This was first posted on the Chicago Moms blog
I was casually chatting with our girls’ first grade teacher about their assessment scores. There seemed to be a discrepancy between the three different assessment tests they take each semester, with one test lower than the others. It wasn’t terrible, but it was different enough that I wondered why she thought it happened. She said, “Oh, they know their stuff. It’s just hard for them to maneuver the mouse to answer within the test time.”
This is my fault. I’m the mom who restricts her kids tv time and computer time so they would spend more time with imaginary play. We’ve been happy with this decision until they started first grade. It turns out that knowing the answers to the questions doesn’t mean anything if you cannot figure out how to work the computer.
It’s not that they have no computer experience. It’s just that they aren’t quite as adept as other kids. While other kids are playing Scrabble online, we’re playing the Scrabble board game.
We’re taking steps this summer to reverse this. The girls are spending more time playing on websites like Club Penguin and Webkins. They are learning Spanish via an online program. They are playing math games online.
Their teacher’s point is easily actionable, and we are taking action. I realize we’re in the digital age where your ability to work a mouse is as important as your ability to complete double-digit addition and subtraction. I just didn’t realize it would affect our girls’ classroom placement as early as first grade.