So, what should kids aged 10-14 be taught by way of technology apps/tools in schools?
I think the question is better answered if we rephrase it to - What skills can kids aged 10-14 develop through technology apps/tools? In my view the 4Cs provide an excellent guideline to develop the curriculum - thinking about which technology tools will help kids with the following -
- Creativity &
- Critical Thinking
The other thought that I’d like to voice for consideration is the need to include elements of computer science and computational thinking rather than simply restricting the Technology/Computer Studies curriculum to the learning of software applications. This would mean exposure to the ideas of algorithms, data structures and data management. Ideas from CS like multitasking, time slicing, recursion and redundancy are sort of like life skills in some sense, and how cool would it be for kids to see applications of these in computers and operating systems. Programming is of course an important part of this, but programming alone is a very narrow piece that does not cover many of the elements of computer science that children could get exposure to, even at an early age. Such instruction should ideally be cleverly designed and appropriately disguised (a la Randy Pausch’s “head fake”) so that kids have fun learning relatively difficult concepts.
Enough rambling, and on to specific themes/tools... (Note that there are free alternatives to almost all proprietary ones that I mention here). I will try and organize this into a table at some point.
- Google Docs, Sites (Communication, Collaboration)
- Blogging & Podcasting (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity)
- Wikis (Communication, Collaboration)
- Publishing - Publisher (Communication, Creativity)
- Photo/Video uploading & sharing ((Visual) Communication, Collaboration)
- Audio Editing- Audacity (Communication, Creativity)
- Image Editing - Photoshop, Fireworks (Communication, Creativity)
- Movie making/Digital Story Telling - Movie Maker, PhotoStory, iMovie (Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking)
- Concept-Mapping - CMap, FreeMind, Inspiration, many others (Critical Thinking)
- Presentation tools - Open Office Impress, Powerpoint, Google Presentations, Slide Share (Communication, Collaboration)
- Programming - LOGO, Star LOGO, Scratch, Squeak, Drape, Alice, Visual Basic/C++, C, (Critical Thinking, Creativity)
- Web Design, including HTML (Collaboration, Creativity)
- 3-D Modeling - Google SketchUp (along with Google Earth) (Creativity, Critical Thinking)
- Game Creation- Game Maker, Scratch, Squeak (Creativity, Critical Thinking)
- Animation - Flash (Creativity)
- Spreadsheets - Google Spreadsheets, Open Office Calc or Excel (Critical Thinking)
- Databases & Information Organization - Open Office Base, Access (Critical Thinking)