Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kindergartners Login

Today I sent this letter to "the powers that be." Do any other kinder teachers feel my frustration?
a typical 17 digit kindergarten log in
I am a kindergarten teacher trying to use I-Ready (a computer-based county adopted intervention in Reading and Math) with fidelity.  I am at a "red" school, which means we do not have the technology capacity of other "blue" schools.  My only option, with 3 computers and 36 students, and trying to get students on the computer with fidelity, is to try to use our computer lab weekly (one lab, 1300 students) when it's not being used for testing.  That has presented quite a challenge.

The computer login screen
I know that you are probably not the  person that developed the login for students in Duval County but for a five year old, the login to our school computers is rather challenging.  The username is a random set of nine letters and numbers.  A 5 year old, at the beginning of the year doesn't even recognize all the letters and numbers, but even at the end of the year, some kindergartners can't track nine numbers and letters from a piece of paper as they try to find each one on their keyboard.  A kindergartner can't really tell the difference between the number 1, the capital I or the lowercase l or the number 0, the lowercase o and the uppercase O, which, of course, all have to be put in precisely.  To put in the password, the student has a different set of eight letters and numbers. The challenge is even greater because the child cannot see what is being typed.  He can only see dots (to protect the password) so the room for tracking mistakes is huge!

In order to use our computer lab we have to find 4-5 parent volunteers who will come to the lab and help us log in students.  It takes 30 minutes of our 60 minute computer time to get all students logged on, even with that type of hep.  However, like I said, I know that you did not design that system.  Whoever designed it might be interested in what the parents, who have had to come help us, have had to say!

the iReady screen
Although you probably cannot help with the challenges of the login system, you could help with the sign in to I-Ready.  Right now we are trying to teach the students to log in themselves so that when they come back as first graders we will not be wasting all of our computer time with the login and might really get down to some lessons!  However, after we spend the time to teach the students how to log into the computer, we finally get to I-ready.  Now they have to use their username but instead of a lowercase s, they have to figure out how to make an uppercase S.  Do you have any idea how hard that is for 5 year olds to understand?  And then, after teaching them the password to sign in, now they are told not to use that password, although it says password, but to type in their username again, but don't forget to make it an uppercase S instead of the lowercase s that they signed in with. Confused?  I don't know if you can understand a five year old's frustration level, but if you want to feel it, drop by any time we're in the computer lab!

To help solve this problem, I'm wondering if it might be possible to have the I-ready login the same as the computer login?   The exact same - same letters, same numbers, same capitals and lowercase letters.  If we are going to spend the time to teach a five year old a username and password that, thankfully, will go with them throughout their Duval career, using the same username and password for everything would be ever so helpful.  Thanks for listening...

My frustration runneth over...

Update:  I never got a response from anyone to this letter or this problem although I heard from many kindergarten teachers - they said they were afraid to leave a comment that might be tracked back to them. Hmmmm...


A Lane said...

Is it the same as their lunch numbers? Would it be possible to have the i-ready, computer login, and lunch number be same? Then, they'd at least be learning the same thing.

dayle timmons said...

Oh my gosh A. Lane - that is my thinking exactly! (Of course, the lunch number is without the s...) But if we have to teach such a long number to kindergartners, then can we at least use it for everything?!!