Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Computer Teacher- Do you teach typing?

Do you do keyboarding with your students? It is a question that I often get asked by the public, parents, and teachers. I teach the very youngest students in the public school system- the kindergarten, 1st,and 2nd grade. I do not teach keyboarding. My students do type- stories, poetry, reports and other things. You must have a separate keyboarding 4-6 grade license in Wisconsin to teach it and I have not got certified.

People are surprised that our youngest students are having computer class in school. They think it is fantastic that we are preparing our students for the future. So then I have to explain what I "teach" if it is not keyboarding. In a few sentences I can sum it up. I integrate technology with the curriculum. Whatever the students are learning in reading, science, math, and social studies, technology can enhance and make it more meaningful in their lives.

I admit that some activities are more about skill building. Math and reading software is readily available and the students really enjoy "playing" Mighty Math Zoo Zillions and Reader Rabbit I Can Read With Phonics . The software for the educational environment has been wonderful and I have had many years of using some of the best programs.

I often used more open ended and broad based software such Kidspiration and KidPix to have students create a project that was integrated with something that they were learning in their classroom. These activities would have more of a finished process to it. Most often the students would leave with a printed copy of what they had done.

I have come to rely and use the internet for much more in teaching my classes. The amount of websites with excellent learning activities and information for our youngest readers is phenomenal.

New things for me...this upcoming fall I will be needing to change my teaching in many ways. It is a challenge and something that I am excited about. We have made the leap to a new intel Macintosh lab with Leopard 10.5 in one of my schools and in the other newer eMacs with Tiger 10.4.6. My wonderful software will be gone (given away with the computers to the classroom)and only replaced with a few new things for this year. I am going to take this opportunity to do much more digital storytelling with the students using a new piece of software to me, Pixie 2. I am going to put their podcasts and digital story projects on http://teachertube.com. I am looking forward to the challenges and the faster and more reliable computers I will have this year. The only thing that I can rely upon is that nothing ever stays the same. The possibilities are endless for using technology with the curriculum.

So no, I do not teach typing :) but I do have the best job!! Some kids like music, art or physical education- some students don't. Every student I have met LOVES computers. I have the opportunity every day to help out the staff I work with and have new challenges to wake up to in the morning.

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