Thursday, August 5, 2010

Time to Go - It's August!

So excited - teaching the computer lab this year, K-5, so many new changes.  Bought some new digital cameras and headphones with microphones so students can put different media in their work.  Exciting about student webpages, sharing, and collaboration.

Just ordered some cool, inexpensive, attention getting devices (read toys), to toss out to students from trainerswarehouse.com.  These inexpensive devices will add to moments of attention and "no fade-outs".  Also saw a really cute "Exceed Expectations" to drive home the idea of excellence is expected.

It seems like each year June is the "wind-down" time with staying busy with details and finishing a year; July is vacation; August is "gear-up" time.  I'm geared-up, completed some lesson plans, many "rough" ideas for using the new tools and collaborations.

Read an article yesterday about computer labs being passe.  It was based on college level.  That I can understand, but not at elementary level.  This is the place to learn the basic skills so that by later elementary years, students are applying these skills to their own content; using these skills to communicate collaboratively; using these skills to create their own learning.  Just like reading and arithmetic are the basics, so are the computer skills to then transform the basics to your "own" work.  Without these skills, students haphazardly use computer games to pick-up on their own, unfortunately, not learning enough basics to go to the level of independent usage.

Computer games are great for basics in "mousing" or "track" control, basic motor skills, visual perception, reading, math, and others.  But seeing basic word processing skills, presentation skills (PowerPoint or HyperStudio), spreadsheets, spreadsheets with formulas in real life usage, offers another level of understanding and raises the level of computers as tools, not just games or entertainment.  Using these tools in class aids work communication to other students and provides skills for further sharing and work related products.

I am looking forward to a great year in the computer lab!