Author Archives: Jacqui
Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Jane Sandwood, has interesting ideas on blending tech with tradition:
Balancing Technology With Traditional Teaching To Enhance Performance In Class
California has recently increased state investment in school technology, focusing on better broadband connections and supporting further teaching of computer science. Although there is still some debate about the benefits of increasing use of technology in schools, there appears to be plenty of evidence to show that, if used effectively, it can greatly enhance learning. It isn’t as productive on its own, and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for good teachers. However, blended learning takes the positive aspects of technology and combines them with tried and tested teaching methods. Although children are naturally becoming citizens of the digital world, for them to integrate fully and in a positive way in this new society, they still need guidance from teachers.
Teaching A Mindful Approach
A balanced approach is particularly useful when dealing with the potential negative effects of digital use, and especially social media. Children are now intrinsically linked to the digital world, but they still need to be taught how to navigate through social media safely, and to ensure that their interactions are positive and useful. In some cases, even after guidance, children may still use social media in questionable ways, and this could indicate other underlying issues or vulnerabilities. However, for all children, it’s important to find ways to balance these adverse effects. Taking sessions in mediation and mindfulness can be a useful technique to manage or reduce the negative effects of social media. In addition, they may also help children concentrate and be more attentive in class.
- Brain Pop Learn about Money
- Cash Out
- Coin Counting
- Coin games—from US Mint
- Count Money
- Counting Money
- Face on money
- Face on money–from Lunapic; lots of options
- Make change
- Money Flashcards–APlus Math
- Mr. Bouncy’s Money collection–lots of websites
- US Mint virtual tour (a slideshow)
If you have iPads, here are two you’ll love:
Creating a shortkey for a program will quickly become a favorite with your students. I use it for the snipping tool–because we use that a lot in class–but you can create one for any program you use a lot. Then I discovered how to create a shortkey for it:
- Go to Start
- Right click on the desired program
- Select ‘properties’
- Click in ‘shortcut’
- Push the key combination you want to use to invoke the snipping tool. In my case, I used Ctrl+Alt+S
Here’s a video to show you:
Every week, I share a website that inspired my students. This one is perfect for Hour of Code. Make yourself a hero for an hour:
Grades 3-8 (or younger, or older)
Problem-solving, critical thinking, building
Greeting cards are easy enough for second graders–even early readers. Using MS Publisher, pick a template, add a picture to personalize, add their name–and they’re done. It takes about 15 minutes. Kids always feel great about creating these greeting cards: (more…)
to promote digital privacy
- Avatar 1–a monster
- Avatar 2–Lego you
- Avatar 3–animal
- Tellagami–a video avatar
- With comics, via Pixton — fee-based
Copyrights and Digital Law
- Copyrights–BrainPop video
- Copyright and Fair Use–Common Sense Media video
- Copyright Law Explained (fun video, informative, thorough)
- Copyright law curriculum
- Creative Commons
- Take the mystery out of copyrights–by the Library of Congress
- Videos on licensing, copyrights, more (from Creative Commons)
- Bullying—Watch this (videos)
- Cyberbullying video
- Cyber-bullying–5th grade
- Cyberbullying—what is it
- Think Time: How Does Cyberbullying Affect You
Here’s along list of websites that focus on math automaticity for the K-5 classroom. I’ve broken it down by grade level, but you can decide if your second graders are precocious enough to try the websites for grades 3-5:
As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!
Q: Some websites/blogs are confusing. I click through way too many options to get anything done. What’s with that?
A: I hadn’t put a lot of thought to this until I read a discussion on one of my teacher forums about the oft-debunked-and-oft-followed 3-click rule made popular by Web designer Jeffrey Zeldman in his book, “Taking Your Talent to the Web.”. This claims ‘that no product or piece of content should ever be more than three clicks away from your Web site’s main page’.
This is true with not just programming a website, but teaching tech to students. During my fifteen years of teaching tech, I’ve discovered if I keep the geeky stuff to a max of 2-3 steps, students remember it, embrace it, and use it. More than three steps, I hear the sound of eyes glazing over.
Whether you agree with the ‘rule’ or not, it remains a good idea to make information easy and quick to find. Readers have a short attention span. Same is true of students.
Students complete three projects in two weeks to aid understanding of architecture, design, and three-dimensional thinking. They’ll experiment with spatially laying out a three-dimensional structure on a two-dimensional paper. When completed, they’ll discuss with neighbors while practicing good listening skills learned in class.
Start with a discussion of design. This includes size, shape, texture, proportion, scale, mass and color. We will apply these to rooms, buildings, and neighborhoods. Encourage students to think and analyze critically as they engage in learning.
In figures below, ask students which are two- or three-dimensions? How do they know?[gallery ids="50170,50171,50172,50173,50164"]
Design the Classroom
Visit Classroom Architect and demo how to design the classroom with drag-and-drop pieces (see figures below). Take suggestions from class on layout. Students must think about where tables and storage are relative to other items. This is an active learning lesson that encourages visual thinking. Develop a sample based on class input and show how to make corrections if necessary.
- Citation Machine
- CoolKidFacts–kid-friendly videos, pictures, info, and quizzes–all 100% suitable for children
- CyberSleuth Kids
- Encyclopedia Interactica–visual encyclopedias
- Fact Monster
- Fun Brain
- How Stuff Works
- Info Please
- Internet Public Library (IPL)
- Kid Rex
- KidsConnect–Kids research
- Library Spot
- National Geographic for Kids
- Nova video programs
- SchoolsWorld.TV--educational videos
- Smithsonian Quest–sign up your class; student research/explore with the Smithsonian
- SqoolTube Videos
- TagGalaxy–search using a cloud
- World Almanac for Kids
- World Book
- Zanran–statistics and data research