Having taught high school for basically all of my teaching career, I’ve just started working with the little kids in a R-12 school. (The R stands for Reception, and is the grade before Kindergarten) It’s great working with the littlies, they are so cute!
I team taught with another teacher today for the Grade 2 computer lesson and although they only did some pretty basic word processing stuff today I was impressed with just how capable some of these young students are with technology. I even had one of the students, a delightful young lady all of about seven years old, solve a password problem that had me, the teacher and the IT Director stumped. She remembered the login name and an arcane 6 character password which had not been used since before the Christmas holidays – about seven weeks ago. Pretty clever I thought. (Don’t even get me started on why our kinder age kids are required to have a strong, secure password that changes every 90 days… they play Kidpix and games for goodness sake!) However, the students all eventually got logged in and spent the lesson doing some stuff in Word.
I’m keen to get the kids doing some more interesting work with some of the Web 2.0 apps, although I need to work with their classroom teachers to figure out exactly what that might be. Small steps to start with… my new school does not have much of a Web 2.0 mindset yet, but it a pleasure to be working with teachers who are really keen to learn and to try new things. I know we will make good progress.
Eventually, these kids will need to have an online identity though, and usually that means they will need an avatar to represent themselves. As an adult, I usually just use a small photo of myself for an avatar, but I was interested to read a post by Silvia Tolisano over at the Langwitches blog about some of the options she uses for avatar-making with younger students. Obviously there are some really important issues to consider when working with the young students to maintain their privacy and security. First names only. No defining or identifying information. No photos.
In her post, Silvia mentions a rather fun little web app called Building my Wild Self, which enables kids to create a modular avatar out of bits and pieces… head, arms, legs, clothes, eyes, mouth, etc… just pick the parts you like, assemble them together, and it creates a cool looking “mini-me”. I’m sure the kids will have a lot of fun using it and I’m looking forward to getting them to try it out.
I’m especially interested in seeing how intuitive these little kids find the site. My first impression of these very young students is that they are very much at home in a digital environment, and I’m keen to extend upon that by introducing both the teachers and the students to some of the more engaging applications from the Web 2.0 world.
Building my Wild Self by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.