I believe that computer studies at the K-12 level should have two strands – computer science and technology integration. I believe that all students should have experience in both strands. Next school year (which is fast approaching), I’ll be teaching a one quarter semester class to each middle school student (Grades 8 – 6) and a full semester course to grade 9 students. As I plan my syllabus, I’m conflicted by desire to focus on computer science concepts (programming, web design, the design cycle, networking, etc.) and my perception that my students need better skills in using word processing and other similar applications.
I don’t want to teach Microsoft Word. I find it boring and my students do too. But isn’t it important that my students know how to format a document using tab stops, indentation, paragraph spacing, etc? Do I need to explicitly construct learning scenarios so that they are forced to learn these skills or should I just teach them how to effectively search the web so that they can figure out how to do what they want to do when they need to do it? I’d prefer to do the latter but how do I go about creating that culture in my classroom?
I see many adults who are inefficient in their use of office applications. How important is efficiency? For example, I’ll spend a few minutes trying things out in an app and then search on the web if I can’t figure out how to do something. I know many other people who are the same way. But I also know some people who will wait to ask a person to solve a problem for them or who will give up or stick to inefficient methods when faced with challenging/new tasks.
What’s your philosophy of technology education? Do you explicitly teach office applications or do you just integrate when needed. How do you ensure that students develop proficiency/comfort/resourcefulness in their use of technology?
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