March 21, 2017
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.
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.
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)
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.
using and formatting tables. We also discussed appropriate websites for school. Next class everyone will turn in their finished project using a shared Google Doc. Click here to enlarge the project description. (PA-BCIT Standards: 15.3.8.E, 15.4.5.G)
Technology Current Event Video: We finished class today with a short video created by Mrs. Yollis' 3rd grade students in California. In the video they explained how to write a quality blog comment.
March 17, 2017
As a follow-up to the technology current event video last class everyone had a chance to explore khanacademy.org and look for video lessons that relate to what they are currently learning in 8th grade. Students were reminded that Khan Academy is always available as an online resource for studying, reviewing for tests or for homework help. (PA-BCIT Standards: 15.6.8.M, 15.4.8.A, 15.8.8.K) (ISTE Standards: 1d, 3b, 3c)
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: 44.1 WPM. Click here for more information about typing speeds at Newtown Middle School. We also reviewed the graph below:
Online Typing Activities: As a follow up to the typing test students were given some time to find at least 3 online typing activities (tutorials or games) that they enjoyed. They were shown how to add these typing activities to their favorites or bookmarks list so they can go back and practice their typing skills in class when they finished their projects.
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 spacing, changing 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. Everyone finished and printed this project in class today. (PA-B.C.I.T. Standards: 15.3.5.A, 15.3.8.A)
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 conceptual video from the Corning Corporation about the possible used for their glass products in the future. (PA-BCIT Standard: 15.4.8.A)
March 15, 2017
* Class was cancelled today due to the snow day
March 13, 2017
Internet Moment: Students were asked to compare three popular news aggregator websites: Google News, Bing 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)
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 an "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.
Assigned 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)
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:
All students logged into their Gmail accounts and accessed their 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)
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.
Email Etiquette Video: We finished the email activity with a short video about email etiquette tips for college students from Dr. Tracy Brown at California State University in San Marcos. (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)
* Class time was adjusted today due to the World Language Assembly
March 9, 2017
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.
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.
Technology Current Event Video: We finished class with a short video from Microsoft that highlights augmented reality technology such as HoloLens. (PA-BCIT Standard: 15.4.8.A)