Google Apps themselves are probably no more revolutionary than any other great tech apps that have been released recently, but what has happened is teachers are beginning to revolutionise their teaching based on the tools available.
Being a specialist tech integrator for our Nursery (3 yr olds) – Grade 2 (6 yr olds) children, I often ask the question of other tech specialist “How do you use Google with the young ones?”. Most of the time they tell me how they are still working with the upper primary students and haven’t rolled anything out to infants yet. Or it’s being used in pockets but not really used yet.
I get it…it’s damn hard introducing new tech tools to the infant end of a school. Lessons and experiences take twice as long as children are guided through the tools..it’s hard…damn hard! But I never take no for an answer, so my aim has been to see how we can use it with our 5 yr olds and 6 yr olds.
To lay the platform for the tech set up with us..we are not 1:1. We are 1:2 with ipads and shared laptops. The word shared sends shivers down anyones spine, but add young ones into the mix, who have trouble sharing lego and boom! We have a situation.
The 2 main hurdles we had were:
1. Age restrictions on Google (under 13) and
2. Shared devices
Our work around for accounts:
1. Each teacher set up on GAFE accounts
2. Shared class accounts for students set up with file structures
Our ideas and use:
Developing word banks for use within topics, building a question sheet for students during a session (something to reflect on at the end of a lesson), brainstorming facts during research units, Collaborative stories ( a great way to use for guided writing). Use Kaizena app to add voice prompts to a doc for students who have not developed literacy skills yet to read e.g. instructions.
It was funny to observe the students when they first used Google docs, they were fascinated that other people were typing at the same time.
Surveys around school and evaluation of topics / units. Embed youtube clips into the form to gauge student responses as well.
(Either embedded in class portal page or link attached Google doc or link emailed to shared account). Exploring country sites and landmarks, Famous artworks and artists, history. Perfect for introducing research skills with guidance.
So, there you have it! 6 weeks into using GAFE in our infant school and I think we have made a nice start. Our next step is to look at youtube and see how we can safely integrate it in. It’s a perfect platform for sharing our learning as well.
I’d love to hear some of the activities you are doing with young learners and GAFE.