USN Lower School Technology!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The week of September 12



Well, we're in full swing in the LS computer lab and as a brief update here's what's going on currently:



* Kindergarteners continue basic skills introductions through browsing for songs and games at Boowa and Kwala's wonderful website. Mouse usage, keyboard arrows--all that simple hand-eye manipulation of the "mouse trick," the illusion that by moving a little device on a table-top we make an arrow move on our computer desktop--headphone volume control, and more are being introduced and exercised in our all-too-brief 30 minutes a week.

* 1st graders are reviewing everything the Kindergarteners are learning, plus beginning just this week to explore the freeware program "Drawing for Children." This program's interface is much like many others, including Paint, KidPix, etc., and skills learned with it will transfer easily to other such programs.

*2nd graders have reviewed TypeToLearn,Jr. and will be starting TypeToLearn3 next week. This scaffolded approach will hopefully help them first get acquainted with the locations of the keys and the concept of keeping their hands poised aboue the keyboard whilst they type, and then gradually become accustomed to the notion that by typing a particular key with a particular finger they will become competent typists.

*3rd graders have been getting re-acquainted with TypeToLearn3 and will be exercising their "home-row-key position" skills over the next several weeks toward a later introduction to "Keyboarding for Kids," the "real-deal" program that they will be able to use at home once they have a firm grasp of how to proceed within its structure (after several weeks of introduction and practice in the lab).

*4th graders have dug into "Keyboarding for Kids" for two weeks now and will be taking home their textbooks for daily homework online (where home computer systems allow) or in-school daily work. This is a wonderful program and if it is followed correctly (I do a lot of preaching during lab time!) students will improve. I unequivically state that every student will improve and many students will achieve relatively competent keyboarding skills within the 6 weeks that we work with the program daily. A helpful letter will accompany each take-home textbook. Feel free to email me at smerrick@usn.org with any questions or comments, and if you are completely unable to get the program going at home please let me know that and we will accomodate your child's learning during school hours in the lab or the classroom.

Sheesh--I thought this was gonna be brief!!!

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