Your Child and Technology: What your Fourth Grader Needs to Know
Fourth graders use the Internet, educational software, and other tech tools to build on core learning.
By GreatSchools Staff
Technology your fourth grader may find in the classroom
•One or more computers or tablets with access to the Internet (including Internet safeguards) and a printer
•Still and video digital cameras, photo editing software, animation tools
•Interactive whiteboard and a large monitor or projector the teacher can use to engage students in multimedia lessons
•Educational software, including multimedia encyclopedia and dictionaries, typing programs, interactive books, and educational games
Of course, the amount and quality of technology fourth graders have access to varies widely from school to school. Some schools have the resources to provide state-of-the-art computers and whiteboards in every classroom; others have a single computer lab that all students share. When evaluating your fourth grader's technology experience, the number and brand of computers in the classroom is less important to consider than how well technology is integrated into learning at your child's school. The best classrooms incorporate technology into regular lessons to develop students' higher-order thinking skills, promote creativity, and facilitate academic learning.
Language arts with a tech twist
Once exclusively the realm of paper and ink, language arts gets an enormous boost from technology. Children in the fourth grade will learn how to write short opinion essays and informational reports, so doing research on the Internet, understanding how to evaluate sources, and learning about plagiarism are essential skills. Audio books and audio-enhanced text books allow fourth graders to immerse themselves in a culture of storytelling, fit more books into their busy lives, allow books to compete with other media for entertainment value, and get hooked on reading as a lifelong pleasure. Using a tablet or a computer, students can easily look up unfamiliar words to master new vocabulary and practice pronunciation. And digital book creation, video editing, and animation tools enable students to become authors of their own stories. A word processor — with grammar correction — can improve students' grammar and spelling as they write, by noting mistakes as they happen and offering corrections.