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Technology in the Elementary Classroom

Mary Beth Hertz

HS Art/Tech Teacher in Philadelphia, PA
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Welcome to the first post of many that I will be sharing about using technology in the elementary classroom.

First, a little about me.

I am a computer teacher in Philadelphia for grades K-6. I will be starting a new job in September at a charter school in North Philadelphia as their technology teacher, and for the last 3 years I have been the technology teacher and technology teacher leader for an elementary school in West Philadelphia. I have spent the last 3 years exploring how various applications and Web 2.0 tools can push my students to think more critically and creatively as well as how to create connections with each other and the outside world. We have used programs like GarageBand, iWeb, iMovie as well as Web 2.0 tools like, VoiceThread, Storybird, Shidonni, Animoto, Diigo and wikis to create, collaborate and share.

The focus of this blog will be to provide resources, tips and ideas for elementary teachers looking to incorporate technology into their classroom. Please let me know in the comment area if there is anything in particular you would like to know more about and I will make sure I address it!

You can follow me on Twitter at @mbteach and I also blog at Philly Teacher.

Thank you to Edutopia for giving me the opportunity to blog on their website. I really respect what they do for education along with the resources that they provide for educators, so it is an honor to blog for them.

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Comments (19) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

CMTORO's picture

I'm excited to see where this is going. I really enjoy learning about how to incorporate/integrate technology in my elementary school classroom. Though the post was brief I have already learned about new tools. I am currently exploring, storybird, shidonni and Diigo as I have never heard of them before. The others I have used with promising results but I am still eager to see what insights you have to offer. I also hope to learn about what teachers with limited resources can do to make the most of limited access to technological tools. I have been fortunate to have been placed in schools with plenty of resources but do not know if I will be as lucky in the future. I do not want this to keep me from using technology as an educational tool and hope gain more knowledge and insight from your postings.

Melissa's picture

I am very interested in learning more about how to use technology in my first grade classroom. I have a laptop, and an elmo. I would like my students to be inquisitive and excited about technology and how it will play a part in their future.

ahogan's picture

I look forward to following your blog posts. I am a first grade teacher who is in charge of my own class regarding their technology development. I have "go to" people, but we do not have a tech teacher. I an fortunate to have a Promethean Board in my classroom and access to many tech resources. I am at the point I am hungry to learn more about Web 2.0 tools and how I can use them with such young learners. I know it can be done. Can't wait to see what you share!

ileiva's picture
3rd grade teacher from Miami, Florida

Excited to have found your blog! I am a 3rd grade teacher and I try to incorporate as much technology as I can in order to make my lessons more effective. I am already looking forward about trying out some of the websites you mentioned in your post that I have never heard of before, such as: dropiio, Storybird, Shidonni and Diigo. I am also a graduate student at the University of Florida working on my master in Technology Education and this has opened many doors of opportunity to learn new resources to implement in my class. Looking forward to your posts.

Mary Beth Hertz's picture
Mary Beth Hertz
HS Art/Tech Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

Thank you everyone for your suggestions and enthusiasm! I hope that I can provide you with the suggestions, information and resources you need! Please do not hesitate to suggest topics of interest at any time!

Kari Strand's picture

I'm excited about this upcoming blog! What a wonderful way to gather and collaborate on ideas as to new ways we can integrate technology in the elementary classroom-especially uses in which technology can integrate with the curriculum to improve student achievement.

N. Jacobs's picture
N. Jacobs
4th Grade Math Teacher

I am interested in learning any and all things about the Smartboard. I will be having one in my room for the 1st time this fall. I teach 4th grade math and was wondering about programs/software that would capture the interest of this age group. I have 8 computers in my room and would like to use them as a center during one day a week. Also I would like to use Skype in pen pal arrangement. Any and all comments/suggestions welcome. Thanks.

Trenae Cullivan's picture

I am very interested in learning how to incorporate more technology into my Reading/Language Arts classroom. I am a 2nd year, second grade teacher and I had a difficult time trying to use other forms of technology beyond the use of the basic internet games and listening to dvd stories and cd's. We have SmartBoards in our classes and are constantly having traingings on how to use them. I guess it'll just take a little more time for me to familiarize myself with these things. Since our students are now in an age where everything is technical, I want to expand my knowledge so that I can reach them on their level.

Trenae' Cullivan
2nd Grade Reading/Language Arts Teacher
Houston, Texas

Mary Beth Hertz's picture
Mary Beth Hertz
HS Art/Tech Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

Thanks for your comment, Trenae. I'm glad to hear that you are getting lots of training for your interactive whiteboard! One thing to remember about these trainings is that, if they are provided by Smart, most of your training is going to be about their 'amazing' software. I wouldn't get too caught up in creating flip charts and awesome slideshow-like lessons. You can do that without an interactive whiteboard. Think about ways that you can really engage your students and make your lessons different through using the IWB.

For instance, using the reveal/cover tool is a great way for your students to practice making predictions. Split a story up into 4 or 5 parts and put them in a box so that students can come up and re-arrange the parts to put the story in the right order. If you have 8 computers, try having your students work in teams at the computer to complete a story using while the progress is being projected on the whiteboard. Maybe a team can be the 'managing' team and make sure that students are making sense and/or using the tool correctly/typing in the right place. A friend of mine used his IWB the first week of school combined with Scribble Maps ( to have the students use stickies on the IWB to show where they lived. Then he marked the locations on the map and was able to embed it on their class website.

I hope that is helpful! Also remember to check out to help you find a community of teachers using IWB in the classroom.

As for your computers, you can do podcasting (requires a microphone--$25) or use a site like Storybird where students can create their own stories that can be embedded on a class site. These stories could also be projected on the IWB so that students can read their stories to the class.

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