TRANSFORM Tools for Littles- 3/1/2021

This past weekend, I got the privilege to present two NEW sessions at CAPCUE Survivor. Thank you to all of you who joined me in these new trainings. Many people think it is too hard to get our littles to create, but it is completely possible. In my last post, I shared ways to establish student agency with littles. Setting up student agency is an essential first step in getting our littles to create. After that, we need to consider which tools we use when working with littles.

In my upcoming book, TRANSFORM: Techy Notes to Make Learning Sticky, I describe what I consider to be TRANSFORM Tech Tools. TRANSFORM Tech Tools give opportunities to do things that wouldn't be possible without the technology, are versatile and can be used in any subject and with any age, and transform or enhance the learning experience.

Out of the ten TRANSFORM Tech Tools, there are definitely some tech tools that are especially suited to our littles. I love how these programs empower students with an easy user interface and allow teachers to give their littles continual feedback.

  1. Wixie

Are you familiar with Wixie? If you work with littles, you should definitely check it out if you haven't yet. Wixie is a kid friendly creation tool used in K-5 in my district. Why do I love Wixie?

First of all, its user interface includes easy to recognize icons, making it easy to help students develop icon literacy. They also have an amazing royalty free collection of stickers and graphics. Students can easily use them without needing to worry about copyright.

In addition, Wixie also has audio and video options. Students can easily add their voice or embed a video to a page. Like Google Slides and other presentation software, you can add multiple pages to a Wixie project. Students can share their work in a slide show or even save it as a video now. Not to mention that Wixie has a Team feature where students can work collaboratively in one project.

Teachers will love Wixie because of its awesome teacher dashboard where you can easily manage and review student work. Wixie also has a cloning option that allows you to make infinite copies of a graphic for student use. This is great when having students create using shapes, money, etc.

If you want to try it out, go to www.wixie.com and click Try Wixie, believe me you will thank me for it. Want to learn more about using Wixie with Littles, check out my FREE Wednesday Webinar on March 17th!

When creating with littles, the drawing option is truly a game changer. Students can use this option to illustrate ideas, concepts and much more. Every student gets to participate and teachers can view their progress as they work.

2. Pear Deck

It is no secret how much I enjoy using Pear Deck. Pear Deck takes a Google Slides presentation and makes it interactive. This helps every student to be an active participant in class. When working with littles, slides like the drawing slides and the draggable slides offer great ways for our youngest students to be actively involved.

Pear Deck offers our youngest students both synchronous and asynchronous options. With the Add Audio feature, teachers can add audio directions so that all of their students can access the content. Teachers can also activate the Immersive Reader capabilities of Pear Deck so that all students can use the text to speech option.

3. Flipgrid

Another program that I adore using with my littles is Flipgrid, Flipgrid is a video based discussion platform that allows students to share asynchronously. In today's current educational reality, this tool is a must have as we build community inside of classrooms at a distance.

The Flipgrid Shorts camera is truly magical. In its simplicity, it allows students to create short videos to share with classmates. But in the last few years, the Shorts Camera has come a long way. Now, by using simple recognizable icons, students can add filters, text, ink, boards, stickers, photos and even frames to their videos. In addition, Flipgrid has recently included a mic only mode that can be used for podcasts and a screen recorder.

For students who might not be able to explain their thinking or ideas in writing, Flipgrid offers them an easy way to create fun, informative videos with their classmates and teachers. Did I also mention that Flipgrid is FREE? Plus, check out their Discovery library to see hundreds of ideas for littles shared by teachers like you.

4. Google Slides

Another truly versatile program that needs to be considered more for use with littles is Google Slides. If you are just using Google Slides to present content for your littles, you need to consider other uses. Google Slides can be used for so much more,

Google Slides provides students with a collaborative work space. You can change the size of your canvas to meet your needs. Google Slides has this magical extra space where you can add items for your littles to manipulate and use as well.

One of my first grade teachers, Ms. Liberatore, is a master at using this capability. For Valentines Day, she creates a template where students could choose from many different graphics to create a Valentines for their classmates. She has also created similar templates for treasure maps and gingerbread decoration.

Check out these TRANSFORM Tech Tools for Littles and let me know what you think. I can't wait to see what you create while using these amazing tools!

Want to learn even more about using these tools to help our littles create, check out my FREE upcoming webinar session on Saturday, April 3rd with Educator Alexander at 12 PM EST. You can register today at edalex.net/littles.

This month is full of other amazing opportunities for us to connect and learn with each other.

Begin March by joining me this Wednesday for #NoVaEdChat as we discuss Lessons Learned from Virtual Learning at 8 PM. This Thursday and Friday, I am presenting at #NCTies2021. Thursday, I will be sharing Amplifying Thinking Routines with Technology Tools at 6 PM and Friday, I will be presenting Empowering Student Voice with Technology Tools at 7 PM.

The following week, I will be featured on the Tackling Tech podcast on March 9th and be presenting at 3 conferences: NJeCC2021, EdTech RVA2021 and the WoCo Tech Summit 2021. I am so excited and can't wait to meet new educators and reconnect with old friends on this virtual road trip! Check out my other upcoming presentations on my Presentations page.