Monday, January 19, 2015

Ten Things Elementary Students Should Know about Tech by 5th grade

This list is in no particular order and is definitely based on my humble opinion. That being said, if I teach your goal is to teach all these things from a Christian perspective.

1. Touch typing keyboarding. Elementary students should be typing at least 20 words per minute at the end of fifth grade. That is the minimum speed where typing is faster than writing. We have devoted time in the curriculum for this but curriculum time is limited. If you're a parent, find a free online typing test and check your child's speed. If they are below 20wpm, use a free resource to help them reach this speed, is a good choice.

2. Troubleshooting. By the end of fifth grade, your child should have a thought bank of resources when things don't go right when using technology. For instance: how to refresh a web page, what to do look for if you can't log onto something using their user names and passwords, what to do when a bluetooth keyboard won't respond. These are all skills that will help them in life. It is our tendency to take a device out of their hands, fix it, and hand it back. We should be teaching our students how to critically think and solve their own problems.

3. Digital citizenship. The minimum age requirement for many social media sites is 13 years old. Most fifth graders have not yet reached that age. Therefore, it is the perfect time to teach students about digital citizenship issues regarding social media, bullying, online etiquette, safety, and communication skills.

4. Device basics. Every student should have the following basic knowledge of their device of choice:
  • Power on/off
  • Adjust volume up/down/mute
  • Select appropriate WiFi network
  • Log in to school email account
  • Plug in headphones
  • Open web-browser to access internet
  • Take a picture
  • Take a video
  • Switch between front- and rear-facing cameras
  • Bookmark a website & add shortcut to home screen
  • Take a screenshot
  • Access photos and videos on device
5. Citing. Students should know how to give credit where credit is due. Using a citing website (such as Noodlebib), a fifth grader should be able to collect the information needed from websites, books, or photos and enter it into the appropriate form to create a reference page.

6. Toolbelt of presentation options. Due to various projects through their elementary school years, fifth graders should have a variety of presentation tools that they feel comfortable with when asked to present information. This includes but not limited to: Google docs, Google Slides, Keynote, Pages, DoInk Green Screen, Tellagami, Explain Everything, Idea Sketch, Visualize.

7. How to do a proper Internet search. Fifth grade students should be taught the virtues and shortcomings of doing a Google search and how to best use Google for their educational benefit. Students should know how to use age-appropriate search engines for research projects including but not limited to: Ebsco-host research engines, encyclopedias, children friendly websites, etc.

8. How to collaborate using technology. Students should learn how to use websites/apps such as Google docs to share information with each other and teachers via both comments and adding straight to a shared document itself both while sitting together and separate.

9. Use technology to organize their learning. Students should be able to use technology tools such as Google drive to set up folders to store information "in the cloud" for easy access for learning, Notability to take notes from lectures, and have the ability to take photos of things for future studying opportunities.

10. The perils of misuse and multitasking and how it affects them individually. Fifth graders should be taught about their digital rights and responsibilities regarding both personal and educational perspectives. They should be shown how multitasking affects them and be given appropriate aid to help them discern how technology can benefit or distract from their learning.