In elementary math and science classrooms, technology can support learning intentions and big ideas when it enhances student learning or helps to personalize each students needs. In math, technology can help facilitate different groups, as in the Math Daily 3 design. Students can use apps like Book Creator to document examples of different patterns. They can use apps like Show Me, an interactive whiteboard, to share evidence of their learning. Students can watch educational videos to help them understand a concept or idea. Students are able to converse with their teacher outside of school hours for formative assessment and support. Apps like Brain Pop Jr. that provide short, animated and engaging cartoons to present a curricular competency for our visual learners. I believe these examples count as a good use of technology to support math because they enhance the meaning of big ideas and are engaging to a variety of learning styles. Student’s benefit from virtual manipulative’s and programs that correct common errors, rather then having students make the same mistakes over and over on a worksheet. Many apps provide immediate feedback for the learner.
In science, technology can support learning in a number of ways. In our life cycle unit, students took pictures of their plants daily. Being able to zoom in on the roots brought the learning to life. Students made stop motion videos to show how their plant grew daily and for greater observation. Students enjoy using technology to research and watch movies to find answers to their inquiry questions. Students use technology to create iMovies to share what they learned with the class, adding voice-overs, images, videos, and text. These are examples of enhancing learning and providing opportunities for student voice.
When technology is not replacing worksheets or being used as a ‘filler’, but rather being used to integrate meaningful experiences, it changes the way students view learning. Students are engaged, taking ownership over their learning, and we as teachers are creating environments for deeper, authentic learning.