Forman Elementary School
Fifty-four students benefit from computers being placed in 12 Forman neighborhood homes by PISD.
At Forman Elementary, 12 families were selected to participate in this special program. The families come to Forman Elementary once a month for 5 months. The evening begins with the school providing dinner, and then the families receive computer and software training. Fifty-four students are now eagerly awaiting homework assignments since taking home these 12 PISD computers. They cannot wait to use their new computers!
At Forman, Rod Segovia, 4th grade teacher, coordinates the program. Mr. Segovia volunteers his time once a month to assist with the training, working with the families one-on-one and translating the training into Spanish. Throughout the month, Mr. Segovia answers any questions for the families and acts as a liaison to the district’s technology department. Mr. Segovia is certainly one of the reasons the program has been such a success at Forman.
On the first night of training, the students and their parents were provided instruction in connecting the components of their computers.
A Power Point presentation was used to lead them through this step-by-step process. The cables and the ports on the computer were color-coded, and instruction sheets were provided to assist the families in connecting the computers after taking them home.
After connecting the computers, students and parents learned the basics of Star Office—Text Document, which is the word processor provided to the families. Students learned to select a font and change its size and color. Training was provided in saving the document to the hard drive and to a floppy disk and in converting the document to a MS Word document so the document can be opened on a school computer as well. Students printed the text document they had created on their new color inkjet printers, which were donated by M & A Technology.
Students were given a homework assignment to write a story telling about 3 uses they made of their new computers. At the end of the evening, the computers were disconnected and amidst many smiling faces, the various components were carried to the cars to be taken home.
Before the training session started, one of the students and his dad summoned Mr. Segovia over and asked him for help. The dad has a lawn-mowing business and his son wanted help designing an invoice for his dad’s business. The father and son had been experimenting in the spreadsheet software in Star Office and also wanted help creating a spreadsheet to keep a record of the income and expenses. So the son had not only developed his computer skills, he was involved in a real-world application of those skills.
During the second month of the program, training was provided on using Encyclopedia Britannica to search for information. Students practiced searching for “dog,” “cat,” and “horse” then for specific breeds of each. The world atlas in Britannica was used to locate information on different countries and on various states within the US.
Training also included use of many of the applications that are on their computers. Students and parents investigated Word Pad, the calculator, playing a music CD, and playing Solitaire to practice mouse skills. The last part of the training was a creative exercise with the students using the Paint program to draw and add text to an original holiday greeting. This was definitely the favorite activity of the evening.
Three new software packages were given to the families during the third training session. Students practiced letters, shapes, numbers, and patterns with Let’s Start Learning. The families learned to install software as they installed Playroom and the Logical Journey of the Zoombinis. Playroom provided practice with counting and the alphabet. In Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, students develop critical thinking skills while helping the Zoombinis escape to a new land.
Families also learned to change the number of colors displayed, as some of these programs required 256 colors and others allowed 32-bit color.
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