A reader, MHK, is looking for a public elementary school for her child and reached out with the following guest post:
I'm wondering why there is such a heavy investment in computers and technology in our elementary schools. I'd love to hear from parents what they want in a computer program within a public elementary school, specifically when computers should be introduced and how should they be used throughout the K-5 experience.
I'm asking this question because I work in technology and can see no reason - academically or socially - why a child would need access to a computer before 4th or 5th grade. As computers and software become outdated and obsolete so quickly and also require maintenance and training, it seems a better investment would be in teacher's aides, more realized arts and garden programs and physical education. Children have a lot of screen access time at home and other places so I feel that the focus in school (especially K-3) should be on socialization, fine and gross motor skills, critical thinking, language development, and hand-writing. It seems like a waste of valuable class time to teach keyboarding to kindergarteners when they are not necessarily proficient readers or writers. it also seems odd to me to teach children software programs like Excel which are bound to be outdated by the time children hit the job market. Also, most software programs available to lay people and are not that complex and designed for use by the general population.
I know that my child will be living in a technologically driven world, but I feel that he needs strong math and critical thinking skills to succeed. As a parent, I would much rather have the PTA spend extra funds on a math specialist or math training for teachers rather than a bunch of iPads.
While I do think there is a place for computers, it seems that it should be really thought out before school outlay a lot of financial resources for their purchase.
My question for touring and current parents:
A) What elementary schools have well-thought out and integrated computer programs?
B) What elementary schools wait until 3rd grade or older to introduce computers?
C) When you are looking at elementary schools, what would you like to see in a computer/technology program?
D) Would you prioritize a computer program over an additional math specialist at an elementary school and why or why not?
Thanks in advance for your input and ideas.