USN Lower School Technology!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Into Thanksgiving Week!

The Short Story:
  • 3rd graders are continuing with their "All About Me" powerpoints.
  • 4th graders continue to forge ahead into Quest Atlantis.
  • Kinderkids and 1st graders are learning where to visit on their own at Boowa and Kwala.
  • 2nd graders are choosing their two favorite 7th grader illustrations and voting for them on my California colleague's wiki.
The Long Story:

This week 3rd and 4th Graders take a look at a wonderful video my North Carolina learning network friend, Steve Johnson, made about our "digital footprints," the trails we leave behind online over the years. Though we can't see this at school because it is on YouTube, and YouTube is blocked, I emailed Steve and asked permission to show it to my students. In response, he sent me a high definition version with copyrighted music. I am able to share that with my students in the classroom as "Fair Use," but the online version at YouTube uses non-copyrighted open source music. It's still good, and I'm going to embed it here to prove it!

After the movie and a quick discussion about it 3rd graders moved to "right-click/custom animation" in Powerpoint. The kids pick it up quickly and we're sure to see some marveleous work online here before Winter Break. Stay tuned!

The 4th graders moved on into Quest Atlantis, and though none has made it all the way through the preliminary, Council-assigned quests and into the few that I have begun to assign, many are "getting it" in essential ways. Our main problem in the lab is that the client's performance is very erratic in the lab. I'm looking up at my desk at 9 computer numbers, those of the ones students reported today as "frustrating" in their efforts to quest. I've been working madly on optomizing the program on all computers, going to radical measures with Internet Explorer settings in order to do so, upgrading each computer to DirectX10, and generally flitting from computer to computer to try other tweaks every session. I plan to work some on lab computers over Thanksgiving Break, but if it's too frustrating for kids when we return, I will reluctantly move on into another project sooner than the later I had intended to do so. Again, Stay tuned.

Kinder and 1st graders, having spent a couple weeks drawing their hand-traced turkeys, then printing them, this week explore the 63 sets of 5 activities Boowa and Kwala have to offer at their "TV Series" webpage. They have adapted to the user interface of the 20 computer skills lessons at the "My First Clicks" page, and this one works in just the same way, only with the addition of one graphic image mirror of the texual link accessed from an icon at the top of the page. It looks like this:

2nd graders went online this week to vote in my learning network colleague's friendly competion in the vein of "Doodle for Google." See last year's results in our own GoogleDoodle competition. Friend and blogger Karen McMillan took her 7th grade class to a local creek for a field trip. When they returned, she challenged them to create a Google Doodle on the them of their field trip experience. These she scanned and formatted into a slideshow Google Presentation (like a Powerpoint) and put on a wiki at Are you still with me? Next, Karen created a google form survey with the numbers of the drawings and set it up so that she could ask visitors to the wiki to choose their two favorite doodles. Finally--and this is key--she blogged about it at her "Notes from McTeach" blog and then cast out invitations via her professional learning network (twitter, facebook, etc.) for others to come vote. I learned about it from another learning network friend, Julie LeChance, who tweeted it out to her learning community, to which I belong. After my 1st 2nd graders had voted, I tweeted McTeach, the name Karen goes by on Twitter, that we'd done so and quickly got the reply:
All of this gives me ample opportunity to engage 2nd graders in the way my own life-long learning practice unfolds day by day, and to encourage them to join in with their creative and positive thoughts and opinions. With luck, and with everything above and more working in concert toward understanding, they'll leave Lower School with some similar commitment to learning in their own lives. Though it'll be up to them to figure out how they'll balance which learning opportunities, I hope that my early introduction to some of them will help with that.

'Til next week!

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home