In her early days as a kindergarten trainer, Katie Felix had a difficult realization: “There is just one of me and 24 of them. How can I train them once I’m not sitting with them?”
Seventeen years into her profession, she’s devised decidedly modern solutions to that query, and lots of of them contain know-how.
On any given day, you’ll discover Felix and her college students utilizing iReady Math, making FlipGrid movies, or collaborating in a Skype Class digital subject journey to study from rangers in locations like Dinosaur Nationwide Monument and Grand Teton Nationwide Park. They use laptops, contact TVs and Microsoft Workplace merchandise for each impartial and whole-class studying.
One software on heavy rotation is Microsoft’s Immersive Reader. As college students learn and write independently with instruments like OneNote or Microsoft Phrase, they will use Immersive Reader to listen to textual content learn aloud or translated, see photos associated to phrases, change the spacing between phrases and lots extra. Many Immersive Reader options are designed to personalize studying and make it accessible to all.
In her personal classroom, Felix sees the software motivating college students to jot down, offering particular person suggestions, encouraging collaboration and connection, growing spelling abilities, and even decreasing behavioral points.
Her work with Immersive Reader and different instruments goes so effectively that Felix was acknowledged as a 2020 HP Educating Fellow by Digital Promise for demonstrating highly effective educating and studying with know-how. Every of the 50 academics chosen as fellows designs powerful learning experiences which are private and accessible, genuine and difficult, collaborative and related, inquisitive and reflective.
We sat down with Felix to study precisely how Immersive Reader helps her college students and why it’s led them to demand extra studying and writing time. She additionally shares why educating tech to kindergartens—even amid present faculty closures—is as essential as educating them use a pencil, construct with blocks and work collectively.
EdSurge: Why did you begin utilizing Immersive Reader along with your college students?
Felix: We had been piloting a brand new phonics program final yr, and the children wanted extra suggestions than I may give them day by day as a result of, as soon as once more, there may be certainly one of me and 24 of them. They wish to know you'll be able to learn their writing. They need you to learn and fee them.
My college students had been already asking to sort on the pc, in order that they began typing sentences in Phrase and utilizing the Immersive Reader studying software inside the program. And right here’s what we realized: I can learn youngsters’ writing, mother and father can considerably, but when a pc can, meaning you've got it shut sufficient that everybody can perceive what you’ve written.
Now I exploit Immersive Reader every time they've a writing task. It’s nice as a result of it personalizes the training and makes it extra accessible, particularly to youngsters who wrestle.
Are you able to clarify the way it helps personalization and accessibility?
I've a pupil who's a little bit older and really verbal. However letters bodily weren't making sense to her, and she or he didn’t know sort or learn but. So we began utilizing the microphone characteristic. The primary time, she stated about three sentences, and it typed all of it out. I want I had a video of her response. She danced round and stated “I knew I had phrases. I simply couldn’t get them on the paper!” She realized she may begin attempting to find these letters and construct these phrases. She’s sounding out phrases now. And more often than not, she’s typing and solely makes use of the microphone when she will get caught. It’s unimaginable to observe a baby really feel so highly effective.
What sorts of abilities are your college students studying?
It’s upped their recreation; they fight more durable and put extra vitality into their writing. Often, once you ask five-year-olds to jot down, as quickly because the piece of paper has any textual content on it, they are saying, “I’m completed.” With Immersive Reader, they return day after day, after which they get mad at you when the mission is over as a result of they need extra time so as to add to their writing. They need the pc to have the ability to learn what they’ve written. And that's educating them perseverance.
I’ve received five-year-olds who already understand there's something known as modifying—that it's a must to add areas and punctuation so different folks round you'll be able to learn your writing. Once you hear your writing learn aloud, you go, “Oh, I goofed up there. I would like to repair this.”
They will simply share one another’s writing, even when not everybody round them can learn. Immersive Reader reads it aloud to allow them to see if their mates can perceive what it’s saying too, which regularly challenges them to do higher.
And when my English language learners learn textual content I’ve added to Phrase or OneNote, they will use the image dictionary or the interpretation characteristic if they do not perceive a phrase.
Join the Reinvent the Classroom webinar “Utilizing Studying Instruments to Create Private and Accessible Experiences” on Wednesday, September 2 at 7:00 pm EST.
Is it powerful educating such younger college students to make use of know-how?
My college students don’t understand they’re studying any know-how abilities once we’re doing this stuff; they suppose they’re studying to learn and write. They don’t know that they’re studying keyboarding abilities and studying to acknowledge letters.
I construct my lesson plans inside OneNote. They don’t understand they’re studying OneNote. I present college students all these abilities on a TV that’s related to my pc. They take that straight to their pc and use these abilities all through the day.
With faculties closing due to COVID-19, can younger college students use know-how at dwelling?
Sure, lots of people don’t consider kindergarteners can do any of this. We have to change that mindset, particularly with our present scenario, the place many college students are studying from dwelling and doing a few of this on-line. Immersive Reader is free, and oldsters and college students can obtain and use it at dwelling.
Issues are going to go incorrect, and it’s okay. However the extra you strive it out, the extra you'll understand even our youngest learners can do all of this. We simply want to begin with child steps. As academics, and even mother and father, we have to attain out to one another and ask, “Hey, have you ever tried this? How has it labored?”