September 25, 2017
104 minutes

Internet Moment: Today we explored some of the features in Google Maps. Students were shown how to find our school and view satellite and aerial photos of their neighborhoods. Students found directions by car, bike and walking from school to their house. We also used the street views and how the Google Maps cars work was explained. We then went to Munich, Germany and used the street view feature to explore the city.  It was explained to students that in Germany people can ask to have their residences removed from Google Maps. We also traveled to Tokyo, Japan and students were shown how to check live traffic data.  We also discussed how Google Maps collects traffic data using personal cell phones.  Students then had some time to explore the world on their own.  (PA-BCIT: 15.6.8.M, 15.4.8.A)  (ISTE Standards:  1a, 1c, 1d, 2c, 3b, 4c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 6a, 6b)

Think Before You Post: 
 Students were reminded that many of the images and videos that they share are available online and can be seen by the whole world.  It was explained to the class that in 2016 40% of college admissions officers reported using online searches when reviewing applicants and 70% of hiring managers reported researching job candidates online.  All students who have posted anything online were reminded to spend some time reviewing their privacy settings and to always "THINK before you POST."  (PA-BCIT Standards: 15.2.8.H, 15.2.8.L, 15.6.8.M, 15.3.8.T, 15.3.8.T, 15.3.5.V, 15.3.8.Q, 15.5.8.J, 15.6.8.M, 15.8.8.J) (ISTE Standards: 1d, 2c, 3c, 4a, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 6b)

As Seen Online Slide Show:  Students used a shared Google Slide show and different search engines to create a show that consisted of all the pictures of Newtown Middle School students that we could find online.  We then reviewed the slide show and discussed some of the positive and negative effects of a digital footprint.  Students were reminded to search for themselves from time to time and to think more carefully before posting and sharing pictures online.  We also discussed some techniques for controlling your online image and some strategies for repairing any damage to your online reputation.  (PA-BCIT Standards: 15.2.8.H, 15.2.8.L, 15.6.8.M, 15.3.8.T, 15.3.8.T, 15.3.5.V, 15.3.8.Q, 15.5.8.J, 15.6.8.M, 15.8.8.J)  (ISTE Standards: 1d, 2c, 3c, 4a, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 6b)

Office Yoga Break:  During long classes like this one students are always reminded to take breaks and get exercise.  Students shouldn't spend more than 30-40 minutes in front of a computer without taking a break.  As part of our break today we practiced a simple office yoga stretch for your shoulder.  After the break everyone had a chance to get up and walk around.

PowerPoint Introduction:  
Almost all students identified that they had suffered through some bad PowerPoint presentations in the past. As a catharsis activity we made a list of all the bad & ugly things our students have seen in PowerPoint. We then prepared a short list of good things to do in PowerPoint. We also discussed the origins of PowerPoint and the importance if using good images and graphics in your slide shows. View a sample T-chart here. 

A Day At School PowerPoint Presentation: Students started a 6-9 slide show about a topic that they are all experts at, being 7th graders at Newtown Middle School. These shows are made for 6th graders who will be transitioning to our school next September. Students were shown how to access the background templates in MS PowerPoint 2013 and how to find additional backgrounds on the internet. Everyone had time to pick their backgrounds and start making their slide shows.  Next class students will be shown how to find license free and public domain images from the internet using advance searches in Bing.com.

As Seen Online Video: As a follow-up to the think before you post presentation we watched a short video from Kim Komando about some of the negative consequences that have happened from posting photos without thinking first. (PA-BCIT Standards: 15.2.8.H, 15.2.8.L, 15.6.8.M, 15.3.8.T, 15.3.8.T, 15.3.5.V, 15.3.8.Q, 15.5.8.J, 15.6.8.M, 15.8.8.J) (ISTE Standards: 1d, 2c, 3c, 4a, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 6b)

September 19, 2017
94 minutes

Internet Moment
: Students had a chance to explore Plane Finder which is an online resource that displays the locations of all the commercial airliners in the world. This website is an example of using public domain information to create a profit making website and app. We also discussed how the information about airline locations is collected by a government agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, and is therefore in the public domain. (PA BCIT Standards: 15.3.5.V, 15.4.8.A, 15.6.5.L)

Final Word Project: The overall goal of teaching Word in computer class is to make sure that when students have an idea for a project they are able to make it in word and print it so it looks just the way they imagined it. For the final Word project students are supplied with a specifically laid out version of the Gettysburg Address and they have to make one that looks just like it. The concept of public domain vs. copyright protected  was also discussed. All students had time to finish this project in class today. Click here to enlarge project description
Office Yoga Break:  Students are always reminded to not spend too much time sitting in front of computers.  For our break today we practiced a simple yoga stretch for your sides and then everyone had a chance to get up and move around the room some.

Technology Current Event Video: We finished class today with a short video from Pond5.com about how public domain works. In the video the three ways content enters the public domain is explained (through governmentthrough dedication and time).

September 15, 2017
91 minutes

Internet Moment:  We started class today by visiting some online logo quizzes and students had some time to test their knowledge.  Students were reminded that we live in a very graphical world and that they are routinely exposed to thousands of corporate logos every day.  

Word Logo Project:  To get more familiar with the drawing and graphics tools in Word students were asked to create a unique logo as if they were starting their own business. A slideshow of corporate, athletic and national logos was presented to help students understand what a logo was and what visual communication is all about. Students had a chance to share their completed logos with their classmates. Click here to view the project description.  Click here to view the logos we created.  (PA BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.E, 15.4.5.G, 15.3.8.U, 15.4.8.D)

Office Yoga Break:  
During long classes like this one students are always reminded to take breaks and get exercise. Students shouldn't spend more than 30-40 minutes in front of a computer without taking a break. As part of our break today we practiced a simple office yoga stretch for your neck. 

Using Email:  We practiced sending formal emails to teachers today.  Students were shown how to access their Contacts List and how to add names to it. We then used We discussed what CC: means (carbon copy), what should go in the Subject line and students were reminded that their school email account was not private. Everyone had time to finish this project in class today.  The directions for this project can be viewed here.  (PA-BCIT Standards 15.3.8.E, 15.3.8.M, 15.3.8.O, 15.3.8.Q, 15.3.8.R, 15.3.8.S, 15.3.8.U, 15.3.8.X, 15.4.8.D, 15.3.8.M, 15.4.8.F)

September 13, 2017
104 minutes

Internet Moment: In continuing with the theme of protecting yourself online students were shown the website OnGuardOnline from the Federal Trade Commission.  Students were shown the current Scam Alerts list and reminded that this website was a reliable resource for identifying scams.  Students also had an opportunity to try some of the games in the Video & Media section. Some of the games were: Phishing ScamsInvasion of the Wireless HackersCyber Criminal & Invest Quest. Students were encouraged to go back to this site and explore it on their own.  (CRETS:  2a, 2d, 3b)

Keyboard History:
  Students were shown a short presentation about the development of typewriters and computer keyboards.  The reasons for the QWERTY layout were also explained and students were reminded that the only way to really improve their typing speeds are to use the home row and learn to touch type.

Typing Test: All students took a typing test using 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:  28.6 WPM Click here for more information about typing speeds at Newtown Middle School.  
(CRETS:  2e) 

Online Typing Activities: As a follow up to the typing test students were given some time to find some 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 projects.

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/positions.htmlAssigned Seats: All students have an assigned seat/computer in the lab. Students have a responsibility to report any problems with the machine they have been assigned. In this way we all participate in maintaining our school computers. Everyone should use the same computer every time they come to the lab. Students were also reminded to adjust the keyboard, mouse, chair and monitor to meet their ergonomic needs when they come to class. (CRETS: 2b) (PA-BCIT Standard: 15.4.5.D, 15.4.2.B, 15.4.8.F) (ISTE Standards: 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 6c)

Business Letter #2: Students practiced professional communication and typing skills by making a second block format business letter. To make this letter students have to copy text from Business Letter #1. How to Set up a table, merge cells and copy/paste text was demonstrated. Everyone had time to finish and print this project in class today. Students were also reminded that they need to develop a personalized signature and we discussed the use of a written signature on legal documentsClick here to view the project description(PA-BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.A, 15.3.8.B)

Log on and Check Grades:
 All students were asked to log into the Home Access Center and check their grades. Since January 1st, 2015 all HAC  accounts have been updated so that students can accessed their grades using their regular district log in and password. All students should be able to log in and check their grades routinely. Students were also reminded to check out the free eSchoolPLUS Family app that's available from Google Play and the iTunes Store

Technology Current Event Video:  We finished class today with a short video from DNewsChannel about teaching cursive writing and typing in schools.

September 11, 2017
44 minutes

http://www.weather.govInternet Moment:
 Students were shown Weather.gov (the National Weather Service) as an example of a huge online database that's full of real-time and archived information. We checked our local weather and spent a few minutes checking the satellite images and Doppler radar for the whole United States. Students were also shown how to access the hourly weather graphs for our area to get precipitation predictions. We also discussed how federal government publicationssuch as the NWS website, can not be copyrighted and are therefore in the public domain. Students were reminded that the NWS is the original source for most of the weather information they receive on the internet, TV, and their phones. This website was also used as an example of "unbiased" information on the internet. Students were also told how predicting the weather motivated early computer pioneers. Finally, students were shown an old video about how early computers were used to predict the weather(PA BCIT Standards: 15.3.5.V, 15.4.8.A, 15.6.5.L)

We also discussed some of the advances that have taken place in the last 65 years:

Finish Business Letter Project:
All students had time to finish this project in class today. There was also a demonstration of how to adjust text and line spacing.  We saved it using our network drives and students were shown how to organize their drives by making folders.  Click here to enlarge the project description.  (CRETS:  2a, 2d, 2e, 6a) (PA-BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.A, 15.3.8.B)  (ISTE Standards:  1a, 1c, 5a, 5c, 6b)

Technology Current Event Video:   We finished class with a video from the Corning about some potential future uses for their glass products.  

September 7, 2017

91 minutes

Internet Moment: Google News - Students were shown how to use this popular news aggregator to find current event stories and how to search the news for topics that interest them or might be required for another subject area.  Students were also asked to search Google News for themselves and people they know.  (CRETS:  1a, 2a, 3a, 3b, 3d, 7d) (PA-BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.G, 15.6.5.L(ISTE Standards: 3b, 3c, 4c, 5c, 5b, 6a) 

Class Blog: Students were shown TodayInComputerClass.com and told that they can check here anytime to review what work was done in class. We also discussed what a web log or blog was, how blogs developed into microblogs like Twitter and now mobile phone based apps like Instagram. This website is the blog or web log for our class. Students were also told that their parents will be sent an email with a link to this website so they can also review what we are doing in computer class each day.

Computer Class Survey: All students take a computer class survey. The results of this survey are used to guide the instruction for the class. You can view the survey to the right. Click to enlarge. We then used the survey as the outline for the following presentation. 

Introduction to Computer Class Presentation:
  This presentation was a follow up to the survey and covered basic computer concepts everyone should be familiar with such as:
Break:  Students are always reminded to not spend too much time working on computers and to take breaks every 30-40 minutes. For our break today we conducted a probability experiment about matching birthdays that you can read about here. Everyone was asked to get up and find the other person in the room who shares their birthday to see if there was a match. 

Business Letter #1
:  Students practiced their typing and formatting skills in Word by typing a block format business letter.  This project required students to  demonstrate a list of basic word processing skills that included:  changing fonts, changing the size of letters, line spacing and making a bullet list.  This project also introduced students to formal business communications as it is a block formatted business letter and it provided everyone with some typing practice.  The text of the letter was based on a sample letter from the FTC that would be used to inform a credit card company of an identity theft concern, which was something we previously discussed in class.  All students will have time to finish this project next class.  We saved it using our network drives and students were shown how to organize their drives by making folders.  Click here to enlarge the project description.  
(CRETS:  2a, 2d, 2e, 6a) (PA-BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.A, 15.3.8.B)  (ISTE Standards:  1a, 1c, 5a, 5c, 6b)

Technology Current Event Video:  We finished class today with a short video from WWLP News in Springfield, Massachusetts about kids and identity theft.

September 5, 2017
70 minutes*

Introduction to Basic Computer Skills Class: 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. They were reminded that they also need to get used to helping each other with technology. (PA-BCIT Standard 15.2.5.L, 15.3.8.C, 15.3.8.D, 15.3.5.M, 15.8.5.C)

Log On & Explore:  All students were given time to explore the start menu and the various programs available to them at school. 

Setting up Student Passwords: All students were given some suggestions to help them develop good passwords. Some suggested good password practices were: Come up with a collection of passwords to rotate through instead of just one, make a pass phrase instead of a password, mix number, letters and symbols together. Student passwords must fit the following parameters: 
  1. Include upper case letters
  2. Include lower case letters
  3. Include numbers
  4. Include symbols/punctuation
    * Note that 3 of the 4 options are required.
(PA-BCIT Standard:  15.4.8.F)

Google Drive: 
Students were shown how to access their Google Drive today. We created folders for all their classes and students were reminded that they will have access to their google drive until they graduate from high school. Students were also reminded that they can access their Google Drive from anywhere in the world where they have internet access.  Everyone had time to make some folders and organize their Google Drive.

Profile Pictures:
 Students opened up their school Google Accounts and we talked about how their profile picture works and that it is public. They were then shown Cartoonify.de and students had time to make a custom profile picture. Students were also shown a collection of generic profile pictures that they could use. We discussed the difference between your professional and personal persona and what online "personal branding" was all about. Students were reminded of the importance of learning to manage what they looked like online. Students then shared their images using network drives. Sharing files by using drag & drop and the district Swap Drive was demonstrated. The best use of the H: & X: drives was also explained.  Everyone then had an opportunity to set their school profile picture.

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, Mr. Karl Fisch.  Here is a link to his blog:  THE FISCHBOWL for more information. 

* Class time was shorter today due to an extended homeroom schedule