Superheroes of Technology-Enhanced Learning:
The Power of Words, Pictures, Sound

superheroSome technologies don't look like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint don't look like educational superheroes. You may need to be creative to see their use in teaching and learning.

Ineffective use of technology gives superheroes a bad name. Not all technologies are appropriate for all children. Find ways to make the most of your tools.

Superheroes of technology are able to apply tools and resources in meaningful ways. Do you have superpowers?

k through 2How are you using technology now?
How would you like to use technology?

Superheroes Need Sidekicks

Think of technology as a useful sidekick that can provide tools and tutorials to help students learn.

Technology Sidekicks: Tools

Although many of the tools we use in schools were developed for adults, they can be adapted for use by young people.

Download the directions (Word) (PDF) for adapting the following PowerPoint starters.

k through 2Download the following PowerPoint tools for K-2 early writers that you can use to create your own templates. Right-click and Save as Target the 1 line, 2 lines, 3 lines, 4 lines and 8lines PowerPoint documents. You can also do this with Word, but it doesn't work as well (Word 1 line). Keep in mind that if you change the font style or size it won't fit well on the page.

k through 2Download the following PowerPoint tools for grade 3-12 writers that you can use to create your own templates. Right-click and Save as Target the sidepage, bottompage, fullpage, and halfpages lined PowerPoint documents. You could also download the version containing all 4 master slides. Keep in mind that if you change the font style or size it won't fit well on the page. If you want to create a document with multiple templates, read the Word or PDF file.

3-6Download the following PowerPoint project American Civil War project starters for grades 3-6. Right-click and Save as Target the Civil War 1, Civil War 2 , Civil War 3 , and Civil War 4. Choose one and empty my content. Design your own social studies, art, or music assignment. Also select a particular communication arts skill such as letterwriting, persuasive writing, poetry, etc. to incorporate into the activity.

k through 2Download the Word Notebook tools (for Macs Only). Right-click and Save as Target the Word Notebook. Notice that you can add audio and adjust the tabs!

Technology Sidekicks: Resources

Use some of the following ideas for finding resources online.



Technology Sidekicks: Tutorials

There are many ways to use technology as a tool for instruction. From tutorials and practice to full-blown simulations, look for ways that software and websites can be used to introduce, reinforce, practice, and review key concepts.

The key to the effective use of practice environments is ensuring that students are completing assignments that address specific standards and meet individual learning needs.

k through 2Examine each of the following three tutorials. Are they too easy, too difficult, or just right for the majority of your students? Are there specific students who could use them for review?
Train Level 1 (teacher) - Letter/Sound Recognition
Train Level 2 (teacher) - Categorize things that go on the train
Train Level 3 (teacher) - Compound words

k through 2Use the following pages to explore other examples of tutorials in reading and writing. Select three tutorials that would be useful in your classroom. Create a simple worksheet to support the content of the tutorial.


Superpower: X-Ray Vision

You don't need x-ray vision to be a technology superhero, but you do need to look beyond the advertising, glitz, and misinformation on the Internet. Words, pictures, and sounds can be used for good and bad purposes. Design activities that get students to think about information sources as well as the information itself.

Compare and Use Varied Information Formats

Compare and use different formats of information.

Think about the many ways that pictures, words, and sounds convey meaning. How is a photograph different from a piece of clipart? How do visuals convey information? How do visuals have different meaning depending on the way they show ideas? How are people, places, and things portrayed? What about realism and historical accuracy? Are serious or humorous resources needed for particular situations? Be sure to include pieces of artwork as information sources such as field.ppt.

Design an activity that uses photographs, clipart, and line art of the same concept (see mining.ppt). Combine a social studies and communication arts standard. Consider writing a class book with one story in clipart and another story with photographs. Also, think about on and off computer activities such as word cards. For example, go to ExplorePAHistory to find stories along with images, audios, and videos that can be used to explore historical topics.

Let's use a review of state symbols as an example. Right-click and Save as Target the Firefly.ppt project. Notice that the project includes clipart, photographs, audio, and a place to write. Clipart of the Pennyslvania state insect often doesn't look like the actual firefly, so it's important to also provide photographs. Students also need to distinguish the firefly from other insects. To keep the assignments short, consider creating each symbol as it's own PowerPoint document. You may also wish to save the document as a template. Now, create your own.

Provide students with 2 different examples. Help students see that information comes in different forms such as words, pictures, and sounds. Also, show different ways to represent ideas visually such as photographs, clipart, and line art. Also use artwork. These activities will help students transfer learning to new situations. For example, the economics.ppt activity provides students with both clipart and photos.

Assignment Ideas

k through 2Local, State, and World History

  • Political and Cultural Contributions by Individuals & Groups - Match clipart of historical people and events with paintings or photo re-enactments or artifacts (i.e, Colonial times, pioneers, George Washington).
  • Early Civilizations - compare (i.e., Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe)
  • Local and School Community - Incorporate clip art of school personnel or community workers vs photographs of real people (i.e., principal, nurse, custodian, secretary, school librarian). Download workers.ppt (clipart) and workers2.ppt (photographs).
  • Symbols - state level (pa.ppt) vs symbols of federal goverment (i.e., flag, map)
  • Geographic Regions - different types of maps (i.e., continents, oceans)

3-6Local, State, and World History

  • Continuity & Change (i.e., belief systems, commerce, innovations, politics, settlement patterns, social organizations, transportation, women's movement) - use economics2.ppt for children to share their role in economics.
  • Conflict & Cooperation (i.e., domestic instability, ethnic and racial relations, labor relations, immigration, military conflicts)
  • Political and Cultural Contributions by Individuals & Groups (i.e., groups, political leaders, military leaders, cultural leaders, innovators, reformers) (i.e., Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe)

Compare and Evaluate Sources of Information

Compare different sources of information.

Try it. As a pair, explore four!

3-6Go to the Teacher Tap: Evaluation page and discuss the need for website evaluation. Download the following PowerPoint Evaluation form and samples. Right-click and Save as Target the Website Evaluation Form, Evaluation Activity, and Student Sample. Adapt the form by editing the Master slide (Pull down the View menu, choose Master, select Master Slide). Or, use my form and adapt the assignment. It works best to provide students with specific titles and website addresses.

If you're seeking other ideas for evaluation, try out the Evaluation Wizard.

Make a class folder (virtual or paper) containing student-reviewed websites. For example, each student might review one website related to the social studies unit.

If you're looking for a fake website for young people, use Facts About Idiotica. Also provide a good website for comparison or book resources.

Use Wikipedia and Wikipedia Jr. to help students understand how websites can be constructed collaboratively.

Consider adapting this project to evaluate other media such as books or videos. For example, you might add a book cover and change the evaluation questions to topics related to character, plot, setting, etc.

3-6Right-click and Save as Target the sources1.ppt document. Create a student assignment asking learners to write five questions related to their topic on the five slides. Then use at least two resources to answer the questions and compare their findings. The resources can be websites, books, videos, or other materials.

Look for more topics at 42explore; Grades 3-5 themes

Provide students with 4 websites to explore. Compare what you learn from each source. Who is the author of each website? Be sure to include websites with different perspectives, media (i.e., audio, video, graphics), interactivity, and reading level. Ask students to rate the sites and describe which provided the best source of information and why. Use smile faces for evaluation in the younger grades. With older students, consider a YES/NO or numeric rating system.

Developed by Annette Lamb, 7/06.