Lake Michigan Catholic Schools aims to enable our students to utilize technology to enhance their education, communities, and lives, with an understanding of the moral and social ramifications of their technology use. With this in mind, a computer curriculum was developed at the elementary level to ensure our students have a strong foundation in basic computer skills, focusing on how to use hardware and software. This background provides our middle and high school students with the ability to integrate these skills as they produce papers, projects, and presentations for their classes.
At the Elementary school, our Preschool and Transitional Kindergarten students have access to a shared set of iPads with appropriate early childhood educational applications installed. Each Kindergarten through 2nd grade classroom has its own set of iPads which are used for 1:1 technology lessons. Our 3rd – 5th grades each have a classroom set of chromebooks and are being introduced to Google Apps for Education. In addition, students in TK through 5th grade have weekly lessons in the computer lab using windows-based PCs, Microsoft Office, Google Docs and online resources. In the middle school, 6th-8th grade students have ready access to technology with classroom carts of chromebooks. High school students participate in a 1:1 technology program with chromebooks, where students are given a chromebook to keep throughout the year. These chromebooks are an integral part of each class, and are rapidly replacing the traditional paper and pencil. High school students also have the option to bring their own device to school (BYOD).
Each K-12 classroom is equipped with a Smartboard, ceiling-mounted projector, document camera, TV/VCR/DVD system, and laser printer. Teachers are provided with a Windows-based laptop, chromebook, and an iPad. Teachers use the RenWeb student management system for lesson planning, standards tracking, grades and progress reports, and communication with parents.
Brainpop – 24/7 access to educational movies & quizzes. Brainpop Jr. (K-3), Brainpop (3-12), and Brainpop Espanol.
Enchanted Learning – Over 20,000 searchable articles, topical activities and crafts for preschool though upper elementary with reading level suited to 3rd grade and up.
Khan Academy – online resource with movies covering topics for elementary through high school.
Michigan E-Library (MeL) – provided free by the State of Michigan. Click area of interest to access resources suitable for all ages. NOTE: Most areas require a MI driver’s license number, state ID number OR name and barcode number from a public library card.
RenWeb – online student information system. Students and parents can view assignments, grades, and directly email their teachers.
FREE ON-LINE KEYBOARDING INSTRUCTION & PRACTICE
Typing Club: Google app – 100 leveled lessons – excellent design and instruction with goals & comprehensive feedback including lesson accuracy, finger-by-finger accuracy, speed timeline – includes SAVE function
Sense-Lang: Well designed and thorough lessons that include animated tutorials with audio and visual guidance for correct home row typing – tutorials and lessons match by number – moderately customizable content – generous statistical feedback – WARNING: many ads are indistinguishable from the typing content – to avoid ads, locate features strictly from the site’s horizontal navigation bar below the masthead – Example: Tutorials > pull down menu to choice of Keyboarding Lessons, Test, or Animated Tutor – Animated Tutor recommended
BBC Bitesize: Very well designed and entertaining for lower elementary through 4th grade – focuses on main keyboard only – excellent choice for teaching 1st & 2nd graders proper beginning technique – site from UK – characters have different accents but the visuals overcome any listening issue
Peter’s Online Typing Course: Unglamorous, no-frills site but thorough typing for beginners – explanations are brief but complete – effective if done in order
Lynda.com Practice Typing: Good practice site that generates useful progress reports – text based on commonly occurring letters in your choice of languages – WARNING: lacks specific home row and reaching instruction – color-coded keys disappear when lesson begins
TypeRacer: Type against other on-line users – great motivator – has error alert and good user feedback but little typing instruction – WARNING: takes text from novels and songs – while testing site, no objectionable content was seen – parent should check prior to use – best suited to upper el. and older students
ABCya!.com: K-5th grade-leveled site with multiple topics – keyboarding and letter location games of varying difficulty – WARNING: lacks home row and reaching instruction – best used for letter recognition with young students or for fun keyboarding practice for older students who have already learned correct home row and basic touch typing