Using New Media to Deepen Thinking

Kindergarteners go beyond surface level thinking

Kindergarten Thinking...

Most of the time, it's difficult for a kindergarten student to dig deeper than surface level, five-year-old thinking. Kindergarteners often struggle with sustaining attention to specific detail, remembering instructions to complete work independently, connecting details between concepts, asking thoughtful questions about a topic and communicating their thoughts in a way that is conducive to their learning. To address these struggles that are observed daily in a kindergarten classroom, teachers now can look to different new media tools to deepen their students thinking. Using tools such as Google Drawing, Voki, and Padlet, kindergarten teachers can help their students pay close attention to specific detail, be independent workers and learners, make connections between their learning, and start asking meaningful questions.

Google Drawing...

Including Google Drawing within a unit is a quick, easy way to informally student growth. Google drawings can be made for many different lessons (the lesson in the linked example was labeling dinosaur defenses). Google Drawing allows instructors to do so much! Within Google Drawing, teachers can quickly make copies of an assessment to use for multiple students, but can also quickly alter it to differentiate for the needs of all students. Google Drawing works for the goal of wanting students to become deeper thinkers because they are asked to apply the knowledge that they have been learning independently. Instead of simply writing a few words in a journal, kindergarteners can use their reading skills to read their task in their personal Google Drawing, all from the comfort of a computer or iPad. As students become more familiar with Google Drawing, they can think even deeper to create drawings of their own, or work with a group to complete or create a Google Drawing.

Voki...

By adding a Voki to a lesson, it enables students to be independent learners. Students are able to refer back to the Voki to hear their instructors voice describing the lesson, retelling directions, or encouraging them to put on their deeper thinking caps. Including a Voki is a simple way to remind my students of the higher level of thinking that is expected of them throughout lessons. Student's can continuously go back, listen to the Voki, revise their work if needed, and make sure they have all the necessary parts that were required of them.

Padlet...

Using Padlet allows educators to create their own open ended discussion questions that can promote deeper thinking revolving around a unit, lesson, or even a fun social topic. As students become more familiar with using Padlet, educators can then create a blank board and redesign a traditional "think-pair-share" and put it on a Padlet board. For example, have one partner post a picture revolving around a topic, while their partner responds to it and their think-pair-share becomes web-based (Fuchs, 2014).

Wrapping it up...

These new media tools can be used at a kindergarten level to promote independence, engagement, and higher level thinking.

To see a finished product of a redesigned kindergarten science unit using all of these new media tools and more, check out the animal defense webpage.

References...

Fuchs, Beth, "The Writing is on the Wall: Using Padlet for Whole-Class Engagement" (2014). Library Faculty and Staff Publications. Paper 240.


Miller, R. G., Curwen, M. S., White-Smith, K. A., & Calfee, R. C. (2014). Cultivating Primary Students’ Scientific Thinking Through Sustained Teacher Professional Development. Early Childhood Education Journal, 43(4), 317-326.