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Friday - June 8, 2012 - LAST CLASS
Internet Moment: Students tried using FreeRice.com which is an online vocabulary game that claims to donate 10 grains of rice to needy people for every correct answer. After having time to use the site students were asked if the site is bogus or real. We then did an activity to demonstrate how to research the validity of websites by independently verifying the facts. Students also had a chance to explore snopes.com as an example of a website where they verify internet rumors.
Make-up Time: Since this is our last class all students have time to make up any work they may have missed. All projects were handed back and students could submit anything they missed or re-submit a project that they hadn't finished.
Class Video Project: We experimented with making an "In Three Words" style video but unfortunately we ran out of space on the network server to store the video clips.
Computer Class Rubric: We completed a rubric that gave students an opportunity to reflect on their own computer skills and their performance in this class.
Closure to Computer Class: Students were reminded that computers are constantly changing and that they had to learn to adjust to new programs, new hardware and new ways of using technology all the time. We are all constantly learning to adapt to new technology.
Thursday - June 7, 2012
Internet Moment: The class watched a presentation about how VOIP and webcams are combined to make video chatting possible. Streaming video from the internet was demonstrated and we watched live video from Cocoa Beach in Florida. The increased use of security cameras was discussed and we also discussed privacy rights and exactly where people should not be video recorded. We also visited EarthCam.com to view some online webcams from all around the world.
Formal Interviewing Using Skype: Our students practiced formal interviewing techniques by Skyping with Mr. Popoff, a physics teacher at the Sunshine Christian Bilingual School in La Lima, Cortes, Honduras. We learned about his school, his students and discussed some of the differences between our schools. Before the interview we talked about the differences between web chatting with friends and participating in a formal web conference. We also prepared our questions in advance so we could learn more about Mr. Popoff and his school.
Excel Pie Chart Project: Students printed and turned in this project today.
Technology Current Event Video: Today we watched parts of a TED presentation by Deb Roy. The presentation is about the research work he did to discover how babies learn to talk. We also learned how he was applying his research techniques to analyze trends in social media.
Wednesday - June 6, 2012
Internet Moment: Today we visited the Google Art Project. This is an example of an emerging technology that is being used to create virtual versions of interior spaces. We also discussed why different web browsers don't always support services from their rivals. For example, the Google Art Project doesn't display in Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
Excel Multiplication Table Project: We started making a multiplication table in Excel using relative and absolute formulas. After an introduction to columns, rows and cells we started making a multiplication table. Students were also shown how create addition formulas and to copy/paste formulas across a cells in a sheet. Click here to enlarge the project description.
Excel Pie Chart Project: We started the next excel project by laying out a data table and collecting data. Various methods of adding up a column of numbers was demonstrated including sum and autosum. Next we created a pie chart of the data. Click here to enlarge the project description.
Technology Current Event Video: We watched a video about the "House of the Future" display in Vilvoorde near Brussels, Belgium. In the video they demonstrated many of the devices that they expect will be integrated into our lives in the near future. You can watch the video here: Living Tomorrow -House of the Future. We also watched part of a TED presentation by Tan Le that demonstrated a new way to interact with computers in the future.
Thursday - May 31, 2012
Finished History of Computers Slide Shows - Students finished their slide shows today and had some time to practice their presentations.
History of Computers Slide Show Presentations - After having time to practice all 5 groups presented their shows to the class using the SMARTBoard. There was a demonstration about different methods for navigating through a presentation (keyboard, clicker, using the board). Each group then did their presentation. While each group was presenting their peers in the audience were using an online survey to give them feedback about their presentation skills. Students evaluated the presenters in the following categories: Text readable, use of graphics, use of colors, speaking volume, presenting more information than was on the slides, the accuracy of the information and that they had obviously practiced their presentation in advance. We also experimented with broadcasting our presentations on the internet via Ustream and a computer class in Neshaminy was able to see some of the final show though the sound quality was poor.
Technology Current Event Video - We watched a short TED presentation by Gary Kovacs, the CEO of the the Mozilla Corporation about how we are tracked when we are on the internet and a free plug-in for Firefox called Collusion that allows you to graphically see the tracking in real-time.
Wednesday - May 30, 2012
Internet Moment: Students explored Google Books as a resource for free ebooks and they were shown how to search the text of a book. The legal controversy surrounding the Google Books Project and copyright laws as well as the settlement to date was also discussed. Downloading ebooks from Google Books to various devices such as ebook readers, tablets, computers and smart phones was also discussed.
Start History of Computers Slide Show - Students started their final PowerPoint project which is a 6-8 slide show that they will present to the class. Students work in groups of 4-5 and use the following resources to create their shows: the internet for research, easybib.com for their works cited, the school network (X: drive) for sharing information, and online resources such as email, etherpad sites and skype to collaborate. Using easybib.com to do an MLA formatted work cited was demonstrated today.
Technology Current Event
Video: Students watched a
Tech Bytes video from ABC News.
Tuesday - May 29, 2012
Finish Day at School Slide Shows: Today students were shown how to add narration to a PowerPoint slideshow. They were also give some advice about how to avoid popping p's or "plosives" . All students added narration to at least 3 slides and some students added narration to all of their slides. We also did one final peer evaluation activity and students had one more opportunity to fine tune their slide show before turning it in for the teacher's review.
Internet Moment: Today we explored Google Sketchup which is a great example of a free CAD program. CAD, or computer aided design/drafting, has become very common across many fields and students should have some knowledge of what 3D designing looks and feels like on a computer. Though it is available at school, Google Sketchup is a free download that students can download at home so they can continue to learn more about this important skill on their own.
Tuesday - May 22, 2012
Internet Moment: As an example of how to use the the internet to learn independently we went to DrCalculator.com to learn about some basic money concepts and vocabulary. Students experimented with the Simple savings calculator to learn about interest rates and did an activity to see how much money they could save up for their graduation. We also experimented with the Simple loan calculator and talked about how car loans work and what a credit score is. Finally we used the Cost of Living Calculator to experiment with the effects of inflation over time by comparing the current cost of a school lunch today to what their parents and grandparents might have paid. Students were then given some time to explore other calculators on their own.
Day at School PowerPoint Shows: Students improved their slideshows today by adding hyperlinks, finishing the table of contents, inserting a video, adding a quiz, removing the background from a picture and setting the show to run in kiosk mode.
Monday - May 21, 2012
Internet Moment: Students were shown various features in Google Maps. We toured the area around Newtown using satellite photos, got directions and viewed street level photos in Tokyo, Japan. We also experimented with the Earth view and students were shown how to take a 3 dimensional road trip from Zion National Park in Utah to Las Vegas using the 3D feature.
Continue Day at School PowerPoint Shows: Today we added more features to our shows. Students continued to add hyperlinks and we started setting up the show so it would run in kiosk mode. A table of contents was added. Click here to enlarge the project description.
Friday - May 18, 2012
Internet Moment: Today we explored online college level courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by going to OCW.MIT.org. Students were shown a presentation about some basic college vocabulary including the names of different degrees that could be earned. We also explored a Physics class by looking at the syllabus, a sample exam and part of a lecture on Potential and Kinetic Energy (starting around 45:40). This website gives students an opportunity to see what college classes are like, and it gives them some insight into what online courses might look like for them in the future.
Continued Day at School PowerPoint Shows: Students completed their 12-15 slides today. They were also shown how to add images and animations and how to drag and drop an entire slide from another PowerPoint. Students also added text and image hyperlinks to the internet throughout their show.
Technology Current Event Video: We watched a TED Video about an idea from the MIT Media Lab. The presenter, Pattie Maes, was explaining the Sixth Sense computing idea while her student, Pranav Mistry, demonstrated it through a series of videos.
Monday - May 14, 2012
Internet Moment: Today we looked at the national Weather Services website as an example of a huge online database of weather data that is completely in the public domain. Student were shown how to access their local weather predications for precipitation and temperatures and how to view streaming radar and satellite images.
Finish Final Word Project: Students finished the Gettysburg Address Project that we had started last class. Click here to enlarge project description.
PowerPoint Introduction: As a catharsis activity we made a list of all the bad & ugly things our students have seen in PowerPoint presentations. We then prepared a short list of good things to do in PowerPoint. View a sample T-chart here.
A Day At School PowerPoint Presentation: Students create a 12-15 slide show about a topic that they are all experts at, being 7th graders at Newtown Middle School. These shows are made for 6th graders who will be transitioning to our school next September. Click here to enlarge the project description.
Technology Current Event Video:
Internet Moment: Students explored OnGuardOnline.gov today. This website is a good resource for avoiding online scams, protecting yourself online, understanding how the internet works, and protecting your personal computer. Additionally we explored the video and media resources and students had a chance to test their technology knowledge by playing games like the one below. More games, activities, tutorials and videos are available at http://onguardonline.gov/media.
Final Word Project: The overall goal of teaching Word in computer class is to make sure that when students have an idea for a project they are able to make it in word and print it so it looks just the way they imagined it. For the final Word project students are supplied with a specifically formatted version of the Gettysburg Address and they have to make one that looks just like it. The concept of public domain vs. copyright protected is also discussed. Students should understand that the Gettysburg Address is an example of a work that is in the public domain. Click here to enlarge project description. We will finish this project next class.
Technology Current Event Video: We watched a short video from ABC News about the new Google Car that drives itself.
Thursday - May 10, 2012
Internet Moment: Students were shown this website today. We also explored the anatomy of a web address and viewed Google in different domains. We looked at http://www.google.co.il, http://www.google.co.jp, and http://www.google.co.nz. Students were shown how they can use the different domain names to narrow a search geographically. For example when we used Google in New Zealand to search for "skiing" and get very different results than when we search for "skiing" in Google.com.
Internet Treasure Hunt: Students began using Word to make a simple webpage that is made up of hyperlinks to the internet. Working with a partner in the class, students found the answers to 6 questions and then shared the web addresses using either the X: drive, email or skype. This project checks for internet searching skills, inserting and editing hyperlinks and introduces web based collaboration. Click here to enlarge the project description.
Friday - May 4, 2012
Internet Moment: Boolean Searching using +, -, and "" - In this activity students were shown how they can narrow an internet search. Click here for an example of the search techniques. Students then used the search techniques to find something they would like to buy on Google Shopping.
Business Letter #2: Students practiced professional communication and typing by making a second block format business letter. To make this letter students copied text from Business Letter #1. set-up a table, merged cells and copied and pasted text. Click here to view the project description.
Word Logo Project: To get more familiar with the drawing and graphics tools in Word students were asked to create a unique logo as if they were starting their own business. A slideshow of corporate logos was presented to help students understand what a logo was and what visual communication is all about. Click here to view the project description.
Technology Current Event: An 8 minute excerpt from a TED Talk by Juan Enriquez concerning recent developments in biology, robotics, technology and their possible combination in the future.
Thursday - May 3, 2012
Business Letter #1: Students practiced their typing and formatting skills in Word by typing a block format business letter. We did not finish this project. Click here to enlarge the project description.
Seating Assignments: All students were assigned a computer and seat today.
Typing Test: All students took a typing test using http://www.typingtest.com. Each student had 10 minutes to take the 1 minute test multiple times. Their best adjusted speed was recorded and graphed in an Excel spreadsheet. The average typing speed for this class was: 35.1 WPM Click here for more information about typing speeds at Newtown Middle School.
Online Typing Activities: Students were given some time to find at least 3 online typing activities (tutorials or games) that they enjoyed. They were to then add these typing activities to their favorites or bookmarks list so they could go back and practice their typing skills in class when they finish their projects.
Technology Current Event Video: Today's video was inspired by an original presentation created by a high school teacher in Colorado, Karl Fisch. Here is a link to his blog: THE FISCHBOWL for more information.
Class today was shortened due to
the Student Council Assembly
Wednesday - May 2, 2012 - FIRST CLASS
Introduction to Basic Computer Skills: Basic rules and classroom procedures were explained. Students were specifically reminded that because technology is constantly changing they should get into the habit of helping each other out and demonstrating the ability to learn new computer skills through experimentation. All students reported that they had helped an adult with computer skills but they also need to get used to helping each other.
Logon & Explore: All students were given time to explore the start menu and the various programs available to them at school. Click here to see a student desktop.
MS Paint Project: Students were shown how to open and use MS Paint to make a simple drawing. Students then shared their drawings using various district network resources and basic skills such as drag & drop. The best use of the H: & X: drives was also explained.
Basic Computer Knowledge Lecture: Using the computer class survey as an outline, a review of basic knowledge about computers was give. This is also a follow up to the video all 7th graders were shown at the beginning of the year about "Technology Use at the Middle School". The Computer Class Survey PowerPoint and a brief review is available below.