Focus on Media Lab: Enriching our children's lives, one keystroke at a time...

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Could you use a keyboard at age 6, make multimedia presentations at age 10, or create PowerPoint documents at age 8? Our kids do and our kids can.

Our talented Media Lab instructor, Michael Benson, brings us more than 11 years of technology experience and is in his 6th year of teaching at Carpenter. He teaches our children how to utilize computer technology as an expressive medium, allowing students to apply creativity to projects while also learning practical computing skills.

Collaborating closely with teachers, Mr. Benson helps create projects on a class by class basis or facilitate implementation of projects in the Media Lab. Projects are created based upon each grade level's curriculum and cover areas such as history, science, art and language.

"Technology is changing the way we work, learn and live", says Mike Benson. "I believe, learning how to operate and integrate computer technology into our daily lives is endlessly beneficial. Doing so at such a young age gives the students of Carpenter the tools necessary to succeed in today's society and tomorrows professional landscape. I feel honored to be able to give these kids this rich knowledge at such a young age."

Here is an inside view of just some of what your child might be learning in Media Lab:

  • Kindergarten: Starfall.com, a phonetic-based reading program; Kidpix, a drawing program that allows the students to draw, type, control the mouse and keyboard, save, and print documents.
  • First grade: Continue to build on Kidpix skills, now on a weekly basis, applying concepts from what they are studying in their unit to create their pictures. Many students completely master the program by the end of the year.
  • Second grade: MS Word basics and saving; introduction to the Internet and how to use it as a resource for their work; Kidpix slideshow functionality; Type To Learn, a touch key typing program.
  • Third grade: Deeper learning of MS Word; how to create PowerPoint presentations from start to finish, from basic design to animating the finished product; more in-depth Internet use through web quests; Type to Learn; Accelerated Reader to test reading comprehension.
  • Fourth grade: Advanced operations in MS Office suite and at this point, most students demonstrate a solid understanding of the MacOS.
  • Fifth grade: Thorough understanding of all MacOS applications and operations; learn GarageBand and Photoshop; can create their own music using prerecorded loops; taught how to use midi and internal microphone to create melodies and record their voices; learn Photoshop skills and use creative applications to make rich multimedia presentations.

"Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important," says Bill Gates. "I'm a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they're interested in."

At Carpenter, our mission is to educate the whole-child, and through superb enrichment classes such as our Media Lab program, we give our children the best education possible.

For more information about PFC's Enrichment Programs, please contact Amber Schaeffer at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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