Thursday, March 8, 2012

Your Child and Technology: What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know Part 1

Your Child and Technology: What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know

Technology isn't a substitute for teaching; it’s a way to bring the world into the fifth grade classroom.
By GreatSchools Staff

A modern tool to answer age-old questions
Technology in the fifth grade classroom can introduce a rich, entertaining range of learning opportunities that engage young minds and get them excited about all aspects of the curriculum. Your child will use technology tools to enhance her understanding of language arts, science, social studies, math, and art. According to the Common Core Standards Initiative that the majority of states adopted in 2010-2011, fifth graders should master basic tech skills that are needed to succeed in core subjects like reading, writing, science, and math. Although teachers aren't required to follow them, many states base their technology standards on the National Educational Technology Standards for Students, too.

In fifth grade, your child should learn and refine essential skills that will prepare her for the more rigorous demands of middle school and high school – from the mechanics of researching and writing an essay to conducting and presenting a complex science experiment. While using technology is no substitute for mastering mathematical concepts or learning to craft a persuasive thesis statement for a literary report, it's an important tool to supplement classroom instruction. Even more important, technological literacy is essential for your child's future.

Tech skills that your child should have by the end of fifth grade
Should haves:
•Comfort with keyboarding and typing: According to the Common Core Standards for writing, a fifth grader should have the ability to "type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting."
•Advanced ability to use a mouse, including cutting, pasting, and spell-checking work
•Solid Internet research skills, including the ability to assess the credibility of websites, and knowledge of basic copyright laws and the meaning and consequences of plagiarism.
•Solid understanding of cybersecurity do's and don'ts

Nice to haves:
•Photo editing skills
•Familiarity with Powerpoint or other presentation software
•Familiarity with Excel or other programs to organize data and create graphs

Technology your fifth 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 fifth 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 fifth grader's technology experience, the number and brand of computers in the classroom is less important than how well technology is integrated into learning at your child's school. To get the maximum benefit from technology, the best classrooms incorporate technology into regular lessons to develop students' higher-order thinking skills, promote creativity, and facilitate academic learning.


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