Every Friday I’ll send you a wonderful website that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of your students as they are of mine.
In my classroom, we use KidPix. It’s a wonderful program to introduce students to tools, toolbars, text, drag-and-drop mouse skills and all the basics required to use the computer. It’s the gold standard for acclimatizing children to computers. Students always love it and parents always want to know how to get it for them.
I often recommend software to parents and students, but at the forefront of my thoughts is a concern about equity issues. What if the software I so casually suggest is not affordable to the parents? What if I get them excited about it and it is outside of their price range? While I might consider KidPix pretty reasonable, maybe they don’t or they’ll have to juggle this or that to get it for their child who has fallen in love with it? As a result, every time I recommend KidPix–the program my kindergartners through second graders spend hours and hours on every year, I also tell parents about TuxPaint.
Why? Because I am told TuxPaint is just as good as KidPix and it’s free. It’s an award-winning drawing program for children ages 3 to 12 that combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program. It works on Windows, Mac, Linux and more. The icons are intuitive, and audible feedback helps use the software.I know a lot of teachers who use it as the staple in their lab. The only problem I’ve heard from them is saving. TuxPaint saves everything into one folder rather than several student folders. Because I am considering switching from KidPix to TuxPaint, I’m already coming up with work-arounds for this issue (like screen shots; even a kindergartner is not too young to learn PrintKey 2000 or Jing).
I’ve used the demo, but not taken to leap in my school lab. Anyone out there with real life experience with this program? I’d appreciate your input.
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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and author of two technology training books for middle school. She wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.