When Terry Kammerle, a Grade 2 teacher at Madeira Park Elementary on the Sunshine Coast, first set out to include technology in her classroom she wasn’t so sure how to get started. The school where she taught didn’t have updated technology that her students could readily access. Terry knew that technology could help her students but was hesitant about implementing the technology on her own. When the Special Education Technology Coordinator, Sandy Magnussen, came to Terry with the possibility of implementing technology in the classroom to support her students’ literacy development, Terry jumped at the opportunity to work with Sandy to meet her technology implementation goals.
Throughout the year, Terry worked closely with Sandy and they co-taught the class regularly. The teaching duo explored iOS apps that support literacy – they started with Clicker Sentences and Kids Love Sight Words and had students working on sentence structure. The students loved being able to customize words in the apps. As the year progressed, the team also explored Kurzweil 3000 to access a digital copy of Charlotte’s web making it available to those students who needed an alternative format to the printed book.
Students also really took off using Clicker Books to create digital books to showcase their learning taking advantage of the speech-to-text (dictation) and text-to-speech (read aloud) features in the iOS operating system to help with the writing and reading process. The students were able to publish their work into a web-based portable document format (.pdf) with the teachers creating a QR code for each book so that parents could open a digital copy of the book at home.
Throughout the year, the tudents and teachers developed confidence in using the technology to support reading and writing in the classroom. Many students can now independently type and/or dictate stories copying and pasting pictures from the internet seamlessly to support their writing. They see themselves as readers, writers and creators of digital books.
Terry is glad she took a risk in expanding her teaching approach that included integrating technology tools into her literacy program. She continues to explore ways to support her students in the classroom by providing choice – now one of the choices is the use of technology to complete reading and writing tasks. We congratulate Terry, Sandy and the rest of the team at Madeira Park for implementing technology successfully to support and enhance the learning of students in the classroom.