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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Milo takes a computer class and eventually will learn Powerpoint. Yippee!



My daughter sent me a report on a conversation she had with Milo last week:

My Daughter: I sent Papa a list of all the stuff you're going to learn in your computer class up through 5th grade.

Milo: I bet he hated it.

Right Milo. 

I hated it.

Here for example, is the 4th grade computer class (which as it happens is more of less the same as the 3rd and 5th grade computer class):


the 4th grade year will look like this:

                Review log-in procedures 
                Microsoft Word
                                  The basics - opening and quitting
                                  File management & navigation - Save As + Open: saving a file properly (proper name, location, etc) and finding the file and opening it up on a different occasion
                                  Basic typing review - proper way to capitalize, using “Shift” for certain punctuation, 1 space between words, etc
                                  Practice typing - copying a document
                                  Formatting 1 - margins, when to use the return key, etc
                                  Formatting 2 - Bold, Italic, Underline, etc
                                  Formatting 3 - changing font size & style
                                  Practice formatting - using typed document & changing font style, size, bold, etc

                The internet
                                  The basics of Firefox/Chrome - the buttons, address bar, tools, etc
                                  Searching using Google - what the results mean, pictures, etc
                                  Downloading pictures - proper naming and saving procedures
  
                 
                Combining Microsoft Word and the internet
                                  Inserting pictures found on the internet into a Word document
                                  Formatting the picture in Word - size, position, etc
                                  Formatting the complete document - text and pictures

                Microsoft Powerpoint research project
                                  Basics of Powerpoint - how to create, format, etc
                                  Creating a practice Presentation with text, pictures, animations, etc
                                  Using the internet for research - proper searching techniques, identifying reputable sites, etc
                                  Taking the information gathered on the internet and creating a Powerpoint Presentation conveying what they have learned - text, pictures, animations, etc



Really?

This is computer education in the New York City Schools? We could teach kids to program you know. Or we could teach them to build apps. Or to create art. Or to build robots.  Or to create a web site. Or to create music. The list could go on and on.

But, you know what Milo learned yesterday? How to create a hashtag.

Great.

Twitter is now part of the curriculum. As far as I can tell kids have been able to learn to tweet all by themselves (for better or for worse.)

So, we can’t modernize the curriculum because of Common Core and when we can do something small, like add a computer class, it is to teach stuff like Powerpoint.  

School is getting worse all the time.

4 comments:

David said...

Unfortunately, nothing has really changed in the curriculum for computers for a long time, since many people view work on the computers as being only in support of work in other classes.

I have introduced programming at my school (not in NYC) to kindergartners through 8th grade students (minus 7th grade) with some success but I know that when I leave my school that this will likely end - because no one else at my school, not one other teacher, knows any computer programming.

Mike Zamansky said...

It's worse than that -- where there is good CS education, the city ignores it.

My team and I have put together a great program at Stuyvesant. All we've asked the DOE and school is to recognize us and our program and help us reach more students.

The response?

The silence is deafening.

Ryan Deschamps said...

Wait a second though - are they not learning math, and doesn't mathematics begin teaching non-base-10 numbers? And isn't that the foundation of computer science also? Also basic literacy holds the foundations of text analysis which, is pre-big-data analysis.

To me, it would be just as well to get the foundations of mathematics down pat first - these are the things that will develop coders down the road. Computer languages, standards, encoding, data formats and so on will all be different by the time these kids get to Grade 7 and 7 (which would be a good time to learn real code), they might as well perfect their understanding of functions, data logic and so on (without ever having to call it that).

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

I see that plagiarism is part of the curriculum---as a "how to" not as an "avoid".

"Inserting pictures found on the internet into a Word document"