Tag Archives: school

Effects of Computer Use on Students

As technology is becoming more and more prevalent in both our society and our school systems, students and teachers are integrating computer use into most every aspect of learning.  Since the advent of affordable computers for individuals, there have been studies focusing on the impact these resources have on the students.

  • In 1994, Jame Kulik found that students who used computer-based instruction scores at the 64th percentile, compared to students in control conditions without computers, who scored in the 50th percentile.
  • He also found that students learn more when instruction incorporates technology, and students have a more positive attitude when classes include computer-based learning.
  • In 1998, Jay Sivin-Kachala found that students saw a positive impact on all major subject areas when in technology rich environments.  This increased achievement occurred from pre-school to high school and in both regular and special ed classrooms, though the depth of impact depended upon many factors.
  • He, like Kulik, noted that student’s attitudes improved when computers were used for instruction.
  • Dale Mann conducted a study of the West Virginia Basic Skills/ Computer Education initiative in 199, and found that participation in computer eduction raised students’ scores on standard tests.    The largest improvement was seen in low-achievement students.
  • He also found that girls and boys benefited equally from computer access.  
  • Moreover, Mann found that computer education was more cost effective than reducing class size, increasing instructional time, and cross age tutoring programs.
  • Findings by Harold Wenglinsky in 1998 are supportive of the above findings, as they relate to fourth- and eighth-grade students.  His study was controlled for socioeconomics, class sizes, and teacher characteristics to ensure accuracy and significance of the findings pertaining to technology.
  • These references are from an article, “The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement” by John Schacter.

Summer Learning Loss

Summer is on its way.  Can you smell it in the air?  I can smell it in the fog rising off the lake.  Even out here in the Northland, the snow is all but gone and the first flowers are blooming, little green and purple surprises.  Accordingly, kids all over are feeling that anxious itch for summer vacation.  To be honest, I am too, even though it doesn’t mean vacation for me anymore.

Summer has one downside, though.  Summer learning loss.  Studies have found that on average, students lose about one month’s worth of learning over the summer.  This number varies across demographics, location, and subject.  In fact, students tend to lose just over two and a half months of math knowledge.  Low income students tend to be set back about two months of reading.

Only about 9% of students K-12 in the US attend summer programs.

So how can you keep your students on track through their summertime adventures?  How about incorporating it into their daily life?  Learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom.  Have them pick up a book, and talk with you about it when they’ve finished reading.  Take them on nature walks and explore the wonder of the world around you.  You can learn together.  Educational computer games are fun for a rainy day, too.  Check out Chester Creek’s new educational software packs for computer adventures through science, logic, math, and more! Throw in a LessonBoard to teach them good typing skills while they’re at it – a skill sure to come in handy next fall, giving them a leg up over their peers.

Spanish Keyboard

I honestly cannot say enough how cool I think this idea is. Spanish Keyboards. For homeschool or public school or just those learning Spanish. Maybe as a companion to Rosetta Stone, which you see in so many school and homeschool catalogs. These  keyboards are almost just like standard keyboards, but include the special characters for Spanish. They are also colored by character set to help those who may be less familiar with the keyboard. This way, students can learn to communicate in Spanish over their whole day, not just in school.  Plus, so many more advanced students have this challenge:  writing an assignment or essay in Spanish.  Hard enough already, right?  Then add in the need to have it nicely typed, either for teacher preference or because of poor handwriting.  Now you’ve added in the hassle of copy-pasting  special characters in, interrupting the flow of learning and typing.  With a Spanish keyboard, that goes away!  That easy.  And there is no software, these keyboards are plug and play!  That means you can plug the Spanish keyboard in when you want it, and plug its English counterpart back in when you’re ready.  Isn’t that cool?!  Check out our other products at www.chestercreek.com or call us for more info at 218-722-1837!

The Pro

The last couple days here at work, I have been using a LessonBoard Pro.   This is one of our newest products.  The keys are all colored by which digit one should be using to press them.  I’ll admit, although I type reasonably quickly, I do not type well. And there is a difference.  When I type, I use my ring fingers almost not at all.  And my pinkies, I use only for the “stretch” keys, if you will.   So with my thumbs, index, and middle fingers, I type at a moderate pace – about 70 words per minute. I know that sounds pretty fast.  But sitting here at my desk for the last few days, I have been trying to type more correctly.  While the adjustments I am making (paired with the lack of labels) is slowing me down a bit, I can feel how much smoother the typing goes.

This is going to be a learning process.  I only wish I had learned things right in school.  We had typing class, of course, but the software has no idea which fingers you use where.  Since I didn’t particularly care either, at that time being a rather average typist for a third grader, I learned some bad habits that I bump up against a million times a day.  They tangle me up, slow me down, and get my letters switched around – ask anyone I email on a regular basis.

So now, I am relearning to type.  And its not as hard as one might think.  But I am so glad I’m not using those typing diagrams from elementary school this time around.  I can actually see where I’m going.  It’s sort of like turning the lights on.  And that said, the lack of labels isn’t really so bad for me.  But then, I’ve been using a keyboard hours a day for the last decade.  Pausing to look for the letters is probably responsible for a food third of my normal typos.  Once I get my fingers going the right places, I’ll be flying.

Charter Schools

Yesterday, I wrote a little about homeschooling as an education option.  This is one route that provides huge flexibility and choice regarding structure and content.  Another non-traditional education path is the charter school.

Definitions for charter schools vary from state to state, as do laws, but generally a charter school is the following:

  • A public School.
  • Created when a group individuals petition a local school board or county board of education for a charter to open an independent school in their community.
  • Sponsored by another organization, such as a local university.
  • Typically founded by educators, parents, community groups or private organizations.
  • Operated under a written contract with a state, district or other entity.
  • Required to meet local, state, or federal standards of education.

Furhter definitions can be found at US Charter Schools.  These schools can be part of a larger public school district, or an independent district supported by the state and sponsors.The National Charter School Study has found that the top three reasons charter schools are created is to gain autonomy, realize a vision, or serve a specific group. These goals are met in a variety of ways.  Charter schools’ freedom allows them to structure the learning as they like.

Parents and teachers choose charter schools primarily for educational reasons–high academic standards, small class size, innovative approaches, or educational philosophies in line with their own. Some also have chosen charter schools for their small size and associated safety (charter schools serve an average of 250 students).  -US Charter Schools

The charter school which I used to work for, Avalon School, for instance, accepts 180 students from grades 7-12 and emphasizes growth through project-based learning — very different from the traditional public schools in the St. Paul area.

There are so many options for education available; what works best for your family?

Kids’ Keyboards

Children, in some cases even toddlers, are now using computers at home and in school. However, learning the keys can be very frustrating for a child. All the keys look the same, the typeface is small, and the keys are often hard to reach. Children become discouraged and confused trying to remember the location of specific letters. Chester Creek’s keyboards for kids are great tools. Specially designed, with bold color-coding for vowels, consonants, numbers, and function keys, our children’s keyboards eliminate frustration and stress, providing a valuable, fun, and successful learning experience.

Teaching a child to use a computer at an early age can give them a head-start advantage. Knowledge of computer use and navigation can help stream line the process of creating projects and doing research for school. Later in life, good typing skills can cut work time in half for essays and papers, and in the work environment computer skills are a must.

An investment in your child’s computer skills is an investment in their future. One of the best values on the market today is a keyboard from Chester Creek. Chester Creek produces keyboards that are safe, sturdy, and practical. With boards in both standard and large-key layout, color-coded by character-set or finger placement, CCT has everything your child will need to learn to type quickly and correctly. Additionally, Chester Creek mice are designed specifically with a child’s hands in mind. Smaller and easier to grip and use, a CCT child’s computer mouse is also long-lasting, well-constructed, and color-coded. Our mice come with one or two buttons and with or without a scroll wheel, depending on what you, the consumer, need.

Check out this blog!

Check out this blog by journalist and freelance writer Cindy Downes!

She’s taking a look at one of my very favorite CCT products, the LessonBoard Our LessonBoard is coded by finger to help kids and adult alike learn to type in a quick and easy way.  I just wish we had had something like this in my typing class.  We also offer this sweet product as part of a really great classroom bundle, with TinyMouse, Headphones, and keyboard seal.

Buying as a bundle saves you more than $40!
While Cindy mentions covering the keys at a later date with tape, which can be sticky and inconvenient, CCT does also offer the SpeedSkin learning aid, which fit snuggly over the keys and is easily removeable, and will soon be offering keyboard, color coded like the LessonBoard for hand placement, which does not have letter labels at all.  You can expect to see this on the website soon.

Sickness Season

This is the season of celebration and sickness. It seems like everyone has a cold, or the flu. Here in the office, half of us are sick. A big transfer of germs happens in schools. One solution to this is the Chester Creek keyboard seal. These are thin, clear, plastic membranes that fit neatly over the keys of a keyboard. The seals are for use in home, office, or school, and can easily be washed and sanitized to prevent sharing of icky cold and flu germs.