Computers are an integral part of our world today. Having knowledge about computers is a necessity, because it is more than just a useful tool or a fun toy. At ABC-Stewart, we incorporate computers into each subject area. Whether it is typing a book report for Reading, researching history for Culture, running virtual experiments in Science, defining Math terms, listening to exotic instruments or browsing the art collection at a museum the students utilize the computer and become familiar and comfortable with this technology.
Our first year students are introduced to the computer in the most basic fashion. We recognize all the various parts, touch them, and find out what they do and why we need them. This first year of computer class focuses on word processing software, introduction to the Internet, Internet safety, keyboarding, and basic computer knowledge.
They will visit zoo animals via on-line cameras and learn about the web browser. They will create their very own “book” in the word processor – complete with word art, funny fonts, cute pictures and educational facts by combining all the fun things they have learned in their time in computers.
Keyboarding is important so we devote some time to this every class session. Sometimes we do drills (aaa, sss, ddd, fff), sometimes the students type stories, and sometimes we do typing games. Mixing up the keyboarding instruction is important to maintaining the student’s interest. Focus is placed on accuracy rather than speed and most of the younger students are still learning where the keys are on the keyboard. All keyboarding is done at the student’s level – individual learning speed, no pressure is put upon the children to perform at a certain pace, only to do their best work.
The second and third years students arrive at computers as a mixed group. These years we will continue building upon the foundations that we set in first year. The keyboarding remains a focus of computers as does learning the Internet and Internet safety. We begin introducing spreadsheets and presentation software to the students. They love performing math equations in spreadsheets and creating animation in the presentation software.
The fourth, fifth and sixth year students are grouped together for computers. As with the younger students, we build upon the knowledge that they have learned so far and begin pushing them to use more. They are given more freedom to research and explore what the computer and Internet can provide to them. Students are introduced to some basic programming skills.
Our goal is to expose as much of the needed technology tools to our students as we can in the short time we have them while focusing on performance applications (desktop “office” software), the ability to search the Internet intelligently, and typing. Our small group sizes allow for individualization and exploration of these skills. Many of our sixth year students can type at speeds in excess of 25 words per minute without “hunting and pecking.”