In the 21st century, the definition of collaborative education and classroom management has undergone a massive overhaul. The increased access to educational technology such as computers and the World Wide Web as early as kindergarten have allowed students to learn together in different environments asynchronously. While the benefits of these new technologies are often seen primarily as adult aids (online college courses, anyone?) the use of online tools in the elementary classroom has become more and more prevalent in the past few years. Technology in the Elementary Classroom By understanding and implementing online-based tools, teachers are able to facilitate student collaboration and better manage the classroom space by occupying different students/groups with different tasks. What’s more, when working in inclusive classrooms, special needs students, especially those who lack social skills, can benefit from indirect collaborative learning as well. By creating a “community” or a “board” within the confines of the internet, special needs students can fully participate with their peers, but at their own pace. There are several amazing online applications available for elementary-aged students these days. However, one such site which is geared towards younger students that is free and easy-to-use is Primary Wall. This program allows children to work in a Google Docs-type forum to provide notes to one another and share ideas about a topic or project. The video below helps to explain Primary Wall’s function: Online Classroom Management There is a lot being said today about the increased emphasis on technological literacy among students of all ages. There is also a further need for increased technology-handling among disadvantaged and special needs students. For those reasons, utilizing online classroom management and collaborative tools such as Primary Wall seems especially timely for today’s teachers. What lessons would work well with this application? What other applications have you used in your classrooms?
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