Coding

For one of our tech tasks we were required to check out some coding sites and play around with some of the codes and think about how it would work in a classroom setting.

First, I did the Flappy Bird one where you had to try and figure out what codes to put in. I was confused at first because it was more difficult. Then I tried a simpler coding exercise and below is a screenshot of what I started working on:

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This program was much easier to work with (and especially so because I’m just a beginner with no experience at all).

I think something like these exercises will help students with problem solving and give them a chance to understand how games work — especially the Flappy Bird coding exercise. It is also relevant for high school students who are thinking of going on to major in something like Computer Science. This would be a way for them to get a feel of the program and what it all encompasses.

If students have computers at home, their parents can become involved in helping the students solve some of these problems of coding and help their children understand how games are created. Programs like these would work well in a math class because they require problem solving skills — just like the Angry Birds game simulation I did above. You needed to look at the situation and figure out how you were going to get the Angry Bird to the pig.

Coding is a neat way to bring something new to the students. An almost “behind the scenes” look at how games are made. Maybe having your students code could be a way to introduce them to the field of Computer Science. So many possibilities.

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Padlet in the Classroom

I was introduced to a bunch of useful teaching tools that use technology. I was immediately drawn to the first one – padlet.com — where you have a wall and can post anything on there. Whoever has the link can post on there, too.

This would work great in any classroom because it would give students all students a chance to contribute to a class discussion. You could easily use it for brainstorming. For an English classroom setting you could brainstorm story ideas in a fun and unique way. For my first wall, I decided to do a “bucket list” style. Anyone could contribute their ideas on what would make a fulfilling life for them. I added a few ideas and I believe I’ll ask some of my friends to contribute their ideas. You can view and contribute to my wall here. Below I’ve posted a screenshot of what my wall looks like!

BucketWallStarting off a unit in English would be easy, too. You could have students brainstorm at the beginning of a new novel about what it was like to live in the 1930s (if you were doing Of Mice and Men). It would also be a neat to do as an ice breaker at the beginning of the school year.

I will definitely use Padlet when I am in my own classroom. Even if students are doing their own independent research project, it would be a fun way to display the information they find on the subject. It’s an awesome program!

Tech Survey Results

So it’s been roughly a week since I posted my New Tech Survey and I decided to do the results today and talk about them a bit. 

I had 8 responses total including my own response. 

My first question – Have you heard of Prezi? I had 7 Yes and 1 No. That’s interesting to me that the one person hasn’t heard about Prezi. I figured it was a pretty common thing for teachers like me to know and be somewhat familiar with. 

2nd – Do you like using a powerpoint program? There were 7 Yes and 1 No. I figured that in a world where technology in the classroom is being pushed, there might be all “Yes” answers to this question. Apparently I was wrong. I’d be willing to ask this person why they don’t like using powerpoint. For me, I find it really easy to just whip up a powerpoint and have it ready to go for my lesson. I don’t have to bother writing on the board or anything. 

3rd – Have you heard of Hootcourse (Twitter-based program)? I had 1 Yes and 7 No. The one yes was from me. As for the rest that don’t know about the program. I find it really useful for if you are using Twitter in the classroom and want a way to send out a tweet to everyone. So what you would do is you would have students sign in to Hootcourse with their Twitter account. It’s essentially like a little community that brings Tweets to one place and where you, as the teacher, can fire out questions and assignments without having to get everyone’s Twitter names in the question. Very handy. 

Number 4 – Would you use Twitter in the classroom? 6 people said Yes and 2 said No. I think that’s a fair answer. Twitter definitely isn’t for everyone. I’m not a huge twitter person myself but I think for something like an ELA class or Drama class it would come in real handy. 

5 – Would you use YouTube in the classroom? All 8 people said Yes they would. I believe it’s a great tool to use for Educational purposes. There is so much on YouTube that it make teaching and learning so much easier. You can give the students visuals to what you are trying to teach them. 

My final one – Do you care if students have their cellphones in the classroom? 

These were the answers: – No, as long as they are participating.  – No, doesn’t matter.  – I don’t mind. – Depending on how they were using it. – No, as long as the students are not using them inappropriately or at the wrong times. – I don’t think students should use their cellphones in class. – Not at all! I love to have mine! – Yes. – Not if they are using them appropriately.

Very different responses. I suppose it would be the individual’s opinion on them. I think that as long as you have some firm rules on them, then you should give them the choice whether they let it affect their learning or not. I would try to use it positively in my classroom but I don’t think I would ban them out of my room completely. 

Overall, very interesting responses from my survey. I realized that there is lots that people don’t know about! I’m eager to learn more about different ways of incorporating technology into the classroom in a positive way. 

Blog Changes

I decided to make a few changes to my blog after I listened to Sue Waters talk to us in our class. First, I changed my title to just “Helyn’s Portfolio” so that it would be more specific and people would know who’s blog they are browsing. I changed my theme, too, so that my title was on top and underneath the main title I just added “Helyn van Staveren’s teaching portfolio”. The theme, too, is also mobile friendly which is nice when people or I need to view my blog on their phones or smart devices. I went into the Mobile settings and made sure everyone would see my posts on the front page — just to make things easier for everyone.

I set up two categories, “ECMP355” for the class I’m and also, “Teacher Thoughts” just so that when I write posts that relate to teachers, they will have their own category. 

I’m also starting to incorporate more links into my posts, like the two you see here. Those will help everyone stay connected as to what I’m talking about in my posts. People reading this post may want to visit Sue’s blog about making blogs better so I added her blog link to her name in the first paragraph. 

As for the pages, I have some created. One that I did at the beginning of this semester was my “About” page. This will be good for people who want to know who I am before they read any posts that I’ve written. The other pages were from another Education class and I’m sure there will be more that I will create in the near future. 

Phone face?

Another blog post I read gave me another idea about technology and the scary realities that seem to be happening.

I believe people are having trouble communicating with one another and not knowing how to be outgoing to meet new people face to face. I don’t like the idea of people hiding behind their phone the entire time. It’s scary to imagine a place where there is no more face-to-face contact with people. 

On a more interesting not, I’m not a huge fan of texting. Really. I’d rather call someone or make plans to meet up with someone through text message. I get really bored of texting people and want to end the conversation as soon as possible just because I have something else to do in the “real world”. Maybe it’s just the generation that I’ve grown up in — the 90s? Since I didn’t get a phone until I was 15 or so, maybe that’s the reason? I’ve grown up to not be so attached to it. 

Maybe this new generation that’s coming has started with phones at such a young age that they will be really dependent on them. Any answers on that one? 

Food for thought.