My motto “If it can be used in Secondary school it can be used in infants!” Well thats the challenge I set myself each day. It’s not rocket science that tech skills flow upon a school and not down, in other words if children are taught a
particular application in Year 5, that skill moves forward with them. The Early Years (4-7 year olds) in our schools have one of the most important jobs in education and that is foundations. Get the foundations right and the children take with them on their journey. It is no different with tech skills, if we get it right in the early years, we set the children up for an amazing journey with technology. When my school began looking at Google Apps for Education (GAfE), my thoughts immediately shifted to, ‘How can our youngest learners utilise these applications?’ I am only just beginning my journey with implementing it with teachers and students but I thought I would share a few ideas we have had so far. ThingLink: One thing that this application does is allows for young learners to become independent with research and information gathering. It’s simple but effective. I always like an application that is both web based and app based. Log on to thing link.com and create an account, next click on the create button at the top right of the page You now have a space to work with where you can import a picture. With thinglink, the whole idea is to make an image interactive. By adding ‘buttons’ to your image you can now easily link to youtube videos and Google Docs where children can review video footage before collaborating on a shared document. The image can be embedded in Google Sites for ease of access for children. It’s great for science and social studies lessons. Go on, give it a try, your young learners will pick it up very quickly. Travel the world with Google Docs and Add ons: We all know the collaborative fun that can be had with Google Docs, but I thought I’d a little more oomph! to a lesson. Again this is a great way to help children become independent on a task. Go ahead and create a Google Doc. Add text, this might be questions or instructions for the child. To help our non or early readers I use Kaizena to add voice comments to the document, don’t forget to add it as an add on first – https://kaizena.com From here you can send children off from the document via screen shot link to my maps engine. https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/ A fabulous mapping tool that allows you to link information photos and videos to pins on a map. A great way to get children exploring countries, cities, famous sites or even museums and artists. A great way to send children on a treasure hunt around the world. Don’t forget, you can’t embed the google map into the doc but you can link to it off a screen shot. Take a look at this tutorial to see how to get started. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP8VEy5wOV0 So, how have you begun the Google journey with young learners? I’m sure you have some exciting ideas, I would love you to share them.