These days, technology changes in the blink of an eye! How can we prepare kids to use devices and programs that don’t exist yet? Is it even possible?
Sure, it is! Being “Future Ready” isn’t only about becoming familiar with “advanced” hardware or software—it’s also about gaining a solid foundation in technological basics, keeping an open mind, and learning to have a positive mindset about problem solving. For all grade levels, Bethany’s Technology rotation works to ready students for the future by covers four key points:
As in all other areas of specialization, technology has its own lingo! In order for students to better discuss, debate, explain, and understand directions, we always begin class with a new vocabulary word.
In addition to those organic moments of trial and error that students inevitably encounter, the average Technology lesson includes a “Troubleshooting Problem” that we solve as a class. We’ve tackled everything from error pages to vanishing docks, password mishaps to unwanted narration. In Technology, “troubleshoot” is our motto!
3) Grade Level Skills
Kindergarten is a year of firsts, and for many that includes the first time they use a keyboard or mouse! Upon familiarizing themselves with computers, kindergarteners practice the basics of logging on, opening programs, coding, and entering keyword searches. Some of this year’s highlights have included making birthday tradition book pages, reading on Starfall, and programming with BB-8 on Code.org.
First grade forges the way on Code.org! This year, they created dance parties, Flappy Bird games, and even explored a few worlds in Minecraft. In addition to their coding abilities, first graders use Technology to level up their literacy and typing; after finishing a few rotations on Dance Mat Typing, they get to test their skills by writing (and printing!) a letter to a loved one.
Typing and letter writing are just a warm up for second graders! By mid-year, they move on to a bigger challenge: Google! In preparation for the Chromebooks they will be using in third grade, second graders practice how to log onto their Google accounts, how to use Google Slides and Docs, and how to navigate Google search. At the end of the year, everything culminates in a big animal research project!
Third, fourth, and fifth graders are all pretty tech savvy, but there’s always more to learn. In addition to continued coding and typing practice, the upper grades work to deepen their knowledge of the Google Suite. Whether adding hyperlinks to a document or perfecting a paper’s formatting, students are challenged to think both creatively, and within assigned parameters. Our favorite activities have included making Instagram-inspired adverts for books, designing factual posters about other countries, and solving the complex ciphers of our code-themed end-of-the-year review game.
4) Digital Citizenship
Over the course of the year, six classes are set aside to delve into the inexpressibly important issues surrounding digital citizenship. At Bethany, the backbone of our curriculum comes from Common Sense Education, but is heavily supplemented by teacher-created activities, games, projects, and presentations.
As with skills, topics vary based on grade level. For more information about any individual digital citizenship lesson, please feel free to contact Melissa Regan.