What You'll Learn Today in 5th Grade Technology Class

bigdog posted on 09/19/11 at 11:30 AM

This is an interesting tidbit forwarded to me by Rich Hagen, TradeKing's President & COO. Rich's son just signed up for a 5th grade technology class in his middle school in Charlotte. Here's a snapshot of what the class will cover:

"Technology instruction is geared toward higher-level applications in preparation for high school. The student can use a wireless laptop computer or one of the desktop computers in the Computer Lab. Each kid must sign a contract stating how he/she will use technology while students adhere to uniform writing standards and are taught the basics of research using the Web. We address the issue of plagiarism, as well as online safety in our Cyber Ethics unit.


Students use on-line research skills, word processing and graphics, along with layout and editing techniques to create projects involving the Core curriculum areas. Students also create databases, spreadsheets, and charts/graphs in projects that range from animal classification to science experiments. Students use multi-media as a valuable learning tool in the classroom.  Projects and presentations involve research, digital images and PowerPoint to enhance the Core subject areas. Topics include:

  • File Management
  • Intermediate levels of Word, Excel, and Publisher 2007
  • Advanced features: multimedia presentations in PowerPoint
  • Multi-tasking with Microsoft products
  • Blogs, Wiki's, Prezi's
  • Digital Camera use and integration
  • Online Research and Plagiarism
  • Integration with Core curriculum
  • Digital Citizenship: Cyber ethics, Cyber bullying, Safety, Research and Information fluency
  • Keyboarding"

Rich nailed our collective reaction with this comment: "The world will be changing with these kids." Truly! We use nearly all the skills mentioned about here at TradeKing - although could someone please tell me what a "prezi" is? I'm resisting the urge to Google it right now. ;-)

Naturally this kicked off a fun email string of "oldster" TradeKing execs reminiscing about the technology classes, such as they were, we had in school. My blog editor Jude Stewart remembers drawing a hugely pixilated picture of a turtle on a DOS-based machine, a memory Rich also shared. As for me, I recall learning how to program an infinite if-then loop in BASIC. We also learned how to use another BASIC program that would make the dot matrix printer print out something like "Happy Birthday!" or "Go Panthers!" in big multi-page landscape banner style. Remember that hole-punched printer paper with the pale green-and-white stripes? Now I'm really dating myself!

What's your favorite early memory from computer classes of yore (or early experiences with PCs generally)?

[image: Inside My Classroom by knittymarie on Flickr]


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Posted by bigdog on 09/19/11 at 11:30 AM


Junkyardnut posted September 19, 2011 (01:11PM)

I had what was called CAI   Computer Assisted Instructions...  It was an experimental project between my school and Stanford University computer laboratory.  I had no monitors but just teletypewriters with daisy wheels and ink ribbons .. I just answered questions  printed on the teletypewriters.  Correct or wrong.. it was all printed on paper .  It was during early 1970's...  I thought that it was a state of art technolgoy back then.. watching the daisy wheel howling back and forth... at probably 200 wpm .. or so.  The teletypewriter looked so modern but they were vibrating so much!!  It was loud in the CAI room!!

Junkyardnut posted September 19, 2011 (01:14PM)

It breaks down all the times!!

spshapiro posted September 19, 2011 (11:07PM)

In 1969 I was teaching Introduction to Symbolic Logic at the University of Massachusetts, and two weeks before the end of the semester I was given a box of computer punch cards to enter the grades. I remember my only instruction was "Don't mutilate them."

Lamp posted September 20, 2011 (02:56AM)

It was 1970. I managed a loan office and my boss told me I would be receiveing  4 manuals and a IBM computer. He said learn it, teach it to your emplyees and do it and keep the office runnning on our manuel system.....than he hung up the phone. It was my first taste of Hell.

bigdog posted October 04, 2011 (09:36AM)

These are priceless, folks – thanks! Speaking of early-office-tech, I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in my blog before, but it bears repeating: when I worked as a broker in Quick & Reilly’s Palo Alto office, we offered one of the first "automated" ways for investors to place trades electronically. Called "Quickway", it was a an early "green screen" menu-driven system where you could enter stock and basic option orders to buy and sell online via CompuServe, often via modems at speeds as slow as 2400 baud. This was sexy stuff back when I ran the system in 1992 – but it wasn’t quite as automated as it looked. A client would enter a trade online, and I would learn about it when the printer would automatically engage and spit out the trade ticket on paper. I’d run to the printer, tear off the sheet, then run it back to the wire system we used to enter phone trades to the market centers. When the execution report came back, also over a printer, I'd rip that off and go type it in through Compuserve so it reflected back to the client. Talk about the old-school Sneaker Net!
Our second "electronic" trading system was a touch-tone phone system you could tap to get real-time quotes on your stocks, place trades, and check on order status, which we launched in 1995.  That was truly automated – and revolutionary for the time, both for clients and brokers. I can’t tell you how much time broker-trainees devoted back then to simply picking up the phone and answering, yet again, the question: “Where’s XYZ trading at now?”

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