Monday, December 03, 2007

Two steps forward...

...and only one step back, that's progress. Today I introduced my third grade bloggers to PowerPoint, a program and technology older than they are. For goodness sakes, they've been blogging for two months. Yikes!

You'd think it was a backward step, but I look at it as necessary:
  • They will need to know how to use this program in their immediate future, as they move through middle and high school. I believe in that short term, PowerPoint is a necessary critical skill to know - one that will help them, will give them a leg up if they are fluent in its use. I know this sounds really stodgy, but I am visited regularly by middle school kids who thank me for teaching them how to use this program...
  • I'm ultimately moving toward video production with them, and it seems like this is a necessary step - kind of like doing a storyboard before you write a book (excuse the 20th century analogy). We DID do paper/pencil storyboard work last week, in task analysis work for a "How To" writing piece.
  • For the kids I teach, PowerPoint has the perfect learning curve, with enough carrots along the way that they absolutely gobble up the knowledge and crave more...
  • I see it as a prerequisite, in terms of students preparing a quality presentation of an idea for a multimedia world. For a wonderful exploration of web 2.0 technologies from an artistic design perspective, see Dean Shareski's presentation from the K12 Online Conference "Design Matters".
  • Finally, the beginning mastery of this program, as I teach it, encourages collaboration, exploration, and fearlessness in approaching the unknown. In their future workplaces these kids will go far, I believe it.

Every year, for the past 6 or 7 years, I have introduced PowerPoint to my third graders. Every group I've had is able to do twice as much as the previous year has - in the same amount of time. So we ultimately get more sophisticated than, and we will go much farther than, their predecessors.

Look for "How to Make a Six-Sided Snowflake" - in multiple forms, soon....


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1 comment:

NJTechTeacher said...

I haven't started using PowerPoint with the third grade yet, maybe I should. I use PowerPoint in fourth-eighth grade. It is a great skill in that the students get a chance to write about a topic and stand in front of their peers to present. I always stress using a lot of images to support what they want to say. They use the notes section to write down what they plan to say in front of the group and print the notes pages. I'm hoping that they get the idea that PowerPoint is just a supporting document. For my purposes, I want to hear them share their message. I don't want to read their screens. I look forward to seeing your third grade productions.