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Monday - June 4,
Journal Entry 2 & 3: As this is our second to the last class so students did the last two journal entries. They typed a one paragraph answer to the question: "What new things did you learn in computer class this year?" and a one sentence answer to: "What new things would you still like to learn about computers?"
Finish First Aid Posters: All students finished their three first aid posters and most students printed them in full color. Unfortunately there was a problem with the printer so the rest will be printed tomorrow.
Friday - June 1, 2012
Internet Moment: Students were introduced to Pirate Pad as a possible resource for online collaboration projects. We logged on as a class and students had a chance to use the main screen and chat feature. Type With Me is only one example of an "etherpad". More information about similar web-based collaboration tools here. Unfortunately several students became inappropriate while using the chat feature so we had to discontinue use of the resource.
Start First Aid Posters: This is the final 8th grade project in MS Publisher. Students are to use all the skills they have learned in Publisher to create a series of three first aid posters that share a graphical theme that they created. Information and pictures can be used from the internet but all resources must be correctly cited on each poster using the correct MLA Works Cited Format. Students were instructed on how to use easybib.com to help them create their works cited. This is a cross-curricular project so students may submit their finished first aid posters to their Health Teachers for extra credit. Click here to enlarge the project description.
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.
Friday - May 25, 2012
Internet Moment: Students 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.
Continue Full Page Ad Project: Students continued to work on their Full Page Ad project. Some completed their rough draft, reviewed it with the teacher and then printed their final draft in full color.
Formal Interviewing Techniques Using Webcams: Our students practiced formal interviewing techniques by Skyping with Mr. Karnoscak from the Willowbook School north of Chicago, Illinois. We learned about what school is like for him and his students, what grade he teaches and what subjects he likes to teach. He also gave us a tour of his school. 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.
Technology Current Event Video: At the end of class we watched a short video about job interview techniques using webcams.
Thursday - May 24, 2012
*No Class - 8th Graders went to Great Adventure today
Wednesday - May 23, 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.
Start Full page Ad Project: Today students started a classic graphic design project to help them continue to develop their own sense of design and their skills in MS Publisher. Each student selected a full page, full color magazine advertisement to recreate in MS Publisher. The student version of the ad must advertize something different than the original but it should look very similar to the original. Click here to enlarge the project description. We did not finish this project today.
Technology Current Event Video: We ran out of time for a video today
Thursday - May 17, 2012
Internet Moment: Today we compared three online mapping websites to evaluate their interfaces and features. We used http://maps.yahoo.com/, http://www.bing.com/maps/, and http://maps.google.com/. We checked to see if they had weather, directions, satellite photos and street level photos. Students also had some time to explore each website for additional features like the new 3D directions in Google Maps and the Birds Eye View in Bing Maps.
Finish Publisher Brochure Project: Students were shown how to create a hanging indent list and how to print double sided. Each student also had an opportunity to review their project with the teacher.
* Class time was effected by a Concert today
Wednesday - May 16, 2012
Internet Moment: Today students had an opportunity to tour major art museums all around the globe by visiting the Google Art Project. This website offers virtual 3D tours of museums and high resolution images of the art work within.
Start Publisher Brochure Project: Students take an existing brochure for computer class and recreate it in Publisher 2010 using a premade template as a starting point. Students also practiced their typing by re-typing the text. Click here to enlarge the project description. We will finish this project tomorrow.
Office Yoga Break: Since we were doing a lot of typing today we discussed what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is and how typing, texting, and computer gaming can cause it. Students also had a chance to practice a Yoga Stretch for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Technology Current Event: Last year all students watched this TED Video about Sixth Sense Technology coming out of the MIT Media Lab. As a follow up 8th graders watched this new video that features more of Pranav Mistry's ideas:
Tuesday - May 15, 2012
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.
Started Basic HTML: Students learned about computer coding by creating a website in basic HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). Students were also introduced to what a webinar is. AnyMeeting.com was used to project the teacher's desktop to the student's screen and the use of webcams in a webinar was also demonstrated. Using Anymeeting.com also made it possible for Mrs. Jackson, Mr. Marx (a teacher in Germany) and Mr. Karnoscak (a teacher from Illinois) visit our class and watch the lesson. Students typed the HTML into notepad to create a simple webpage that included a background color, font color, fonts style, inserting pictures. The use of hexadecimal numbers to create colors was also explained. Click here to enlarge the project description.
Wednesday - May 9, 2012
Internet Moment: To give students some insight into what college is like they explored Open Courseware at MIT and the Open Courseware Consortium which includes colleges and universities all around the world. After a brief presentation about college vocabulary (including different academic degrees, majors and what a syllabus is) student were given time to explore the websites. This was also an opportunity for them to see what online instruction might look like.
Finish Publisher Font Guide: Students completed this project, printed it and turned it in.
Technology Current Event Video: We watched Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrate augmented reality mapping technology from Microsoft at TED. This was a demonstration of what might be the next step beyond the Google Art Project that was demonstrated earlier.
Tuesday - May 8, 2012
Internet Moment: Today we explored Google Earth and discussed how a 3 dimensional virtual environment can be used to augment human memory. We started by watching a short video about the ancient memory technique known as Memory Palace and how this technique could be used to prepare for a test. Students then opened Google Earth and we began a tour of the earth and the moon. The whole class toured a specific list of locations. Afterwards students typed out a paragraph about where they went and what they saw to demonstrate the effectiveness of using 3D spatial references, such as the virtual environment of Google Earth, to augment memory. We then concluded with a demonstration of a Virtual Memory Palace.Memory Palace Demonstration Video
* Today's class was short due to the half day schedule.
Monday - May 7, 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 Publisher Logo Project: After an introduction to MS Publisher and a description of why learning basic graphic design skills is important in communication your ideas effectively, we started our first project. Students got familiar with Publisher 2010 by making a simple logo. Click here to enlarge the project description.
Start Publisher Font Guide Project: Students watched a presentation about how we read using "sight words", the origins of fonts, and the two basic font families (serif and sans serif). Students then started making the font guide. We also discussed the concept of WYSIWYG in graphic design on computers. Click here to enlarge the project description. Some students finished, most will complete this project next class.
Technology Current Events Video: The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was featured in today's current event. Samsung's Transparent Smart Window at CES 2012 and other TV's and devices from the Samsung Display.
Tuesday - May 1, 2012
Internet Moment: Students were shown the different parts of a web address. 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.
Online Typing Activities: As a follow up to yesterday's typing test we looked at the typing speeds for the whole 8th grade in Excel and looked at a bell curve of the speeds. 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.
Favorite Links Project: Students started and finished this project today. Each student made a simple single file webpage in Word. On this webpage they are using a table to layout 6 favorite websites with words and pictures as hyperlinks to the sites. We almost finished this project today. Click here to enlarge the project description.
Technology Current Events Video: Electrical and Computer Engineers Design Wheelchair Controlled By a Magnet on the User's Tongue.
Monday - April 30, 2012
Internet Moment: We started with a brief lecture about different web browsers and an explanation of what an intranet is. Students were also shown how to use popular news aggregators to find current events, search for specific news stories, find new videos and search the archives of old newspapers. We used Google News, Bing News to find out what was going on in our world today. Students were shown an archive search from 1964 for "Council Rock" as an example.
MLA Paragraph Project: All 8th grade students must demonstrate the ability to use the MLA format (which is used at Council Rock and most colleges) in MS Word 2010. To do this project all students demonstrated many basic skills including: formatting text, changing line & paragraph spacing, inserting breaks and formatting in the MLA format. Click here to enlarge the project description.
Seating Assignments: All students have an assigned seat/computer in computer class.
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: 38.6 WPM Click here for more information about typing speeds at Newtown Middle School.
Technology Current Events Video: Students watched a video from Science Daily about the risks of repetitive strain injuries in kids and we practiced a simple yoga stretch to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
Friday - April 27, 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 out.
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.
Pixlr.com Project: Students were shown how to use the online photo editor http://www.pixlr.com to edit a photograph. Students then shared their modified photos using various district network resources and demonstrated basic skills such as drag & drop. The best use of the H:, S: & 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 given. A summary of the presentation can be watched below.
Technology Current Event Video: Most classes end with a 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.