Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
It’s a fact of life that children are more exposed to technology today than ever before. A study on media use by kids ages 0-8 found that a whopping 45% of children in that age bracket have their own mobile device, which just goes to show that age is no longer a boundary when it comes to technology!
But bringing technology into an elementary classroom can be overwhelming. What tools should you use? How much is enough? Or too much? And what if the kids break some of your new, very expensive equipment?
While they’re all valid concerns, you’d be amazed at how seamless the experience of integrating edtech into your class can be. First of all, the kids are already used to using technology in their daily lives, so you don’t have to worry about going through that awkward learning curve (unless it’s for you!).
Secondly, rather than turning kids into zoned-out zombies, technology, when used correctly, will actually stimulate participation and critical thinking. It’ll also free up more time for you to get into extension materials!
If you’re looking for a way to dip your toe in the edtech pool, Edpuzzle is the perfect place to start. A free online platform that allows you to share interactive video lessons with your students, Edpuzzle has been beloved by elementary teachers for over 5 years now.
Read on for some quick tips on how to use Edpuzzle with your elementary students – your kiddos will thank you!
1. Create an Open Class
One of the biggest initial barriers to getting started with apps and websites for younger students is creating an account. Older elementary kids might not have an issue, but for the little ones, remembering a username and password (combining symbols, letters, numbers and upper- and lower-case, no less!) is about as impossible as putting the caps back on the markers after art class.
Luckily, Edpuzzle’s Open Class feature allows you to create a class where all your students need to do to join is click the link you’ll provide them with. You can even choose to let Edpuzzle randomly assign their nicknames so they don’t have to come up with one on their own.
That means that all your students have to do is enter your class and start watching their video lessons. As a teacher, you can embed your own questions, audio notes, voiceover and comments into the video to make sure your students are engaged throughout the video.
You can also see your students’ results so you can give some more attention to the kids who struggled, or assign more advanced videos to the kids who are breezing through the material.
Here’s a quick tutorial to show you a little bit more about Open Classes:
2. Bring Storytime to Life
For all those critics that think technology is the reason why students don’t read anymore, newsflash – the two actually go hand in hand!
Has this ever happened to you? You’ve already had a full day with your students… a project with arts and crafts in the morning (you have the glitter glue in your hair to prove it), monitoring lunch and recess, teaching your kids a song in Spanish, and then by the end of the day, somehow your voice has given out on you right on schedule for storytime.
Since Edpuzzle allows you to search its incredible library of content including everything YouTube has to offer, you can search for the story of your choice, and save your voice in the process!
If you’re looking for a place to start, just type in “Storyline Online” in Edpuzzle’s search bar to get access to some amazing children’s books read by celebrities. The quality is amazing with animated illustrations to keep your kids entertained, and you won’t mind watching your favorite celebs read to your kids!
Some examples include Clark the Shark read by Chris Pine, Quackenstein Hatches a Family read by Kristin Bell, The Empty Pot read by Rami Malek or The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen read by Oprah Winfrey.
3. Try an In-Class Flip
We’ve all worked with or heard of the flipped classroom, but what about an in-class flip? Try starting your class with a video lesson while you circulate giving support where needed, and then use the remaining class time for collaborative work and hands-on activities.
For example, for science, you could start with a video lesson on the water cycle, then have students create and label their own water cycle illustrations, and finally finish up with a gallery walk, so students can observe their classmates’ work. The possibilities are endless!
4. Set Up a Station Rotation
This tip tackles the issue of not having enough devices for all of your students. If that’s the case, then the station rotation model is your perfect option.
You’ll set up different stations that your students will rotate through, completing a variety of activities as they go. For example: set up one station with tablets or laptops to watch Edpuzzle videos, one with a project to work on, one with you where they’ll be able to get personalized attention from their teacher, and one for reading.
Every 10 minutes, have your students rotate to a new station. That way, they won’t be getting too much screen time and everyone will have a chance to use technology.
For math, for example, your Edpuzzle video could be a screen recording of you walking your students through a problem, and the remaining stations could ask students to model and solve problems using different methods (number cubes, diagrams, traditional formulas, etc.).
If you need some more ideas, just check out the hashtag #stationrotation on Twitter!
5. Go Live to Energize Your Class
Some critics argue that technology is too isolating for students, pointing at the stereotypical image of kids with headphones hunched over glowing screens. Of course you can use edtech for individual work, but you can also engage your class as a group with Edpuzzle.
By using Live Mode, you’ll project the video on-screen in front of the whole class, while students answer the questions on their own devices, with partners or in small groups.
Get live data on your students’ answers so you can see what they understand and what you need to spend more time on. Kids also have a lot of fun going live because of the dynamic, game-like nature of answering in real time. You can set a timer to make things even more exciting!
6. Get the Parents Involved by Assigning a Student Project
One huge advantage to the flipped classroom is allowing parents to take a more active role in their children’s learning.
With the student projects feature on Edpuzzle, students can find and edit their own videos or even record their own and upload them to the platform. Parents can get in on the action by filming their kids and watching or helping as they fine-tune their videos using Edpuzzle’s editing tools.
Some examples of student projects include asking your students to record videos of themselves reciting a poem they’ve memorized, reading a children’s book (which you can share with lower grade levels for storytime), dressing up as a historical figure and talking about their lives, filming an intro about themselves at back-to-school time, explaining how to do a math problem, and the list goes on!
7. Discover Edpuzzle Original Videos
The last tip on our list for ways to use Edpuzzle for elementary students is taking a look our Edpuzzle Original videos. You'll find them under “Discover” when you log in to Edpuzzle with your teacher account.
You can search for amazing video lessons and filter them based on subject and grade level, which allows you to find the perfect content for your students. And, best of all, our Edpuzzle Original videos come with already built-in questions so you can assign them quickly and easily.
You can also decide whether you want your students to watch all together in live mode or watch individually for self-paced learning.
So, if you’re an elementary teacher who needs to build some confidence with edtech, Edpuzzle is the perfect gateway to incorporating technology into your classroom and delighting your students. Inspire innovation and watch their learning skyrocket!