digital whiteboard

#25: Intro to PowerPoint–with KidPix Pictures

Drawings are done in KidPix. Assign topics (me, my family, etc) for grades K-1 to reinforce the concept of following directions. With 2nd grade, use one picture for each of the parts of a story—characters, plot, setting, climax/resolution.  Mix pictures and text.  Younger students can show these to parents at Open House or a parent night using Windows slideshow function (something they can do without assistance after a bit of practice). Second graders can create a PowerPoint slideshow that will knock the socks off of their parents.

This is the first of about six projects in PowerPoint (see sidebar for more). Start with this one and build up to the last. (more…)

writer

Dr. Seuss–Techie Style

I think humor’s important, especially for communicating difficult, even intimidating topics. Like computer training. Here’s a poem I like:

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
and your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
and you screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
and the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risk,
then you have to flash your memory, and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom.

Copyright © Gene Ziegler

Email: Gene_Ziegler@Cornell.edu 

I couldn’t have said it better than my buddy, Gene.

–reprinted with permission Ask a Tech Teacher © 6-28-09

teacher blogs

What’s it Like to Be a Blogger?

Do you ever wonder who would sit in front of a computer and post articles, day after day, week after week, with no idea how many people are reading them or if they’ll ever make any money doing this? Are they frustrated journalists? Desperate housewives? Just plain bored and in need of a platform?

I’ve got the answers for you. I write five blogs as well as columns for this newspaper and Technology Integration in Education. I’m not paid for any of them (not a salary as a corporate blogger is), yet I happily do it. My reasons are varied, but I’ve been at it for several years, so it seems to be more than a passing fad.blog dataHere’s the breakdown:

  • If you blog, you’re probably 35-45, or in a broader sense, 25-55 (check for me) (more…)
tech problems

Twenty-one Techie Problems Every Student Can Fix

The Number One reason–according to students–why their computer doesn’t work is… It’s broken. Can I move to a different computer??? They never look inward first. I often wonder what happens at home. As a tech teacher, I know that half the problems that stop students short in their tech lessons are the same few. Once they’ve learned the following twenty-one trouble shooting solutions, they’ll be able to solve more than half of their ongoing problems.Table of problems, solutions

When they can’t double click that tiny little icon to open the program (because their fine motor skills aren’t up to it), teach them the ‘enter’ solution. When somehow (who knows how) the task bar disappears, show them how to bring it up with the ‘flying windows’ key. When their monitor doesn’t work, go through all possible solutions together (monitor power on, computer power on, plugged into duplex, etc.)

Once they know the solution, I play Socrates and make them come up with it when faced with the problem. I reinforce the solutions by having them teach each other when called for. By the end of the year, they’ve got all twenty-one, and we can move on to more complicated issues.


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.

problem solving

Shake Hands with a Computer

Before we go any further, make sure your child understands the different parts of the computer. If they’re 1st grade or younger, have them touch each part as you discuss it. Chat about the part. Click both buttons on the mouse. Use the scroll–see how the screen moves. Change volume on the headphones. Turn the monitor on and off.

Next, show them where each part connects to the computer. Have them plug in and disconnect the headphones, the microphone (if available). Show them the icons that tell where the plug goes. Peek around the back of the CPU–see all the plugs and wires. Are they all plugged in? Point out the duplex where the system is plugged into the wall. That has to be connected to work (you judge if they can touch this).

For k, 1, that’s it. Remind them throughout the following weeks, but that’s it. Repetition is the key to learning. For 2 and up, review the worksheet on this page. Fill it out with them and then have them complete it by themselves. That’s it. From here on, just be sure to use the right words for each part and insist they do to. It’ll stick.


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.