Thursday, January 29, 2015

EdTech Baton

Have you heard of or held the EdTech Baton yet? Not quite sure what it is? Hopefully, you will be the next one to carry it!

EdTech Baton is an Instagram community for you guessed it, Ed Tech! Similar to a relay race, each day a new teacher gets the honor of holding the virtual baton and sharing their innovative stories with all to read. You can sign up HERE!

A former colleague of mine told me about this experience and I knew I had to quickly jump on. It is a great way to share the amazing tech integration in your classroom, but to also gather ideas that you can utilize.

Here is a breakdown of how it works.
1. Signup with the link above and you will hear back from EdTech Baton to confirm your date.
2. Closer to your scheduled date, EdTech Baton will continue to check-in with you, make sure you don't have any questions to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible.
3. The week of your virtual baton you will receive another email with the login information for their Instagram account. It is definitely a good idea the evening before you hold the baton to make sure it works by logging in.
4. The day of, it is time to run with that baton and share. Post anywhere from 6-8 photos, but make sure to use the rules and policies as a guide.

What better way to gain EdTech Friends, resources and get motivated from ideas! Best part, you can even sign up again in 90 days to continue sharing!

EdTech Baton's website has a ton of information to guide you and answer any questions you still have. It is definitely something work checking out! Check out the images below from our technology lab virtual baton day!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Syntax Coding

After two weeks of block coding and two weeks off for winter break, I figured my next logical step would be to introduce my students to syntax coding. Some have mentioned that they have dabbled a bit with script, but many were unfamiliar by it....including myself. The most knowledge I've had with script was mostly working html, just like most bloggers, to fancy up my site.

My winter break was spent searching, trying to find just the right programs that I knew my students would enjoy. I also referred back to many of my notes from a local chapter of our Illinois Computing for Educators, DeICE. This was a mini conference that I attended one Saturday for local PD. I happened to attend a class by Tara Linney, you can follow her on Twitter @TechTeacherT. The one part I loved about her session was that she didn't only give various activities for different types of coding, but she also visually presented how coding is aligned to the Common Core!

So, what did I end up deciding on? Drum roll please....

My programming language of choice: Java Script (I knew it would be something students had heard of)

4th Grade Activity: Students would be introduced to Java Script using Code Combat. Students can save their progress through their Google Accounts, I also like that it is game based and fairly easy to pick up on. The students can type the script out, or it gives the students the option to click on their code. This was great for students that were uneasy about scripting! Overall, it gives them the connection between programming and commanding something to move. It also allows students to get familiar with how the lines of code are generated.

5th Grade Activity: Once again, I selected Java Script as my language of choice, but I used Code Avengers to introduce scripting to the students. I knew this would be a bit more challenging compared to Code Combat, but that the students would be hooked because in the end result, they create a game that they can share with other students on Edmodo.

How did I start my introduction to syntax? With a Google Slide Presentation again of course! Simply to generate some background knowledge and make some connections to the Hour of Code that we participated with before. The one thing I wish that was available, was a great video to introduce syntax coding specifically. There are so many great sites for block coding, but I wish there was more of a focus on script.

Overall, the students loved the lesson! I was actually surprised by this because I thought they would have favored the activities of block more. I'm so proud of them all for trying and some of them even teaching me a few new things! :)