Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Robotics are the new programming

At the Grace Hopper Conference 2010 I attended a workshop on getting girls in grades 4-12 excited about computing, and 2 of the 4 technologies featured used robotics of some sort.

Scratch & Alice are programming languages, and allow students to make incredible animations (2D and 3D respectively) limited only by their imaginations.There are lots of programming challenges for students to participate in throughout the year to really flex their programming muscles.

Pico Cricket & Pleo Dinosaur kits were passed around for us to program and play fun! During a meeting with my peer computer teachers I also learned about Pico Boards, which are like Pico Cricket connections but powered by Scratch...totally awesome...gotta get a few!!!

Then this article about a robotics lesson plan came in my e-mail and I now know that robotics are the next big thing in student computing. Of course it makes sense: artificial intelligence has remained behind the scenes in computing, we have a number of domestic robots (the vacuumers and floor cleaners, and toys) that make us more comfortable with independently operating machines. So the next wave of computers is to develop programmers who are comfortable and familiar with robotics. This means we technology teachers have to step our game up!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Google Bookmarks

I've been using Google Bookmarks to organize my classroom bookmarks. I like that Google Bookmarks (G.Books) allows me to create folders instead of insisting on using it's search box to find what I've categorized: that used to drive me crazy with Gmail so I label important messages and only search using the iPod Touch.

I used (aka, but did not separate work and personal bookmarks.

Adding Interactive Internet Safety Lessons

I now have to practice what I preach: I have a severely learning disabled student in my class for whom I CANNOT give text-based lessons. In addition we read an article in our staff meeting about the purpose of homework and types and length of assignments we should give students. All of this coalesced in my looking for interactive lessons on cyber safety.
We increasingly discuss students who grew up in a multimedia, multi-modal world, yet because we teachers grew up in the text age and are comfortable in the text age, we tend to give students...text. The test will be if students retain the internet safety lessons better through an interactive module than with reading through.