-line and that’s just the beginning. The technology available to our pre-k students today is truly astounding.
What is even more astounding is my students' ability to accept and integrate technology into their daily lives. In our classroom we have an interactive whiteboard, computers, a document camera, a digital projector, iPods, and streaming video on-demand--and I’m sure I forgot something. We use programs like Photo Story and Power Point daily to teach new vocabulary and concepts, like washing hands. The students in my classroom are real “Techno Tots”; they don’t just like technology; they expect it and sometimes even demand it. It's just a natural part of their everyday world.
Portable digital music players like iPods are some of the latest additions to my classroom. Last year our pre-k team wrote a grant for iPod shuffles to promote literacy in the home and we started sending home iPods with our students in October. We load them with recordings of ourselves reading books and the students select which books they want to take home (in both physical and audio form) each night. This has been a smash hit with the Techno Tots. Each morning as they return their iPod and book bag, they are already planning which books they want to check out that day.
One day I overheard the following conversation:
Rebekah: Hey, you know what I heared last night on my iPod?
Rebekah: I heared the teacher reading Goildilocks!
Hector: I heard that one too! Did you hear the caterpillar story?
Rebekah: Oh yeah! He turned into a bootiful butterfly! That’s my favorite!
Each day, I let one student give a formal “review” of his or her book. We practice asking the reader questions about his or her book. Some of the questions the students have learned to ask are:
- What was the title?
- Who was the author?
- Did you like the book?
- What was your favorite part?
- Would you read it again?
- How many stars do you give it? (students can hold up the fingers on one hand to indicate how many stars they rate the book)
While it may still seem new to those of us who still remember CD’s (or records!), technology is here to stay and it's changing the way we deliver instruction; from pre-k all the way up to the college level. By embracing new technology we can help the Techno Tots keep pace with the quickly changing digital world.