Teaching With Technology: Look How They've Grown!
Sharing children's classroom accomplishments has never been so easy-or so much fun!
- Grades: PreK–K
Computers are terrific for a lot of things, especially for sharing children's achievements with parents. If your computer is online, you can share pictures or scanned work samples with an audience that has no geographic boundaries. Internet editing software tools such as Macromedia Contribute are getting easier to use and more affordable.
Before you get started, it is important that you have the right equipment. Here's a quick checklist with estimated prices:
- Computer (Any late model Macintosh or Windows XP computer, $700 to $1400)
- Digital camera, with at least 3 Mega pixels of resolution and rechargeable batteries (about $550)
- Color InkJet Printer ($100)
- Access to the Internet and a Web site (About $30/month on up)
- Optional: digital camcorder (about $750)
- Optional: scanner ($100)
The Magic Easel
Software programs like Kid Pix Deluxe 3 or Flying Colors can transform your computer's monitor into a magic flannel board, where the paint never dries or spills. Once a child has finished a picture, print it for display on a bulletin board.
Tip: Make sure children understand how to "undo" what they just did. Once they understand this concept, they will feel much more in control of the experience, and the quality of their projects will increase.
Monthly Classroom Portfolios
One day every month, put a reminder on your calendar to carry a fully charged digital camera throughout the day. Snap the highlights of the day, but especially zoom in on children's accomplishments. At the end of the day, empty the camera into a dated folder to keep on your hard drive. After about four months, select about 10 pictures from each folder and print them, grouped by month. This is a fun way for parents and children to see how much they've developed over the course of the year. After a few weeks, let the children take their favorite pictures home with them.
Online Bulletin Boards
Once you have a nice collection of pictures, it can be easy to get them online-providing that you have an existing Internet site (for this, you or your school must have an Internet Service Provider, or ISP). If this is the case, a software program like Macromedia Contribute can make it easy for you to post new pictures throughout the year. Keep in mind, however, that you will need to take the necessary safety precautions, since anyone will be able to access these photos. (You might develop an obscure Internet address that you share only with the school community.)