In the Northside Elementary Computer Lab, we do many different activities to familiarize the students with the world of technology. A wide variety of skills are taught – from simply using the mouse and keyboard through keyboarding skills and web browsing safety. Our lab is also used as a testing facility multiple times throughout the year. Overall, we emphasise learning and try to incorporate studies from the classroom with games and educational videos.

Instructing younger students on the intricacies of technology typically requires a non-technical commencement. We embark upon the journey that will shape their lives with simply learning the vocabulary surrounding the computer and the Internet. Next, the students begin experimenting with the mouse and keyboard; they learn to find their cursor on the screen and eventually how to open icons and find webpages. Later in the year (and once the students are more familiar with it), we branch out and improve reading and counting skills with StarFall,  and sometimes even play educational games.

After a couple years to get the mechanics down, we begin teaching the students keyboarding skills. They spend many hours in the lab perfecting their home row keys and developing proper typing form to last a lifetime. In our lab, the teachers and computer lab work hand in hand; teachers will often suggest a problem area or supplemental idea that will be expanded upon in lab. The students soon learn that the world of education truly is limitless when these resources are at their fingertips.

The culmination of it all is apparent in upper grades. We accentuate the students’ keyboarding skills using memory work, and we are able to facilitate an early start in Microsoft Word. The students play many educational games at this point that will not only increase their comfortability with the computer, but primarily grow their logical development and creativity. Type To Learn 4 is used to motivate the students to practice their typing skills. Students enjoy this website so much, many will take their keyboarding  knowledge home and practice there!