Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.
Here’s a great question I got from Kaylene:
Same with Photoshop. We talk a lot about file types when working with this program. Students need to understand the difference between saving as a .psd and a .jpg to use this program well.
When students search images, we talk about file type and file size. I ask them to find .jpgs of a certain size–mostly to get them to pay attention to that, but also for quality issues.
If your sixth graders are blogging, it will ask for a certain file type to load an image. that’s a great opportunity to discuss ‘file types’ and why an .xls won’t load but a .jpg will. Perfect time to teach screenshots–which will save a non-interactive version of the .xls as a .jpg and enable loading. Also a great opportunity (if you have GAFE) to show them how to load an interactive spreadsheet with the.html (another extension).
In short, I pause and chat about extensions whenever the opportunity arises. I don’t make it a separate unit. I tried that and just didn’t work. Became boring very fast.
Does that help?
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.