September 18, 2017
91 minutes

Internet Moment: Today we looked at two online resources for fonts. DaFont.com  offers over 33,000 fonts that are either freewareshareware, demo versions or in the public domain. These fonts can be downloaded and installed but students were also shown how they can use the Snipping Tool to get images of the fonts they might like. Students were also shown how they could make their own font using a website like YourFonts.com(PA-BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.E, 15.6.5.M, 15.4.5.A)

Publisher Logo Project:  We started with an introduction to MS Publisher 2016. Publisher was described as a graphic design program which is used to express your ideas visually. The field of graphic design was also explained.  Students were reminded that learning basic graphic design skills will help them to communicate their ideas effectively. Students then became familiar with Publisher 2016 by making a simple logo. We saved this project and shared them with the class during a gallery walk activity. Click here to enlarge the project description(PA-BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.S, 15.4.5.G, 15.6.5.M, 15.3.8.X, 15.9.8.A, 15.9.5.L)

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 ankles and then everyone had a chance to get up and move around the room some.

Font Presentation:
 In this presentation the development of the two basic font families (
serif & sans serif) as well as the best uses for each was discussed. Students were also shown how they read primarily through identifying sight words and why it's so hard to spell check and grammar check your own work.

Publisher Font Guide Project
: Students made a Font Guide in MS Publisher. When finished the student version should look just like the original. We also discussed the concept of WYSIWYG in graphic design. This project gave students another opportunity to get familiar with the program's features.  They also had to demonstrate the ability to make something very specific. Click here to enlarge the project description. Everyone will have time to finish this project next class. (PA-BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.E, 15.4.8.G, 15.4.2.K, 15.3.8.X)

Font Conference Video:  As a follow-up to the Font Presentation we watched a short video from College Humor about a fictitious "Font Conference".

September 14, 2017
104 minutes

Internet Moment: To help our students understand cultural diversity on the internet we investigated what our own accents sound like by taking the NY Times Dialect Quiz. Students then had an opportunity to compare the dialect heat maps from all the students in our class using a shared Google Doc. (PA-BCIT Standard: 15.3.8.J, 15.3.8.K, 15.3.8.X, 15.4.8.D)

Language Differences Video: As a follow-up to the dialect activity we watched a short video from The Atlantic about the various dialects in the United States.

Student Blogging Activity:
 Our students prepared a one paragraph blog comment for students at the Darbari Lal DAV Model School in New Delhi, India Our students were asked to choose one of the following blog entries to comment on:  
Our students were asked to demonstrate appropriate internet communication skills and paragraph writing skills. Students were reminded to use the spelling and grammar checking features in Google Docs to help them. Our students also demonstrated using the MLA format in Google Docs as part of this project.  Everyone was also reminded that whenever they post anything online they should make an effort to make sure it will reflect positively on them.  Everyone had a opportunity to share their Google Doc with another student and have it proofread before we posted the comments online.  This activity gave us an opportunity to talk about the differences and similarities between cultures and schools around the world.  (PA-BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.G, 15.3.8.M, 15.4.5.A, 15.4.8.B)

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.

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 eSchoolPLUS app that's available from Google Play and the iTunes Store.

Technology Current Event Video:  We finished class today with a conceptual video from the Corning Corporation about the possible used for their glass products in the future.  (PA-BCIT Standard: 15.4.8.A)

September 12, 2017
94 minutes

Internet Moment:  To start our class today Mr. McNulty demonstrated how Google and other companies use GPS data from cell phones to track the locations of individuals.  In the demonstration Mr. McNulty showed the class a detailed map prepared by Google of exactly where he and his family were in August of 2014. Using location history (now known as timeline) students could see that he was riding Dumbo the Flying Elephant at precisely 1:08 on August 10, 2014. Everyone then had a chance to open their own Google Accounts and check their location history.  Students were also shown how to access location history on an iPhone.

MLA Format: All 8th grade students must demonstrate the ability to use the MLA format in MS Word and Google Docs (which is the format used at Council Rock and most colleges). Click here to enlarge the project description. Students were shown how to set-up their Word Documents in the MLA Format. This project involves several skills including: double spacingchanging fonts and sizes, changing indentation settings and accessing the header. As part of this project we practiced uploading a Word doc from our network drive to Google Drive. We also practiced downloading a Google Doc as a Word Doc.  Click here to enlarge the project description. (PA-B.C.I.T. Standards: 15.3.5.A, 15.3.8.A)

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. We then visited the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) website and searched for their recommendations concerning computer use. We also discussed employment laws in the workplace.  (PA-BCIT Standard: 15.2.8.I, 15.4.5.D, 15.4.2.B, 15.4.8.F)

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:  ____ WPMClick here for more information about typing speeds at Newtown Middle School. We also reviewed the graph below:

Technology Current Event Video: We finished class today with a short video about an alternative way to type using the SwiftKey Tilt typing app on a smart phone. (PA-BCIT Standard: 15.4.8.A)

September 8, 2017
91 minutes

Internet Moment: Students were asked to compare three popular news aggregator websites: Google NewsBing News and Yahoo. We looked at their home pages, their features and their overall appearance. Though the results were split, a plurality of our students said they preferred Google News when looking for current events online.   Students were also asked to explore their own digital footprint by searching for themselves on various news sites.  (PA BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.E, 15.6.5.L)

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.

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 brand" was all about. Students were reminded of the importance of learning to manage what they looked like online.  Everyone then had an opportunity to set their school profile picture. 

Office Yoga Break:
Students are always reminded to not spend too much time sitting in front of computers.  Breaks should be taken at least every 30-40 minutes.  For our break today we practiced a simple yoga stretch for your back and then everyone had a chance to get up and move around the room some.

Office 365 Accounts:
  All students were reminded that they have Office 365 accounts. As part of this process students had to set their time zone.  We discussed GMT, UTC and Zulu time as part of this activity.  They were also shown how they can access them online from anywhere.  They were also shown how to access their One Drive. Students were also reminded that if they logged onto their Office 365 accounts at home they could download several Microsoft Office programs onto their personal computers for free.  Students also had some time to explore Office 365.

Basic Email Etiquette: All students logged into their Office 365 accounts and accessed their Outlook email. We discussed the importance of being able to use email for formal communication and to not think that emails they sent were in any way private. We also discussed what CC: means (carbon copy), what should go in the Subject line of an email and how to start writing a formal email. Each student then practiced good email etiquette by sending a formal thank you email to a Council Rock faculty member of their choice. 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 6, 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 but they were reminded that it's important to also get used to helping each other.

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)

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

Pixlr.com Project: Students were shown how to use the online photo editor pixlr.com to edit a photograph. We also discussed professional digital photo editing with Adobe PhotoShop(PA BCIT Standards: 15.4.8.F, 15.4.5.G) Unfortunately we ran out of time to complete this project. Students shared their modified photos using various district network resources and demonstrated basic skills such as drag & drop. The best use of the H:, S: & X: drives will also be explained. Click here to enlarge the project description.

  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. 

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.

Technology Current Event Video:  We finished class today with a short video from NewTech HD about a new technology for interacting with computers called Gest.  (PA-BCIT Standard: 15.4.8.A)