Technology News: October 2012

Welcome to another exciting year for the technology program at Honey Creek! I am really looking forward to working with your students this year. In 2/3 technology, students have started out their exploration and use of technology with our iPad cart. The first few weeks, we worked on basic usage, including procedures for how to get out the iPads and use them, our appropriate use policy, and exploring with several different apps. Since then, we’ve started to investigate why and when we use different tools (for example, making a drawing on paper vs drawing with an app on the iPads) and when each tool is appropriate. Last week, we had a discussion about systems, and students identified systems and their components by annotating on a digital photo they took with their iPad. In the 4/5 technology classes, we started out the year by getting students geared up to use the technology they will need to be familiar with during the school year, including their new Google Apps accounts for document creation and sharing, as well as introducing our typing program Type to Learn. The last 2 weeks, we have begun our first project, which is guided by the essential question, “How can we use technological tools to allow us to learn and discover more than we could without them?” This connects to the observation work  students in 4/5s have been pursuing in science class; in this technology project, students are learning how slow-motion video can allow them to observe more than they could with the naked eye. Students have been writing up their proposals for what they’d like to see, and are getting ready to start recording their own slow-motion videos using our tools. The Middle School technology classes have also started out by getting familiar with the technology they’ll need during the school year. For middle school, this includes Google  Apps, Moodle, and the various computing devices like laptops and iPads. We did a series of quick activities the first 3 weeks to make sure students were familiar with these tools, and have now begun our first inquiry unit. During this unit, entitled “Better Understanding our World Through Technology”, students will be learning how to use sophisticated instruments like temperature probes, pH sensors, and others to collect data about the natural world, and help them analyze and understand this data through graphing and research. Finally, the first-semester technology elective this year is called Appropriate Technology. We started our semester by bringing in special guest John Barrie, who runs the Appropriate Technology Collaborative in Ann Arbor. Appropriate Technology, sometimes called “Design for the Other 90%”, deals with the use of varying technologies to improve the lives of people all over the world, helping to bring about clean water, renewable energy sources, and so on. The first projects students are working on are solar ovens, which allow one to cook without consuming fossil fuels. I look forward to a great year in technology this year!

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