USN Lower School Technology!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The First Full Week of School!

Classes start for real this week, and USN Lower School students get to their computers after a quick reminder of their responsibilities to use the technology and the hardware responsibly. Our newly revised (down from 629 words long to 194) Technology Responsible Use Policy is pretty clear now, and I'm still inclined to be more specific with the older kids.

There's a new imperative in the Lower School to avoid "whole group instruction," with which I wholly agree, but this particular message is a bit hard to convey in a constructivist manner. That is why I turned to to create a graphical representation of the document for discussion. Here's the wordle I settled on:

Wordle, as you see, is an online service that turns text into tidy and interesting graphic files in which the frequency of the wording is represented by the relative size of the word. In the document above, of course, Technology is the key word. I went back into the site to paste in the former document and this is what I ended up with:

How would you describe the differences in the document, as interpreted by Wordle? This makes for some interesting dialog in the computer lab for the first week of school with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders after some discussion about logging into computers, and it's to my mind much better than lecture. Next week we're onto touch typing with all three of our school's keyboarding platforms.

Kinderkids and 1st graders this week are jumping into's great "MyFirstClicks" lessons for fun mousework. We'll be working with those 25 lessons over the next several weeks, with the hope that we'll nearly complete them before moving on to graphical work with Drawing for Children. Stay tuned!!!

Parents, you have this in your Lower School Parents Handbook, but just for a refresher here is
University School of Nashville’s Technology Responsible Use Policy:

Computers, the Internet, selected software, and other devices are provided for students, faculty, and staff by USN for the express purposes of supporting instruction, enhancing learning, and conducting the business of the school. To this end, those granted user privileges are expected to use these resources only for the educational purposes for which they are intended and to treat these resources and all users with respect.

Additionally, users need to understand these are shared resources, and that access for the school community depends on individuals adhering to community standards.
Failure to follow these guidelines may result in consequences ranging from a warning to dismissal, depending on the severity of the infraction, as determined by administration in each division.

If, as a USN technology user, you have any question or doubt about the acceptability of a specific activity in which you plan to engage, it is your responsibility seek approval from a teacher, an administrator, a division-level technology coordinator, or the Director of Technology in advance. Users of the USN network are bound by all local, state, and federal statutes pertaining to the use of the Internet.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

USN Responsible Use of Technology


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Welcome to the School Year 2009-2010

So I'm pretty sure we'll get into the habit of calling it "twenty-ten," and my question is this: When it gets to be the following year will those of us in the South be saying "twenty-leven" or will we revert to "two thousand eleven." Just asking!

Welcome to this promising school year. It's certainly been a lovely summer, and if yours has been as chaotic and packed-full as has mine, I'm betting you and yours are ready for a little structure to return to our lives.

I sure am.

I'll be glad to meet my 64 new Kindergartners and the 18 new students at other grade levels (mostly in grade 1, filling out the difference between the 64 maximum K kids and the 72 maximum at 1st grade), and to re-acquaint myself with those 1st through 4th graders I've worked with in the past. It always amazes me how much they all grow and change over the summer, and I'm excited to see those changes.

We'll be easing slowly into work at the early grade levels, first talking about respecting the equipment, as each machine is shared by at least 19 other students, then working in the newly remodelled's Premium@School site in scaffolded lessons geared to helping the young master basic skills and fundamental concepts they'll be working with in their classrooms. In 2nd grade, well be very gently introducing touch-typing with Type to Learn, Jr., and then moving on to the BBC's Dancemat Typing. In 3rd grade, we up the ante to Type to Learn 3, and in fourth, we'll be working in Type to Learn 3 for only two weeks then moving right into Keyboarding for Kids, the online typing instruction program they'll be bringing textbooks home to facilitate daily keyboarding practice. Please do not feel that you need to purchase any of these products: We have purchased them at school for use at school! If you wish for your child to do more practice at home, there are myriad links in the Keyboarding topic of our school's Webliographer!

There will be more, much more, for all my students, and here is the place to watch for changes in content and focus. To get an idea of the flow, feel free to view past entries here, accessible from the sidebar to the right. Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing all of you and please don't be a stranger to the Lower School Technology for Learning Lab!!!

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