Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Are You Smarter Than A First Grader?

     Sound like a game show? Maybe? A play on words? Perhaps? How I am feeling about now? A definite maybe.
     My AIC partner, Scott, and I have been charged with creating tech competencies for kids k-8, but we are starting with k-3 first. So the question is...what can a first grader do with technology? If they can't really read yet, how can they be expected to type? Seriously, what should a seven year old be able to do at the end of first grade with Word, saving, opening files, logging on, etc...
      ISTE (International Society for Technology Education) has some clear standards for students and teachers to obtain through the use of technology. The standards include such things as creativity, collaboration, research, problem solving,  digital citizenship, and tech operations. All great ways to look at integrating technology. Kind of our battle cry in the AIC office...'It's Not About the Technology'.
     I totally buy into the standards, but at what point do kids need to become adept at using programs such as Word, Excel, and other similar programs. It's supposed to be integrated, but for the little guys, how do you integrate without some basic instruction? Classroom teacher responsibility? Tech coaches?   Not really sure who it falls upon.  Lord knows that teachers have enough to do. To take the time to stop and do some log in instruction, formatting a page, how to save, etc...coupled with equipment that is a bit slow on the uptake, and a genuine concern arises. Wait, we haven't even mentioned the variable of those teachers that are comfortable with technology vs. those that are not.
     Think of your child being in the class whose teacher does not use technology or isn't tech savvy? Wouldn't you as a parent have the expectation that your child should have some type of tech education...even in first grade?
      Maybe it's in the expectation?  If we fear that they can't do it, or we are wasting time, or they will just sit there, then nothing will get done.  What if I just go into a first grade classroom, have them open up paint, and let them go to town?  What's the worst that could happen?  At least I have them on the computer!  More than I would guess some fist grade teachers are doing...but that's a whole other blog.
     So, that's the dilemma. What can the little guys do? What can't they do? Who has the responsibility to educate them in all areas of technology. Integration...absolutely. but unless I (we) can figure out some real specific goals for students to achieve, how do we know what to expect them to do??
    Did I say fifth special?

    Please leave a comment and let me know!


  1. Would that be considered "inference"?

  2. I appreciate your thoughtful reflection on this topic. There is not one right answer on this one. I wonder what it will look like in 10 years (maybe 5) when students are bringing in their own devices? (hopefully)!