New Year, New Me: 5 Elementary Classroom Tech Tips

Welcome to the new year! As a teacher, this is a great opportunity to try new-to-you technology tools in the elementary classroom. Likewise, these tips and routines can build a foundation that will help strengthen future projects and create new experiences for your students.

#1-Color Coding

When implementing technology in the classroom, organization and structure is key. This can help with minimizing transition times and keeping devices safe. Adding in visual supports, like a color-coded system, adds organization for all ages. 

Here are some easy ways to add color organization in your technology space: 

  • Group iPads in color sets. Rug-Ed makes it easy by giving you 9 color options that your students will love

  • Add matching washi tape to cord chargers. This will take out the guesswork as to where a device should go and which charger it needs

  • Use hanging shoe racks to store classroom headphones. Label each row with the matching color

  • Have special supplies students will use for projects? Store these in matching caddies and pull out when needed


#2-Add cleaning devices into your routine

Photo Cred: Kelly Sikkema

Teaching students proper device care includes handling devices, staying on task when using them, and storing when finished. Another important lesson is how to clean devices. Whether students are in a 1:1 setting or using shared devices, cleaning devices should be added to your weekly routine. 

Not sure where to start?

Consider having Friday be “Class Cleaning Day”. Along with cleaning out desks and cubbies, add in technology. This is a great way to close out the week and also have a clean room for Monday.

Here is a simple but effective cleaning spray that can be stored in a spray bottle: 

  • 2 parts Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol (found at drug stores)
  • 1 part water

Spay onto a microfiber cloth or old t-shirt and wipe the device. This recipe works on most screens and robots. Always remember to not spray the device directly to prevent the liquid from dripping into cracks.

 

#3-Start podcast listening

In today’s world, there are many ways to access information. Some of these ways can even be screen-free. Your students are already used to classroom read alouds, consider adding in podcast listening. 

Here are a few benefits to listening to podcasts: 

  • Improves listening comprehension
  • Fun way to learn current events
  • Screen-free
  • Highly engaging
  • Different form of research
  • Mobile
  • Educational
  • Learn new ideas and perspectives

Not only are podcasts free, they can be listened to on any device. A mobile device isn’t required as most podcasts have a web-based version that can be listened to.

My recommendations to my favorite podcasts made for kids are Brains On!, Tumble Science and Story Time.


#4 Digital Vision Board Challenge

Photo Cred: Gautam-Arora

Looking ahead for the year, it can be powerful to create visuals to represent goals and dreams. By using platforms like Seesaw, Google Slides or Canva for Education, students can easily create a collage of their Vision Board. Adding in images and pictures to represent dreams will help bring goals to life. 

Here are some ideas that can be included on a vision board collage:

  • Books I want to read
  • Sports Goal I want to accomplish
  • Skills I want to learn
  • Habit I want to break
  • A Goal I want to achieve

After creating a vision board, students can share designs digitally, set it as their desktop background or print and display in the classroom.

#5 Video Goal Setting

Along with creating a digital vision board, goal setting can be enhanced by integrating video. Goals can be related to the classroom setting or connect to personal lives. 

Have students set their device on a flat hard surface and set the camera in ‘Selfie Mode’. 

The Rug-Ed iPad case has a detachable stand that makes it easy for students to record videos. 

When ready, students can record their goals with this structure:

  • 3 Things I want to Learn
  • 2 Things I want to Change
  • 1 word for the year [that will motivate me]

When sharing videos, have students leave devices on the table. Have students rotate through table groups and listen to each one. 

Implementing technology in the classroom doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, it can enhance traditional assignments and provide experiences that paper can’t always do. Not every idea has to be done at once! 

Start with one idea, and build up from there. These technology shifts can build better classroom habits and provide new experiences in your classroom. 

About the Author

Naomi Meredith is a former classroom teacher turned current K-5 STEM teacher and coach. Her role not only includes teaching over 500 students in her school, but also leading professional development and co-teaching with teachers to help them integrate STEM & Technology.

With over a decade of experience along with a M.Ed. in STEM Leadership, she helps teachers navigate the best practices, strategies and tools out there. 

She truly believes that any teacher out there can learn how to use STEM & Technology in their classrooms effectively. She can’t wait to connect with you and be your guide!

Connect with her!

Email: contactnaomimeredith@gmail.com

Website: naomimeredith.com

Instagram & Twitter: @naomimeredith_

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