Using technology in the classroom with our littlest learners can be a daunting task for teachers. Thinking of teaching our little ones basic skills like letters and numbers is hard enough, so to incorporate technology skills can be a scary thought! It doesn’t have to be though.
These little learners are digital natives and are now growing up with a variety of devices and a basic knowledge of how to use them. Sometimes they even teach us a few things. Many young students go home and go straight to their smart devices. They seem to instinctively know how to use these and are easily engaged. Why should we take away that engagement when they come to school? Studies, such as Project CHILD (Computers Helping Instruction and Learning Development), proves that our youngest students are more engaged when technology is incorporated into lessons. The growth of technology is inevitable, so as educators we have the opportunity to enhance our students' learning experience by embracing technology and taking the time to teach them safe technology skills.
Canvas in Preschool
This is where Canvas comes in. Canvas with our Preschoolers?! Absolutely! Just like from K-12 to HigherEd, Canvas looks different across all institutions and grade levels; this is the same when it comes to Pre-K. While some of the more advanced features may be a better fit for older students, it can be an excellent tool in Pre-K for communicating with parents and housing resources that are used every day in the classroom.
In Pre-K, students are learning the basics: the alphabet, numbers, letter sounds, etc. A lot of these skills can be practiced through games and activities that can be embedded, linked, or added through an external tool within Canvas. These external resources are engaging for students! For example:
I was able to work with a Pre-K teacher recently who created amazing learning games for her students in the SMART Learning Suite. Her challenge after she created these games was getting the links to her students without having to have them type in a long and complex URL. I was able to show her how to add all of the games she created as external tool links in her new “Games ” module. She also LOVED the fact she could add emojis (check out Emojipedia) to titles! Emojis are great for those little ones who are still learning how to read.
After showing her the steps to add the links into her course, she told me it was a game-changer! The students and parents are easily able to access these activities.
Why use Canvas in Preschool
But why Canvas? If they are able to get to these engaging academic games on the internet - why even bother with Canvas? Great questions and they are questions I get a lot when I am giving workshops with these lower grade-levels. These are the reasons I typically give to teachers:
It is a one-stop-shop: Students don’t need to be wandering around the vast internet searching for the resources we want them to access.
It is a safe place for students: To go along with the first reason, students can access all resources from the teacher without accidentally getting to an inappropriate site or search.
Teaching 21st century skills: These students are digital-natives; Canvas can help teach them the skills they need to be able to be successful academically in the 21st century.
Parents have resources for their students at home: As a former teacher, it was so easy to keep all these awesome resources in one place so the parents can have their little ones play these fun learning games and activities at home without having to search and research all of the games and apps out there. As well as a great place to communicate with parents and guardians.
It is a place that teachers can build and keep building for years to come: Teachers will not have to reinvent the wheel each year they have a new group of little ones. They can continue to build on the courses they have made in previous years.
I would love to hear from anyone out there who has experience with Canvas and Pre-K or any of the primary grade levels. What are your favorite ways to use Canvas with your students? What are your favorite apps to add in Canvas? Can’t wait to hear from you!
Attached you will find a resource that will help you with additional ideas and best practices to using Canvas with our littlest learners.
Sarah M. Butzin (2001) Using Instructional Technology in Transformed Learning Environments, Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 33:4, 367-373, DOI: 10.1080/08886504.2001.10782321
If you would like to explore more about using Canvas to connect with our youngest learners, check out this blog by @mwilliams1 , Yes They Can.
I couldn't think of a better title for these infographics. These are just small chunks of info for teachers to consider as they get their courses established. They sort of follow an order of operations, but I feel like the Essentials series does a better job of a good work-flow. The Essentials are a rebrand of these small tips. But, I like them and think smaller is better...sometimes. You'd have to know me to know that is a big, fat lie. Bigger and more is ALWAYS better.
To complete the Essentials Series, I came up with two Phases for some Advanced tools instructors can use in their courses. I'm sure there are some other interesting Advanced tools out there I haven't thought of so I'd love to hear from some of you. I can compile them (giving you credit!) into a Phase 3.
In these you'll find links on how to:
Use an iFrame to Embed Sites
Use Thinglinks for a Cool Homepage
Use the Style Guide
Try Mastery Paths
Use the Redirect App
Add a FlipGrid Assignment
Mass Delete Calendar Events
Use Quiz Statistics
Add Your Own Apps
Use Peer Review Discussions
Print a Quiz
Add Sound to Pages
I've attached interactive PDF versions as well as the links to the infographics. Feel free to use and share!
Thanks to everyone who was able to join us during the Canvas Live event. Linked here is the recordingfrom the session attached is the chat transcript from the session. We wanted to move the discussion, connections and conversations to the Engagement Space where you can start your own discussions, continue to post to this thread and to the video as well.
We hope you all enjoyed hearing what Forney ISD has done as much as we have.
Deciding what constitutes as "intermediate" essentials is such a gray area. I've come up with 24 items that I think may fit. There are three documents in this series and here is the list of what you'll find:
Add a File in a Content Page
Create a Hyperlink to a File
Use Auto-Inline Preview
Enable Attachments for Discussions
Use a File Upload Question
Import ExamView Quizzes
Create a Rubric
Add a Course End Date
Provide Media Feedback
Use Question Banks
Subscribe to the Calendar
Set a Default Grade
Filter Gradebook by Section
Pin a Discussion
Set the Liking Option
Moderate a Quiz
Delay Discussion Posts
Sort Assignments by Missing
Add a Recurring Event
View Page History
I've added the links to the Infographics and attached interactive PDF's below. Hope you find these useful!
After Year Five of our Canvas implementation, teachers are still reluctant to really dive in and use it to its fullest. These Beginner Essentials take a brand new user
or one who has had it on the back shelf for years ...and years... and some more years....
from how to add a professional profile picture to using the scheduler.
I've tried to think through a "best practices" flow for teachers to follow. These are just my ideas and how I think teachers can take steps to use Canvas. Feel free to post your ideas and how I might make adjustments!
Our Department of Education have had the foresight to acknowledge the support schools require when aiming to leverage learning through the use of digital technologies. In my new role as a Blended Learning Leader our team have the privilege of being able to provide this support to schools.
Now that the official end of our previous LMS has come to pass we will be sinking our teeth into using Canvas as a tool to enhance what we already do really well. Last term we spent a lot of time out in schools demonstrating how to use Canvas and highlighting some of the potential it has for teaching and learning.
As @kmeeusen suggested ‘I never start with, "This is what this tech can do for you." or with "You can do this with this tech." I always start with, "What would you like to be able to do?" Then I show them how it can be done with that tech or some other tech.’