Technology has proven itself to be one of the most useful tools during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some of us are teaching exclusively online, in the classroom and online at the same time, or completely in person, we have new guidelines to follow. From getting your centers online to keep center pieces clean, our new normal has asked us to think outside the box. Using technology in literacy centers in new ways can help keep your students engaged with out of the box tools!
Tips for Using Technology in Literacy Centers
Being online day in and day out can be hard on students and teachers! When students are online, there is more to monitor and way more distractions than having a piece of paper or some center pieces in front of them. Therefore, it’s easy to get into using the “same-old” thing. To prevent that, check out these great technology tools that will help you keep things fresh in your classroom.
Tool 1: Increase Collaboration and Reading!
If there’s one thing that’s harder this year (who I am kidding everything is harder this year), it’s collaborating with each other. The good news is, there’ s an app for that! Educreations is a great technology tool for literacy centers that you can use. Students can use this to lead read-alouds or for assessing fluency and decoding!
To set up, just put an iPad next to a book you want your students to work on. Then, have the student take a picture of the book they are reading and record themselves reading it. To add collaboration to this, have your students in groups and ask them to each read multiple pages. This is like round robin but with the use of technology! One of the best features that Educreations has is you can use it on the web or with any mobile device. This means you can assess students for fluency and decoding while listening to a whole story read to you by your class with any device!
Tool 2: Using Your SmartBoard Technology for Sight Words
Sight words and SMART Boards are two things that you have already been using in your classroom even before the pandemic. Sometimes, using some of the “old” things in new ways can be less stress for you because the learning curve is not as great. For one center station, you can set up your SMART Board with sight words and create a Notebook Lesson which asks them to drag a word to a corresponding image. This technology tool uses a few different learning styles and gets kids using technology in a way that will benefit them in the future.
Tool 3: Self-Assessing with Recording Tools
While you can use Educreations to assess where students are at in terms of fluency and decoding, you can also use any other recording device and collaboration to help students self-assess. Start by putting students into pairs, keep in mind what type of grouping you are doing, and read to each other. When students are finished reading, they can listen to their recording and assess their fluency and decoding skills. Then, they can do a “take 2” for you to assess later. This works well with laptops, mobile devices, and iPads. Make sure you are always keeping your iPads in a case so they don’t get damaged with so many different uses.
Tool 4: Match Your Spelling
Put a series of objects on a table that illustrate spelling words that your students should know. Then, using Animoto, have students create a video of them typing the word as caption for the picture you provided them with. This is a great way to show an understanding of the spelling words and what they are as well as good spelling practice. You can have students post them and do a gallery walk through the classroom. Here, they could write down words that maybe weren’t spelt correctly and they can fix them on their own gallery walk sheet. You can use your iPads to write down words that were not spelled correctly using a digital pen in a Word document or some other notetaking app.
Tool 5: Use Digital Literacy Centers
Literacy centers are a great tool for enrichment and review. While there are physical literacy centers you can use, you can also start using digital literacy centers in your classroom. This technology tool is a great supplement for the physical literacy centers that you’re already using.
Tool 6: Reverse Pictionary
Using your SMART Notebook or ActivInspire, or any other IWB tool have your students play reverse Pictionary. With this technology driven literacy center game, you show students a picture and ask them to write as many words as they can. These words should be associated with the image in a way that is clear to other students as well as you. For this, you should rotate each child through the file and turn at the SMART Board. This technology tool is great for differentiation.
Technology is a driving force in our world today. So, why not use them in your literacy centers? While using technology in literacy centers might be out of the box thinking, you can still use your same procedures, framework, and overall setups for your centers.
Want more? Grab this free download full of 10 ideas for integrating technology into literacy centers!
Until Next Time…
Keep Being Educational Rock Stars