Many of today’s teachers struggle to balance all that is required of them. They are expected to teach children how to read, write, count, compute, and function in a classroom setting, while meeting their social and emotional needs. Teaching young learners can be difficult with a variety of challenges, especially since today’s students don’t read, write, and compute numbers like most teachers did when they started school.
Today’s children are more tech-savvy than ever before. When Marc Prensky coined the phrase digital native over 15 years ago, he challenged educators to think about the way they teach in comparison to the way today’s students learn. This is even more true with our youngest learners. Kindergarten students enter school with thousands of hours of screen time. Technology is submerged in all areas of life today helping society create, evaluate, and effectively utilize information and media. Teaching our students without the use of technology is only preparing them for yesterday.
"Teaching our students without the use of technology is only preparing them for yesterday."
A strong foundation starting in kindergarten is important, but it has challenges. Students need to know many things such as how to log on, understand internet safety, and where to navigate, to name a few. The key to classroom management and the use of technology with younger students is organization and predictable patterns. Canvas by Instructure provides both.
Canvas is excellent for supporting future-ready skills along with meeting academic needs. Teachers and colleges ask “Why would you want to use Canvas with younger learners?” Our answer? “Why wouldn’t you?” It provides stability in the cyber world. With Canvas, teachers have a place to organize content, activities and products, and building and scaffolding all instructional tools in one location. This builds confidence in young learners and lowers a student’s anxiety about not being able to find or do what the teacher is asking. This confidence encourages students to not just consume with technology but to create with technology. Canvas audio and video recorder is just one example. It allows teachers to support up and coming readers by recording directions or posting a video, so students understand the activity. These directions can be viewed as many times as needed which benefits both students and parents who want to support the learning by helping their children outside of school. Canvas provides opportunities for learners no matter the ages. They can easily communicate, collaborate, think critically and creatively, become self-aware, and increase their self-management skills.
Forney Independent School District (Texas)