Your Child and Technology: What Your First Grader Needs to Know
When first graders use technology in the classroom, they start to use a keyboard; master terms like menu, file, save, and quit; and even learn to navigate the web.
By GreatSchools Staff
First graders in a high-tech world
What role should technology play in your first grader's education? Of course, first graders shouldn't be spending their days (at home or school) planted in front of a glowing screen. Instead, the best first grade classrooms incorporate technology sparingly to augment learning and lay the foundation for technological literacy. According to the Common Core Standards Initiative, which the majority of states adopted in 2010-2011, first graders should be learning basic technological skills to support core subjects like reading, writing, and math. (Many states also follow the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S). Reality check: although these technology standards exist, how much teachers incorporate them varies widely.
Some basic mastery of high-tech skills in the first grade — such as becoming familiar with a computer keyboard and even navigating a website — will start your child on the road to technological literacy. The goal is that by the end of elementary school, students will know how to make use of multimedia tools that support their education. Here’s a primer for the types of technology you might find in your first grader's classroom, what skills your first grader needs to have, and how these skills can help your child learn.
Tools of the grade
Your first grader may have one or more computer workstations in the classroom, visit a computer lab once a week, or have no access to computers at all. If your child's class does use technology to support learning, here are the tools you might expect to find:
•Educational software that reinforces reading and math skills
•Multimedia encyclopedias and dictionaries
•Interactive story books on a computer
•One computer or more with access to the Internet and a printer
•Large-screen display connected to a computer
•An interactive whiteboard
•One tablet or more
Even if your child's class has little more than a computer and printer, there’s no need to panic. The skills a first grader needs can be taught using basic high-tech tools.
Technology skills your first grader needs
To be on track, here’s what your child should know by the end of first grade:
•Basic computer terminology: understand terms like menu, file, save, print, and quit — and know how to find them on the screen; know different parts of the computer like the monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, and speakers.
•Basic computer skills and keyboarding: know how to use a mouse and find letters, numbers, and commonly used symbols; navigate a child-friendly website or software program.
•Web basics: understand what the Internet is and how it can be used to find information.
•Publishing basics: with guidance from the teacher, write and publish or print a simple document using a web-publishing program.
By learning these skills in first grade, your child will have the basic knowledge needed to start doing research and communicating thoughts in writing, which are essential to learning core academic subjects like reading, writing, math, and science.