February 13, 2019
91 minutes

Internet Moment: Students had a chance to explore Plane Finder which is an online resource that displays the real-time locations of commercial airliners all around the world. This website is an example of using public domain information to create a profit making website and app. We discussed how the information about airplane locations is collected by a government agency, the Federal Aviation Adminstration and is therefore in the public domain.


Formal Email Practice:
 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 time to finish this activity 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)

Email Etiquette For Students Video:  We finished this activity with a short video about how to email a teacher.  (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, 15.4.8.G)

Online Game: Our class played an online logo quiz game to start class today. Many teachers at the middle school and high school use online games such as Kahoot, Quizlet and Quizizz for review activities and all of our students should be familiar with how to play them. Students were reminded that these games can also be played on smart phones and they can even be assigned as homework. The concept of gamification in education was also discussed. In our game Gabby came in third place, Kieran came in second and first place went to Grace.

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. After the logo game we discussed what a logo was and what visual communication is all about. Students also 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)

Logo Design Video:    
We finished class today with a short video from Vox about the basics of logo design.

February 11, 2019 
104 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 #2:  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) 

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.

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

Library Database Project:  Students opened a blank Google Doc and typed in a list of the 9 Library Databases that they will have access to here and at the high school.  The list included the usernames and passwords for each database.  Everyone finished the project by inserting a table, adding images and hyperlinks and adjusting the colors. 
Technology Current Event Video:  We finished class today with a 2 minute speed art video from Tozfu, a graphic designer in the U.K., showing multiple logo designs featuring the letter "S".

February 7, 2019
44 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.  Students were also shown how to explore the other planets and moons in our solar system.  (PA-BCIT: 15.6.8.M, 15.4.8.A(ISTE Standards: 1a, 1c, 1d, 2c, 3b, 4c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 6a, 6b)

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 will have time to finish and print this project next class. Click here to view the project description(PA-BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.A, 15.3.8.B)

Technology Current Event Video:   
We finished class today with a short video demonstrating various robotics projects.  These are examples of military D.A.R.P.A. projects.

February 5, 2019
91 minutes

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.

Online Game:  Our class played a Kahoot game with Mrs. Gershman's Computer Class at Newtown Middle School and some 8th grade English language students at Boglári Altalanos Iskola, a Primary School in Balatonboglár, Hungary.  It was a 15 question quiz about European geography.  Mila and Anita from Hungary came in first and second place.  Nick from Newtown Middle School came in third place. We used a Google Hangout to share the Kahoot questions with the other school. We also shared video so our students could see each other.

Kahoot Game
Kahoot Game
View of the game from Boglári Altalanos Iskola in Hungary

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)

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 had time to finish this project in class today.  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)

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:  26 WPM We also reviewed the typing speed graph below and discussed what a bell curve is.

HMS Typing Speeds

Technology Current Event Video:  We finished class today with a video about a new typing technology called the tap strap.

February 1, 2019
104 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) 

Gmail Accounts:
 Students were shown how to access their CRSD Google Gmail today. Students were reminded that they will have access to their google accounts and school gmail until they graduate from high school. Students were also reminded that they can access their Google email from anywhere in the world where they have internet access. Everyone had time to experiment with sending and receiving emails. Students were also reminded to not use their school email for anything inappropriate.

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)

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.  We discussed the difference between your professional and personal image 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.

Profile Pictures

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.

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:
  • The origins of personal computers
  • Apple vs. PC formats
  • Personal computers Vs. Mobile devices
  • Various operating systems:  iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome
  • Identity Theft and Internet Safety
Technology Current Event Video:  We finished class today with a video from the Corning Corporation about some of the potential uses for their glass products in the future. (PA-BCIT Standard: 15.4.8.A)

January 30, 2019
21 minutes*

Introduction to the 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, Cortana and the various programs available to them at school. We also discussed the importance of not being distracted by online games, social media and other online distractions while at school and when they need to get something done at home.

Technology 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. This version of the video was created by Jose Esteves, a professor at the I.E. Business School in Madrid, Spain. (PA-BCIT Standard: 15.4.8.A)

* Class time was shorter today due to the 2 hour delay schedule