Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Reaching Across Global Borders to Create with Technology!

This week I am hosting some guest bloggers. This is a guest post from Heidi Samuelson.

One of my goals this year was to integrate more technology into my second grade curriculum and reach beyond the walls of my classroom. I believe students need to learn how to engage and interact with technology, not just “play a game” on the computer. I want my students to become “global learners”.

One way we were able to accomplish this goal was to create eBooks to share with our families and other classes around the world. Using the BookCreator App, we combined art projects with research and writing about Laurel Burch to create an informational ebook. BookCreator is a wonderful app that makes creating professional looking eBooks simple and fun. Students took pictures of their art projects to upload into the BookCreator app. They were able to type and add color to the pages within the app to create engaging pages to share their learning. You can download a copy of our story in the iBook Store. BookCreator provides a free version of the app so you can try it out BEFORE you buy it which is always a bonus in my eyes!

Another project we participated in involved Collaborative Writing with Global Connections. We paired with Mrs. Ladd’s class (located in North Carolina) to collaborate and create a fractured fairy tale story using technology to connect the two classes! After each class spent some time studying the elements of fairy tale stories, students logged into Google Docs on their devices and began typing a story together to create a fractured fairy tale. With so many students typing at the same time, we quickly decided to add another element of collaboration into the mix and introduced the group to Voxer. Students were so excited to be “talking in real time” with their writing partners using Voxer. This app helped the group decide on characters, settings, and plot elements. As they took turns typing out their story, they were able to see what each student was writing and ask questions to help guide them in their story creation.

As Mrs. Ladd’s class dove into their testing schedule, I had the “authors” from my room, choose classmates to help them color backgrounds and make pictures to illustrate the story from the collaborative writing sessions. Using our TurboScan app, we were able to upload images of the art into BookCreator and design another ebook to share with our collaborative friends in North Carolina, families, and classes around the world. You can download one of our stories from the iTunes store today! Cinderella and the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red, and Goldilocks and the Three Pigs Plus the Big Bad Wolf.

Join Mrs. Ladd (@BevLadd) to see what collaborative projects you can help create on #2ndChat Twitter Chat for second grade teachers. Using Twitter as part of my PLN has helped me to achieve my goal of integrating more technology into my curriculum this year. I can’t wait to try some more projects in the future!

My name is Heidi Samuelson and it is a great pleasure to be guest blogging on Free Technology for Teachers today! I’m a second grade teacher in Tennessee who LOVES to integrate technology into my classroom and Richard’s blog has introduced me to TONS of resources!! You can read about some of my activities and techie ventures on my teaching blog: Mrs. Samuelson’s Swamp Frogs. Thanks for reading along with me today! I hope you’ll “hop” over to the Swamp and check out some more ways we use technology in the room! I also share activities on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!