There is no doubt in anyone’s mind, especially public school administrators, that new technology is being developed at warp speed and maybe faster. Public schools must keep abreast of new technology as their mission is to prepare students to be contributing, competent citizens. Understanding how to use technology is definitely a requirement for being a contributing citizen. One of the issues with this responsibility for public schools to keep up with new technology is-how can a public school district have adequate financial resources to purchase state of the art technology and how do public schools prepare faculty to be able to use new technology effectively in their classrooms.
Public Schools and Technology: Types of Technology
Starting at the beginning may be a good strategy for public schools when thinking about educating children on new technology. Young preschool and elementary school students may be the place to start as teaching them early gives them an extra boost on how to use and learn from very common technology products such as: 1) computers, 2) digital cameras, 3) hand held educational games and 4) video cameras. If you walk into just about any certified or credentialed preschool, or early childhood public school program, it is not uncommon to find at least one, if not two, computer stations or centers. Digital cameras are available for children to use to make books and to showcase themselves and others. Video cameras are typically not as accessible for direct preschool children’s use, but classroom rules and supervision can be put into place to allow young children to use new video camera technology to learn.
Public Schools and Technology: Using Computers
Public schools and preschool programs typically provide young children with access to using a computer during free-play time. These computers are set up so that children are able to use them independently and are programmed with new technology related educational games and activities. When public schools or preschools set up a computer center or station, it is important to consider several important elements. The height of the computer station or table should be low enough for a child to reach the keyboard easily and be able to manipulate the mouse comfortably. The chair that children sit in to use the computer should be at a height where children’s feet can reach the floor. When choosing a place in the room for the computer, be sure it is away from windows because sunlight can be harmful to a computer screen.
Public Schools and Technology: Computer Management
Computers in public schools and preschools are a popular choice for free-time. Setting up a system that allows all children equal access to computers is an effective strategy for managing potential behavior issues and hurt feelings. One way to do this is to have a timer that is visible on the computer and let’s each child know how much time they have left on the computer. When the bell or buzzer goes off, they know it is time to find another activity.
Public Schools and Technology: Computer Programs
There are an unbelievable number of educational computer games and programs for public school age and preschool age children. Finding ones that are appropriate for the age of the student and that teaches appropriate developmental concepts and skills may be challenging. There are a number of websites that offer online educational computer games and programs. Many of these are from reputable educational associations. When public schools or preschool programs makes decisions about fiscal allocation of funds for computer programs, it might be most cost effective to consider online games and educational programs.
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