Top Tech Tools of 2019: HDS Edition

Casey Hogan
Explore, create, and communicate. These are the goals of our technology program at Harbor Day School. In the lower school, we look for tools that enhance these goals. With each new app, the students learn to navigate and solve programs for themselves. If you see a tired teacher or one with two different colored shoes (like myself), it means that we are introducing a new tool. We have found through experience that it is better to use a few great apps with multiple functions. Then our focus stays where it should be, on the learning.

In kindergarten, we recently published our final information books using multiple apps. App Smashing is the fancy term for this process. The students selected a favorite story from their writing folder. They used the Camera tool to video themselves reading the story. The video was uploaded into the Green Screen app. The kindergarten teachers created the newspaper template and embedded the video. To maintain our sanity, the teachers finalized the video in the Green Screen app. The final video was shared on Seesaw. Every kindergarten parent can access to their child’s portfolio on Seesaw. You can imagine how amazing it is to see your child’s sweet face pop up in your emails.

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Here is a list of our favorite apps:

This digital portfolio tool is the #1 app across the lower school. Every student can share photos and videos with the class. Parents have access to their child’s work through the Seesaw Family app. Seesaw allows the students to share their ideas and thought processes. Teachers can check for understanding and parents get a window into school life.

Book Creator
Create an interactive book by adding photos, videos, text, and drawings. The possibilities are endless.

Google Earth

It is amazing to experience the world beyond the walls of the classroom. This app expands our world view. We go on scavenger hunts to find different geographic features or search for Wonders of the World. It is also amazing to see Harbor Day School from a bird’s eye view!

Green Screen by Doink

Stand in front of Mt. Kilimanjaro or on the moon. This app broadens the capabilities in video creation.

Pic Collage

Create amazing photo collages with fun backgrounds and graphics. Within the classroom, this allows kids to curate a collection of photos on any topic. Maybe it is a collage of carnivores or favorite parts of a book or historic sites.

Bonus - Geoguessr
This addictive game sets you down somewhere in the world. You can zoom in and spin around searching for possible clues. You win and lose points based on how close you are to the correct location. I thought that the palm trees and English road sign meant Florida when it was Fiji. My answer was 7510 miles off. I can’t wait to try again.

Try some of these apps with your children over winter break!

About the Author:
Ms. Hogan has been teaching kindergarten at Harbor Day School since 2004. Ms. Hogan earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Dartmouth College and completed the teacher education program. She earned a master’s degree in reading education from the University of Southern California. Ms. Hogan taught second grade before joining Harbor Day School. Kindergarten students are her favorite because of their energy and creativity. As the lower school technology department chair, Ms.Hogan enjoys using technology to foster innovation in the classroom. When she is not at school, Ms. Hogan spends a lot of time sailing, running, and playing with her dog Rosie.
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Harbor Day School is a co-educational private independent K-8 school established in 1952.