Welcome to Technology at PRM! This is the first time this class has been offered here and it’s already creating quite a buzz among students and parents. My name is Mr. David Church and I wanted to take a moment to introduce everyone to Technology.
Technology is an important part of our world and as children grow, it will only become more integrated into their daily lives. I believe teaching children to become comfortable with technology at an early age will prepare them for the rigors of high school as well as life in general. In the future, most jobs will more than likely require some type of technological background.
Here at PRM, we use Technology in different ways at each grade level. With Kindergarten, the main goals are:
- Learn the parts of the computer – mouse, keyboard, monitor, etc.
- Learn what the mouse does, what a cursor is, how to move and how to click on various elements on the screen
- Learn what a ‘prompt’ is and what information to enter
- How to log in (and out) using their personal password
- Learn their way around the keyboard and where the letters and enter keys are
- How to find and click on ‘links’ to take them to various websites
- How to scroll using the side bar or the ball on the mouse
- In addition to the above, we utilize websites such as www.starfall.com and www.abcya.com to enhance what they are learning in class (letter recognition, letter sounds, writing letters, phonics, and reading)
In the 6-9 classes we work from this base of knowledge. They utilize websites like the ones mentioned above as well as www.arcademics.com and www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1. The focus with these levels is to enhance what they are learning in the classroom and in the process, learn more about navigating the keyboard and the web. We have also made Reflex Math an important part of the curriculum here in Technology. 3rd graders also receive an introduction to typing with BBC Dance Mat Typing. This gives them a glimpse at what they will be doing the following year. At times we also utilize laptop computers and iPads in order to gain a different perspective into what technology is currently available.
When it comes to the upper levels, I thought it was very important to teach typing. This year all levels are getting a crash course from www.typing.com. This is a great website that allows the teacher to monitor all students’ progress. Students can also check their own progress and repeat levels as they deem necessary. Next year, typing will still be taught in all 4th-6th grades, however it will be divided into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced lessons respectively.
In addition to typing, 9-12 students are learning how to navigate the internet for research. Each week, students log into their Edmodo accounts to access their assignment. The difficulty in assignment varies per grade level. An example lesson might have them access a video, then answer questions afterward. Others might consist of online strategy games they must master before moving on. Parents can get access codes from their child and check out Edmodo as well. This way, they can keep abreast of what their child is learning.
In January, 6th graders will begin learning Microsoft Word. We will be using online tutorials from Office support. I waited because I wanted them to have some typing skills down first. Assignments will then become projects such as create a greeting card or make a brochure for a mock business. If time, we will also take a look at Excel and Power Point. Next year, 6th graders will begin the school year learning Word. My goal is that 6th graders spend the year learning how to use these important tools to help prepare them for high school.
This year, we also participated in the national Hour of Code campaign. Everyone seemed to enjoy this and many talked about taking computer programming courses over the summer! Next year, it is my hope that we spend an entire month on coding with 5th graders.
Technology tends to come easier to students than it does to many adults who have had to assimilate into the digital age. To that end, it’s been less important for me to teach about what technology is available and more use what’s at our disposal to enhance what is being taught and hopefully motivate students to pursue things outside of school. I love when I hear students say they’ve accessed a lesson site at home. That lets me know when a lesson is truly successful.
Since this was our first year with Technology, I wanted students to see and try as much as we could squeeze into a 50 minute period! It is truly my hope that this class, not only introduces students to new and amazing things, but genuinely enhances what they are learning in their homerooms.