Technology for the New Year!

December 28, 2012

Technology for the New Year!

December 28, 2012
Hey everyone! I am linking up with the wonderful Kathleen from Growing Kinders for a resolution linky party…all about technology! That’s my favorite topic (did you know that? haha!).
Before I get to my resolutions, here are some ways we use technology in class…some I’ve used for years, others are more recent acquisitions. All are vital to my teaching at this point!

Computer Projector and Document Camera
and speakers…sometimes. The computer projector comes from my school, we have a bunch and I am very, very lucky to be able to use mine every day. I’ve been doing this for years and really would be a wreck without it!
We project interactive websites, graphic organizers, student work…just about everything we can project!
And that’s thanks to the document camera. I actually have two cameras I alternate between because both are great. The one shown above is the IPEVO (I know I’ve blogged about it a couple of times in the past–it’s a great little affordable camera). I bought it because I wanted access to the camera every day, without having to share it (how unteacherly of me!!). I  love it!
I also use the Luna Projection Camera from Learning Resources (I blogged about this one last year)…

which is a really nice camera as well! Love both of them!

Our school has a cart of these wonderful computers and our class uses them as much as possible…and when we have them, we’ll use them in all subject areas. Such as the stopwatch you see above…we used it for a science experiment this past fall.
We use websites, word processing, videos, pretty much anything you can do with the MacBooks.
Ok, on to the resolutions!
Well…have I told you this yet?? I finally got my iPad!! I absolutely adore it and have been using it for home/school, rather than lugging my precious MacBook Pro (I’m always worried something will happen to all my files when I bring it to school!).
I’ve only just started using the iPad in the class with my students. I’ve downloaded Storia and we’ve listened to a few stories…we’ve given Spelling City a whirl (we unanimously prefer the app to the website in our class!), and am on the hunt for more. Apps. And iPads, as a matter of fact!
Do you have any apps to share with a new-to-apps girl? Anything you love for your upper-elementary and/or EL newcomers?
My other resolution (besides finding more apps) is to get my iPad hooked up to the computer projector, so we can enjoy the use (and beautiful retina display!) together as a class
My final technological resolution involves Powerpoint, oddly enough. 
I’ve become very comfortable in using it to create printables for my class and store. Comfortable enough, in fact, that I’d like to teach my students to use Powerpoint when they finalize their nonfiction writing pieces later this winter.
We always word process these writing pieces and it’s a great experience, but I have a bigger vision for this year! I want to teach the students to use Powerpoint and build their nonfiction pieces to look as a kid’s nonfiction text would look…you know with the sidebars, fact boxes, photographs? Not as a slideshow, but as a work to be printed. 
I know it would be so much easier for them to manipulate this on Powerpoint. But it’s going to take a bit of work to teach the whole class, so that is one big techy resolution for me this January!
Oooo…do you think I should make a video tutorial for my students? I wonder how that would work?
Well, if you have any advice/suggestions on apps, I would love to hear it. Thanks so much for reading 🙂


  • Mrs. Cockrell December 28, 2012 at 3:55 am

    YES! Video tutorial for students=flipped classroom experience=the new black! Go for it! 🙂

    Good luck on your resolution; it sounds like a great idea you're imagining!

    Teach On.

    • Kristen December 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      I love your analogy!!!

  • Emily December 28, 2012 at 3:55 am

    I think a video would work great for them to see step by step. Then if you have it on a reference computer that kids can get at during the actual time to work on the project it might give you less headaches. Even those talk buttons from learning resources could help with directions for each step.

    • Kristen December 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      I think it will help too…I'm going to try to have it prepped now before we go back. Thanks Emily!

  • Cynthia December 28, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Technology is definitely the way to teach nowdays! I think the students know more about it than us teachers! LOL

    2nd Grade Pad

    • Kristen December 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Agreed Cynthia!

  • A. Crowe December 28, 2012 at 4:27 am

    My students LOVE to take their Accelerated Reader tests on the classroom iPad! The app is free and I actually like the way it's set up better than the website! (We also use Spelling City and my kids prefer it on the iPad too. I think just having them on a different interface than what they usually use is more interesting to them!
    Also, this is a great article about some key apps you can get for your iPad:
    10 Great Apps for a Teacher’s New iPad

    I love your blog!
    4th Grade

    • Kristen December 28, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks Ashley and thank you for the article!!

  • Elizabeth December 28, 2012 at 4:33 am

    I need to do a better job of using my iPad in my classroom! Yes, do a tutorial for Power Point! It would be so helpful 🙂

    • Kristen December 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth!!

  • Miss Nelson December 28, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Love your resolutions. They would love the video.
    I wish I had wifi. I have ipads but no wifi at school. BOO!

    • Kristen December 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Oh that stinks! I hope you guys can get it down the line!

  • Lisa at Fourth and Ten December 28, 2012 at 4:38 am

    We are getting a cart full to iPads to share at our school and I'm NERVOUS I have a lot of mac products but not an iPad yet. I had my students do book reports on laptops using Powerpoint. I just kept the layout on blank and showed them how to change backgrounds and insert text boxes and pictures. They picked everything up SO fast and they of course ended up teaching me things! 🙂 Your kids will love using Powerpoint!

    Fourth and Ten
    Like Fourth and Ten on Facebook!

    • Kristen December 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks Lisa! They are always great at it aren't they? 🙂

  • Live Learn Teach for Life December 28, 2012 at 5:55 am

    Can't wait to heart how it goes. My students love powerpoint and they pick up things so fast. Have you eat used Glogster EDU it is an awesome program that students really can learn and be creative are the same time! Good luck!

    • Kristen December 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      I've used glogster but not with this class yet, thanks for the reminder I totally forgot about it! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Corinna December 28, 2012 at 6:02 am

    I just got an iPad for my class and they love it!! We have Storia, Math Bingo, Toontastic, Opposites, Brain Teasers, Sudoku School and Splash Math. I didn't know there was an app for AR or Spelling City! I plan to download those ASAP.

    Surfin' Through Second

    • Kristen December 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Hey Corinna!! Thanks for sharing all of those, I am off to check them out!

  • Janet Abercrombie December 28, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Carrying an iPad instead of a MacBook Pro will do wonders for your back!

    You asked about apps. The one I use the most is Confer.

    Confer was made for teachers of reading and writing workshops. It allows you to track topics, strengths, teaching points, and next steps for each student after each conference. You can sort students by "next steps" – making small group 'seminars' easy to schedule. Also, you can email yourself notes on every students – which more or less write report card comments for you :).

    Have fun!
    Janet |

  • Kristen December 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I have to admit Janet, saving my back was a big factor in getting this! Thank you for the info on confer, I'm off to check it out right now.

  • Michelle December 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Kristen, have you ever explored Prezi? If not, it's a wonderful presentation tool that keeps students engaged and is very easy to use! As an educator, you can get the $59 annual fee version for free! Here is the link for educators:

    Additionally, Prezi allows you to upload PowerPoint slides!! Therefore, you can create a presentation for your students with uploaded slides for examples that teaches them how to create in PowerPoint! It's a win/win scenario as your students will be engaged in the presentation and learn all at once how to work in PowerPoint! They can watch your presentation on their laptops by accessing Prezi online, watch it as a class through an interactive whiteboard, or you can download your presentation to your laptop and show it through other means if the internet is not available. I hope you find this helpful!

    I just completed my teacher preparation program and had to create Prezi presentations in a number of my courses to develop those technology skills we have to have in the classroom. My resolution is to keep my skills going and use Prezi during my student teaching that begins in January!

    Good luck teaching your students how to use PowerPoint!! I think that is a great New Years Resolution that will provide your students with skills they will benefit from!! Thanks for sharing your ideas!


  • Julie Lobb December 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    You need to check out Show Me, it is a free app that allows students to draw on a virtual whiteboard and record their voice. It is a great way to do a quick assessment.

    • Christy January 1, 2013 at 3:20 am

      We use Educreations. Very similar to the Show Me app. It's free. Students can log in with either a username or email…it's nice to not have to have emails for everything. Both are very useful apps!

  • The Wild Rumpus December 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Kristen–I use Evernote a lot during professional development. For example, we had PD with a Teachers College staff developer the week before break. Not only could I type, but I could record audio when I chose to, take pics of the charts she shared and that we created together and insert them into my notes, and add live links to sites she suggested, all in one document that I could immediately email to everyone who needed it.

    I envision using it with my kids someday, but we are a PC school with no iPads or tablets at the moment. It would be a great way to teach kids to take notes in a multi-media way.

    I also use the IMovie app to create book trailers with my kids later in the year. It's literally a template with several choices already pre-designed with music. So cool Last year I had them plan the storyboard out, along with the text, and we sort of winged it because it was the last week of school. They LOVED it. This year, I'll be doing it during Historical Fiction book clubs and will be creating more explicit planning activities, rubrics, etc.

    I'm a bit of a tech freak myself, and have so much to learn 🙂

    • The Wild Rumpus December 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      PS–this is all with my personal iPad since we don't have them. They shoot the video with flip camera and I transfer it all to the iPad through all sorts of PIA steps, but it's worth it.

  • Suzstamps December 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Kristen, I have been using my personal iPad for class since I bought it in April. I love it. Get yourself a VGA adaptor. It is a small chord that hooks into the pin plug of a projector and the other end into the iPad. I project all the apps I use and projects we have made to my white board. Kids love it. There are so many great apps. I spend a lot of vacation hours researching them. I teach second, one of their favorite project apps is called My Story. We created a book about an activity day. You can even record voice wit it. The only glitch I have found is that the voice does not work across platforms when sharing the link. I haven' had time to figure that one out yet. You will love the pad. It has made integrating tech into lessons a breeze! For an old dog like me that's a real blessing!

  • Suzstamps December 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Kristen, I have been using my personal iPad for class since I bought it in April. I love it. Get yourself a VGA adaptor. It is a small chord that hooks into the pin plug of a projector and the other end into the iPad. I project all the apps I use and projects we have made to my white board. Kids love it. There are so many great apps. I spend a lot of vacation hours researching them. I teach second, one of their favorite project apps is called My Story. We created a book about an activity day. You can even record voice wit it. The only glitch I have found is that the voice does not work across platforms when sharing the link. I haven' had time to figure that one out yet. You will love the pad. It has made integrating tech into lessons a breeze! For an old dog like me that's a real blessing!

  • Simply Cyndie December 30, 2012 at 4:05 am

    YEP! We have to teach our first graders how to create PowerPoints. YIKES! I know how to do it myself, but I have some kids that can barely navigate around the keyboard and use the mouse!

    LOVE your idea for having them create pieces that look like real texts. They will be so amazed with themselves! Can't wait to see some of their finished pieces.

  • Lindsay Topolewski December 30, 2012 at 5:34 am

    I have just read all the replies by all these wonderful people who like myself follow you closely…and I have already learned so much! I just got a personal ipad mini for myself to use with my students. We do not have ipads in our building except at the kindergarten,first, and second grade level. I have already gotten so many ideas from you and your followers. Thanks so much for keeping me motivated all year long. I have loved following your blog!

  • Jayhawk Teacher 3 December 31, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Not sure if you have heard of but.. you can save the students' powerpoints as a PDF and then upload them to flip snack. In a couple minutes you have an online flip book. My kids loved making a book and it is EASY. Plus you can put them online to share with parents.

  • Christy January 1, 2013 at 3:14 am

    Thanks so much for sharing all of your ideas! I'm a special education teacher and my school is 1-1 iPad, and I just blogged about some of the apps we use often. Maybe there will be something you can use!

  • Jen Lesher January 3, 2013 at 2:15 am

    We just got the program AirServe. It allows you to display what is on your iPad through your projector. I don't have a document camera so it is a great and cheap alternative to purchasing one. It allows me to project student work and show students how to use an ipad app as a whole class. Plus I can quickly show videos from brain pop on the smartboard without having to log onto my classroom computer.

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