Kindergartners learn basic computer skills, such as using the mouse to point, click, and drag objects before progressing to practicing using the keyboard. With www.millhoppertech.com as the backbone, other applications, such as educational computer games, are incorporated into the curriculum to engage students. Storybook applications are utilized in to allow the children to apply their skills by creating pictures and typing their stories one page at time. Other applications, such as Google Earth, fit in nicely while still meeting the prescribed technology standards. Incorporating Google Earth hones mouse and keyboard skills, while exposing the students to the geography and world cultures they are already studying in their primary classroom. BrainPOP Jr. is used to enhance test-taking skills, critical thinking, and discussion and answer. As the students’ confidence grows, we move onto Internet safety and utilizing our library as well as the Alachua County Library system. Starting in January, more programs are introduced that assist students throughout elementary and middle school. Students are assessed by question and answer, participation and discussion, lessons on the Promethean Board, and peer teaching. Individual assessments are designed for students to master home row keys, proper finger placement, Internet etiquette, Internet safety, and navigation of Millhopper Tech, search engines, and BrainPOP Jr. quizzes.
Lower Elementary (ages 6–9)
Students are taught basic typing and formatting so that they can turn their research and other writing into finished products. Students gain exposure to keyboarding and word processing basics through Open Office. Research using computers begins at this level. In addition, Montessori apps and educational games are used for independent practice and extra academic review. Teachers use their Promethean board for lessons and presentations to the class.
Upper Elementary (ages 9-12)
The students are encouraged to use the Internet as an invaluable research tool. Students have weekly practice assignments on typing programs to build accuracy and confidence. Microsoft Office programs are used to write papers, create graphs, and design brochures and newsletters. These skills are carried over to projects in literature/composition, science, and other classes. Educational and skill-building computer games are used to enhance class work. Presentation programs such as PowerPoint, Prezi, Glogster, and Pixton, plus animation programs such as Flip Boom are introduced to encourage students to hone their presentation dynamics.
Computers are used on a daily basis and are an integral part of the classroom and curriculum. In fourth grade, students receive a class email and are introduced to all the elements of Google Apps for Education, including creating blogs, learning to properly send emails, and developing safe practices on social media. This prepares them for Middle School. All the lessons are cross-curricular in nature and coordinate with the lessons of other team teachers in the subjects of literature/composition, science, and history.
Middle School (ages 12-14)
Advanced standards build upon the Microsoft Office Suite fluency acquired in prior years, while also emphasizing desktop publishing, multimedia, and additional concepts of applied technology. Many cross-curricular opportunities manifest at this level with our science, language arts, social studies, drama, video production, and yearbook curriculums. With abundant potential to practically apply their technology skills, the technology program expands beyond the one hour of formal classroom time weekly allocated to this group.
The technology course is taught on a continuum and approached in two ways in the Middle School program. First, it is used an as extension and enrichment of other subject areas, such as research skills and Boolean search techniques for writing assignments in Language Arts; the creation of a webpage on a Spanish-speaking country to support a Spanish assignment; or the videoing and editing of a group dance routine to support a Physical Education assignment. The second use is to widen their understanding of the uses of technology in the majority of their courses. Topics of study include: research and reference, digital communication, social networking/blogging, web interfaces, 3D modeling/drawing/animation and video production.
Research and Reference –Students begin to utilize academic resources and learn to cite and reference using Grolier Online, Infotopia, and IPL2.
Digital Communication – Every other year, the students create an award-winning literary magazine. Students also create brochures,
posters, slideshows, charts, budgets, and websites using the Microsoft Office Suite, Photoshop, and LifeTouch Yearbook software.
Social Network/Blogging – Students are introduced to social networking and blogging using programs such as Google Apps for Education and Microsoft 365.
Web Interfaces – A variety of web interfaces are used on a daily basis including: Prezi, Glogster, Pixton for Education, Weebly for Education, and WebEase.
3D Modeling/Drawing/Animation – Students are encouraged to use a creative approach to design by using programs like Google Sketch Up, Wacom Bamboo, Animationish, Flux Time Studio, Toon Boom, and Scratch.
Video Production – Video production is an integral part of the Middle School technology program. Students use green screens along with Windows Movie Maker, Newsmaker, and Power Director when creating their productions.