Technology is an important tool to help prepare students for the future. At WESM, we will introduce, encourage, and help students master technology, as it applies to school and the future. In addition, we will help teachers infuse this technology into classroom lessons.
Technology at Washington Elementary is innovative because its focus is not on drill and practice like traditional computer programs. Rather, our emphasis is on innovative technology that teaches video and sound production, computer science concepts (coding) and programming, 3D Printing, and design, and digital citizenship.
While computer science tends to be rigorous, student benefit from the combination of academics and fun-filled activities. It is our philosophy that children learn best by playing and in essence "Learn through play" is encouraged. While learning computer concepts, students create games; while learning to type and word processing, students create storyboards and animations; while learning math, students design and print in 3D space.
Lessons carried out in the computer room are continued in their classrooms where each student has a Chromebook. This ties in the with the concept that technology is both supplementary and complementary in nature at WESM. In other words, Tech lab activities can be supplemented in individual classrooms and at the same time complemented with general academics.
Video Production: Elementary techniques of editing and recording audio and video through green screening, weather, and book reports projects. Students learn to use software that allows audio and video editing. This exercise can be applied at a basic level in Chromebooks (SeeSaw) or with other advanced programs in the computer lab. Here is an example of a book report edited with iMovie.
English and Language Arts with Storybird: With Storybird, students see the value of words and meaning. This web-based program allows students to create their own poems and picture books.
Computer Science with CODE.org : A web-based program which allows students to learn computer science fundamentals such as looping, debugging, conditionals, sequences, algorithms, and variables. All grade levels (K-5) learn from this website and culminate the experience with the worldwide event "The Hour of Code" which has proudly put us on the world map in the past five years as a vanguard elementary school which teaches computer science.
Coding with Scratch.mit : This web-based program allows students to code games which provides opportunities for creativity, problem-solving and collaboration. Students get to experience basic programming as they code in visual block language. Scratch introduces computer science as students learn to program their own codes.
Linux Programming: This is a course offered in partnership with USC's School of Engineering STEM outreach where students learn to work with Linux PC's and use Python and Logo programming language. This is an advanced computer science class open to students who excel in other areas of our computer science curriculum. Other opportunities for students will arrive once we have developed support and curriculum for Raspberry Pi, Turing Table Programming, and Virtual Reality development with Unity Engine.
Digital Citizenship with Interland: To make the most of the Internet, kids need to be prepared to make smart decisions. We use Interland to teach our students the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence. Being kind and dealing with cyberbullying, sharing with care, the creation of strong passwords, avoiding click baits are some of the discussions that we target throughout the school year.
3-D Printing with Tinkercad.com: Students at Washington Elementary STEM have the opportunity to design projects and see their online creations come alive by using our 3-D printers. Incorporating 3D printers in lessons gives students the opportunity to get their hands on next-gen technology so they can use their creativity and collaboration skills to help them be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. This is a class that is offered during and after school. We are proud to say that our school participates in the annual Pasadena Unified School District 3D printing challenge and has been extremely successful in the past four years.
Creativity and Thinking Skills with Little Alchemy: This game most directly lends itself to the scientific and historical discussion of the classical elements (fire, water, earth, and air), the concept of fundamental elements, and, consequently, atomic theory. In a math classroom, the game may also be leveraged to teach prime factorization in a meaningful way. In science, Earth systems and natural phenomena can be discussed by making appropriate combinations. Careful attention has to be made since Little Alchemy can be whimsical and inaccurate.
Technology Programs Used by Teachers:
Typing.com is used to teach students proper typing techniques, speed, and accuracy strategies. This allows our elementary age students to use keyboards on devices such as Chromebooks, and classroom computers. Typing requirements are 5 words per minute times grade level (ex. 5 wpm X 4th Grade= 20wpm).
Starfall.com teaches kindergarten students phonetic sounds, alphabet letters, opportunities for collaboration, learning to use the mouse, and play.
ABCya.com engages students academically through play. Teachers and computer teacher communicate to target areas of academic reinforcement needed and used this website to help students learn.
Google.com is used to teach web research, search for images as needed, and general browser navigation strategies. Students are also learning to use Google applications such as Slides to create slideshows and work cooperatively.
The lessons, activities, programs, and websites listed above align with the Common Core State Standards and Technology and Skills Scope and Sequence.