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
Using technology for reading and writing
Common Core Standards recommend that first graders be able to listen to a story online and answer questions about key details in the text. At a minimum, first graders should also be able to read basic computer terms ("Menu," "File," "Print," "Quit") so they can use a standard word processing program. Ideally, they'll even have enough reading and technical fluency to understand how to navigate a child-friendly website and read everything from electronic menus to icons.
As your first grader’s reading improves, he may even start learning how to do basic research online, another essential skill for future grades. According to the Common Core Standards, with guidance and support from adults, first graders should be able to "use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers." First graders may also learn a suite of other computer fluency skills like knowing how to change the font, color, and size of the text.
Multimedia and math
By using tech tools, your first grader can become more skilled at mouse and keyboarding skills while reinforcing basic math concepts. With draw and paint software programs, for example, your first grader can model addition and subtraction word problems with number sentences and pictures. (A number sentence includes numbers, an operation symbol, and an equal sign, e.g. 2+3=5.) Or the class may draw graphs on paper, then work with the teacher to create graphs using graphing software or a spreadsheet program.
Outside of class, free websites like Kahn Academycan help your child learn math, whether she needs a brush-up on basics or she’s ready to race ahead. (A bonus for parents whose kids love playing with smartphones or tablets: knowing how to navigate a touch screen enables them to easily use educational apps (like these), which allows children to touch and manipulate math concepts on the screen.
Scientific discovery aided by technology
Key areas of focus in first grade science include the ocean and sea life, the human body, states of matter, measuring temperature, electricity and magnetism, and properties of sound. (Read all about your first grader and science here.) . In an Internet-connected first grade classroom or computer lab, science can be as close as that white board, monitor, tablet, or computer screen. For your first grader, understanding how to navigate the Internet becomes an invaluable skill for scientific discovery. If your child's first grade class is equipped with more multimedia tools, the teacher might lead your child through experiments and hands-on learning, using tools such as digital cameras, video cameras, and web publishing programs as a way to help your child document and record scientific inquiries and observations.
Outside of school, you can help foster your first grader’s thirst for science using digital tools, too. Children can watch close-up footage of whales, rainforests, or space online at National Geographic and on YouTube. They can play with animated versions of the elements in the periodic table or simulations of tornados or the night sky on your smartphone or tablet. Or they can take pictures or videos (like this) of experiments they create at home.