Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Character Education and Laptops in the Library

Karen Newman, curriculum director at Montclair Kimberly Academy, came to our school to talk about character education and technology. We met with the librarians and IT teachers to discuss what we are doing and what we can do differently to improve our practices as educators. When reflecting on how students use technology in the lower school library, I realized that I can improve our after school check out of laptops for students in grades 3-5. Starting in grade 4 (1:1 begins then)  Montclair Kimberly requires students to go through their driver's manual,, which is a technology manual that basically gets students to think responsibly about how they are using their laptops. The videos are produced by students and there are a set of questions that students must answer.

I have a video that I have students watch before they can check out and use laptops in the fall. The character SpongeBob tells students how to care for their laptops and check them out but I like the idea of having students answering 5 questions about how they use the laptops in a responsible way. Rather than spitting out a list of rules, this forces them to think about how they use them. I also like how Montclair Kimberly has students make the videos such as those found under Good Habits & FAQ. For instance, students always ask about Cisco Agent, how to save to the mainshare, how to use the wireless. Grade 5 students could put together a how-to video. Or better yet I could tie it in with a nonfiction curriculum unit. I thought about doing it this year but we are getting new laptops next year and the issues will be completely different than this year.


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