What technology should we be using in the classroom??

There has been a big difference in the way we teach young children in just the last few years. The advance of appropriate technology is growing at warp speed. Technology in kindergarten is transforming the classroom around the globe. Teachers today have so many choices for using technology in early childhood classrooms. Some didn’t even exist a few years ago.  It wasn’t so long ago that teachers actually believed kindergarten and first-grade students could not access Google Classroom. It seems laughable today.

However, Google Classroom and Boom Cards have broken the doors wide open in the primary grades. Offering a vast amount of quality resources for kindergarten students to use on Chromebooks and iPads. Students are learning and teachers are teaching in new and amazing ways. Technology helps us reach every child whether they are typical learners, have special needs, or those ELL students for whom English is not their first language. The advancement of classroom technology has been transforming how we teach and how students learn.

What’s better Google Classroom or Boom Cards?

This is the question I get asked almost daily. It’s a great question and I wish I could give you an answer.  But my usual response is “Why choose?” You can use both. Both platforms offer great options for teachers and students in elementary school.

It basically comes down to what do you need?

Here is a quick comparison.

The Fun Factor

The buzz around education lately has been all about “gamify learning”.   Boom cards basically own gamify learning.  There is something about the sound the decks make when the students get the correct answer that makes learning so much fun. Do you have reluctant students? Give Boom Cards a try and you’ll see how quickly they become engaged. I love Google, but Boom wins hands down on the fun factor.

Interactive Learning

We have all heard that kids are spending too much time in front of screens – total legitimate complaint. But it’s not about time in front of screens it’s about the type of time in front of screens.  Do your students sit passively and let the info pour over them? Or are they actively engaged? Moving pieces, manipulating slides? These are 2 totally different types of time on screens. We need to find resources that demand that kids are actively manipulating something. Both Boom Cards and Google Classroom get equal marks for this.

Extra Features

Look we all want the bells and whistles. Both Boom Cards and Google Classroom check this box. Both offer sound files. (Yup, Google Classroom just added this feature!! Happy Dance). Sound files are a critical difference when talking about how to reach every child whether they have special needs or they speak a language other than English. Offering sound is a game changer for kids developing their vocabulary. How are kindergarten students supposed to be able to identify the beginning sound of a word, if they have no idea what the word actually is??? Sound changes everything. Is this a picture of a mat? or is the word rug? Sound lets our kids know what we are actually asking. (it’s a rug!)  By having a sound file on each deck or slide it’s like having a teacher sitting with a student helping them. Do you need to add scaffolding? The addition of sound files offers that scaffolding our kids need and deserve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Checking

This one is easy, sorry Google, Boom has you beat. Boom Cards are totally self-checking and they give students immediate feedback. If that’s an important feature you need to really think about Boom Cards

Price

This is an important factor, listen we all know teachers spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on their classroom and price is definitely a factor. Google Classroom wins here. Google Classroom is totally free. Boom Cards do have a free version. If you want to use Boom Cards for free you totally can. You’ll just need to use the “Fast Pin” feature. It’s a little cumbersome to start, but once you get the hang of it the free version of Boom might make sense for you. If you want to learn more about the Fast Pin feature watch my video here.

 

Ease of Logging in

Ok, Ok, I feel your pain. I am very much aware of how hard it is to get kindergarten and first-grade students logged into their accounts. However, it is just something we have to push through. It’s like learning to tie your shoes. It’s painful to teach, but the rewards are so worth it.

Logging in is the same. It feels insurmountable in September and by March you can’t believe how independent they have become. In order for your kids to use either platform, they have to first log in. The benefit of Gooogle Classroom is that most kids will have the same login for their entire school career so the first and second-grade teachers will love you if they come to their classes already independent. Check out this post on some extra tips for logging your kids in a little faster.  Boom does offer an edge in this department. Picture Logins. Yes, picture logins almost feel like you are cheating, it’s so easy. I made a video with a free login card you can check it out here.

Data

Data, that four letter word! It can bring even the most accomplished teachers to their knees. It seems like we take data on absolutely everything. It can become some cumbersome if it’s not taken and used correctly. But when it comes to data Boom wins hands down. The report feature that is available on the paid version of Boom is Ah. Maze. Ing. Seriously, I love the reports feature. Boom Learning takes the data on rate and accuracy. You can easily see if your students have mastered or are struggling with a specific skill.

The individual reports make parent-teacher conferences easy. Your progress monitoring is done! and if you need to advocate for a student to have them receive services those reports can be your best friend.  You can get access to your student’s work on Google Classroom. Once your kids submit their work, you can scroll through and see how they did. But honestly, nothing compares to the ease of printing off a report from Boom.

So what’s better? Google Classroom or Boom Cards?

Sorry, it’s like choosing your favorite child. I just can’t pick one over the other. Each platform offers so much for our kids. So my question remains the same. Why choose? I use both Google Classroom and Boom Cards in my class and I see no reason to choose one over the other. So my best advice is to use both!

You can check out the resources available for both platforms here  Boom Cards and Google Classroom