Technology Update for November, 2011

In 2/3 technology, students have been doing a variety of things. We spent several weeks using technology to better understand aspects of Michigan history and geography. One week, we used Google Earth to fly around Michigan on a virtual field trip. The next week, we zoomed in on the Mackinaw Bridge and used K’Nex building toys to build and test our own bridges. The following week, we used a computer-based simulation to build digital bridges, and discussed the differences between building with physical materials and building computerized simulations.
The URL for the bridge building activity is: http://hoodamath.com/games/cargobridge.php
We’ve since moved on to learning some of the productivity tools that we use in 2/3, like Pages for word processing and page design, and typing programs that can help students type with better speed and accuracy.

The 4/5 technology classes were interrupted somewhat in October due to the MEAP testing, but students are continuing to use Scratch Scratch to design and create their own interactive stories, games and animations. Each week I introduce a new concept, show them examples, and give them work time. We’ve learned how to make sprites (characters) move around the screen, how to design characters and backgrounds, and much more.

The Middle School technology classes finished off their Google Apps lessons, and have been spending the last 3 weeks examining the question, “What is Technology?”. Students made a short video answering that question in their own words the first week, then spent the next session learning the definition of technology, discussing examples, and examining the 3 aspects of technology (process, knowledge, artifact). They are now writing scripts for a revised version of their video and will be recording and editing these in the upcoming weeks.

The Middle School technology elective, Programming with Processing, is going quite well, as students are learning to write their own programs that generate visual images. Students have made computer-generated characters, created interactive drawing tools of their own design, and are now diving deeper into the Processing environment. Each assignment is posted to the class Moodle site, which allows students to work at their own pace while receiving feedback and comments about their work.

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