“An understanding of computer science is becoming increasingly essential in today’s world. Our national competitiveness depends upon our ability to educate our children—and that includes our girls—in this critical field.” By Sheryl Sandberg
It is that time of year again where I love to remind and promote Hour of Code to all educators. This year the Hour of Code is the week of December 5-11, 2017. The Hour of Code is a global movement hosted by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org reaching millions of students, in over a 100 countries from K-12th grade. The concept is simple, it gives students an one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming.
In North Carolina alone there are 16,919 open computing jobs (4.7x the state average demand rate) with only 1,224 computer science graduates. You can learn more about how you can support North Carolina Computer Science here or about any other state here.
More great resources:
Apple is offering FREE Hour of Code Workshops
10 projects to kickstart Hour of Code
Hour of Code with Kodable
Here are my previous years blog posts on Hour of Code along with other Computer Science blog posts that have helpful resources:
Resources for CS EdWeek 2015
Hour of Code
The Foos: Kids Coding App
Using Kodable App in the Classroom
Bridging Coding and Common Core with Tynker
I hope all of you give your students the opportunity to see what coding and computer science is all about! You don’t have to know how to code or anything about computer science to provide students the spark to get them excited about learning computer science!
“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” A. A. Milne
Below are my top FREE to-do list tools! All the tools are simple to use and work on all devices. I like to model how to use these tools and incorporate them into the classroom through different projects. This allows students to decide which one they like best for themselves.
- Google Keep: I love Google Keep because it is fast and flexible. You can set reminders and color code your to-do lists. There is also a new Google Keep extension which allows you to save the things that you find to Keep in a single click. This is a great new feature especially for your students when they are researching as they can save their websites in one click. Here is my previous blog post on Google Keep from a few years ago….yes and I still use it!
- Trello: I like Trello when working on big projects with a group of people. You can add comments, attachments etc to the Trello cards. You can create timelines and checklists for different parts of the project but it is all housed together on one board.
- Wunderlist: I like using this one as a way of breaking down large projects/tasks into smaller chunks for individual students. I used to do this for students and put it on their desks or in their agenda. Putting the chunks on the app makes it much more desecrate.
These are just a few of the ways you can use any of these tools in the classroom.
“The most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.” by Steve Jobs
Recently the Apple Education Team launched Apple Teacher, a program to help teachers integrate technology skills into the classroom. Apple Teachers are recognized for their understanding of how to use Apple products for teaching and learning. They have proven knowledge of using iPad, Mac, and built-in apps to enhance productivity and inspire creativity in their classrooms and beyond. Apple honors their achievement and commitment to creating the very best learning experiences for students. Anyone can become an Apple Teacher and it is FREE.
To sign up to be an Apple Teacher, click here. You will then be taken to the ‘Apple Teacher Learning Center’. The Apple Education team has personalized the learning experience for you because you can choose which Apple Teacher path you want, either iPad or Mac, to become an Apple Teacher. (You can also do both paths if you want to as well.)
All you need to do is complete eight online quizzes, in any order that you want, to earn badges. You do not need to review the study materials or resources provided if you feel you have mastered the content of a certain quiz, you can just take the quiz. For example, I use iMovie on my Mac a lot; I felt pretty confident that I didn’t need to utilize the resources provide and I just took the quiz. You can complete the quizzes at your own pace and once you earn all eight badges, you’ll receive an official Apple Teacher logo that you can share with the world.
Apple Education Team will also be updating the Apple Teacher Learning Center, so be sure to come back and check out new learning materials! What do you have to lose, give it a try and Good Luck!
“Every day brings new choices.” By Martha Beck
I was working on a professional development this week and I decided I wanted to try out a new web tool. I have seen My Simple Show about a year ago being used when it was in beta and so I decided to test it out. I think it is an awesome tool students and educators can use.
Once you make an account, click on create new video. Then you complete four steps:
- Draft: This section prompts you to decide on your audience, the purpose of the video and story line which takes seconds to do. Make sure you enjoy the cute mascot and what he says in-between each step.🙂
- Write: Write out your script. If you already know what you want to say, this doesn’t take long. (Learn from my mistake, it is really important to make sure your script is finalized before going to the next step. If you decide to go backwards or want to edit, a lot of items don’t save.)
- Visualize: Here you get to pick your images to match the words of your script. The cool thing is it automatically does it for you however I changed a lot of mine up too so I wasn’t always seeing the same images. You can also upload your own images too. If you edit the text at this stage, you do get a message that says “Editing your text will reset your canvas for this scene. It’s best to fine tune your text before deciding on illustrations.” I edited a lot of text because I didn’t like how it broke it up. (That could just be me though)
- Finalize: Here is where you can choose which voice you would like to read your script or you can record your own. You can also add subtext and video speed.
Each step has a video guide that makes it very simple to use, however when I did skip the help guide I got stuck a few times so I learned, watch the guide!
You can use this multiple ways as an educator. For me, I used it as a way to introduce a topic to educators through a virtual professional development. As a teacher you can have the students create how to videos, show what they know through explaining or have them compare and contrast two topics.
Other blog posts about My SimpleShow that you might find helpful:
Wow – “My Simple Show” Is An Extraordinary Tool For Creating Free Video “Explainers”
My SimpleShow Offers a Good Way to Create Explanatory Videos
“Technology can and should be used as a tool to open the classroom to the world, to ensure that teachers present standards in a way that fosters active engagement and participation in meaningful ways.” – from Pencils to Podcasts
Guest blog post by Katie Stover
Who knew what started as a partnership between my education students at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina and Lindsay Yearta’s fifth graders in Rock Hill, South Carolina would become a catalyst for a larger endeavor. In 2013, both groups of students read Linda Sue Park’s novel, A Long Walk to Water and used Kid Blog as a platform for ongoing conversation about the book. This digital book club enhanced the fifth graders’ motivation and engagement in reading while providing the preservice teachers with a hands-on experience working with elementary-aged learners. The online reader response provided the preservice teachers with authentic assessment and instructional opportunities without having to physically be present in the classroom. They used students’ written responses as a springboard for online conversation about the shared text. The preservice teachers modeled proficient reader strategies like connecting, predicting, and inferring. They then probed and engaged the fifth graders through questioning to elicit deeper comprehension and discussion of the text.
When sharing about this mutually beneficial blogging partnership at the International Literacy Conference in 2014, we were asked by Solution Tree Publishers to consider writing a book about ways to integrate technology into teaching and learning. Fast forward two years later and we are thrilled to announce our new book titled, From Pencils to Podcasts: Digital Tools to Transform K-6 Literacy Practices will be released at the end of August. In this book, we share more about the online book club as well as over a dozen other suggestions for embedding technology into the curriculum to prepare students to meet the demands of the 21st century. We offer practical suggestions for integrating digital tools into familiar literacy practices to facilitate comprehension, evaluation, publication, and assessment. Each chapter provides a vignette, easy-to-use digital tools, step by step instructions for getting started as well as authentic classroom examples and suggestions for adapting across content areas.
We would love to hear from you as you try out and adapt any ideas from the book in your own schools! Our Twitter handles are: Katie Stover @kstover24 and Lindsay Yearta @lyearta
Join #21stedchat on October 2nd, 2017 @ 8:00 EST PM with @edu_thompson and @dprindle with guest host @kstover24 as we discuss the book From Pencils to Podcasts: Digital Tools to Transform K-6 Literacy Practices
To read more about the blogging partnership and other publications by Katie Stover, visit https://furman.academia.edu/KatieStover.
Also check out another great book coauthored by Katie Stover,
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. ” By Albert Einstein
OpenEd has recently released a new FREE Google Doc Add On called Lesson Plan Tool For Docs. It is an add on tool built into Google documents that pops up on the right hand side (similar to how the research feature works on Google documents) that allows you to add resources to your lesson plans. You can search for K-12 resources from opened.com which makes it simple to integrate into your document. OpenED has videos, games, assessments and more all aligned to common core standards.
You can find resources that are aligned to standards, two different ways. One way is by using the search box. Input a standard that you need resources for such as 5.NF.1 and the aligned resources will appear below. The second way is to select a standard drop down and navigate to the standard you are looking for. Teachers can obviously use this tool to build lesson plans, units of study or curriculum maps but I would use it differently!
I would use this tool to build playlist or pathways for students by standard; very similar to how I have used Blendspace in the past. To create a Pathway (example below), where students have choice of what tasks they want to complete based on a particular standard; using the ‘Lesson Plan Add on Tool’ teachers can simply drag and drop resources to create some of the tasks for the pathways by standards. You can also use the assessments that are in OpenEd as checkpoints. This saves teachers time and allows them to stay within one platform (Google) plus it is easy to assign to Google Classroom as well.
Below are some articles and more information on Lesson Plan Tools for Google Docs:
Lesson Plan Tool Docs by OpenEd
A New Lesson Plan Tool for Google Docs by Richard Byrne
OpenEd Facebook and Twitter pages
How to video on Adding on Lesson Plan Tools for Google Docs
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
Memes are images, videos, etc that has a message attached to it. Memes have been made popular on social media sites but they can also be popular in the classroom or in Professional Developments. Below are 5 ways you can use memes and how to make one.
- Create rules/procedures for your classroom, school or PD session using memes
- Have students create for a message they need to convey for any topic (Ex political or current event)
- Use them to teach digital citizenship. For example teaching students to recognize memes versus truths
- Have students create one for a character in a book they are reading
- Have students create motivational posters or create messages for PD sessions
I like using Make a Meme site because it’s free and simple. First decide what you are creating a meme for (what is your goal). Then follow these three easy steps”
- Create an account to login (FREE)
- Explore meme pictures or create your own based on your goal.
- To make mine above I used an app called bitemoji to make my avatar (that looks like me) and then uploaded it to the site.
- Add the text content and click create your meme
- Note you can make the meme private or public. I made mine private so only I can use it and it can not be found in the gallery.
Some memes can be inappropriate for students, so a level of supervision is recommended. We must remember to always remind our students of our digital citizenships expectations and that students under 13 need permission to use web tools based on the COPPA Law . Other sites you can create meme’s with are Google drawings, Know Your Meme and Meme Creator.
As always I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on using memes in the classroom.