Cyber safety is extremely important! All grade levels learn about what it takes to be safe on the internet. I take every precaution to keep our students safe as they “cerf the web” by empowering them with knowledge of safe internet practices. (The modern term “surfing the web” came from one of the internet pioneers, Vinton Cerf.) Internet and computer history is also covered in class. The information is tailored to each grade level.
Keyboarding is an important skill for students to learn. It facilitates many tasks done on the computer. Students learn proper keyboarding skills in class, but I strongly encourage students to practice keyboarding at home as often as they can. We use Rapid Typing in class, and it can be downloaded for free at home. There are several other links to online typing programs on class pages.
Kindergarten through Second Grade:
Research suggests that younger children exposed to computer programs that reinforce major educational activities have greater educational gains than children not exposed to computers. For example, we use an online reading program called Raz-Kids. Each student logs on to their own session of this reading program and they work at their own speed. They not only can improve their reading skills, but can also master mouse skills! This program can also be accessed and used at home. For Kindergartners and early elementary students, the benefits of computers include improved motor skills, increased math skills, increased creativity, structural knowledge, and an increase in long-term memory! Skills that Kindergarteners and First Graders need to master in class are few, but extremely important. Mastering mouse skills, understanding and using program tool bars, and mastering the login process to their individual profile on our server are among the curriculum requirements. In addition to these skills, Second Graders are introduced to “Power Point Style” Presentations and Computer Animation.
Third through Fifth Grade:
Practicing and honing computer skills learned in previous years, coupled with additional skills are presented throughout the student’s time at St. Mary’s. Students will see gains in areas such as: intelligence, nonverbal skills, structural knowledge, long-term memory, manual dexterity, verbal skills, problem solving, abstraction and conceptual skills. A more comprehensive knowledge of “MS Office Suite Style” programs is introduced. (we use LibreOffice Suite) Students prepare computer presentations, and share them with their classmates. This is a safe environment to embark in public speaking! Introductory work begins in Google Sketchup, animation programs, and importing templates into word processing programs. Fifth graders get a taste of the power of a spreadsheet and how charts can be made and graphing accomplished.
Sixth through Eighth Grade:
Our students are challenged to further their knowledge and abilities with all computers programs. Students in middle school are encouraged to use abstract thinking strategies to process and generate information. Cogent thinking is developed through the use of additional programs and developed skills.