Technology can enhance third-graders' classroom experience

Posted on Wednesday, 4/17/2013 5:00 pm

While every year students spend in school is important, third grade is considered by many individuals in and outside of the education sector to be one of the most essential. For this reason, teachers and parents should consider how technology can enhance the already vital instruction pupils receive in the third grade. 

The importance of third grade
Several studies have looked into the impact of third-grade instruction, including how the knowledge students gain in this grade influences them throughout life. For example, a 2012 study from The Annie E. Casey Foundation found that students who are not considered to be proficient in reading by the time they reach third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without earning a diploma.

Making sure students have the proper reading skills by the time they reach third grade is so important, it was a focus at the 81st Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, which was held this past January, according to the conference's website.

In a 2012 article for Time, author Annie Murphy Paul summed up the importance of third grade in her own words.

"It's the year that students move from learning to read - decoding words using their knowledge of the alphabet - to reading to learn," she wrote.

How technology can help improve instruction
As the learning that occurs in third grade is so important to students' academic development, teachers should embrace anything that can make their lessons more effective, including technology and software for students. According to GreatSchools, the Common Core State Standards also recommend pupils master certain technological skills they can apply to reading, mathematics and other academic subjects.

Before students progress to the fourth grade, GreatSchools states that they should develop basic computer skills. They need to know how to use a keyboard and mouse, and also know a little about searching on the internet - with adult supervision, of course. As a result, it may be in instructors' best interest to find ways for their third-graders to use computers while at school.

If educators wish to improve their pupils' technological skills, they could find student software that might appeal to the kids they teach. They can also supervise third-graders' use of online resources like Khan Academy, a website that provides access to thousands of educational lessons.

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