USN Lower School Technology!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Parent Teacher Conference Week, a short 'un

Greetings, all,

This week is a landmark one, and I'll finish landmarking it next week, since this one is a short one. We're out after half-day Thursday and then off Friday. Classroom teachers will be holding parent-teacher conferences during the "off" times and they are looking forward to seeing everyone to talk with you about your wonderful children.

What's the landmark? For the very first time I'm introducing 2nd graders to touch-typing, for real, with Type to Learn 3. This is a fun, challenging but not too-much-so, animated computer program designed to instill home-row-key typing skills in its users. We'll be spending considerable time this year in the computer lab working through its 25 lessons, or as far as we can go with it before other imperatives in the lab force us to move on and relegate its lessons to the realm of "free choice options." By the way, I also added several new links in the Webliographer's "Keyboarding" topic section, to online practice websites, and we'll explore those intentionally as the weeks go on, giving 2nd and 3rd graders resources that they can use anytime, anywhere, to practice their touch typing.

This decision is largely one based on the broad progress in our children's writing output brought about by last year's writing initiatives in the lower school. I believe that as children are writing more they should have the option of typing and if they are typing any significant amount they should begin learning correct (efficient) keyboarding skills so that they don't develop the incorrect (inefficient) ones that they may be forced to "unlearn" to improve upon. So right now, with 4th graders knee-deep into Keyboarding for Kids, and 2nd graders joining 3rd graders in Type to Learn 3, we are all about typing in the Lower School Technology for Learning lab.

All, that is, except the Kindergarten and 1st graders, who are all about K-1 Go Here, the little portal I long ago designed for those whippersnappers at our Webliographer. These young folks began to explore the other three "centers" at the portal this week, including Li'l Fingers Storybooks, PBSKids Between the Lions, and one of my very favorites, Boobah. We'll look more closely at those three kid-friendly sites over the next couple of weeks before jumping into computer-facilitated art, or "artputer."

That's all this week, excepting for a couple of pictures I'd like to share in a slideshow. Note the glee on the faces of the Kindergarteners who explored the completely wordless (all image and sound) Boobah, especially the one child who discovered that one of the characters he could play with on using his mouse was a ringer for his father, so he made all the characters on the screen into his dad! Also note the seriousness in the eyes of the 2nd graders. That's a good thing (though they're having fun, too, especially with the "Key Figures" in history that they are rewarded with during one of Type to Learn 3's activities.

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