In today’s world, students must prepare themselves for a wide range of college and work opportunities. All students want to lead a happy life and enjoy the good things the world has to offer. Our students will certainly be provided a quality education. This year I am working with our junior high students as they learn and master a wide range of 21st Century Skills.

In this year’s “Technology Applications” class, students will learn and master various topics associated with computers and technology.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Self Learning a Challenge

Principles of Information Technology

As students learn to take charge of their own learning and skill mastery, they are exposed to a number of various learning opportunities.  With the numbers changing weekly, the numbers in red represent the number of students engaged in the various "Self-Learning" modules at this time.

  1. Microsoft Word and Basic Desktop Publishing  ()
  2. Digital Citizenship ()
  3. Graphic Design  (7)
  4. Spreadsheets (1)
  5. Professional Development (1)
6.     Python Programming  (29)
7.     MIT App Inventor
  Programming (8)                               
8.      Web Design 💥
9.      Keyboarding  (6)
10.   Career Exploration (3)
11.   Computer Hardware (3)

(💥  Under Development)
12.    Robotics 💥
13.    Emerging Technologies 💥
14.   Business Documents  (1)
15.   Learning.com - Mixed
        Bag (7)
16.   Intro to Networking 💥
17.   Intro to  Cybersecurity💥

Career and Technology

The 6th graders have been busy, busy, busy creating web pages using Google Sites.  These websites are the final projects of their Career Exploration Unit.  While the web pages of these websites still need several rounds of proofreading editing and polishing, here are a few samples to share so far.

Complete websites will be made available when all rounds of editing and polishing are complete.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Adventure Continues

Principles of Information Technology

The 8th Graders are working diligently in their new style of learning.  I currently have 66, 8th grade students working in 7 different "Self-Learning" modules.  At this time, the 7 modules are as follows:  Python Programming, Keyboarding, Graph Design, Career Investigation, MIT App Inventor Programming, Learning.com and Computer Hardware.  As students complete a module, they are to select another module of their choice and the learning continues.

Career and Technology

The 6th graders are currently working on Career Exploration.  They just completed a series of "Skills Inventories" to help them better understand the jobs or careers they might be best suited for.  At this stage of the game, it was an exercise to demonstrate how these skills inventories works as the Internet is filled with tens of thousands of these kinds of tools.

This week, students will learn to use the U.S. Government "Occupational Outlook Handbook".  An excellent source of information for just about any job or career you can imagine.  The book is compiled by the "Department of Labor" and is kept updated on a regular basis.

The information gathered on Job Descriptions, Salary Expectations and Educational Requirements will be shared through a website students will be creating for jobs and careers they themselves are interested in.  I have no doubt students will create awesome websites so stay tuned as they share what they are learning.

By the way, here s a link to pictures and videos for various events.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Times, They are a Changing

Principles of Information Technology

This past week, 8th graders are beginning to experience learning in a whole new way.  As of this week, no longer are students tied to learning what their teacher feels is important, they have the power to pick and choose technology training which interests them.

 As a class, we completed Modules 1 and 2 for the purposes of learning and understanding how the modules are intended to work.  As Module 2 (Digital Citizenship) is completed, students are free to choose and have selected the following "Self-Learning" modules:  Graphic Design, Keyboarding, Python Programming, App Inventor Programming, Learning.com (Mixed Bag); a module which allows students to select from about 50 different "Learning.Com" online lessons in 11 categories and Computer Hardware.  A few others will be selecting their topics on Monday.

For a synopsis of available "Self-Learning" modules:

CLICK HERE (Google Doc Version)


Career and Technology

Over the past several weeks, the 6th graders have been busy learning about "Digital Citizenship".  They completed this training module by creating a video using "Windows Movie Maker".  In these videos, the 6th graders did a fantastic job of sharing the dangers and suggesting safety tips for using the Internet and Social Media.

To view their videos, select a class period below.

Stay tuned for other great work samples as we begin Module 9 (Career Exploration).

Sunday, October 1, 2017

"Visual Graphic" Designers are Born

Career and Technology

In learning about Microsoft Word 2010, 6th graders begin to understand the many image and graphic capabilities of the program. Taking what was learned in our Digital Citizenship Module, students create a mini-poster to share the dangers of the Internet.

Students are now in the process of creating videos using "Windows Movie Maker".  In using another medium for showcasing what they learned, students will be sharing tips and information regarding online safety.  Stay tuned for the videos. 

CLICK HERE to see the Mini-Posters created by the students.

Principles of Information Technology

Students did not have the opportunity to work on Module 2 (Digital Citizenship) due to a Math and Reading placement test they needed to take.  With most students done with their 2 tests, work will continue on their Self-Learning module.

As work is complete for Module 2, the 8th graders will create their own version of the Mini-Poster and Video.

Stay tuned for samples of their work later this week.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The challenges of Writing and Graphic Design

Principles of Information Technology

As we near the end of Module 2 (Digital Citizenship), students typed a one page essay to share what students learned. Through a couple of videos, 8th graders learned about the MLA and APA style college requirements and how these styles must be followed for high school and college writing assignments.  For this particular essay, students had to follow strict requirements for style and contents.

As I read through many essays, it became quickly apparent that most students learned proper writing skills last year as 7th graders in Mrs. Reyes' "Creative Writing" class.  It was great to read what students learned about Internet Dangers, Safe Practices and they were asked to share a true story about someone who ended up in trouble for not adhering to proper and safe use of the Internet.

Career and Technology

While 6th graders are learning about Microsoft Word and many of its advanced features, a "Digital Citizenship" digital poster is being created using Microsoft Word, graphic images, images styles, text boxes and page borders.  This allows students to practice what they already know as well as learn new features of the program they can use.

Samples of student's work will be available soon.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Students complete Module 1 (Microsoft Word and Desktop Publishing)

Principles of Information Technology

Career and Technology

Students spent the last two weeks working through the first of many Self-Learning Modules.  Module 1 (Microsoft Word and Desktop Publishing) had students completing a number of self guided activities resulting in the creation of high quality Social Contracts and Class Picture Projects.  Starting the module with very low Pretest scores, about 95% of students experienced a 60 - 70 increase in their Posttest score at the end.

Each year we begin with a couple of projects designed to introduce students to Microsoft Word and its Visual Design capabilities.  This year, we decided to try doing this same project with a Google Document.  We quickly learned that a Google Document IS NOT Microsoft Word.  Even with limited table and graphic capabilities, students did a fantastic job of creating this year's Class Picture Project.  Here are samples created by each class period.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Visual Design and Desktop Publishing

Principles of Information Technology

Career and Technology

While many students are relearning or learning Microsoft Word 2010 for the first time, they found our first project challenging. While our "Social Contract" is a simple document, each student has learned to use about a dozen basic and intermediate functions of the Microsoft Word program. Here are a few samples.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Off to a Great Start

Principles of Information Technology

Career and Technology

Students in my 2 classes are gearing up for a fun year.  As we ease into the new year, we are working on creating our "Social Contract" and our "Class Picture Table".  Students are learning to work with the new Learning Modules set up for the year.  It won't be long before students are working at their own pace and selecting Learning Modules of their own interest.  Stay tuned as things unfold.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

"The Thirst for Knowledge is Never Quenched"

As teachers prepare for another great year, I was very impressed by the knowledge and insight shared by everyone throughout our training. Through the aches and pains of growth and change, our district and school are ready to explode into the future.

As you know, I had the opportunity this summer to spend time with teachers from across the country and I shared with others what we do here.  Teachers were impressed by how we put time, energy and the necessary funding into putting technology into the hands of all students.  They were amazed at how a simple "Handshake" at the door can change relationships and school culture.  They became excited to try it in their classrooms for the difference it might bring.

Here are pictures and video clips to share what we did over the last 3 weeks.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Changes in store for “Principles of Information Technology”


After 23 years of teaching a wide range of computer technology classes and being limited by a one semester time period, I have decided to expand learning opportunities for my students.  Instead of students being limited to the 4 or 5 technology topics taught each semester, I will be implementing a wide range of “Individual Learning Modules” for Self-Paced instruction.  Students will now choose their technology topics from 15 different self-learning modules.  Each module is set up with videos, worksheets, various learning activities and assessments.  Each module is designed for mastery of the work skills and technology content all students must have upon entering high school, college and the workplace.  As always, I will be available to work with students who may need help and to answer any questions they may have.

For a list and brief description of each learning module, CLICK HERE.

Monday, July 31, 2017

U.S. Air Force/FIRST Leadership Experience

After a great week at the Air Force Academy, I returned home excited about the new school year coming up.  Being on a military installation, I was reminded of all the great times I had while I myself served in the military.  

A slide show tells the story of our awesome experience.

School's approaching soon and changes are in store for "Principles of Information Technology".  Stay tuned for information and details coming your way soon.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

U.S. Air Force Academy and FIRST (Day 4)

The last day of our FIRST experience found us back at the U.S. Air Force Academy for a briefing by the academy's "Admission's Office". The application process is pretty strait forward for anyone who has a desire for a FREE four year university degree.  Upon graduation, you will become a commissioned officer and work for one of the most technically advanced branches of the military service.  A "Four Lenses Exercise" workshop helped us better understand our personality and character and how it effects relationships with other teachers and most importantly, our students.

We ate lunch at the "Falcon Club" before we visited the "Academy's Chapel".  We left the chapel and headed for a wooded area for a team building "Ropes" course.  Due to rain and lightning, we were only able to complete one exercise.  For our final activity, we stopped at the "Visitor Center" and "Academy's Book Store".

We ended our last evening of this experience with dinner where we all had a chance to socialize and we were presented with parting gifts. The information learned through this experience is priceless.  An experience like none other and not soon to be forgotten.

(Admissions Presentation)
(Four Colors Exercise)

(U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel)

(Lunch at the Enlisted/Officers Club)
(Ropes Course - Trust Building)

(Our last evening together)

Major General Garrett Harencak is the Commander of the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service.  He greeted us Sunday evening, briefly visited with us each day of the event and shared dinner with us to end the experience; "What a leader."

(US Air Force FIRST Experience 2017)

Pillars of Leadership, Robotics

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

U.S. Air Force Academy and FIRST (Day 3)

We started this morning in Polaris Hall at the U.S. Air Force Academy and listened to a great presentation on "Human Behavior" by Betiza Erzin.  We played a quick game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors".  Not ever having played before, somehow I ended up winning all 3 of 4 rounds making me the Grand Champion. Is that beginner's luck or what?

Next, we were driven to Schriever Air Force Base.  Cell phones and cameras were not allowed in the facility area that we toured and we had to leave them in the vans, so there are no pictures for this part of the day.  We had a great lunch at their Dining Facility which has won several dining facility awards.  Lunch was awesome.

After lunch, we visited the 50th Space Wing where we learned about the mission of the squadron.  We learned how important the 50th Space Wing is to our national security.  Each door we passed through had to be entered quickly because security only allows 15 seconds to enter and the door must be closed or alarms will go off and the police and guys with guns are summoned.  We then visited the 2 and 4 SOPS where we learned how they track satellites. (lol!)

We visited another section of the facility with lower levels of security.  I now can safely write about what we saw without fear of getting in trouble!  This group of Airman are responsible for our GPS satellites. They monitor, track, maintain and adjust satellite orbits when needed.  We than traveled to the 527th Space Aggression Squadron. This is a unit responsible for training those who are involved in "Satellite Communications Jamming".  All in all, very educational and an eye opener.  Because of the need for engineers across our country, STEM training is encouraged in many aspects of a Cadet's education.

Polaris Hall ( at the Air Force Academy), was specially designed and built in 2015 to house the "Center for Character and Leadership Development". The leaning tower (1st picture) points to the North Star to symbolize the unwavering commitment to the "core values" believed and held by all academy cadets.  A special room is used by cadets to hold hearings for students who have violated the core values.  It is up to this panel of cadets to decide who must leave the academy and who will be allowed to stay and continue their cadet training.

(Polaris Hall)
(Cadet's Hearing Room)

Pillars of Leadership, Robotics

Monday, July 24, 2017

U.S. Air Force Academy and FIRST (Day 2)

Today was an exhausting day due to the high altitude and long walking distances.  We arrived at the academy for a presentation by retired Col. Gregory Tate on "Character and Leadership Development".  After a short welcome by Col. Gary Packard the Vice Dean of the Academy, we had lunch at the cadet's dining facility.  We toured the Academy's Applied Mechanics Lab, the Aeronautics Engineering Lab and had a "Question and Answer" session with several U.S. Air Force Cadets.  We ended our academy visit with a demonstration of a NAO robot.  The last 2 things on today's agenda was a visit to the "Gardens of the Gods" and dinner at a 100 year old school turned into a Brewery and Pub.

(Colonel Tate - Center for Character and Professional Development)

(Colonel Packard - Vice Dean of the Academy)

(Academy Grounds)

(Applied Mechanics Lab)

(Aeronautics Engineering Lab)

(Garden of the Gods)
(IvyWild - 100 year old school turned into a business)
(NAO Robot Demonstration)

Pillars of Leadership, Robotics

U.S. Air Force Academy and FIRST (Day 1)

Our first evening was spent sharing dinner and  getting to know the 24 participants in our group.  STEM teachers came together this week from just about all over the country.  I learned that NORAD is not too far away.  The control center for monitoring the airways and launching our nuclear arsenal if we ever need to.   The antennas can be seen at the top of the mountain. 

Tomorrow will be a fun filled day visiting the U.S. Air Force Academy for presentations, a tour of the cadet's engineering facility, lunch at their dining facility, a visit to the "Garden of the Gods" and dinner in evening.

(NORAD -North American Aerospace Defense Command)

(Great Reception and dinner)