Teach With video is a blog to help teachers integrate digital video projects in the classes they teach. The podcast provides tips for classroom management, unit and lesson design, and various resources to help teachers guide students toward the successful creation of curriculum-based videos.
I recently posted about the “push start” Jane Harris gave me for integrating Scratch (programming) projects into the curriculum. I had been working with an advanced high school math elective class before Jane gave me all the great advice about how to set up the projects. I think that the students and teachers did some great work and I would like to share it with you. Please feel free to leave comments on the student blogs about their project or reflection. I know they will appreciate the feedback.
In the ed tech office we often get teachers coming in with computer problems that are solved with some very basic troubleshooting tips. I created this document (in the form of a certificate) with the hope of helping teachers to learn the most basic troubleshooting. I created it as a certificate thinking that people might be more inclined to post it on the wall and refer to it. Please feel free to share the document.
I have a friend in Costa Rica, Harry, and it seems that whenever we get together we talk historical politics. I haven’t seen him for over a year, but today I received an email from Harry’s wife & she passed along a question from him. He wants to know who my top ten US presidents are. Harry is very well read, and he knows a lot more about US history than I do. I was a political science major in college and have taught United States history for over ten years, but I haven’t ever given much thought about which presidents were the best in history. My first thought for first & second are Lincoln and Washington. I’m not a big fan of Kennedy (for bringing humanity to the brink of nuclear war), and William Henry Harrison won’t make my list (he only served one month of his term). Beyond that I’m not sure.
This is the type of discussion/debate I love to have in my classes. It really forces the students into a deeper understanding of the history in order to be able to argue in favor of their favorite. Of course, we must define what we mean by “best.” Is it based on leadership, popularity, winning a war, economic prosperity, integrity, crisis management, or some other factor? How would these factors be measured?
I’d like to ask for your help in answering my friend’s question. Leave a comment letting me know what you think are the criteria I should use to judge the presidents, and who your top presidents are. Also, you can collaborate on a Google Doc by adding why you think a president should or should not be included on the list. I’ll post my list when I finish it.
Unfortunately, hard drives don’t last forever. But you can keep using them. Here is my friend Kevin‘s external hard drive shortly after it died.
I love opening electronic equipment after it no longer is in use, so that’s what I did with the hard drive. I left it sitting on my desk after opening it. I started using it as a coaster for my coffee cup.
A few days later I came across some of those rubber footpads that are used to keep things from scratching up your table. I stuck four of those to the bottom to keep my “coaster” from scratching my desk.
Last year the KIS ed tech team began planning to develop critical thinking through programming in all three divisions. Mark Page started using Scratch in the elementary school during an EPP. Mark plans on continuing this and I have begun working with the middle school Tech Gurus and an high level math class in the high school. I was fortunate enough to connect with Jane Harris from Chinese International School in Hong Kong, who has been working with scratch programming for several years with her students. What follows is how Jane suggested we set up the projects. Most of this post are her exact words, not mine.
Jane suggested that we structure the programming as challenge-based learning projects, where the students design and build a game to build connections between Maths and Music/Art/Science. Something which will influence the way players think about Maths and Music/Art/Science. The app Soundrop is a great example of the type of projects the students should attempt.
Some of Jane’s other ideas for the course include: 1. Groups will use the Scratch environment to build the game. 2. Groups will identify their Big Idea, Essential Question, Guiding Questions and Guiding Activities: these will help to define and structure the projects. 3. The Essential Question should be answered by the Scratch game; the Guiding Questions should help to shape the process the group move through to design the game by providing their context and the “so what?” The Guiding Activities should help the group to better understand what they need to know before they can build the game; these activities are ongoing upskilling – research, connecting with experts, tinkering with ideas, etc. Groups should use a range of tech tools to document their learning and the process they go through.
Groups should create accounts on the Scratch website and a class gallery should be set-up where group projects can be uploaded and shared with the Scratch community. This is fantastic for eliciting feedback, problem solving and having projects beta-tested. Groups can develop their own wikis/blogs where they can post, collect and document their learning process.
The high school math class is finishing up their projects. I will post links to them soon.