21st Century Learning

10 Things Students Should Know About Tech by Fifth Grade

Julie DavisI wrote the following list for parents at my school to let them know what their kids need to know to be ready for upper school. This list is in no particular order and is definitely based on my humble opinion. That being said, if I teach your child, my goal is to teach all these things from a Christian perspective.

1) Touch typing. Elementary students should be typing at least 20 words per minute at the end of fifth grade. That is the minimum speed where typing is faster than writing. We have devoted time in the curriculum for this, but curriculum time is limited. If you're a parent, find a free online typing test and check your child's speed. If they are below 20 word per minute, use a free resource to help them reach this speed. A good choice is typing.com.

2) Troubleshooting. By the end of fifth grade, students should have a thought bank of resources when things don't go right when using technology. They should know how to refresh a Web page, what to do look for if they can't log onto something using their user names and passwords and what to do when a Bluetooth keyboard won't respond. These are all skills that will help them in life. It is our tendency to take a device out of their hands, fix it and hand it back. We should be teaching our students how to critically think and solve their own problems.

3) Digital citizenship. The minimum age requirement for many social media sites is 13 years old. Most fifth-graders have not yet reached that age. Therefore, fifth grade is the perfect time to teach students about digital citizenship issues regarding social media, bullying, online etiquette, safety and communication skills.

4) Device basics. All students should be able to do the following tasks on their device of choice:

  1. Turn power on and off;
  2. adjust volume up/down and mute;
  3. select an appropriate WiFi network;
  4. log in to a school e-mail account;
  5. plug in headphones;
  6. open Web browser to access the Internet;
  7. take a picture;
  8. take a video;
  9. switch between front- and rear-facing cameras;
  10. bookmark a website and add a shortcut to the home screen;
  11. take a screenshot; and
  12. access photos and videos.

5) Citing. Students should know how to give credit where credit is due. Using a citing website (such as Noodlebib), a fifth-grader should be able to collect the information needed from websites, books or photos and enter it into the appropriate form to create a reference page.

6) How to put together and deliver multimedia presentations. To complete various projects through their elementary school years, fifth-graders should have a variety of presentation tools that they feel comfortable with when asked to present information.These tools include but not limited to: Google Docs, Google Slides, Keynote, Pages, Green Screen by Do Ink, Tellagami, Explain Everything, Idea Sketch and Visualize.

7) How to do a proper Internet search. Fifth-grade students should be taught the virtues and shortcomings of doing a Google search and how to best use Google for their educational benefit. Students should know how to use age-appropriate search engines for research projects including but not limited to: EBSCO-host research engines, encyclopedias and child-friendly websites.

8) How to collaborate using technology. Students should learn how to use websites/apps such as Google Docs to share information with each other and teachers via both comments and adding straight to a shared document itself, both while sitting together and separate.

9) Using technology to organize their learning. Students should be able to use technology tools such as Google Drive to set up folders to store information "in the cloud" for easy access for learning and Notability to take notes from lectures. They should have the ability to take photos of things for future studying opportunities.

10) The perils of misuse and multitasking, and how these things affect them individually. Fifth-graders should be taught about their digital rights and responsibilities from both the personal and educational perspectives. They should be shown how multitasking affects them and be given appropriate aid to help them discern how technology can benefit or distract from their learning.

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