I am a Kindergarten teacher in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada beginning my journey of completing a diploma in teacher-librarianship.
This blog initially began as a Final Vision Project for LIBE 447B at the University of British Columbia. As I contemplated my vision of 21st century learning throughout the course, I began to notice that many of the resources I encountered for teaching digital literacy and digital citizenship were geared more towards the upper elementary grades and beyond. I strongly believe that just as we teach basic skills in literacy and numeracy and lay a foundation for learning in the early years, we must also begin to teach skills in the area of technology. Our students’ lives outside of school are increasingly inundated with technology and we are doing them a disservice if we do not teach them at a young age how to use this technology safely and appropriately.
My aims with this blog are to showcase apps to be used in the early primary classroom which go beyond rote learning such as repetitive math facts and sight words. While I do agree that technology definitely has a place in the Kindergarten classroom, I also have concerns about the amount of screentime children are receiving and wish to ensure that their time spent with technology at school includes collaboration, creativity, critical thinking skills, and interactivity. I have examined each of the apps showcased here with the criteria included in an article found on EdSurge News: Should I Download that App? A Ten-Question Checklist for Choosing Tools Worth Your – And Your Students’ – Time. It is my hope that I have successfully chosen apps to highlight which are high-quality and will enhance rich learning experiences in the classroom. While I agree that technology can be a flashy tool for student engagement, this must not be our only reason for using it.
I have attempted to include a mixture of both paid and free apps. However, I also wished to stay away from intrusive advertising as well as “freemium” apps including in-app purchases showcased in such a way that it interrupts use for a child. The exception to this is the One Globe Kids app, which does include the ability to purchase additional stories, but I thought it merited inclusion in my collection not only because it is a unique and interesting app, but also as there is also the option to purchase the app fully loaded with all stories included.
Some of the apps I showcase include additional parent, child, or teacher resources. I have also included a post on resources, tips, and tricks for parents and educators. This post is a place where I’d love to collaborate if other educators are reading my blog and would like to share their own best practices.
Gallagher, Kerry and Ross Cooper, “Should I Download That App? A Ten Question Checklist for Choosing Tools Worth Your – and Your Students’ – Time.”, EdSurge News, April 21 2016, http://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-04-20-should-i-download-that-app-a-ten-question-checklist-for-making-tools-worth-your-while.