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Digital Lessons for Little Ones

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One segment of the K-12 population that I think is sometimes forgotten about by ed-tech folks (and I admit: I'm guilty of it as well) is the "little folks" as Tammy Worcester, author of several books about computer activities for K-3 students, would say. The last session I attended at NCCE was her talk on "Computer Activities for Little Folks," which went through many suggestions of activities that could be used for K-3 students.

I'm not going to go through everything she talked about—like the greeting cards or mini-books she showed us how to make through PowerPoint—but she did have some good suggestions, I thought, on how to introduce younger students to technology and get them familiar with basic computer skills. For example, one tip she gave was to create links to Web sites and put them directly on the computer's desktop, so that kids can just double-click on them to get to where they need to be. Typing out a Web site is difficult for younger students, especially if there's only one teacher and 20-something students. Creating desktop links makes it much simpler and faster.

She also recommended a Web site that collects flash tools that can be used in classrooms. The example, the "random name picker," allows teachers to type out a list of students and then spin a computer-generated wheel that picks a student's name. The teacher could use this tool to choose students to answer questions or complete activities or whatever the lesson calls for. Another Web site she recommended was Imagination Cubed where students can draw pictures using an interactive crayon and whiteboard.

There are a number of activities out there for early elementary school students—ones that don't require advanced typing or reading skills—but it's definitely not the focus of the ed-tech movement at this point. But considering the amount of people crammed into this session on the last day of the conference, I would say it's definitely a place where teachers are hungry for more information.

2 Comments

It is interesting to hear all of the interesting activities for the K-3 students. As a future teacher, I will keep these in mind. I really think that getting students involved with websites by typing and using links to websites is a great idea. I really liked the tip about putting the links to specific websites directly on the computer's desktop for students to click on. Students at this age would have trouble typing in full websites and may get frustrated. Desktop links are a great idea in my opinion. The website Imagination Cubed seems like it would also be a good idea to use in the classroom and would be appealing to most K-3 students. Many students would love to draw with an interactive crayon and whiteboard. This will help students get involved with technology, and will limit the amount of frustration for them. If it becomes to complicated for young students, such as typing in websites they may become irritated and turned off to computers. I will keep these tips in mind for my students in the future.

I just completed making a site that sounds much like what you are referring to where the students go to the computer and be ready to go. My class used TrackStar to make ours. On this site we were able to choose different websites that we wanted our students to visit, all they had to do is click the link and they were ready to go. When I was in school I never had a teacher do something like this, but now that I know it exists I am sure I will be using it in my future classroom. They do not take long to make and can be extremely beneficial to the students. Chilren at the k-3 grade level are just beginning to explore computers and would like how interactive many of these sites are. When you have a site ready to go, it is easier for both the students and the teacher. You do not need to worry about students visiting sites they should not be on and you save alot of time not having to give step-by-step directions to 20+ children who are just learning to use computers.

The website imagination cubed looks really fun for children. We all know how much children like to color, but by doing it on the computer you avoid the hastle of getting everything out, cleaning up, wasting paper and children getting frustrated if their art does not turn out just so. This site would be great in moving towards more paperless classrooms. Children can erase whenever they want without wasting paper!

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