I tried to explore the debate of technology in elementary schools. I have heard strong voices advocating for technology in schools. However, for several primary teachers in my school, the use of technology in primary classes is strongly discouraged. The emphasis on play-based learning and experiential hands-on activities far outweighs the benefits of digital tools in the classroom. Although I agree on the merits of play, I am also passionate about integrating technology effectively as a learning tool. In my research quest so far, I found many articles toting the benefits of technology but few articles discussing the possible negative impact on children. Why? Is this because the advent of technology in schools is so recent that little research is available? At this point, I am certainly finding a lack of literature outlining both positions of the debate. As I read the various articles I had selected, I was disappointed with the results and decided to focus more on the integration of technology.
My administrator suggested this broadcast with guest speaker, Maryanne Wolf on CBC Spark. In this episode, Wolf cautions against the use of digital reading for children and encourages the use of book reading.
My original plan was to create a platform for staff to share their own struggles and success with technology integration, but many of my colleagues are not yet ready to jump in with both feet. So, I have adapted my plan to share my journey of introducing technology into a primary class.
I will further my research into recommended apps to use in primary classrooms. I have started following three presenters from the ISTE conference on Twitter: Victoria Olsen, Richard Snyderman and Heather Askea.
I also found the following helpful tutorials regarding the potential apps to try in my classroom:
Explain Everything Tutorial
Sock Puppet Tutorial
Chowdhry, Affan. (2015, Sept. 15). Computers in classroom have ‘mixed’ impact on learning: OECD report. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://t.co/wwiLgLarEd
Colwell, J., & Hutchison, A. (2015). Supporting Teachers in Integrating Digital Technology into Language Arts Instruction to Promote Literacy. Journal of Digital Learning In Teacher Education (Routledge), 31(2), 56-63. doi:10.1080/21532974.2014.991813
Fekonja-Peklaj, U., & Marjanovič-Umek, L. (2015). Positive and negative aspects of the IWB and tablet computers in the first grade of primary school: a multiple-perspective approach. Early Child Development & Care, 185(6), 996-1015. doi:10.1080/03004430.2014.974592
Javorsky, K., & Trainin, G. (2014). Teaching Young Readers to Navigate a Digital Story When Rules Keep Changing. Reading Teacher, 67(8), 606-618. doi:10.1002/trtr.1259
Perez, L. (2013). Re-Imagine Your Library with iPads. Learning & Leading With Technology, 40(6), 22-25.
Spencer, R., & Smullen, T. (2014). Future Reading: Using Technology in the Classroom. Practically Primary, 19(2), 28-31.
Young, N., & Wolf, M. (2015, Sept. 18). Are books really a problem to solve? CBC Radio, Spark with Nora Young. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/are-books-really-a-problem-we-have-to-solve-1.3234222?autoplay=true