When you consider the world of 'tech' what's the first thing that comes to your mind? Computers and technicalities? Or perhaps any of the following questions: Have I got the budget and resources for this? Have I got the skills to be able to incorporate this effectively and confidently? I know these are questions that I've thought of before, however, I've come to realise that many of the things I use within my classroom fall into the tech category. Are you looking for 10 easy-to-navigate Tech tools that you can use to enhance your primary English curriculum? Keep reading to find out some of my favourites.
1. No visualiser? No problem- try screen mirroring on the iPad to project your modeling on the Interactive White Board. This has been a lifesaver. One of the best ways for supporting the editing process, is for the children to see what that physically looks like, from the very comfort of their seat. I've found it particularly beneficial to place a book under the screen to model live editing in the same format that they will, as opposed to editing on the IWB.
2. Book creator from the app store is a great way for providing engaging publishing ideas and encouraging the children to write and think like authors. I noticed a great level of enthusiasm for writing, as the children knew they were writing for a real audience and purpose: creating a book for children in the year below.
3. Clicker writer is a fantastic tool for supporting and encouraging independence, particularly for children who find the writing process difficult. The use of symbols to provide prompts and scaffolding; the ability to say and hear your sentence aloud, and being able to order words into sentences of different complexities, is a must for all classrooms.
4. Pickatale for schools interactive reading app is a great way to provide more reading opportunities. As a teacher I have found this to be an incredible resource. The range of texts available are great, and you're also able to set quizzes and track the reading of your class. Looking to enhance your reading for pleasure culture? Definitely check them out.
5. Opportunities to publish using Microsoft remind us that sometimes the simpler things are the best. In the tech world that we live in today, it's likely that the majority of work the children will complete in the future will be online. I've found that publishing in word has enabled the children to communicate in different ways and continue to develop their touch typing skills. It's also a win because it can be used for any unit. Let's also not forget the evident excitement of being able to change the font and colour ha! (Be sure to plan in sufficient time however. One always forgets just how long these sessions take to complete).
6. Spelling frame website is a useful site for helping children with practicing their spellings. Being able to hear the words pronounced correctly and the dictation element, has helped my pupils with understanding how to apply the words in the correct context.
7- Parts-of-speech-info is a website that helps pupils identify the different word classes in sentences. Useful for grammar sessions. Not only is this good for subject knowledge (although if in doubt always double check) this can be used for Assessment for Learning: "Can you write me a sentence with a conjunction?" after typing a sentence in, both you and the pupil can see if their sentence contained a conjunction in.
8- Mentimeter- (a discovery during lockdown), is a fabulous website for encouraging collaboration such as generating word banks interactively. Sometimes with group work children may be reluctant to share their ideas, out of fear of being wrong. Through mentimeter however, children enjoy the use of this, as everyone is able to contribute anonymously, resulting in more engagement.
9- 'Teach your monster to read' Phonics app is an app we used during lockdown as an enhancement for my pupils working significantly below their year group's reading age. The children have felt confident accessing this independently because of the interactive nature guiding them through.
10- PowerPoint voiceovers for publishing and developing speaking and listening skills is an easy quick win that I accidentally stumbled across a few years ago. After creating 'Blitz propaganda speeches'' in year 6, we wanted an opportunity for the children to record these. We were originally hoping to use green screens but with 90 children to accommodate, that seemed unlikely. The children produced slide shows with pictures and animations, and recorded their voiceovers. We were then able to save these as videos and share them with others. A great way to record speaking and listening activities that you want to be able to hold on to.
Whether you're looking for engagement purposes, publishing opportunities or building independence, these have been some of my go-to, 10 Easy-to-navigate tech tools within my English curriculum.
As with anything however, consider the why behind the use of your tech to ensure that it's used purposefully and doesn't take away from the English objective you're trying to teach.