Top Ten Free Technology Tools For Young Learners



All of the tools in this list are freely available online and useful for working with primary age students. It is VERY difficult to choose only ten tools, so I have tried to choose one tool from each of ten categories. There are also other great tools that are available in each category. I have collected some of the other tools here.


1.Blogs



Screen_shot_2012-02-11_at_5.25.40_PM.pngBlogs allow children to express themselves through writing, images, video and anything that can be embedded. Blogs give students an authentic audience for their work and a portal to the world outside of their classroom.
If you are primary teacher new to blogging, Kidblog is a user-friendly place to start. First and second grade (split class) example




2. Live Voice Communication


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Use Skype to make free calls to any other Skype user anywhere in the world. If you (and the person you are calling) have a web cam, you can also see each other. Skype also allows you to instant message others on your contact list. Check Skype in the Classroom for a list of teachers that are interested in using Skype to communicate with other classrooms.





3. Webpage Creation

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Symblaoo is a web creation tool that uses images, rather than words, to link to other sites. This makes it ideal for teachers of pre and beginning readers who want to provide links to learning sites for their students. An example is this Kindergarten E-Book Symbaloo. (There are instructions for saving an image from your screen here.)





4. Drawing

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PaintGo is an ABCya site. It allows children to choose colour, type of brush, stickers, shapes and text. When the drawing is complete, it can be printed or saved.







5. Books to Print

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My Storymaker





My Storymaker allows users to create a story entirely online. The user can choose characters and the character's goal for the story. The settings and other items for the story are added to the picture by simply clicking on them. The author can also choose emotions, actions and interactions for the characters, which the characters then act out in the picture. As the characters do this, the text of their actions appears below them. This text can be edited and the final story can be printed.










6. Collaborative Writing

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If you have a Google account, you can set up a google document that is available for anyone to access. Share the link with your students, and they can all write on the document at the same time if desired. Use this option if you want to keep and return to something your students have written. An example of students collecting breakfast food is here.



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Primary Paint is a collaborative drawing tool, but it also allows text options. This is a quick and easy option for collecting information to view together.




7. Video

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Animoto is a free program that converts your photos and video clips into a movie complete with music, a title and cool effects. An example is here.




8. Listening to Books

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Actors from the Screen Actors Guild Foundation read books aloud at Storyline Online. Lots of other great listening sites are available here.





9. Voice Recording


Screen_shot_2012-02-11_at_6.04.30_PM.pngAudioBoo is a recording tool that saves your voice recording as a "boo" that can be linked to or embedded. Here are links to a six year old explaining how to make pancakes and another six year old's reading sample (embedded in his blog).




10. Books to Create and Post Online


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Storybird provides you with illustrations to inspire you to write and publish your own book. You choose the illustrations from many artists that are available. Choosing, rather than drawing the illustrations, forces the student to focus on making a story out of the illustrations, rather than on the illustrations themselves. Teachers can set up student accounts.
Finished stories can be embedded into a blog. For a fee, they may also be downloaded or purchased in hard or softcover form.

Example of a Storybird embedded into a blog here.






Created by Kathy Cassidy
kathy@kathycassidy.com
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