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Your kindergartner and technology

Kindergartners use computers to kick-start learning in math, social studies, and reading.

By Miriam Myers , GreatSchools Staff

Your kindergartner may use technology to complete activities in a range of subject areas, including language arts, science, social studies, math, and art. Integrating technology into the classroom with any of these subjects is a great way to tackle the first step in technological literacy: Using tools to solve problems.

Technology resources range from computers, software programs, and the Internet to  digital cameras, camcorders, and voice recorders. Technology isn't a teaching substitute, but a valuable aid that introduces children to new ways of thinking and working. Plus, it's a great introduction to resources that your child's likely to use in the future.

Technology use varies from school to school

Many states base their technology standards on the National Educational Technology Standards for Students. But because children aren't tested on their use of technology, teachers are typically not held accountable for teaching them. That means technology use varies widely from classroom to classroom. Your kindergartner may have one or more computer workstations in the classroom, visit a computer lab once a week, or not use technology regularly at all.

To get the maximum benefit from technology, the best classrooms incorporate technology into regular lessons that develop students' higher order thinking skills, promote creativity, and facilitate academic learning. Your child's teacher may use technology to evaluate students' progress, too.

Language arts

While you child is learning to read she may listen to books on CD or stories being read aloud on the Internet. She may also record her own stories on the computer. The class may have phonics and reading software such as Read, Write & Type! "When learning to read and write, kindergarten students may be practicing identifying letters and sounds on the computer," explains our award-winning education consultant, Gayle Berthiaume.

Your kindergartner may use draw and paint software programs such as Kid Pix and AppleWorks to insert pictures that begin with the letter sound the class is learning. Your child may dictate or type captions for a picture she drew using draw and paint software. She may contribute to an "ABC" book or an "All About Me" book as part of a class project. She may make a slide or book page using pictures and text, with the help of the teacher. She will then observe the teacher putting students' slides together to make a slide show or class book.

Your kindergartner will typically learn where the letters, numbers, and special keys are on the keyboard. The class may start off doing activities with paper keyboards. You can expect your child to learn to type her name and use the shift key to make a capital letter.

Comments from readers

"I'm the 'computer mom' for my daughter's kindergarten class. We go to the computer lab once a week. The problem her teacher and I face is finding credible, educational, free websites that the children can visit without worrying about them clicking on something they shouldn't. The only one we've really found that's easy for the kids to use is The kids love this website, but we'd like to have more choices. I don't have enough patients to weed thru the thousands of sites on-line. Is there a website that compiles all this info."