Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hour of Code

Anybody can host an Hour of Code anytime, but the grassroots campaign goal is for tens of millions of students to try an Hour of Code during December 8-14, 2014, in celebration of Computer Science Education Week.

SCSD Media Services hosted its first district wide Hour of Code Thursday December 11 at the Lakeview Elementary Media Center. Prior to the event, 3rd and 4th graders had spent media time using the coding resources at code.org and the MIT Scratch application on our laptops. 

SMS Tech Club members also prepped for our event.

Thursday evening we had over 50 students and many parents.

The Media Center was full of adults and children exploring the possibilities of code.

It was especially encouraging to see so many girls (and Moms!)

What did attendees learn?

Read this post from Chelsea Sims of Southeast Junior High, written for the Iowa Association of School Librarians blog to see why SCSD Media Services loved being involved with The Hour of Code.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Do 3rd and 4th graders use technology?

October is Cyber Safety and Bully Prevention month, so during 3rd and 4th grade Media Center specials, we have spent a lot of time learning about and discussing digital citizenship and online safety. 

To get a feel for how much technology they are using, I had them take a quick survey. The results are below (the 171 responses represent a sampling of the 10 classes).

Not all students have access to a computer at home.

Some of those that do have computers do not access the web.

Asking for parental permission to use the computer is not necessarily required.

The majority of students have some sort of tablet or smartphone at home.

But not all of them use those devices to get on the web.

Asking for parental permission to use those devices isn't necessarily required.

The majority of students have non-school accounts which require them to login. 

Most students have internet access. Some are not sure.

Game playing is their favorite thing to do, with watching videos being close behind.

About half use their access to do school work.

Students are confident about their ability to use the web. 

There is a range of trust regarding the information they find.

Most students like technology (but not 100%)

Most students think technology can help them learn.

  • Students don't necessarily understand basic technology concepts like "web" and "internet access".
  • Not all students have ready access to technology when they are not in school.
  • They over estimate their skill levels.
  • They have a degree of skepticism about web content.
  • Not all students love using technology.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Connecting the Dot Day dots

Classrooms all over the school district participated in International Dot Day the week of September 15. 

Dot Math and Dot Sight Words from KE.

KA watched the animated Dot Book on Bookflix, "dot stamped" with dot stampers their sight words during Daily 5 Word Work time and used dot stampers during math time to solve story problems.

Students in 1A  "started with a dot" and then created the four ways to write a number, a great form of assessment. 

Members of the SMS Tech Club created dots in Google Draw.

And all 3rd graders in Media Center were enrolled in Google Classrooms and introduced to Google 
Draw to create their dots.

3E made their mark!

4th graders used iPads and the CoLAR Mix app and saw their drawings pop up in 3D.

4E made sidewalk chalk dots with their first grade buddies!

High school students made their mark.

And they read the book to share with other students in the district.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kindergartners can do research!

I've been following the live monthly #tlchat on Twitter since it was started in 2012, but this one was particularly intriguing, especially since I've been watching what Matt Gomez does with his kindergartners and technology. 

So last December, I focused my Tweetdeck on the #tlchat column and got inspired!

Soon after, I contacted my kindergarten colleague, Andrea Dibble, to see how I could help bring research tools to her students. It took us a few tries to make a date to meet, but we finally sat down together in mid-January. 

I was excited to prepare, as this was the first time I was doing more than provide traditional print resources. But when I dug into what we had available, it was a little disappointing.

Britannica Online is wonderful, but the elementary level was still too difficult for kindergartners. The read aloud function had potential though.

The PreK-2 Learning Zone was great for browsing and exploring,

but not helpful for research. 

I showed her our subscription to Exploring Nature, which is great for 3rd and 4th grade, but not really for kindergartners. I would need to keep looking for more appropriate resources.

During our sit-down, we reviewed the online resources and looked at access, laptop versus iPad and talked a little bit about process. We also started to brainstorm on how her students could report out. She needed something that would show a save image that could be annotated with a voice over. 

We were both thinking positively about bringing research into her classroom and we promised to keep exploring and checking in with each other.

In the meantime, I started working with  another kindergarten teacher, Laurie Stinocher, who was doing a lesson on farm animals. The number of animals was limited, so it would be possible to purchase unlimited usage ebooks for this project. I selected 5 titles with read aloud capabilities from FollettShelf and thanks to our great purchasing department, had them added to the collection within a couple of days.

I set up simple logins and made arrangements to have laptops available and logged in daily for 5 days - one day for each animal! Laurie gave the students workbooks

and they listened and took notes.

As I was working with the kindergarten teachers, I remembered positive reviews of a database designed for younger students. I contacted the rep and asked for a trial subscription to PebbleGo Animals. It is fabulous and is being used K-3! Andrea set up research stations with links to PebbleGo on her classroom laptops and students did their research in small groups.

The perfect app for capturing student learning in Andrea's class turned out to be ChatterPix Kids on the student iPads. 

Check out their movies on the KB web site!

It was so fun bringing research tools to kindergartners and working with their teachers!