USN Lower School Technology!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The First Full Week!

Well it's really Tuesday and I've really just said "see ya next week" to my first class of 2nd graders to login to Type to Learn, Jr. toward embarking on a long relationship with touch typing. It's a very gentle introduction, and today's class went very well. I have no doubt the classes the rest of this week will follow suit.

First graders, for whom this is the first week of full days, came in and got the much abbreviated AUP talk I wrote about last week. It's of crucial importance to me that we have a beginning of the year dialog about the right choices in computer use, and the rules that make our network safe and reliable for all of us. We had that talk, and next week, it's Boowa and Kwala here we come!

Kindergarteners got a sorting out onto their assigned computer number seating places, a 3 sentence version of the AUP, a dismantling of a computer mouse, and a short preview of, where we'll go first thing next week. The free-to-schools version of the site is wonderful, safe, exciting, and rife with kindness as its driving theme. Years ago, I helped work up (with the creator of the website) the schools version of the site, which offers 50 lessons with 4 activities each in a scaffolded introduction to computer skills, from mouse floatover to higher-level thinking activities. Well, most everything is higher-level than mouse floatover, isn't it! I'm proud to lay claim to USN's being school number 1 of the now 7169 participating schools all around the world.

Fourth graders got the sermon about the value of keyboarding and the dangers of going about the learning half-heartedly and logged into the Keyboarding Online website to continue their own journey in touch typing. It's a proven learning platform, and the children will reap from it what their drive and determination sows. I'll be sending home a note about the program when, in three or four weeks, all students are comfortable enough with expectations and process to send home textbooks so they can practice every day. It'll be soooooo good for them to improve typing skills, and so supportive of the dynamic 4th grade team's writing programs.

Third graders were treated to a more detailed version of the AUP, since they did not come in last week, the exception being Ms. Bryant's class, which I wanted to "AUP" last week due to my upcoming absence on Sept. 5th. I'll be in Tampa for the Second Life Community Conference, as a representative of the International Society for Technology in Education, ISTE, and helping deliver sessions into that virtual world via streaming video.

That's the haps for this week, ya'll. It's such a joy to see your children's bright and eager faces and to reacquaint myself with their individual personalities. A term my retired colleague Kathy Woods used to use (in another context) applies: It's almost "an embarrassment of riches!" See the slideshow below for an example--more will be added over the coming week!

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