Wednesday, January 7, 2015

By Katie Gibson
Teaches at the Independent School Rundle College
Calgary, Alberta Canada

When I first started teaching Grade One in September of 2013, I never dreamed that I would be able to do such impactful things with technology in my primary classroom. I’m constantly amazed by the capability and aptitude that five and six year olds have for computers and sharing their work.

Each day I grow more excited by the possibilities of where I can take my students and what they can produce with the technology that we are lucky to have at our school. I began the journey of using technology last February after attending the EdTechTeam Google Summit in Edmonton. I was so inspired and couldn’t wait to get back to my classroom to try everything I had learned. All my students were equipped with Google IDs, and strategy helped to log onto their Drive accounts with little help.
"I made each young student a magnet with their login and password 

that they were able to use and access when they wanted

to login to their Drives."

I started simple, by having students write short stories on Google Docs and share them with me. We also worked on introducing typing with TypingWeb which definitely helped them improve their typing abilities.

I also had my students use Google Drive to share letters they had written with our pen pals in Singapore, helping them begin to learn more about collaboration.  In the Spring of last year I tried a Mystery Hangout with my class. We connected with a class from Taber, Alberta, and it was inspiring how engaged and excited my students were to be talking live with another class. They were enthralled by trying to figure out where the other class was from, and we followed  up the activity by having them collaborate and share their written work with each other.

This year I introduced my students to technology beginning in September, and it has been a whirlwind of fun and impactful learning. Here is a short list of some of the great things we are doing in our classroom.

1. I have created multiple choice quizzes on Kahoot, Students are able to complete the quiz on an iPad and the energy of playing along as a class is nearly palpable.

2. I have used Google Forms at the beginning of the year to complete learner profile surveys with my students, which I use to keep track of their learning. I have also used Google Forms for self-assessments.

3. In Science, instead of drawing a collage for summer activities in a workbook, my students completed an interactive poster for the same topic using Glogster.

4. We have enjoyed visiting many famous landmarks as a part of our Social Studies curriculum, through the help of Google Earth, and Google Maps street view.

5. As part of our Social Studies curriculum this year, my students have been contributing to a class blog with the help of Easy Blogger Jr. They are able to upload pictures, videos, text and voice recordings about what they are learning to our Grade One Social Studies blog. Their parents are able to access the blog to see what their children are learning, and they are able to leave comments.

6. Most recently, our Grade One’s participated in the Hour of Code. We had another colleague, Michelle Armstrong, join us with some helpers from our Jr./Sr. High School, and all of the Grade One’s were on their own computer learning about computer programming and how to code. I was amazed by the level of engagement and enthusiasm my students displayed during this activity.

While it may seem intimidating to think about getting Grade One students connected and using technology, the reality is that technology is their future. The earlier they learn how to use it to help them enhance their education and create meaningful projects, the better off they are going to my presentation.

To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.


  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences. It is great to hear of 1st graders using drive.

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