Friday, December 18, 2009

Lesson Plan templates

Nothing screws with a tech teacher worse than spending hours preparing a lesson just to have some element not work, either technical or curricular. Today I downloaded documents to help me plan my lessons for the rest of the school year ... so that I can squeeze in the curricular and extra-curricular lessons I want my students to learn! Microsoft Office's templates feature a number of lesson planning documents that will work just fine and I don't have to 'reinvent the wheel'. In order to download any of these you must use Internet Explorer:
  • Substitute Teacher Guide will come in handy to ensure my lesson schedule continues as I plan which professional development conferences I attend
  • Monthly Unit Planner for an overview of what you wish to accomplish each month
  • Weekly Planner so week to week you can adjust your monthly planner (personally I like to have a monthly overview then work on each lesson, so I have a binder with units and lesson-level sheets to accompany each unit)
  • Lesson Planner to plan details of each lesson
  • Lesson Planner to remind you to define concepts for younger tech students
Other templates are available at Microsoft Office's Template site (link to custom search for "lesson plan")

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dell Pushes Advances of the Intelligent Classroom

Found this article while clearing my Inbox, yet a lot of the discussion still resonates in 2009 as schools struggle with reduced budgets.

I like the items mentioned in the "Checklist for Technology Planning" because if departments/schools/districts incorporate a good portion of these elements, they will achieve buy-in since all stakeholders will participate in the decision-making process, thereby reducing wasted money on tech that is not used. The checklist also emphasizes the Technology Plan which should document where a department/school/district currently stands regarding technology and where they'd like to be in a defined future time frame.

Most of their 2008 Top 10 Ed Tech stories are familiar, some are intuitive to educators forced to implement new classroom initiatives they had no input in developing, some are amusing. But they also remain issues in 2009 and going forward into 2010.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A book whose title says it all

Free download of a cute story that will enlighten anyone working with technology:

Machines are easy, People are the Hard Part
: free e-book, $12 print version

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Free software ... use in your school

So your budget has been cut in half or eliminated all together? Hopefully your technology planning for the last flush years has been effective and you're now just in maintenance mode. If so, open source is the way to go for free software that's usually just as if not more effective than the professional version.

This week I discovered a blog by Steve Hargadon that documents the latest in open source software.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Internet & Web Design Unit

Today was *almost* the last day and I realized something: instead of reviewing students' work I could have had them e-mail me their code!

I compiled resources from all over the web, special thanks to Dave Site for providing great tutorials about the Internet's origins, beginner's HTML (have to accept ads for free stuff!).

Sequence (all resources are available at my class website):
  1. History of the Internet: timeline of events, how the Internet is connected, various Internet communications
  2. Search engines & Web directories: searching for information, using booleans, most common search engines & web directories, history of Internet search, techniques for effective searches
  3. Evaluating search engine results: systems to evaluate validity of information obtained, practice evaluating hoax sites for validity
  4. Research tools: to confirm information obtained, as a starting point for school projects
  5. History of social networking: provides relevance to students' lives today
    Focus question: what internet technology can you envision for your generation in the future.
  6. Beginning web design & HTML: Dave Site Chapters 1-16 except
    Ch. 10: FTP section, Copyright section is relevant, should prompt discussion on plagiarism.
    Ch. 14: Frames are still used but new standard is to use CSS for page design
    Ch. 17: I consider forms and mailto forms as intermediate
The class site also features links to make students' pages more colorful and interesting.

Some online code sites so students can view their code without being on a host:
  • Dave Site: the "Try it Yourself!" allows students to code and view their pages immediately
  • W3Schools: has great editors that show code and page side-by-side, except codes in the header do not show

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Free Online Courses

The best things in life are free and getting online resources to educate yourself can't be beat!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

That's what I'm talking about!

This article demonstrates the drive, innovation, initiative required by teachers to bring technology to students. These people persevered through theft, indifference, lack of compensation, and (from personal experience) an inattentive and insensitive technical staff to impart technical knowledge to their students! Kudos to them!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Innovative teaching methods: performing arts

Would you teach rap to your students for $365,000! The Ron Clark Academy, a school in Atlanta, Georgia, came to Oprah Winfrey's attention doing just that: students uploaded a rap about voting, which caught national fire during the election period, which led to television performances worldwide on CNN & BET, which presumably led to being noticed by someone with the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, which led to the $365,000 donation. What started all this? Students' creativity and educational technology: taping and uploading a video.

Free Books! International Children's Digital Library

Need an activity to keep your quickest learners occupied? How about a book? But instead of keeping a print library in your computer lab that you constantly have to update with new books, why not allow students access to a digital library such as the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL)?

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 is the Year of Science!

Probably in part to increase students in scientific and research fields, 2009 has been declared "The Year of Science 2009" and a fabulous celebration took place this past weekend. I wish I had heard about it as it would have been a great opportunity for students to experience hands-on science. No matter: stay tuned for activities this year as I'm sure the Bay Area's many science museums and exhibits will provide plenty more opportunities.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Books, journals and other reference materials online and available for your immediate use

Out of print books? Journals that your local library doesn't carry?

Google Book Search has been scanning and making available out of print books for perusal. Apparently they settled a lawsuit where they will be able to offer some copyrighted material also. My earliest introduction to Google Books came after attending the Alice Workshop at Santa Clara University in summer 2008. After I purchased an older edition of the book, then was given a pre-release copy of the latest edition, by the end of the summer the entire book was available on Google Books, meaning as an educator I would have no cost to teach my students computer science using Alice.

As a student myself, another resource that previously required an expensive license is the ERIC articles database, which offers almost every article ever written, which definitely helps post-secondary scholars conduct research.

These technologies phenomenally reduce the amount of time I physically have to spend in a library, the amount of money I have to spend on books or copies of pages of books, allows me to asynchronously pursue research and curiosity questions, and reduces the amount of paper wasted. They also represent quite a paradigm shift between my undergraduate and graduate educations! Isn't that what using technology in education is all about?