This webpage is a resource for Early Years teachers, Prep to Year Two, who want to increase the use of digital technology in their classroom. It relates to the Digital Technologies curriculum, through which early years students develop a foundation of computational thinking and should be given opportunities to experiment with digital technology in relevant contexts. This resource is directly aligned with the following content description and elaboration from the Digital Technologies curriculum found here which maintains that by the end of Year 2 students should be able to:
Content Descripton – Collect, explore and sort data and use digital systems to present the data creatively (ACTDIP003)
Elaboration – Use common software to present data creatively, for example as a slideshow, movie, sounds, image, chart, word art, poster or drawing.
Because the purpose of these lessons is not the data, but the presentation of data using a variety of programs, this resource links with broader curriculum goals as it easily aligns with other key learning areas, cross curriculum priorities and general capabilities. Specifically all software used from this webpage will directly relate to the general capability of ICT, but examples for lesson ideas also include literacy, Mathematics, History and Science.
The rationale behind this resource was based on reflections of previous experiences within primary school settings. I felt that too often early years students are denied the opportunity to use and create with digital technology because it takes a bit more time. I recognise that the amount of technology available can be overwhelming, not all software is suitable for the classroom and taking the time to engage with and personally review new software only adds to a teacher’s already full workload. Many programs are too complex for younger students to be able to use and be successful with. PowerPoint is still the ‘go to program’ despite that many new applications and software that are easier to use.
After reflecting on all of this I decided I wanted to design a resource that not only provided information about quality programs suitable for the younger years but did so from a teacher’s perspective, and so this resource was created.
Each software or application recommended on this webpage is intended for use with early years students, each has been tested and many have both pros and cons for classroom use. Each review contains the following:
- What it is – an overview about the software or application, this includes my personal thoughts and pros and cons to using it within the classroom context.
- Teacher Information – step by step instructions on how to sign up and what features are available and video tutorials.
- Differentiation – ways in which the software/application/program can allow for differentiation within lessons.
- Possible lesson ideas – these are quite generic and just some possible topics for the software, these can be easily changed to fit a range of key learning areas across the curriculum.
- Useful Links – this includes other reviews, blogs and anything else that may be of interest.
In addition to this please check out the Practical Teaching Ideas page which gives some hints and tips for introducing a new software/program/application to early years students. I hope you enjoy this resource and find it useful – let’s join together to ban boring PowerPoint – there is so much more out there!
Please note: All images used for this webpage are screen shots of the software that is being reviewed. Direct links to the software are provided on each review page.