Friday, April 4, 2008

Technology across the grades....Part 1

As you may or may not know…in addition to being a mom, blogger and technologist, I am also an educator. I work for the NYCDOE in technology. I would like to draw the curtains back and take a peak into classrooms and see how technology is being used in classrooms. I will focus on one grade level a week. During the weeks ahead if you are doing something great in your classroom or at home (especially if you home school…I would love to hear from you) please email me.

For our little Kindergartners here are some thoughts pulled together from the standards set forth by NCREL

· Kindergarten children, with assistance from their teacher, or working with student partners begin to use computers, calculators, the web and other technology tools to access appropriate resources identified by their teacher.
· Teachers model for the students’ safe web usage as an introduction to cyber safety. Students begin to navigate different resources (e.g., interactive books, educational software, drawing and presentation programs) to support their classroom learning and express creativity.
· At home, parents can work with their children using software or visiting web resources that help focus on early learning problem-solving skills (e.g., matching, counting, ordering and sequencing, patterns, sorting by shape or color, classification, hidden items, measurement, directional words, critical thinking, logic and prediction, same or different).

Parents (and teachers) need to become familiar with . “i-SAFE Inc. is the worldwide leader in Internet safety education. Founded in 1998 and endorsed by the U.S. Congress, i-SAFE is a non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting the online experiences of youth everywhere. i-SAFE incorporates classroom curriculum with dynamic community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the Internet a safer place.” It is important at an early age to begin discussing with our children the importance of practicing cyber safe behavior. Don’t scare the children! Be frank with them. My son is in Kindergarten and I have already solidified with him the importance of using a screen name different from his own name and one that doesn’t give away his gender. We talked about animals and his favorite animals (sharks, dinosaurs, birds) and we choose one and added a simple number strand at the end. When he logs on to webkinz world (while it is a closed environment) I know that he is putting cyber safe practices into motion. He has begun to play chess online. This is a little trickier. He goes to yahoo games which is a live chat area. We have talked about what he should say if someone asks him a question such as “Is your mom or dad home?” or “What school do you go?” I tell him to not reply but to simply get me. As questions like this arise, I will guide him with proper answers that will help keep him safe. I don’t want him to be scared, just knowledgeable and let’s face it, a five or six year old has the memory of a flea. Giving them answers now for questions that may occur months from now won’t help them. It is much better to say “And don’t remember to call me when someone asks you a question” and then teach them in the moment an appropriate answer. That will drive home the learning process. If you have any additional suggestions on this topic please share!

So remember, Kindergarteners should be on the internet and using applications. The earlier their skills are worked on the better it is for the student. Here are some additional resourses for you. If you have more, please share.

A great place to start with resources, lessons and standard. This wiki can also be edited as well.

Standards/Expectations of learning in Kindergarten from North Carolina

Publications on the using technology at young ages by the Northwest Educational Technology Consortium

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