Kristina Carley’s Gr. 4/5 class at Marlborough Elementary in Burnaby are not ‘newbies’ when it comes to using technology. Kristina has worked with each student to set up their own e-portfolios connected to the classroom’s blog. With the introduction of a set of laptops, these bright and enthusiastic bunch of students have effortlessly added Clicker 7 and Google Docs into their technology tool belts as part of SET-BC’s Classroom-based Solutions. Students have found success and motivation in completing independent and collaborative projects using these tools.
Kristina’s goal for this school year was to have students utilize technology as a way to promote “Writing Expressions of Our Story – Our World as Connected Learners.” Google tools was thought to be a great tool to explore with her students, as Burnaby has also recently become a Google District thus providing students with opportunities to give feedback digitally to one another. Along with their e-portfolios Google Docs has now become a regular tool in student’s on-going writing workshop time and is used for collecting information during research projects. With the incorporation of technology in the classroom, students are not only better able to access their work at home, but they are better able to share work with their families. Some students even stated that they use Google docs at home once or twice a day to show or families or to finish up work. Surprisingly, Google Docs has even served as an outlet for self-regulation for one student who reports, “Google drive is my favourite thing about technology because it helps to relieve my stress sometimes, plus it helps me share my thoughts and keeps it private if I need to.”
Kristina’s students have also been using Clicker 7 to express their knowledge on topics such as Canadian Explorers. Students created digital talking books using this literacy support tool. This has been a particularly positive experience for her English Language Learners who struggled to find the motivation to begin written assignments and struggled to communicate their ideas. Students were able to show their understanding through the use of pictures, voice recordings and supportive writing tools, such as word prediction and spelling checker in the creation of digital talking books.
Since the introduction of class laptops, students have who had difficulties are now more willing to participate in writing activities, and students who were already participating are now writing on their own time and more than ever before – some writing as much as 20+ pages! As these students continue on in their learning career they appear eager to continue exploring tech tools in the future. Armed with positive experiences working with different learning technologies, it is exciting to think of what’s in store for these students!