Friday, November 21, 2008

Stages of Cognitive Development in using computers

We have observed evidence of Piaget's stages of cognitive development and decided to split the curriculum into grade levels K-1, 2, and 3-5 in observance of Stage 2 Preoperational and Stage 3 Concrete Operational.

K-1 students come into the computer lab and immediately begin clicking all icons without regard for the day's lesson plan. Even when given direct instruction they tend to want to do their own discovery and I as the teacher have to physically open the software or web page I want them to work on to keep them on task. The 1st graders are then able to stay on task but the Kindergartners still have difficulty staying on task. Part of the problem is they work from 8am to 5pm without much of a break, and they are not yet trained on the expectation of following directions.

Second graders have introductory computer skills but their academic level is still developing. For example there are issues with vocabulary, grammar, math skills, etc., so they require a slightly different curriculum that is more tech-oriented than the K-1's and geared toward their grade level and skill building.

With third through fifth graders I am able to provide the task which they are able to follow (able, not necessarily willing :) and so have had not as many technical problems. I have run into students whose reading skills need improvement before they will be fully independent on the computer; fortunately there are many websites and computer aided software to assist with this task. Once I'm comfortable that some students are improving the life skills then we can address the tech skills.