One of the primary goals of the academic technology program for all students at Stephen S. Wise Elementary School is to use technology in a meaningful way. When students participate in technology based activities as part of a thoughtful learning process they develop computational thinking skills visual literacy skills, and prepare for the future.
Kindergarten students have begun to master their way around the computer desktop. We have learned how to log onto the school network, and have used Kid Keys and My Make Believe Castle to learn mouse skills and keyboard basics. We have explored the use of drawing tools using Pixie (www.tech4learning.com) to create projects related to the kindergarten curriculum. In addition we have explored problem solving using www.inventionatplay.org.
In First Grade, we have used Pixie to begin word processing stories and we learned how to add clip art and special effects to our work. We have explored reading at www.starfall.com and started to upgrade our keyboarding skills using Kid Keys.
There are spiraling learning constructs built into the technology curriculum. This means that students build upon their technology skill sets from grade to grade. Second graders built upon the foundations learned in kindergarten and first grade and used Pixie to create covers for their writing folders, search for clip art and learned to align clip art properly with text, change the size and shape of clip art and edit the color, size and type of fonts they were using. In addition, second graders created original comics using Pixie and explored www.babaganewz.com.
The third graders have used the internet to learn more about the authors whose books they have read recently. Using internet scavenger hunts, students have explored the webpage of authors such as Patricia Polacco (www.patricapolacco.com) William Steig (www.williamsteig.com) and illustrators such as Jerry Pinkney, to find the information needed to answer the questions on the internet scavenger hunt assignments. In addition, third graders have been developing desktop publishing skills by using Microsoft Publisher to create business cards and bookmarks. This required students to understand how to format shapes, text boxes, and clip art.
The fourth grade technology curriculum has several components. We are currently using Microsoft Power Point to create “Guess What?” presentations. During this unit we are learning the elements of an exemplary presentation and how still and animated digital images can help to convey messages to an audience. In addition, we have explored Sketch Up 3D drawing programs to create original designs. These were animated and presented to the class by each student.
Fifth grade is currently piloting the “Creative Computing” curriculum developed for use with Scratch (www.mit.scratch.edu) developed by the MIT Media Lab. Scratch is a programming interface that allows students to learn programming skills across genres, such as art, dance, storytelling and game creation. We are one of only 8 schools in the US piloting this program and so far it has been very exciting.
This year sixth graders have been piloting our program to bring 1 to 1 computing to our school by allowing students to bring their own personal electronic devices to school. In addition, sixth grade students continue to use the school computer labs for additional computer instructions. This year we have explored Microsoft Office for desktop publishing, learned how to evaluate websites by using a rubric and created digrams using Inspiration.
Additional technology projects include Techno-Mondays and Techno-Tuesdays which meet afterschool. These programs explore digital photography and digital editing in an afterschool setting. Keyboarding Boot Camp is our before school keyboarding program, we have had 2 three week sessions so far this year. Techno-Monday Zone (TMZ) is a special lunch group for 6th grade digital photographers. This year TMZ created the photo montage for our Midor L’Dor program.
With over ten percent of all students involved, Call of the Wildcats is our very popular school newspaper. We publish articles, illustrations and much, much more in our monthly newspaper.