As school approaches, I’m going to share a series of book reviews that might help as you incorporate technology into your child’s education experience, whether you attend a public school, private academy or homeschool.
My first is Fifth Grade Technology–32 Lessons. This is from a six-book series that takes students from their first technology experience in kindergarten where they are learning about the mouse, toolbars and drag-and-drop, until the end of fifth grade when they know enough skills to use them for any projects their middle and high school teachers throw at them. This curriculum is used throughout the United States with excellent results. Read on:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is the sixth book in the series and expects students to have accomplished skills taught in earlier books (i.e., introduced to MS Office, proficient at keyboarding, understand internet, etc.). It includes a year’s-worth of age-appropriate computer lessons that integrate with classroom curriculum in history, science, geography, math, literature, critical thinking, problem solving and more. Software taught includes MS Word, Publisher, Excel, (PowerPoint finishes up in fourth grade) Photoshop, Google Earth, Celestia, keyboarding (software and internet-based) and more.
Each book in the series combines projects and skills, introduced according to when students are ready for them. For example, third graders learn photo editing using Word. Fifth graders learn photo editing with Photoshop (or the free version, Gimp)–after they’ve accomplished the Word approach.
Besides the integration of technology with classroom curriculum, this series, and this book in particular, makes tech fun for students because introductory skills are mastered before more complicated ones are introduced. This is a well-thought out approach that seems to insure (at least, according to the students I interviewed) the least amount of frustration and the greatest amount of learning. As a result, the students I talked to always felt prepared for what they learned next. The parents I talked with were across the board amazed at what students accomplished. No one felt their students were bored or that tech class was ‘babysitting’–wasted time–as happens in some situations.
This might have something to do with the layout of each lesson. It includes step-by-step plans, reproducibles, samples, tech volcabulary, specific collaborations with classroom curriculum, and homework, as well as hundreds of internet sites to go along with the projects. Each lesson satisfies specific ISTE standards as well as state technology standards. (See the publisher’s website at structuredlearning.net for free downloads and more details).
The books are available as hard cover or digital (from Scribd), making them compatible with whatever system your school uses, including the iPad.
One final note. This workbook is intended for a long-range program that is skills-based, that wants students to learn technology skills as part of the educational experience. It probably won’t work as well when the focus is on something else.
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