The HOPE principle P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction, is particularly applicable to my school as many, if not most, of the families work in a technologically oriented field. The use of computers plays a significant role in the daily lives of each family in my kindergarten class and my students are, for the most part, very comfortable using technology. This presents both advantages and setbacks to integrating computer use in the classroom. Many of the basic computer skills such as the use of a mouse, opening up of programs, and basic terminology are already familiar to students. However, some students are so confident in their computer abilities that they are quick to move forward without fully comprehending the task at hand.
To address this issue, I frequently engage students with computers while visiting with our 6th grade buddy class, especially if there is a defined end product. Since they are paired up with more technologically savvy partners, not to mention ones to whom they look up, our younger students are more apt to follow the modeling of their buddies and move at a more controlled pace as directed by the teacher. During a recent visit with our buddy class, students gained experience opening a website, navigating to the right link, viewing a video clip, and gathering information to answer questions about an animal.
While such guided computer experiences reduce incidents of students getting “lost in cyberspace”, I do recognize the benefits of students engaging in free exploration within a particular piece of software or website program. To familiarize students with the MS Word program, I plan to give them instruction on how to open up Word, start a new document, and change font style and size. Students will then explore these program tasks by writing word wall words in various styles and sizes.