Woodstock's Book Worms and Techno Wizards
The Quad Computer Lab Is the Happening Place To Be...
THIS YEAR the addition of eight new Pentium 11 multi-media computers, free e-mail accounts and Internet access has transformed the way students spend their time in the Quad Computer Lab.
With a total of 14 workstations and Internet access, it is an attractive resource which draws students in their free time.
Elementary kids rub elbows with middle schoolers while using Word, Powerpoint and other applications, practice their typing skills, e-mail friends and family, and do 'research' on the Net.
The sixth graders favorite activity is ungrouping a multi-part clipart image and treating oddly dressed creatures with a mixture of appendages! They then animate them in Powerpoint and provide sound effects. And they think they are playing, not learning computer skills!
The way elementary and middle school computer classes are structured is also evolving towards more curriculum-based interactive learning. The fifth grade is learning to write news summaries based on a lesson plan posted on the New York Times website. After they analyze the structure and content of a professionally written news summary, they write their own summaries from three sources; a magazine, the Internet and an encyclopedia CD-ROM.
Not only do they practice word processing skills and learn to use the Internet and CD-ROM resources, but they develop an understanding of how to read information and communicate it to others in their own words, a vital skill for all students.
The seventh and eighth grade exploratory classes use Microsoft Word to create newsletters with content ranging from middle school insider jokes, to international news, to interviews with staff. Especially popular is the sports page, which always includes pictures of their favorite athletes downloaded from the Internet. Movie reviews, the Top Ten and jokes come in a close second. The papers improve in quality over time, as the students team to plan, write, edit, layout and produce a publication. The classes have universal appeal-, and complex desktop publishing skills are mastered as an afterthought.
The Quad Lab is accessible from the Quad Library, and complements the resources available there with CD-ROM-based resources and Internet connectivity.
The quantity of resource materials available on the Internet is especially important to our school, isolated as it is from public library and university resources. These resources neither mold in the monsoon nor become outdated, both important considerations at Woodstock.
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