Sunday, May 4, 2014

Don't forget about computers

An interesting phenomenon I am seeing in schools at the moment, is 5 year old children arriving not being able to use a computer. They don't know how to use a keyboard, a mouse, let alone a trackpad... but they know how to swipe! 5 year olds have been playing with smart phones, tablets and iPads for a few years now but they seem to have had very little experience with computers. I have heard New Entrant teachers saying, I don't want computers in my classroom, I only want iPads! My response to this is you must have a least one computer in the class (if not more). 5 year olds still need exposure to keyboards and they still need to develop mouse skills.

At the other end of the spectrum, I was talking to some secondary teachers the other day, who are also saying that they are starting to get students through who have very poor keyboard skills as they have been in BYOD classrooms and have used only iPads. All of the schools I work in have a balance of devices available. Even the 1-1 iPad classes will have available several laptops that students can choose to use for their learning.

So my recommendation is to still have computers in the classroom. Children need to have a choice of what device they want to use for their learning. Keyboarding practice is still needed. 
These are 3 of the online keyboard games I recommend.
Headsprout game, learn how to use a mouse and a keyboard.
See how high you can go. Make sure that you are using the correct fingers. This one also has the magic line which means letters for the left hand side of the keyboard appear on the left side of the magic line and on the right for letters for the right hand.
Start at level one and work your way up to Level four.
 For more activities that you could make into a learning centre, have a look at these downloads.

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