The need for technology is more paramount than ever, with businesses utilizing tech platforms for video conferences and keeping in touch with their employees. Adding to that, the cybersecurity industry is experiencing a shortage of workers – and that deficit will only get bigger. So, where is that gap going to be filled? Well, education, of course!
The K-5 Technology Curriculum Site is one such platform trying to overcome education gaps that currently exist for technology subjects. Like Zenva Schools, the platform aims to make planning and teaching technology subjects simpler for teachers.
In particular, the developers created an entire tech lab lesson plan curriculum for all elementary school grades. However, just how good are the features and tools on the K-5 Technology Curriculum Site, and what can Zenva Schools offer to you that they are unable to?
In this article, we’ll explore these topics and help schools choose a good approach for their teaching needs.
Try out Zenva Schools with your students for free! Contact our team via this form and we’ll be in touch to set up your free access.
Who created the K-5 Technology Curriculum Site?
The K-5 Technology Curriculum site was created by an educator for educators. Brittany Washburn started the site when she was tired of spending late nights, exhausted and frustrated, trying to find anything exciting, engaging, and interesting for her lesson plans.
Brittany soon discovered the joy of screencasting from her class website and how simple it could make her lessons.
Who is the target audience?
As a teacher built the site, it’s easy to see its a resource aimed at tech teachers. But the resources aren’t just for teachers. A tech specialist, media specialist, or tech teacher at any level can take advantage of the lesson set-ups as well.
However, it is worth noting that there is a bias for teachers – as that is the primary audience.
What’s available on the site?
On the site, Brittany curated many online resources for teachers and segmented them into lesson plans and projects for teachers to access, edit, and utilize however they so wish.
Enough for the entire school year
A critical feature of the website is the scope of lesson plans for the entire school year for grades K to 5. In a basic subscription, teachers have access to over 200 lessons and activities to help save time and effort.
Furthermore, the site is constantly evolving because they create more lesson plans and resources weekly, including a venture into middle school teaching resources with grades 6, 7, and 8 as part of a Middle School Technology Projects bundle.
Some of the courses the K-5 Technology Curriculum site offers includes:
- Computer Basics & Procedures
- Mouse/Trackpad skills
- Digital Citizenship & Internet Safety
- Online Research Skills
- Creativity with Tech Tools
- Software Programs (Including Google Apps & Microsoft Office)
- Coding (Computer Science)
There are also various add-ons to subscribe to in order to enhance the offered material.
Despite the scope of the lesson plans, the variety of resources is lacking compared to the features sites like Zenva Schools offers – including interactive lessons, new and on-demand video lesson plans, and in-course quizzes. These varied and fun lesson plans help to provide a more engaging and memorable experience for students, and are a bit more adaptable to different styles of classrooms.
Lesson Plan Details
As mentioned, a big component of the site is its offering of lesson plans. The following are K-5 Technology Curriculum tools for tech teachers to make use of in their labs:
- Printable and editable lesson plan and rationale pages
- Grade level binder covers
- Unit separators
As part of these tools, each lesson plan or project comes in a PowerPoint presentation – which will open in Google Slides if uploaded to a Google Drive. They are fully editable to adapt in any way teachers require to make it fit with their lesson.
In addition, there is a web page with linked prompts, directions, and activities – like a digital workbook.
However, similar to before, they do lack variety in the forms of their lesson plan. To example, Zenva Schools not only offers downloadable and editable lesson plans (presented in a friendlier word document format), but several other supplemental materials to support the plans. These include access to coding course codes, downloaded PDFs summaries of each lesson, and additional activities.
Zenva Schools also makes sure to tailor their lesson plans to match a variety of different curriculum standards – making them a great resource for many different countries.
To help you get started, Brittany included an entire digital library of free resources, although teachers need to subscribe with their email address to gain access.
The free, downloadable resources give you an idea of the content you can expect when you opt to purchase packs with cold, hard money. The free tech teaching resources include some of the following:
- Weekly Tech Lab lesson plans
- Digital Pixel Art
- Color by Code Printables
- Coding Quests Printable Board Game
- Virtual Classroom Backgrounds
It is worth noting, though, that it’s equally possible to sample courses on other sites. Using Zenva Schools as an example again, not only does the platform offer teachers a lengthy free trial – which comes fully featured – but also a sister, consumer-based platform: Zenva Academy. Zenva Academy offers a handful of fantastic free courses that can not only help teachers upskill with their professional development, but explore exactly what sort of content Zenva Schools has to offer.
Some of the free courses include:
- Python 101: Introduction to Programming
- Unreal Engine 101: 3D Game Creation
- Unity 101: Intro to Game Development
This being said, both sites are at their best when teachers subscribe to the full suite of features.
How do you use the site?
The K-5 Technology Curriculum site is straightforward to use as a subscription service, with various price points available dependent on your needs. We will discuss some positives below about using the site.
Easy to navigate
The website itself is simple and easy to navigate, with a clear and concise header menu giving you all the options to explore. The categories section breaks down the lesson plans into sections, including Timely Tech, Robotics, and Assessments. If you want a specific tech course for your students, you can easily gravitate towards precisely what you need.
Taking advantage of your account, you can add any resources you want to a wish list to save for later weeks, months, or even years of your teaching career.
As an added bonus for anyone looking for a more in-depth explanation, Brittany has provided a video on the home screen giving a full play-by-play of how to work your way through the website, leaving no room for confusion for making your way through the website.
This being said, keep in mind this is a big, big site that offers you all your options upfront. Thus, the risk for choice overload is very real. Comparatively, sites like Zenva Schools which aimed for minimalism in their menu design may be better for certain teachers and students alike depending on your individual needs.
Simple for students
Students can use the dropdown menu at the top of the page for whichever grade they’re in and find the specific lesson they’re on. From here, they can access a range of interactive games and tasks designed to keep them simultaneously busy, entertained, and engaged.
It’s worth noting, though, that other platforms do offer some more incentives to students to keep them engaged. For example, Zenva Schools offers a variety of different lesson types, including video, text, and interactive lessons. On top of this, students can also receive Certificates of Completion to celebrate their progress through the material.
While the K-5 Technology Curriculum Site can be challenging to get your head around – with so much scope and open-ended structure – that does offer customization options for teachers and students alike.
The ability to edit lesson plans and make these resources their own enables teachers to teach the subject in their own way. Thus, teachers get huge control over how to structure their class.
Alternatively, Zenva Schools by comparison has the best of both worlds. While teachers can customize which courses go into their classrooms, they can also obtain recommendations for ideal learning paths. This way teachers don’t have to question or waste time researching too much only the most cohesive order to improve their students’ knowledge.
Buying Lesson Plans
As mentioned several times before, the lesson plans are another aspect core to using the site.
Before committing to a purchase, the site gives teachers full access to samples of the plans – giving them a chance to check out the quality and presentation of the resources before committing to a purchase.
These samples also provide a video explanation to use at the start of a lesson (if you wish) that succinctly informs students about the work they’ll be doing and will help get them in the mood.
The lesson plans vary from downloadable resources for students to work through with specific set tasks (and even further tasks for students who finish earlier than the rest), to entirely online and interactive games.
There is also a good variety in including projects, including web pages, animation projects, jigsaw puzzles, and more
Despite all of this, Zenva Schools (as one example) does one better by including all the courses within the subscription. Thus, there isn’t as much pressure to evaluate the resources before buying anything – teachers get everything on the platform with no additional charges.
Is there anything missing from the K-5 Technology Curriculum?
The K-5 Technology Curriculum is missing many key features that other platforms like Zenva Schools offer, such as all the content being fully accessible within the primary subscription, expert instructors for the video courses, interactive games and quizzes during the course, and a completion certificate.
All these features contribute to students feeling like they have a complete experience and have truly accomplished something by the end. Additionally, Zenva Schools’ content is designed to be much simpler to use, while saving an equal amount of time for teachers if not more compared to the K-5 Technology Curriculum Site.
What does the K-5 Technology Curriculum Site cost?
If you want to subscribe monthly for just a single grade, the cost is $30 per month for that year group, There are also other options for items such as the Technology Teacher Planning and Data Binder for as little as $12.
This being said, the site does occasionally offer discount on their special deals page, where you can find bundles of resources for various amounts (depending on the amount of resources included).
While this may be fine for many schools, Zenva Schools is another alternative for this pricing structure. Instead of monthly, Zenva Schools charges per student on a yearly basis. As previously mentioned, teachers also get access to the entire platform for that price. So whether the teacher is teaching Grade 3 or Grade 12, all the resources can be used however needed.
The key takeaways
With options from Kindergarten through Grade 5 (with up to 8 being added), The K-5 Technology Curriculum Site is a decent option for classrooms when it comes to teaching technology subjects. Whether you choose an entire course to implement or take a few lesson plans and resources here and there, there is a good amount of content on the K-5 Technology Curriculum to meet many different classroom needs.
However, despite the high-quality content they offer, they miss the variety, simplicity, and value that Zenva Schools can provide to teachers and students. Thus, they are certainly not a perfect platform, and there are definitely other options available.
If you’re from a K12 school and want to try out our platform, fill out the form below.
We’ll organize a free trial so you can test it out with your students in class!