Posts Tagged students

Tech Camps – SumoBots

So two years ago I came up with the idea of offering Technology “Camps” during the school year.  These run for one week at a time from before school through advisory.  Each one focuses on a different technology topic. Students complete applications and the first 24 to return their complete application are in the camp.    I have offered camps on Scratch, Kodu, Blender, PhotoShop, Stop Action Animation, and Robotics.  My most popular camp is SumoBots.  Students work in teams of 2-3 to build NXT Robots that compete against each other to dominate the Sumo Ring.   I made the rings out of MDF board and painted them black and white.   The next camp starts the first week of December and I started advertising today for it.   Here is the Animoto video that I created from video of the previous two years of SumoBots.    I am looking forward to working with these students and seeing what they come up with this year!

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True or False

I saw this video on Good Morning America yesterday and was amazed!


Watching this I thought of a few questions I would ask students if they watched this in class with me:

  • Is it real? 
  • What evidence do you have to support your opinion? 
  • Is everything posted online real? 
  • Is everything “caught” on video tape real? 
  • Can you believe everything you see/read online? 
  • How can you verify your information?

This video is not real, but was put together for a commercial.  But the rumor went around that this really happened.  Just a thought on how to address the need for critical thinking skills when using online resources.

Any other ideas out there?

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Collaboration Beyond the School Walls

I was reading a friend’s blog recently, explaining how to make good use of your summer.  One of the ideas was to explore projects with other schools in other areas.  That started me thinking – telecollaboration has been around for a while, but not until recently has it been made so easy.  Connecting with other schools is easy with the aide of wikis, blogs, email, skype, etc.  Our students are already linking with all sorts of people around the globe through facebook, myspace, gaming sites, etc.  Some of this is good and some not so good.  But the idea of linking and working with other groups is an irristeable hook  for our already connected students.

So how do you do it and where do you begin?  Start with asking yourself a few questions:

  • What do you hope to gain through the project? 
  • What learning is going to take place? 
  • Is approaching the subject matter this way going to add to what students need to learn or just distract from it?
  • Do you have the time, support, and equipment needed to make it happen?

Here are a few good links to get you started. 

  • About Telecollaborative Projects –  a basic overview of telecollaboration
  • Telecollaborate! -step by step details on how to plan, create and implement a project
  • Links to Current Projects – lists various running projects.  Some are closed for the year, but a good place when looking for ideas.
  • 2Learn – Requires a registration to gain access to project resources and tools.
  • ePals– Emailing another classroom through epals is a good starting point

Do you have any ideas?  Anything holding you back? 

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Blogging Part 3 – Students Who Blog

In my recent blog readings, I have come across the prevailing thought that the importance of blogging is not just to make your voice heard, but it is the ongoing conversation that happens after a blog/piece of writing has put out there and others comment back to extend the conversation.  It is not just the writing workshop process happening in the classroom, but it is taking it to the world.   When you have to clarify and defend what you say, you improve your ability to write with a clear focus on your audience and purpose in expressing yourself. 

Students who blog have a great opportunity to see their writing read by others and even get feedback on their thoughts and insights from “real-world” people and not just their teacher.   How powerful is it to know that anyone in the world can read what you wrote and make comments.  Remember – Comments can be moderated so that the not so helpful ones are not made public.  

What are some examples of student created blogs?  Here is a list taken from Will Richardson’s Book  Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for the Classroom.

  • learn how to blog – nothing better than a hands on experience for learning
  • class writing assignments/ ongoing portfolio of writings – blogs would keep all the writing organized and students can look back over time and see how their writing has changed over the year.  This could also be a showcase of their best work.
  • express opinions or insights about class topics – Blogging is not just for LA classes, students can give insight on:
    • history topics
    • pieces of music
    • what makes learning a new language hard
    • how science and math can be found in everyday life
    • write editorial pieces about current events
    • discuss class activities

Any other ideas? 

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