Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Youngest Students Are Never Too Young

My focus when viewing the 2008 K12 Online schedule continues to be topics that will have application within my building.

A Lack of Tools
I like the sites focused on in Sharon Betts' Never Too Young presentation. A comment that she makes early in the session resonated with me. It is that one of the problems faced by the teachers of our youngest students is a lack of newer equipment.

This is true in my building. The classrooms for our three and four year old students still need to be wired for the Internet. Those computers are older and are used to run software purchased to develop preschool skills.

I do think it is very important for the youngest students to gain social skills. Computers can seem like a toy more than a tool.

On a positive note, we now have twenty tablet PCs that can be brought into the classroom. Those computers have wireless Internet access, microphones, and a webcam. My teachers may find Sharon's presentation gives them a spark of an idea for this year.

I continue to think that Voicethread (and ed.voicethread.com) can be one of the easiest tools for a teacher to integrate into a classroom. Thinking on behalf of a teacher totally new to a computer, there is still a lot to learn to get Voicethread to work well. If a teacher has students draw on paper, the files have to be scanned and uploaded to the program. If a teacher uses drawing software, it has to be exported to a JPEG image for uploading. Truly, once the site is populated with images, all that is needed is a quiet space to record the student's thoughts. I would really like to see more teachers use this tool in the classroom. I enjoyed looking at the examples on her wiki which complements her presentation.

Dipity is a time line website. I have heard about this website in passing, but have not used it. Sharon gives some interesting ideas for creating simple times lines with students. I think I will have to consider including this as a project for my Kindergarten and elementary students in computer class.

Sharon gives several ideas for blogging with our youngest students. She suggests 21classes as her blogging tool of choice. I don't think I would recommend blogging as a first step in our building. I think it is useful to first blog as a teacher before blogging with students, but it is so good to show those who are getting started the possibilities.

A Problem on My Part
The biggest problem I am having with the presentations is that I keep wondering if they are too advanced. When I get stuck in this mode of thinking, I keep reminding myself that what K12 Online offers is an opportunity to spark interest. I am looking forward to offering the teachers some time to view a presentation or two in the computer lab.

Image Source:

Technorati Tags:


  1. Lack of equipment is a problem at all grade levels in the public schools that I work but especially true in the younger grades. Not sure if here might be an appropriate place to thank you for your own K12 presentation which I found very helpful particularly in terms of your focus on Bloom's Taxonomy and how to plan lessons centered on it.

  2. Matthew:
    It is difficult trying to fairly distribute equipment throughout a school. I have been trying very hard to have our K-3 classrooms have at least one computer that would help a teacher try to implement any lesson. Each class currently has two or three computers (not all connected to the Internet). The fourth to eighth grade each has three computers connected to the Internet, a networked printer, and useful software.

    Thank you for your comment on my Monsters Bloom in Our Wiki presentation. I just watched your Film School for Video Podcasters an hour ago and can't wait to write my reflection. It is a "must see" video for anyone interested in using video with students. I am planning on sharing a portion of it with my eighth graders this week as they prepare for a video project.

  3. Thank you for the reference to my presentation. I believe the onset of the netbooks may be a great boost to technology in our youngest hands.