Preparing 6th Graders to Effectively Use Technology
Posted On:
Monday, October 16, 2017
Mr. Dickenson supporting independent work during class.
Mr. Dickenson supporting independent work during class.

This year all 6th grade students at Baird Middle School are enrolled in a new ½ year course offering that is a direct result of the 1:1 Chromebook Initiative - Introduction to Science and Technology. BMS Principal, Stacy Monette explained, “Staff felt strongly that a course focusing on technology skills would be a beneficial addition to our 6th grade curriculum. Technology is everywhere; becoming an integral part of our classrooms so we need to prepare our students for this shift in how students learn.”

 “Now that all students at Baird have their own Chromebook it’s important they know how to use them. The goal of the course is to have students become fluent with Google Apps for Education, improve their typing skills to 30-40 words a minute and be introduced to coding skills and robotics,” shared Stephen Dickenson, BMS math teacher and instructor of this course.    

“Students are coming to my classes at different skill levels with technology,” continued Dickenson.  “It can be challenging, but it also confirms that this course will help us to prepare all of our students to enhance their learning experience with these ever changing 21st Century skills.”   

Students reaction to the class has been positive. Hailey Barnett shared, “ So far I liked all of the assignments because I am learning more about using computers, like shortcuts that make using technology easier.”  

When asked what her favorite shortcut is Barnett responded, “Copy and paste - CTRL P & CTRL V- because if you want to add information to a document you don’t have to type all of it out. It saves me so much time!”

Montiah McCall shared that since beginning the class her typing skills have improved. “Practicing typing has encouraged me to use both hands so I am typing faster, and can get my work done quicker.”

Yadira Tarraza has enjoyed learning about all of the options available in the Google Apps for Education Suite. “We have been learning about all of the apps we can use.  I liked learning how to add animation in Google Slides.  It makes my presentations so much better - and it’s fun!”

In addition to teaching technology skills, students are also excited that they are being exposed to cross curricula experiences.  “We had to do an activity that showed we could use the shortcut, copy & paste.  I did the required activity, but what I liked about the assignment was learning about the Cassini Spacecraft crashing into Saturn,” said Enzo Botta. “Mr. Dickenson even showed us a video of the crash.”

Dickenson added, “The class is definitely multi-layered- to achieve the goal of students becoming fluent in technology skills I incorporate opportunities for them to practice and improve those skills with interesting, educational activities. This not only compliments and supports other areas of the curriculum but it also makes real-life connections to everyday experiences, when using specific tech skills.”


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