Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cartoons in the Classroom!

Found a wonder blog that features lots of lovely tools for technology in education. Not sure how I happened upon Creating Comics Online, but I'm glad I did: cartooning makes teaching storyboard design relevant, and the online tools are much easier than demonstrating my stick figure storyboards and having students draw on sheets of paper.

He ends the article with 20 Ways to Use Comics in Your Classroom and More than 100 Editorial Cartoon Lesson Plans which makes cartooning immediately relevant to the classroom.

My students have been introduced to Scratch via e-cards, our next move is to write short stories and animate them using Scratch. After that we'll move to programming in Alice. I think comic strips are a great interim step before getting into 2D and 3D animation.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Agrarian Fascination in games

What's with all the apps and games focusing in farming? This point hit home for me when attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and one of the meet-and-greet questions was whether you checked your farm before the event! At the time I had 3 farms to check so that was a box I signed for others! How can we harness this obsession in academics and computing? Planning for periods of inaccessibility (logic), most profit generated in a given period (math, estimation), artistic nature of crop placement (crop circles), and of course agricultural and geography knowledge of crops. Maybe I'll host an extra credit challenge :)  I envision a class contest with the most decorative, the most profit generating, the most green, etc.

started the trend on Facebook, people were already spending hours catching up with friends, then they spent hours maintaining their farms

iPhone app

Apple's farming contribution, which is just as engaging (if you're profit minded) but had the audacity to download an auxiliary app (Game Center) to add the social networking piece.

The theme extends to cafes, bakeries, restaurants, shopping...anything that translates to buying and selling commodities.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Beginning Programming

School is very different: I once worked with a man (not in an educational setting) who lamented the fact that schools don't teach what they did in the 1950's, which directly contributed to students and scientists' abilities to create the computer revolution: counting in bases other than 10, logic, games. Unfortunately our students are not receiving this same knowledge so before students can program we need to give them logic skills. The following are some activities that give pre-programming logic skills.

Tech tools for class use

Ning: free Ning Mini for educators: iTeach: free website, course management, and more: K12 High Speed Network: free tools for educators: