USN Lower School Technology!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Labor Day Week! Labors of Love!

We are in the midst of our 3rd week of school, and a fun and productive one it is. 3rd graders begin their journey with Type to Learn 3 (link provided for informational purposes--please do NOT purchase the program), and we'll stick to it for several weeks while introducing the concept of Free Choice Options in the computer lab beginning next week. I'm very big on "Free Choice" within parameters: The kids already know that our responsibility here leads us to make all computer use choices within the Acceptable Use Policy, which allows for uses which are "in support of education and research and consistent with the educational objectives of the school."

4th graders continue on their own journey into Keyboarding for Kids
(link provided for informational purposes--please do NOT purchase the program), the Ellsworth Publishing Company online platform for learning touch-typing. They are so enthusiastic about this that I hope to support that enthusiasm well into their self-motivated experiences with this very simple repetitive practice tool. I'm very proud of their work so far!

Kindergartners venture into the Premium@Schools lessons to begin giving me the opportunity to guide them in their mouse use. It's interesting to me the ways different children approach the tool, and just when I think I've seen every way to hold a mouse, some new little one gives me a new one. Gently guiding them to grip that huge device (in their little hands) is what I do, and it usually results in more efficient and effective computer users. We'll have more opportunities to monitor and guide when we get into Drawing for Children and ArtRage, but for now, we're working linearly straight thru as many of the 200 activities (in 50 lessons) as I can help them negotiate in the next few weeks.

1st graders are doing the same, moving straight through the Premium@Schools lessons. I'm looking at how much more comfortable they are with the task(s) and feeling pretty good about our work together last year. Soon I'll introduce "Free Choice Options" to them, and I'll be watching to see their preferences and to examine why they make the choices that they make.

2nd graders are continuing with Type to Learn, Jr
(link provided for informational purposes--please do NOT purchase the program). This simple program encourages students to begin learning where keys are on the keyboard, and further to begin poising both hands over the keyboard while they find them and type them, so that right-hand keys are struck with the right hand and left-hand with the left. They are excited to be playing the three games in the program, and I trust this gentle introduction to set some personal knowledge they'll call on soon. Most current research agrees that 2nd grade is too soon to actually teach touch-typing, for a number of reasons, but I like this little brush with its concepts at this time in the students' development paths.

By the way, if you haven't seen it yet, do check out the "All Grade Levels" page we set up for newsletters and such as we move toward a complete remake of USN's website this October. And I will, by the way, be out this weekend, down to Tampa, Florida for the Second Life Education Community Conference, where I'll be networking with others toward understanding and purposing 3-Dimensional internet tools for our children's future. More on that later, and you can keep up by watching the Second Life Education Blog at, to which I'm a frequent contributing author. It's a different world, ya'll; one that I consider important as it develops popularity and adoption by schools and universities.

That's all for this week! Have a great one!

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