Although it is CS education Week and we are all doing the Hour of Code, rather than reiterate all of the great ideas and sites that have been shared already, we will look at some of the other things that are going on as well. However, I love the emphasis on #CSforGood!
I just saw these posters and playing cards today. Wish I had seen them earlier!
One more list of ideas to check
I knew I would forget at least one of the advent calendars or other lists that I had seen and of course I forgot the 12 Days of Innovation from Birdsville Schools. You can check it out here.
Richard Byrne recently posted some ideas that you may not have seen before for accessibility. He did an excellent job of summarizing some of the major accessibility options for Safari, for Chrome and for Edge. Microsoft used to be a leader in accessibility options, lost the race to Apple, then to Chrome and has come back strong with all of the Immersive Reader adaptations. One thing to note- these are NOT just for students on IEPS, or 504 plans. I use some of these tools all the time. Want to get rid of all the clutter- use the Reader View, need to quickly adjust the font size, Ctrl+/- and then back to Ctrl 0. Do check out Richard's post. It's really useful.
Research- Year in Review
You can always count on Edutopia to pull all the edu research for 2019 together into one article. From Growth Mindset to getting more sleep, they summarized many of the topics we have seen in the news this year. A couple things I found interesting- Paper did beat screens, but it wasn't a study that actually compared the two equally (not a real apples to apples kind of study) and the results were underwhelming. The other study mentioned that was interesting to me was debunking the decades old myth of the "summer slide". I found that one interesting, but challenging since we all know the reboots we end up doing after even short vacations- even long weekend! Check out the article here.
Interested in 3D printing?
I'm a novice when it comes to 3D printing. We have 2 small printers, one works, one doesn't... and the only software I have used for them is Tinkercad. I love Tinkercad and find it easy for the kids to use. I have used SketchUp in the past, but that was before we had 3 D printers. It has a pretty steep learning curve. So, when I saw this article comparing 3D software, I was happy to spend some time exploring and plan to spend more time trying out a few ideas.
Still looking for Techy Gifts?
Gary Stager posted his list to the ISED listserv and of course there are things on there that I have not seen yet. Check out Gary and the Invent To Learn team's list here. There are things for kids, and things for teachers too. One thing that I found last year and still really like is the Turing Tumble game. It is good hard fun for one and all. They also offer an edu discount, talk to them. I brought up to NH last year and played it with my niece. Luckily her uncle, who is a master electrician and a great puzzle solver, was there to help us out. One thing you'll probably find out the hard way if you play this game- put a container under it- otherwise you get to chase tiny marbles all over creation.
As I'm sure most of you are aware, Google Classroom made some changes over the summer. Aside from what I consider the 3 big changes, two things I have noticed over the last couple weeks as we begin our year: One: Don't forget to click on the gear for settings! This is where you can adjust who gets to comment. Depending on your class, you may well not want student comments on your assignments. Two: You can now turn off notifications for some of your classes. Getting too many emails from classes you co-teach? Turn them off by going to Menu/Settings/Notifications/Class Notifications. H/T to Jenn Judkinsfor the gif.
The 3 big changes:
This is a new site for me. I had never even heard of this until #edcampCT in August. At a session on Primary Sources (notes) folks from CT public TV, as well as CT teachers brought this site up several times. So, what is this Thinkalong? Created by CT public television, its goal is "to help students become better critical thinkers and media consumers by giving classrooms access to news-based learning activities made to enhance their curriculum." Aimed at middle and high school students, it can help students learn to discuss difficult topics and have important, serious discussions. I love the approach they take. Check out the intro video... or just go ahead and check out the topics.
I have enjoyed using Storyboardthat since it first came out. It provides a clean, safe, easy way for students to visually organize and tell a story. Great templates are provided as well as lesson plans. This afternoon I attended a webinar which featured the new story cube and worksheet design tools. These are pretty easy to use and if you use worksheets in your classroom, you may want to check them out. They have over 40,000 objects to choose from and lots of pre-made diagrams, and instructional templates. One thing that came up at the end of the webinar was that they are having a one day sale at TPT on all of the "stuff" they have created. Each packet is going for $1.00/each. Some of these are usually 5, 10 or even $20 each. Great deal if it's something you can use...and it's a One Day Deal- Wednesday 9/12/2018
Microbit Global Challenge
As many of you know, I spent time this summer learning more about makerspaces, raspberry pi, new features of Scratch 3.0 and more. One of the things I really liked learning about was physical computing... making "stuff" and using tech to code it to do something.
Microbits have been used extensively in the UK as part of their national coding instruction. Now Microbit.org has combined forces with The World's Largest Lesson and ARM and will run a global challenge, based on UN SDGs ( Sustainable Development Goals). Cool idea! Read more about it here.
Technology Petting Zoo
If you're interested in checking out some of the technology available in our makerspaces and a whole lot more, come to the Technology Petting Zoo on Thursday, 10.19.17, from 4-6 down at the Mass. Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke. The October CSTA-Western Mass' monthly meeting will feature a Technology Petting Zoo in conjunction with Eduporium. Please join us - by registering at this link: http://bit.ly/CSTA-WMA1019. Here's the link to the flyer with more info and registration. All are welcome!.
Google Keep for Research
Vicki Davis recently posted a couple of excellent tutorials on using Google Keep to take notes and keep track of your research, especially if you're a Google App school. I know I find it useful to grab info, tag it and quickly flip it into a Google Doc.
Check out Vicki's tutorial below and read more about it, get an additional video with EdPuzzle embeds on Vicki's blog.
Math in Google Chrome
The other day a friend asked me how to put superscripts and subscripts into a Google Sheet. I had never done this on sheets- just on docs and kind of assumed that it would work the same way. It doesn't. And to be honest, I looked and looked and did not find a way to make it work. Using unicode did not work- it put the superscript in, but sheets read it as text- not a number; and the same with copying and pasting from a doc- looks good, but reads as text, formulas do not work. So- if you know how to do this- please share and put it in the comments!
Luckily there are some amazing teachers in my PLN who have shared great ideas of ways to use Google Chrome to help teach math and to help kids show what they know. Miguel Guhlin down in Texas, wrote a great blog post the other day- laying out eight tools/extensions you can use to enhance your math instruction. You can read more about it here.
I do want to highlight 2 of these extensions- Equatio and Desmos. Equatio, from texthelp has been flying of late. So many improvements! Those of you who struggled to get LAtex to work properly, and have tried every tool in the book to get math equations to work on a computer, check out Equatio. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Desmos is so much more than a graphing calculator. A teacher at a workshop I attended this summer did a demo and I was amazed. Not a math-oriented person myself, it was easy to see that this tool has come a long way and has a lot to offer teachers of all grades. Check out some of the ideas here.