In today’s world, students must prepare themselves for a wide range of college and work opportunities. For our students who want to lead a happy life and enjoy the good things the world has to offer, all of our students will certainly need a quality education. This year I am working with our junior high students as we learn about Computer Programming. Students in my “Coding” class will be writing and creating programs using the Python programming language. Students will also learn Block style programming for Android Phones and Tablets using the online MIT App Inventor system.
In other various courses I am teaching, students will learn a wide range of technology applications such as MS-Word, MS-Excel, hardware and software concepts along with basic video editing and production. Students will be introduced to 3D design and 3D Printing. All students in my classes will have ample opportunity to learn and practice 21st Century Skills throughout the semester and year.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
On the Friday before Thanksgiving, our Junior High Students had the opportunity to learn about our nation's history in a different way. Movies of a historical nature were shown to each class level. Students also had the opportunity to learn about our country's history from various historians who came to share what they know. Some of our students were even involved in several of our presentation stations. All in all, students left for the day with an appreciation for what our community and nation is all about.
Click on the link to view the video: Click Here
Monday, November 21, 2016
When it comes to getting and keeping a first job, there is much to know. From making a great first impression to the various skills students will need. Students covered a wide range of topics relating to "Career Exploration". Students in "Principles of Information Technology", learned how critical a good set of work skills will be. They learned what it will be like to earn a "First Paycheck", payroll deductions and they completed an exercise to stress the importance of savings and responsible spending. They concluded the unit by filling out 4 "Job Applications". Two of them to various places of employment. To complete the unit, students were asked to create a showcase piece to share what they have learned.
Click here to view the created projects.
After Thanksgiving, students will conclude this one-semester course as they learn the basics of Microsoft Excel.
In "Computer Science", students learned to program using Youtube videos. Without the aid of any handouts or program samples, students were challenged to "watch and learn". Real world learning comes when students discovered the various versions of Python are not compatible with each other. Sometimes a program worked and sometimes it didn't. Welcome to the real world of programming. After Thanksgiving, students will learn about Hardware components inside the computer.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
On Saturday, November 12, our TechnoPirates Robotics Club drove to Memorial Early College High School in New Braunfels, Texas to participate in an "FTC Robotics Conference". Many robotic teams from all over south Texas attended the conference. All club members attended a wide variety of workshops where they learned such things as:
There were many other workshops designed to make all teams highly competitive were offered. Overall, students had a great time and found the experiences exciting.
- The "Java Programming" needed for this years competition
- Wiring Best Practices
- The different "Sensors" to be used in our robots
- Project Management
- Judge's View
- The "Inspire Award" (The award all teams shoot for
Saturday, November 5, 2016
This week, students in "Principles of Information Technology" completed their Career Exploration Unit by completing 4 job applications. Two paper applications were completed for learning and practice. A third paper application was completed for a grade. For the third application, a wide range of applications were provided from various San Antonio and local businesses. Applications from Subway, Bill Miller, HEB, Olive Garden, Game Stop, Whatabuger and a few others were provided for their experience. A fourth application was completed online. While this was a generic application, it gave students an opportunity to experience completing and submitting an application online.
This coming week, students will begin working on a final project. This final project will have students sharing what they learned. Three projects are provided for their choosing. Students can choose from a 3-Fold Brochure, A Google Website or a Video. Stay tuned, I expect these projects will be their best work yet.
In "Computer Science", student continue to program in Python. As students work toward the end of this unit, they will be creating a program on their own by viewing various videos on Youtube. By doing this, students will become familiar with the concept of "Self-Learning" by using an outside source. Various options for Python Programs will be made available.
Stay tuned, as this unit wraps up, a final project will have these students showcasing what they learned about Python.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
The Principles of Information Technology class has been involved in "Career Exploration". In this unit, we have covered much ground and getting ready to wrap up the unit with Job Applications for work. Students will complete 3 job applications on paper and one sample online application. Coming soon is a major final project to share what was learned in the unit. For their final project, students will choose from three different activities. Stay tuned.
In Computer Science, students are programming in Python. At the end of each 5 programming exercises, students work on a larger program using the skills they are learning. Their second major program will have students listing their 8 courses and grades. A grade average must be calculated and a message is displayed based on the grade average. Students who have a high average will see a message of congratulations. Students who's average is not so good, will receive a message of encouragement. Students with a failing average will be be directed to get additional help as needed.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Students in Principals of Information Technology are working on "Career Exploration". There are many lessons and activities to work through. The students just completed a "Responsible Spending" exercise. They started with a certain amount of pay to work with. They calculated 10% of their pay to be deposited in to a savings account. They shopped with what they had left and calculated "Sales Tax". They also had to calculate how much they had left until their next paycheck. All in all, the activity was successfully completed by all students.
The next activity for this week is a one page (3 paragraph) essay describing the 3 work skills they feel are their strongest. Having to provide examples from their day to day activities, they are proving to themselves they have the skills they will take with them into their first job. I look forward to reading the essays.
In Computer Science, students are finishing up their first attempt at writing a program on their own. This program was the largest program attempted so far. The program has a user entering 10 items purchased and 10 prices. After all 10 prices are totaled up, tax is calculated on the total. All information has to be printed in a neat and easy to read format on the computer screen.
While help was needed here and there, student's debugging and error finding skills were kicked into high gear. Many students are complete with their program on schedule and will move on to other programming exercises using the "Python Turtle Tool" for graphics programming. They will be working on these activities this coming week.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
This past week, students in Principles of Information Technology just completed a series of videos to be showcased. We then moved on to our next unit: "Career Investigation" and "Job Skills". Students learned about "Hard Skills" and "Soft Skills". Based on a classroom activities, students demonstrated mastery and are now ready to move on to learning about their first "Paycheck". Soon students will complete a series of simple posters to share what they are learning with others. These posters will be placed around the school.
In Computer Science, students tried their hands at writing their very first real Python program from scratch. The program is a rather large one with several sections to code up and debug. Students are challenging themselves to write each part without assistance. If all goes as planed, they will be able to take off on their own and become real programmers. That will be exciting. After discussing with others in the coding industry, what we are doing in middle school, is awesome and "Hugh". Computer Science and Computer Programming to this level is high school level training.
In other news, our TechnoPirates Robotics Club held a "Rummage Sale" fund raiser this past Saturday. For the students who came out to work and all the community members who came out to support us, we wish each and every one of you a "Thank You!" from the bottom of our hearts.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Last week, students in Principles of Information Technology began their presentations on various subjects relating to "Digital Citizenship and Online Safety". After creating a series of Google Slides and typing up a script, I must say the presentations are going well. Students did a wonderful job of creating professional looking "Google Slides" using their Google Accounts. Not able to display samples of all of the slides here, a good sampling of the work they are doing is showcased below.
In Computer Science, we also completed presentations on the same unit. While students in Computer Science move on to Python Programming this coming week, samples of the Google Slides for their presentation are also included below.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
The students in Principles of Information Technology are just now wrapping up their Google Slides and Scripts for their presentations coming up this week. Stay tuned for samples of slides and maybe even recorded video of some of the presentations.
This week, students in Computer Science are finishing up their presentations. The presentations which have been done so far have turned out great. The scripts are well written and the Google Slides are neat, clean and professional looking. Students can be proud of how everything turned out. We will begin our Python Programming unit this week.
Each Friday, we conclude the week with some sort of "Proofreading" or "Writing" activity. This week, I had students write about new and upcoming technologies with an emphasis on their writing skills and what they think and feel about the technology coming their way. I was impressed with how students shared their excitement and/or fears relating to the new technology and how it will impact their lives. With yet another opportunity to practice their "Writing", "Microsoft Word", "Graphic Design or Desktop Publishing" skills, here are a few samples.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
In my Principles of Information Technology class, students completed their Microsoft Word Table unit with a two part formal assessment. The first part of the test had students answering 25 questions about what they know relating to the creation and modification of tables. In part two, students had to demonstrate their knowledge and skills by creating a table of their own design. These samples demonstrate the high quality work students are capable of.
In my Computer Science class, students are preparing for a formal presentation relating to "Digital Citizenship and Online Safety". From a list of many topics, students selected one of interest. Online, they listened to and learned from a their selected lesson and completed a form with specific information needed for their presentation. They are currently learning how to create presentation slides using "Google Slides". After creating a script on Monday and Tuesday, student will make their presentations on Wednesday and Thursday. Samples of Google Slides will be available for viewing next week. and a video shortly after. Stay tuned.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
In "Principles of Information Technology", students spent the week preparing for an upcoming Unit Test by practicing what they learned. They created a Microsoft Word Table to display "Texas Pride". This "Visual Design" project was created using a sample with very few and specific requirements. Students did a great job of using what they know and applying it to the creation of a quality product.
In "Computer Science" students are working on a presentation to share what they are currently learning about "Digital Citizenship and Online Safety". As a final project to conclude this unit, students will create a video using the presentation slides used in their presentation.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Students concluded our second week by learning to work with Microsoft Word and Tables. In creating our Class Picture Project, students learn a variety if beginning, intermediate and advanced features of Microsoft Word. Students learned to change page orientation, adjust page margins and create a table with the appropriate number of columns and rows. Students merged cells, adjusted font style and size, inserted pictures and adjusted their sizes. By learning to work with and mastering the graphic capabilities of Microsoft Word, students develop many "Graphic Design" skills usable in a variety of work environments.
(Here is a sample project from each class period)
Sunday, August 28, 2016
School begins:The first week of school is always a challenge for students and teachers as we all settle into our classes and adjust to our new schedule. In my technology classes, students spend the first week of school being reminded of our rules, policies and procedures and we create our "Social Contract". The week was concluded with the first test over "Rules, Policies and Procedures".
I use Microsoft Word for the creation of our Social Contract to introduce students to MS-Word's advanced Desktop Publishing features. Students work with font styles and sizes, graphic images, picture styles, page formatting, page backgrounds, page borders and other features.
While all do a great job of working hard and producing high quality products, I wish to congratulate these students and showcase their work. These students created documents that were of the highest quality and free of grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.