Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kindergartens on the computer

I was thinking about the reply to my blog that asked at what age do I think that children should start on the computer and do they need to start in kindergarten to learn the skills. In my experience children in kindergarten and grade one will not choose the computer if given free choice of what they want to do. This age seems to prefer other activities and it is usually teacher directed and not child directed when they have to use the computer at this age. Granted there are some children that will want to be on the computer but not many. Will they be deprived and behind other children, if not teacher directed towards the computer, at this young age? Personally, I don't believe so.

To me that is like saying - "if you don't start reading blue prints" in grade one, then you will never be a carpenter. Or if you are not using a camera on manual settings by the time you hit grade one - then you will never be a photographer.

Children will still know how to use the computer and have all the skills they need for the future even if they are not using the computer in kindergarten and grade one.

Really, I am not against technology - honest - and I think Mrs. Cassidy's class is the coolest ever and being in her class and watching the kids work on the computer is amazing. I would love to intern in her class! But I would sneak a book or two in there to read to the children.

Here is a question fellow classmates: If we want student directed classrooms and our grade one students prefer other activites over the computer - are we going to accept that? Or are we going to step in as a teacher director and sit them down in front of that computer?

We all know there is never enough time to do everything in the classroom so - is reading on the computer in grade one the same as having a book read to you? Would the time be better spent reading to your students or having them on the computer?

Maybe my experiences are different than yours but the young children I have been around will choose to have a book read to them over going on the computer.

What are your thoughts?


Jane said...

Hey Ronda, I am going to "bite" and play the devil's advocate.
I personally believe that a "Master" teacher will be able to find the right balance in their student directed classroom. It will be up to the teacher to introduce their learners to computers and then go from there. Of course there will be those that will prefer other activities over computer directed ones, but that is where the "mastery" of balancing will come in.
I agree with you in saying that learners in kindergarten and grade one will not be behind the technological "scene" if they are not exposed to it until a later grade...but I believe that as David Jukes said in our last class, providing students with the technological tools allows them to expand their experiences! It is up to us (teachers) to give our learners these opportunities.
Watch my blog as I am going to reflect on our ELNG expereince.

Red Neck Girl said...

Hi Jane
can you link me to your blog..I don't know how to find it.

Jane said...

Hi Ronda, if you go to our Moodle home page you will find an RSS Feeds link to all the blogs in our class!

Brian said...

My son is six going into grade one this following Sept. and he knows more on the computer than I did a few short years ago. He talks to his friends and relatives through MSN. He has gaming sites that he enjoys. And is even learning about photo story and audio recording software that I have. He loves the family computer but still at bedtime he likes to have a book read to him. With every child there has to be a proper balance, but I don't believe kindergarten is too early. Kids will eat it up at any age. Brian Nenson