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Sep 23, 2016

Engaging Upper Elementary Students with Technology

It seems like every day, a new gadget is hitting the market for mass consumption. And of course, our students young and old are getting their hands on the latest technology at rapid speed, making us teachers look less “hip” and “cool” with each passing day. Smartphones and electronics are a huge part of student life outside of the classroom now. So how can we rise to the occasion and incorporate technology into lessons and activities? How can we engage our students in their own “language”?

The first step is to be willing to accept the shift. Some of us might shy away from technology because it’s unfamiliar and new.  The old-fashioned method of chalk on a chalkboard and even a bulky overhead projector are comfortable to many, but for our students in this day and age, those methods are alien and sometimes funny (being “old” is funny to them, can you believe it?!). To keep up with the students and to keep them more engaged, holding their interest for a longer period of time, it’s crucial to speak their language—technology. There are countless ways to bring technology into the classroom!

There are a vast majority of classrooms that are equipped with SMART Boards now. If you are one of the lucky teachers who has a SMART Board, take advantage! Don’t just let it sit there! Let the students come up and interact with it. SMART Board have that touchscreen aspect that make kids want to jump out of their seats and participate. The more hands-on they can be, the better. Interactive learning is so important for the upcoming generation!

Some schools are really digging into technology by using Prezi. For the older kids, Prezi is a really cool way to create a presentation that’s both interactive and interesting! If the students are supposed to be doing a bit of research or learning about a specific topic, throw in some teamwork and have them come together in groups to create a presentation! Don’t have a tech-savvy group of kids? Create a presentation together, where the kids find the information and help you plug it in. That way, they can see the final product and be proud of their work.

BrainPOP is another popular, interactive teaching tool for students. The website has all kinds of subtopics like English, math, social studies, science, art and music, health, and engineering and tech (STEM, anyone?). Click on any large topic and find a smaller unit, such as diversity of life under the topic of science. Students can then pick a specific topic that interests them, watch a fun short movie about it, and even take a quiz at the end! There are so many topics and possibilities that the choices are nearly endless! There is also an app available for iPads, so if you’re a lucky teacher with iPads in the classroom, the kids can use the BrainPOP app during class!

But by far and wide, one of the most valuable resources is interactive lessons, especially interactive PowerPoint presentations
You may be thinking, What?!? PowerPoint presentations are SO old news! But just stick with me for a moment. 

Imagine a social studies presentation that submerges the students into the lesson with different pictures, animation, and simple questions. While using the interactive PowerPoints as a guide, your students can simultaneously work on their interactive notebooks throughout the year, becoming fully immersed in a fun, virtual experience. 
Students can choose the path they want to take and guide their own learning while also absorbing the culture of whichever social studies topic you choose.

Watch a fast motion screen capture of this interactive PowerPoint series! 

  These teaching resources are quite the virtual experience for students! They are perfectly aligned with interactive notebooks so students can be fully immersed in their learning. The PowerPoints can be used as powerful classroom presentations or students can click their way through them on individual computers.  Want to grab hold of one of these awesome interactive PowerPoints? Check out the links below! 

The Ancient Civilizations Interactive Notebooks and PowerPoint Series are designed to use for the entire school year!


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