I'm a new technology specialist who would like to start a tech club at our PK-3 campus. I haven't gotten this approved from the principal yet, but my thoughts are to select 8 third grade students for the fall semester and 8 second graders for the spring semester based on their grades and an interest in technology. I would love to hear what non-web 2.0 activities (currently blocked in my district) other elementary tech clubs are doing and how often/time they meet. Thanks!

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I've done clubs for 3rd-5th grade and we do a lot of video stuff such as making music videos using iMovie. We do newsbroadcasting using a combination of iMovie and Wirecast. We do digital comics using Comic Life and digital art and stop motion using Pixie.
Thanks for the tips. I'm not familiar with Pixie. I'll certainly check it out.
Hi CC!

I started a tech club at our elementary school 2 years ago. We are a K-6 school, and I chose to start with the 4-6 graders and see how that went. I started off with an after school "interest meeting" for students (and parents if they chose to attend) to help me focus on the topics for the club. This was a HUGE help. I created a survey entitled,"Here's What I Know/Want to Learn About Technology," and passed it out at the interest meeting. We then had a discussion about the direction of the class.

We chose to work on creating PowerPoint presentations, because many of the students wanted (or needed) to use this software for various school projects. The class was a HUGE success and doubled in size the 2nd year. In addition to teaching PowerPoint, I always left things flexible in case a student needed to learn (or brush up on) other programs. I actually had parents ask to sit in on the classes so THEY could learn some new technology tools.

This year, I plan on holding another "interest meeting" to see what this group would like to focus on, and I will plan my club lessons from there. Since you're teaching younger students, perhaps your teachers (and/or parents) could give you suggestions on technology skills they would like the kids to have. It's also obviously helpful to look at your state standards for guidance. Ooooh - before I forget, another thing I ALWAYS teach for my club members is INTERNET SAFETY. It's never to early to start getting those rules down. :)

As far as meetings - I met once a week for an 8 week session. Last year, I was only able to offer the club for one semester - but this year I'd like to teach 2 sessions (fall & spring). I think your idea to keep it to 8 students is a good one - especially with the little ones. I started with 12 4th and 5th graders my first year. That was a nice number. Last year it was 24 kids and that was WAY too much! When they need your attention (especially the beginners) it is almost impossible to give them the quality time they'll need to learn if your class is too large. I might suggest having a parent helper or volunteer on hand to help when the hands start to go up!

I hope that helps a bit. If you have any questions, just let me know. I could even send you a link to that "interest survey" if you'd like. There are also some pretty good books out there with age-appropriate and non Web 2.0 computer activities.

Best of luck!!!
great discussion--thanks for bringing it up, CC. One of the most powerful techniques I've found for increasing tech knowledge is to use mixed-age groups for learning and teaching together. Is there any way you can get some older kids involved as mentors? It'd be a win-win situation: the older kids are doing service work, and feel valued. The younger ones get a lot of attention, some positive modeling, and more rapid learning overall.

A side note: I use techie-students from fourth to eighth grade to teach teachers about technology, with a one-on-one mentoring service program. Another win-win situation, but different in flavor. I tell the teachers they're volunteering their time for service work (by letting the children have this experience, this honor) and tell the students they're doing service work too. Everyone feels important. I've found that often teachers are more comfortable just relaxing with a child to learn whatever they'd like to know.

Anyhow, go forth with your important work! Great stuff. Thanks for being someone out there who's launching 21st century learning.
Connie,
Great idea, however, our campuses are so spread out that transportation would be an issue. Right now, our campus is PK-3, but next year we will also have 4th-5th. Perhaps, I could try pairing the 4th-5th with the primary kids next year. I know of some other district who train their older students to be trouble shooters for their teachers. I would like to explore this idea once we get the 4th-5th graders next year. I know that my own 12 year old daughter is a whiz and frequently shows me new things that she's discovered.

Thanks! I'm off now to prepare for Tropical Storm Edouard which is headed straight towards us.
Bonnie,
Thank you so much for your great advice. I like the interest meeting idea and having the kids fill out the survey. Yes, I'd love for you to share your interest survey link . Do you weave Internet Safety into all of your sessions, or specifically focus on safety during one session? Also, what criteria do you use to select your club members? I have all of Tammy Worcester's books on computer activities as well as PowerPoint Magic, are there any others you have that you'd recommend?

Thanks for letting me pick your brain.
Hi Bonnie,
I just joined this group because I'm starting a technology club at my school and I saw your post (over a year ago) to another teacher who was starting a club. You mentioned starting off with an "interest survey" and a link to it. Is that still active? If so, I'd like to check it out. Our "club" starts next Wednesday. I've gotten alot of good tips from the blog on this site and am excited to be a new member. Thanks for your help!
~ Jodi Judd

Would you be willing to share this survey that students took along with any other resources ? I am planning on starting a club for the first time and would like it to be successful. Thank you so much!

A few other ideas....write a grant and buy the Lego Mindstorm Robotics technologies. Kids love the whole robotics thing. I have mixed feelings about podcasts but we did them easily using Audacity. This may be a good venue to introduce blogging, you could blog about what you are doing in the club. Also, there are tons of free photo manipulation sites online, you could beg parents for color ink cartridges and do great things with photos.

Let me know if you want more info about any of these ideas.
Nancy,
I'd love to offer robotics, but I probably need to attend some training before I could do justice to sponsoring a team. We are a very small PK-3 campus, but will have 4th and 5th next year when our new building is ready. I think I'd rather do robotics with 4th-5th than with primary kiddos. I'm definitely going to check into it. My daughter's school has a competitive robotics team which placed at the state level last year.

Blogging has become a passion of mine; however, they are currently blocked in my district along with Wikis etc.

I like the idea of working with digital pics as you've suggested. I'm going to see if our tech director will open up VoiceThread which would be really cool to do with them. This will be my first year in this district, but I've heard that my campus has a very active PTA. If that's the case, I may be able to get ink from PTA to create books with.

Thanks a bunch for your input.
You might have to be the one to fight the blog/wiki battle. Start educating yourself now. You can see all the stuff we've done over the last few years here.
I am beginning a tech club at my school, and I am planning an hour a week.
Although I will have 4 and 5th graders, I found at the CyberSmart curriculum can meet some of my golas with the club. (http://www.cybersmartcurriculum.org/home/). This curriculum is distributed by Mc-Graw Hill.
Other topics that I am going to seek are designing with powerpoint, webquests, using a digital camera, photoshop, scanning, making videos using the flip video, podcasts, making videos with their pics (movie maker), and adding voice over to projects.

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