Category Archives: Technology activity

Hour of code

Is your class taking part in #Hourofcode this coming week?

The background: Coding is part of computer science which is involved in our digital technology curriculum. But many teachers shy away from this, so a global effort has been made to make it easier to join in coding in the classroom.

Computer science involves problem solving, creativity and logical thinking. So hour of code takes place during Computer Science Education Week (USA) and this year is 4-10 December. Find out more basic information here. This page explains the process and includes a video to watch. You can also print out certificates to give to the students who complete the hour of code activity.

I decided to help a teacher friend run an hour of code in her grade 1/2 classroom but could I find an activity that would be suitable? I checked out the Hour of Code one hour tutorials and found one for grade 2-5 relating to Elsa and Anna from Frozen.

Snowflake n.4 13-Feb-2017

Alexey Kljatov via Compfight

When I was in the classroom, I explained to the children they were going to help teach Elsa and Anna how to skate and make beautiful snowflake patterns. I worked with 4 children for the first hour or so and had them run the tutorial on their own. There were a few questions, some help given by me and some comments were:

This is too hard …… wow I did it!

Can you help me? … to the student sitting next to them

I’m up to puzzle 6 .. wow

How did you do that?

Why is it going over that way? I’ll change that number.

In the session after lunch, these four children became the experts and could wander around the lab if students had questions. When all students were in the computer lab, I worked through the first couple of puzzles to show students:

  • how to click blocks together
  • what happened using start over
  • reading instructions carefully

After seeing most were having a go at the puzzles using Repeat blocks, I gathered them together again to do some more explaining  about using repeat blocks and how to drag lots of connected blocks into a repeat block.

About 20 minutes before school finished, we went back to the classroom. Some students had completed to puzzle 6, others were on 10 and some had got to puzzle 20. Fantastic work for grade 1/2 students who had no idea of coding before that lesson.

Their teacher mentioned she had got to about level 6 and then had troubles working out the next level on her own so was glad someone was there to help her get to the next part of the game.

What had the students learnt from this lesson on coding?

  • how to ask great questions
  • perseverance
  • thinking logically
  • take a guess, test, make changes, test again
  • read instructions
  • working with a partner
  • feeling of accomplishment as they completed each level

Digital technology curriculum

Foundation to year 2: Digital Technologies processes and production skills

Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems

Teachers: Here is a great resource for incorporating digital technologies into your curriculum.

Readers: Have you taken part in #HourofCode with your students? Which activity did they do? What did they learn from it? What did you as their teacher learn from it?

Student blogging challenge

Today Grade 4 students ran a Google Hangout with me, asking questions about registering their blogs and adding the badge to their blog sidebar. Well done girls in 4BC!

Are you and your class interested in

  • connecting with other blogging classes around the world?
  • adding interesting yet educational widgets to your blog?
  • using more web 2.0 tools in your posts?
  • reading what other students around the world are writing about?

Your answer is YES

Then join the October 2017 student blogging challenge.

  • First challenge posted on Sunday 1 October so you won’t be behind.
  • Each week is a different topic with a variety of activities to choose from.
  • Spreadsheet to find other classes and students to connect to by just clicking on a link to their blog.
  • If on holiday one week, miss those activities and come back to them later on.
  • No winner, just a chance to make connections and improve your blogging skills.
  • Add the challenge badge to your blog if you decide to take part.

Click here to register your class blog. If any of your students have their own personal blog, they can register here.

Maybe you would prefer to mentor a group of students. You might be able to connect each of your students to one, with their own blog,  taking part in the challenge.

Taking part in the student  blogging challenge covers many of the ISTE standards for students

2. Digital citizen

6. Creative communicator

7 Global Collaborator

NotatISTE2017

This time last year, I was attending the ISTE conference in Denver, Colorado. But, unfortunately this year I am #NotatISTE.

Even though I am not there in person, I can attend parts of the conference virtually. Here are some of the ways to do that:

1. Twitter – you don’t need to be a member of Twitter to take part in the conversations there. A great place to get ideas for use in the classroom, tools to use on your blog and other educators to chat with around the world.  You do need to be a Twitter member, though, if you want to include your opinion on any of the topics.

Follow hashtags on Twitter – #ISTE2017, #ISTE17, #NotatISTE2017, #NotatISTE17

2. #NotatISTE Google+ Community – this began a few years ago and now has thousands of teachers and educators around the world participating in this community. You have a chance to create your own avatar and include it on your own badge with ribbons. There is a Daily Challenge as well as a general challenge for the conference period.

3. ISTE unplugged live – sessions run by educators not attending ISTE and using the Blackboard Collaborate rooms for the presentations.

4. Periscope – follow educators as they video what is happening at ISTE. Check out #passthescopeedu and their weebly found here, Shelly Sanchez has part of the keynote here.

5. Follow Sue Waters who has created a great blog post about NotatISTE and how she makes the most of attending the conference virtually.

6. Flipboard – a way to curate lots of blog posts relating to ISTE

7. Livebinders – another way to curate resources from ISTE

Let’s go global!

Are you and your class interested in

  • connecting with other blogging classes around the world?
  • adding interesting yet educational widgets to your blog?
  • using more web 2.0 tools in your posts?
  • reading what other students around the world are writing about?

Your answer is YES

Then join the March 2017 student blogging challenge.

  • First challenge began on Sunday 5 March so you won’t be behind.
  • Each week is a different topic with different activities to choose from.
  • Spreadsheet to find other classes and students to connect to by just clicking on a link to their blog.
  • If on holiday one week, miss those activities and come back to them later on.
  • No winner, just a chance to make connections and improve your blogging skills.
  • Add the challenge badge to your blog if you decide to take part.

Click here to register your class blog. If any of your students have their own personal blog, they can register here.

Maybe you would prefer to mentor a group of students. You might be able to connect each of your students to one, with their own blog,  taking part in the challenge.

Free Web Tools

This is the next post in #EdublogsClub. It came at a very appropriate time, as this morning I was running a refresher course on blogging for teachers who have either been blogging for a while or just starting out.

I showed them three different web tools they can embed on their blog.   You can read how I ran the Refresher Day course here!

Padlet

The first tool I showed was Padlet which is like sticky notes but online.

The Padlet below was embedded into the Refresher Day post so the teachers could add a sticky note to share what they wanted to learn while allowing them to see how easy it could be used with students.

Made with Padlet

 

Add  your own note to the Padlet below to share your favorite tools you use with students.

Made with Padlet

 

Symbaloo

The next tool I shared was Symbaloo which you can use to gather resources or websites you often use in class.

In the top right corner of this blog there is a drop down menu under Tools to Use.

This links to the following three Symbaloo:

  1. Coding Sites – from an Irish friend of mine who I met through blogging.
  2. Digital storytelling – a symbaloo webmix which I created from lots of resources from other teachers.
  3. Image and sounds symbaloo –  I use with the blogging challenge as it has links for using images and sounds on your blog.

I’ve embedded my avatar creator symbaloo below:

Voki

The third web tool I showed them was Voki where you can create a talking avatar.  Great for text to speech book reviews and children soon realise punctuation is important.

If I make a free version without signing in I can only add a link to the Voki, but if I join and sign in, I can use the embed code.

I’ve embedded a Voki below:

Terms of Service and Education Versions

If you have visited these three websites I have linked in this post, you will also have noticed they also have Terms of Service and Privacy Policy links at the bottom of their home page.

If you are working with students under 13, it is always a good idea to check these as you might need to get permission from parents for students to use these sites. (Good way for parents to see how kids can be creative on the web.)

Also you will notice that both Padlet and Voki have school versions. If your school prefers to keep control of what students create and don’t like them having their work out in public, then you might be able to opt in for the education version.

Always check for a special education version whenever you look at new tools.