Thursday, August 26, 2010

El Ed Chapters 7 & 8

I found these chapters very interesting and informative because they propose ways of using word processing in the classroom that are very different from my own experience in elementary school. In fourth grade, I did the Mavis Beacon typing class, but other than that, my only memory of using word processing was to type up pre-written reports at home. Word processing was not regularly used the classroom.
In these chapters, however, the author presents many ways to integrate word processing into the regular language arts, math, and social studies curricula, which I think is very useful. I especially like the Virtual Email activity on page 97. When I was in elementary school, we did a similar activity in which we wrote letters to historical figures. That was a very useful activity because we not only researched the historical figure and displayed our knowledge, but also practiced social activism by writing the letters and were able to hone the real life skill of letter writing in the process. I think it is fantastic that this exercise is given a tech-savvy makeover in this chapter. The children in classrooms today will most likely write more emails than letters in their adult lives, so practicing email conventions is extremely important.
I also appreciate the point the author makes about children being able to edit and embellish more easily when using word processing. Even as a college student, that is very important to me. I always type my assignments rather than handwriting them because it is easier for me to get my thoughts down then rearrange them, explain them, and correct them using a computer. I think that teaching students that skill at an earlier age will definitely be to their advantage.


eschmidt said...

I think that this idea is really interesting. I would really like to somehow figure out a way to test this theory in public. It would be fun to try it out on the quad or somewhere around campus. To me, it makes sense in a strange way. If I see a person reading a book, like the article said, I assume them to be busy. However, if someone was on an ipad or another piece of technology, they could be doing any number of activities including browsing the web or playing games. In our society, the use of technology has been become part of everyday life. Maybe our familiarity with the use of technology has made approaching someone using an ipad less intrusive than a book?

liz exo said...

In response to the El Ed chapters 7 & 8, I was also really interested to see the new ways in which to incorporate technology into writing activities. But just to play devil's advocate for a second, I would like to propose the following question: if teachers begin to use Microsoft Word for the majority of writing projects, how do students get any practice with handwriting? I know that typed-out papers are more commmon than handwritten ones, but there is still a need to handwriting (taking notes in class, for example). So, generally I agree with a moderate usage of Word, but I still think that teachers should have students handwrite as well.