Re: girls and technology

Debbling 3 (
Mon, 16 Mar 1998 21:38:18 EST

Dear Lynn,

Hi. Me, again. Now I am home ill with a terrible sinus infection. I will
be home tomorrow, too (so much for this year's sick leave!) so I can finish in
two parts, if need be.

How do I address the different needs of my students? How do my students use

Actually, my students' needs on some level are very much the same. They all
need to be coached on computer use, keyboarding and how to use word processing
and paint applications. They also are trained on how to make a hyperstudio
card/stack. This is where the internet comes in. It is no easy task to
explain how the internet works to a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds who have no
idea how technology works. But, they seem very comfortable with the
technology, once it is explained to them and adapt very quickly.

Oftentimes, the girls need a bit more one-on-one for confidence building
purposes. The boys seem to have an overabundance of confidence, so much so,
sometimes, that they are not receptive to the instruction and don't tend to
get as much out of it as I had intended. Naturally, some do VERY well. But
it's interesting how the boys have confidence level can interfere with their
learning while the girls' confidence level (or lack thereof) can prevent them
from reaching higher levels of expertise.

I use the Internet to help us with research from day 1. They are absolutely
fascinated with what is available out there and how quickly information can be
received and printed out. They are thrilled that they can do research in
English and in Spanish and that there are so many Mexican web sites! One
child even downloaded the Mexican National Anthem! Since our entire
curriculum ("our" meaning mine, because we currently have no Spanish reading
series and I am left to my own devices) is Science-based, the Internet fits in
beautifully with the entire research and inquiry process. We build our
literacy skills and computer skills as we research different topics and design
reports and presentations with the knowledge we have collected. These, in
turn, are then presented to the class and to other classes. We have not
developed a class web page yet but we are in the process of planning one
(after Spring break we will begin). We also use email and quickmail to talk
to others on the internet. This is extremely thrilling for the children.

So, to sum it up, we use the internet to research topics and issues, to keep
up with current events, to help us with our reports and presentations and to
communicate with the outside world, in English and in Spanish. The Intenet
provides us with a fabulous source of ESL material! We also use technology to
help us publish and illustrate our research.

I have to add that I have trained individual mothers on computer basics and
they have said, with tears in their eyes, how proud they were that their
daughters were so advanced and modern and that they (the mothers) could never
learn something like that. Naturally, they do, but have VERY little self-
esteem and self-confidence. I wrote a grant last year to Edison International
to train 1st and 2cnd grade girls and their mothers on the Internet, but I did
not get the grant. It would have been a 3 hour commitment on Saturdays for a
semester. I was very disappointed I did not get it. Needless to say, so were
the many mothers who had already committed themselves to the training!

Anyway, yet again I find myself rambling. I hope this is helpful to you and
if I can add any more information, please let me know. What a thrilling book
you are writing! Please keep me posted!

Debbie Michels

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