At breakfast this morning, I scanned through my parish bulletin. The “Technology at ESCS” article caught my eye. I’m sharing verbatim, the article by Mr. Carbonaro, Technology Instructor.
“This has been an exciting year here at ESCS . Some of our seventh and eighth grade students have been broadcasting a morning news show called ESCNN – Espiritu Santo Catholic News Network. Our students learn the positions of anchors, weather person, mixer, teleprompter, cameras, and producer. They have been doing a great job. As our eighth grade class is preparing to enter high school, we have been covering all the benchmarks and standards to ensure that they are prepared for a new environment. All the students have worked for years to achieve a goal of typing 30 words per minute. We have studied internet safety and understand that the internet is an ever evolving too. Microsoft Office is another aspect of technology that our students are very well versed in. The eighth grade students are ready for high school.
Our sixth grade class has been working with a program called Audacity. I have been teaching them the basics about sound recording. The students learn how to create different audio tracks and alter them. They can do many things such as add effects, copy and paste and even create whole songs.
The fourth and fifth grade classes have been learning the program Microsoft Office Power Point. This is a program used for presentations. The fifth grade just completed their Power Point Presentations from their Kennedy Space Center field trip. It was a fantastic experience to watch all the students stand up in front of their classmates and teachers to give this presentation using a computer and projection screen. The fourth grade is in the process of working on their St. Augustine Power Points. This is their first major project using this program. Prior to the field trip, they were taught all the basics of preparing and taking pictures. They did a great job. Those pictures will be incorporated into their Power Points.
The third grade has been working diligently all year on their keyboarding skills. Most of the students have hit their goal of typing 10 words per minute with 90% or better accuracy. They are learning “Home Row” and how to keep their eyes on the monitor, not on their hands. The second grade just completed their first project using Microsoft Word. These are wish stories that the students wrote in their class rooms. They brought the stories to the Lab and typed them into Word.
The first grade just finished working with Microsoft Excel. The children entered letters into the columns. Then they learned how to change the colors and how to save their work. It was very exciting. The kindergarten has been using the website, Nick Jr. It is a great tool for teaching the students how to use some of the basic computer techniques at a developmentally appropriate level.
These are just a few things that our students are learning about in technology class. I enjoy helping them prepare for their future in this amazing new technological world we live in.”
As I finished sipping my tea, I thought – I wonder if catechetical leaders, catechists, and others working with youth from K-12 are aware of the technology skills that our students are gaining today? Why do I ask this question? So often these same students arrive on the doorsteps of our catechetical programs, and there is NOT one “ounce” of technology in their learning environment.
We are teaching Digital Kids today. This video, created by Best Buy, shows us how kids are using technology and asks the question whether Best Buy will be ready for the next generation of gadgets boys and girls will want.
I sat and wondered, will catechetical leaders and catechists be ready to teach a generation that is being referred to as Digital Natives? Are our skills on par with the skills of the Digital Natives? I often watch young people using technology and they are excited and eager to communicate using their digital tools. On the other hand, as I listen to adults – there is often a critical attitude: They are texting too much! They need to learn how to talk to one another! They…. you can finish the sentence. I’m assuming that you have a critical comment as well.
But I continue to wonder – When will the religious education, catechetical, or faith formation community really wake-up. I love the Mr. Winkle wakes video. Yes, we need to wake up and teach what we know with today’s methods. But we are now engaged in what is an ever evolving Culture, Language, and New Skills. Who is involved in training the 21st Century Catechist?
Here is a video where educators are beginning to re-imagine how children are learning today.
Here is a video asking the question – How Will You Teach Me in the 21st Century?
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