You may think that integrating eLearning tools into an elementary school classroom is an impossible task. This is not the case. While elementary school students may not be ready to use a complex eLearning platform like Blackboard or Moodle independently, you can still use some of these tools to enhance your classroom.
While an eLearning tool may not be suited for individual use by elementary students, you may still be able to use it effectively for class projects. Use a smart Board or projector set-up to ensure that all your students can participate in the project. When possible, have students participate in a hands-on manner. You need to keep your role as a guide and helper. Don’t do all the work yourself and have the students simply watch you. Class science projects give opportunities for representing and analyzing collected data. A history project may involve creating timelines or cause and effect chains. Tailor the complexity of the project and the amount of independent student work to your class’ specific grade and skill level. Don’t be afraid of challenging kids. You will find that many students are far more tech-savvy than you’d expect.
Fun and Games
Many educational games have been developed for elementary school students. Most of these fall under the subjects of math and language arts. However, you can find others that relate to science, history, and social skills. Though games may not seem like eLearning tools but they can be used. Use time spent playing eLearning games to reinforce and challenge your students’ skills. Best of all, students will generally view games as fun and possibly as a reward. Encouraging that sort of enthusiasm for learning can help ensure that kids continue to have a positive, life-long view of education.
Another way to integrate some fun eLearning tools into the classroom is through storytelling. Libraries and educational institutions are constantly driving the development of new and innovative ways to tell stories. Tools like Storyboard provide simple and easy ways for students to create their own visual stories. You can have fun working with these as a whole class. Try creating a shared story with a group. Alternatively, use a storyboarding tool as a new way to present a book report. There are many different options you and your class can explore.
Connecting eLearning tools to an elementary school classroom is mostly a matter of choosing tools that are already designed to be used by younger students or creating support and modifications in order to use tools meant for teens and adults. In order to alleviate problems, make sure to establish class rules for behavior expectations when using computers. This is particularly important in regards to games. Students may not see (or claim not to see) the difference between a game with clear educational benefits and one that simply idles away time. So long as you are prepared and willing to adapt as needed, you eLearning tools can have a positive impact on your classroom.