By Thode, Terry
Technology and Children , Vol. 9, No. 2
If you were to ask most elementary teachers what subjects they teach well or feel most confident teaching, reading and language arts would be at the top of the list. That's because elementary teacher training programs spend a great deal of time teaching prospective teachers to teach reading, writing, and spelling. Technology education, on the other hand, is fairly unexplored territory for many elementary teachers--until recently, that is. Now more teachers are learning how easy it is to integrate technology education into the daily curriculum. We hope by the time you finish reading this issue of Technology and Children, you too will find how exciting and easy it is to connect language arts and technology education.
Teachers and students spend a major part of every school day working on formal and informal reading, writing, and other language arts skills in both fictional and non-fictional settings. Whether we're talking about reading for information, recreational books, movies, radio shows, reports, or conversation, it's all about communication. From the earliest times, when people used painted symbols and sounds to communicate with others, we've seen technology take us to today's high tech cell phones with e-mail capability, digital cameras, books-on-computers, interactive Internet Web sites, and MP3s with a digital photo display, to name a few. All of these devices require good communication skills to use effectively. You can capitalize on student interest for all this technology by incorporating some technology education into your lessons and still meet your main goals to make your students accomplished readers and writers.
You don't have to have all the fancy equipment to make this happen. Many of you do have computers, Internet access, and digital cameras, so your students can produce their own books, script and produce a "how-to" video or computer presentation, write technical directions, or make safety posters with messages. All of these require the students to research information, write ideas down, and communicate with others to find a way to get their message across. …