Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Parody Project

As a classroom assignment this fall I wanted to show students what can happen when you share stuff on the Internet.  Not just pictures like some teachers (see reference) but the entire idea of sharing.  A huge part of middle school technology curriculum includes responsible use of technology and digital citizenship.

I crafted a cross-curricular lesson to cover a wide-array of topics through one parody video project.

We started the project with excerpts from the Frontline video Generation Like.

I discussed with students how companies create memes to promote their products and we created memes using and Google search options for copyright free images to create memes. 

We used Google drawing to create our intro/outro drawings of technology.  Students learned about layers and using shapes, borders and colors.

Then we used to brainstorm things in our life that are Techy. 

 Then in English class students worked in groups to all create a version of Get Techy the working title of our parody.

We discussed fair use, copyright, and parodies in both tech and English classes. (see lesson plan)

Students recorded music, and videos and put together a music video with technology and dancing??  Yes dancing!  Apparently all good music videos have dancing.  

We were able to discuss getting permission to film and putting our subjects in a good light through our project. 

Now is the time to share the video: Techy 

We will continue our conversation using analytics to track our views.  Did the views come from Google?  Facebook? Twitter? Instagram?  Somewhere else?

This lesson isn't over but has included a fun journey; a journey where students from a small town don’t think they can make an impact globally but I want to show them that EVERYONE can make an impact on the world. 

The project plan:

Thank you to ALL my colleagues that made this project possible and supported the students with this all-inclusive project!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Making Sense of the PARCC “Tech Prep” Tools (Part 1)


It seems that there are plenty of tools to help you prepare your students for the demands of online testing such as PARCC but what tools should you use and when?  Can any of these tools be implemented into the daily curriculum of your class?  Should these tools be used for teachingcomputer/tech skills OR should they be used specifically to prepare for THE test?  I try to make sense of this “stuff” for my technology classroom and how to connect with classroom teachers in this post.  I’m not saying I have the answers, I cannot even say how these methods help students prepare or perform on the tests…they haven’t happened yet, but this is how I’m making sense of them.

Recommendation #1 – take the practice test yourself.  Find the grade/subject you teach and take the test closest to your course so you know what is expected and how it works.

                There are two things teachers will notice when taking a practice test. 
  1. Types of questions being asked (what content students need to know)
  2. What technology skills they need to be able to complete a task 

I will focus on technology skills in this post because that’s what I teach.  

Different online tools will be helpful for preparing for the new content assessed and the skills needed to complete.

Click and Drag aka Drag and Drop
                Practice tests ask students to find statements in boxes and click on a box and drag it to another location and drop it.  Some students will want to click on it once to select it but actually you have to click, hold in the mouse button, drag, and then release the mouse when the box is moved to the proper location. For students to practice this skill visit:
This onlinepractice allows students to practice highlighting and inserting text in a sample word processor.
Features that are holiday themed on also allow students to practice
Drag and drop features
Drag to highlight features
In Ohio Infohio resources are available for many schools/districts/communities.  Using choosing BookFlix Puzzlers will allow students to practice the drag and drop feature and allow students to practice comprehension after reading a story.

Multiple Choice/Dropdown lists
Google Forms: Sample
                       Make your own see video 
Schoology Tests/Quizzes
Join sample course: 3J9FZ-J4R4K
Make assessments see video

Scroll to see entire page
A lot of this will depend on screen resolution.  Have students practice visiting webpages and use the scroll wheel, click on the scroll bar and drag and use the mouse pad such as on a Chromebook. 
It is important that they can click the scroll bar and drag the scroll as well as use the scroll wheel.  I had a student tell me they couldn’t view the entire page because the mouse was broken…the scroll was broken but the mouse still allowed for scrolling.  Students need to be able to do simple trouble-shooting while testing.

Keying Text
Schoology Discussion Posts
Google Forms
Microsoft Word Text Boxes – using text boxes is important because the tests are not traditional word processors, they are boxes and windows.