Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Give them building blocks

Hare rant 1/28/09

I saw this video at the TIES conference in December and found it again today in the blog Open Thinking & Digital Pedagogy.

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler

This is where our students are headed...but in K-5 we can't teach at this level. We must give our little ones the building blocks and tools they'll need to get here. This means breaking down all the goals we have for them into little process steps. It does not work to give our fourth and fifth graders an assignment to write a report, tell them to find information on the Internet and produce a word-processed document. As their teachers it is our job to teach them where and how to find useful information they can understand and process. We need to teach them to sort the pertinent facts and work them into coherent sentences and paragraphs. And when we give them access to computers to publish, teaching them how to use the tool must also be part of the lesson plan. It is not okay, to say we don't have time for that or they'll figure it out because kids are already operate in a digital world. That is just not the case. Our human children are not born with chips in their brains. Kids still need to be taught the process of turning on the computer, logging in, finding the program they've been assigned to use (Look in the lower left corner, click on Start, find Programs--Microsoft Office--Microsoft Word) and saving in the place they are supposed to save. Not taking the time to teach the class these building blocks wastes more time later when the students sit and look at a blank computer screen or go off exploring on their own. Likewise, not knowing what to do increases frustration and discouragement levels and decreases the likelihood these students will think positively about using technology tools in the future.

1 comment:

  1. That's really the way I think too. I get the feeling that at the middle/high school level they're saying we are restricting students' creativity by telling them to use Word. I think they need a place to start. Sure some of them are going to stay there for quite awhile but others will quickly move on to other things.

    People who think that kids should just learn to swim by throwing them in the pool have never come close to drowning. Sure some kids can be thrown in but how can we possibly assume that it's the right thing for all kids?