Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Starting classes with Grade 8 students in a four week time period.

Every grade 8 student that goes through Information Technology Grade 8 class (a 4 week period of time) gets trained in specific things in our school to start them on their journey of their Digital Persona.  They learn how to use Outlook since this is the email that they receive from the district, they learn their user name and password and how to save and protect their data on the server (since where ever they move in the district, this user name, password and all files will follow them) and they learn to be safe online.

Through the process of all of this, they learn a number of software program and web tools that we feel is important for them to learn and useful in their time period that they will be in our school.  The main one is Prezi, an online tool that can also operate offline, and you can brainstorm online using their apps.   The intro to our class and to learning more about the students quickly in the four week period is for the student to do a Prezi of their life.  Below is one small example, but a good one.

There are a number of help/support files and videos.  
The program itself has a number of videos that teach students how to use Prezi, but I show the basics like :
  • Select your background
  • Change your background
  • inserting text
    • change color
    • change font
    • change size
  • inserting pictures
    • rotating pictures
    • changing size
  • inserting movies
    • 2 different ways - by youtube address and by uploading
  • zooming in and out of words, and pictures
  • using frames
  • inserting arrows, etc
  • making a path
  • put a very small word in a word
  • adding music at the end
Students love to do this, learn something new, and I give them a bonus if they teach another student or even better, a teacher in the school.  That seems to work great.  But that's just the start.

We also
  • use Inspiration for brainstorming and organizing
  • Use different avatars so they understand their digital footprint.
  • Look at real teens talking about what has happened to them when going to far with chats and others,
  • I show them google satellite and how it can zoom right in to look in your window or what's in the garage to steal.
  • They learn how someone can get your phone number and address.
  • Talk about Facebook security.
  • Talk about rules for safety.  They use the web tool "Toondoo" for this making a comic book.  Here's an example:  

  • They learn about the start of competitions of computers with bibliographies of Gates and Jobs.
  • They do some fun web tools that we talk about their usage like
    • MyOats
    • Wordle
    • Tagxedo
    • TimeRhyme
    • and blogs.
These are but a few things we do in 4 weeks, making the class fun, but informative, and with the specific purpose of starting our students safely on computers and on the Internet.  Hope you enjoyed this.

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