Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Celebrating Computer Science Education Week!

Wow! This has been quite a week for me for learning more about computers.

About a week ago, I went to a Google iPod/ iPad PLC (Professional Learning Community) with Matthew Boushey from our school district. This was the third one I went to and I've learned something new from each one I attended. This time, I learned how to turn OFF my iPods. I also learned that I need to close out of programs on the iPods. Otherwise, they are running in the background sucking out the battery life. I need to teach my students to do this, if I can remember how.

The next day, our Mac IT Specialist came in to update my MacBook to use a newer version of Office. I forgot to ask him how to update my classroom cart of iPods to iOS7. However, I did have him install the Chrome browser on the PCs in the classroom, since some of the students complained that the keyboard would freeze up when trying to type in their Google Drive documents and their would be a message at the top of the screen saying that the browser was not up to date. Those browser were IE7 (up to date). At home, I usually use Firefox, but I'm willing to use Chrome or any browser.

This past weekend, I watched as my dad upgraded and cloned my personal home computer. I went from a 50 GB solid-state drive to a 1TB Seagate internal hard-drive. We had to download the software from the Seagate support site to do so, and we used a SATA to USB connector that my dad had previously purchased. We had to use a Windows 7 Disc to "Repair" it once it was cloned, because it had not copied the BootMgr file. Finally, we restarted it and it had all the files from my old hard drive! I learned not to use Solid-State Hard Drives because they cannot be defragmented. Therefore, they take up a lot of space that would otherwise be usable.

Over the weekend, I also learned to use gClassFolders on Google Drive. I am a bit of a stickler for organization. I love how it organizes assignments for my students. Plus, it works perfectly with Doctopus, which I learned to use at the first or second Google iPod/iPad PLC. The great thing about Doctopus is that it allows you to easily make copies of digital documents for your students. The great thing about gClassFolders is it allows you to create folders specifically designed to share assignments with students. There is a pretty cool presentation showing the great combination of the two by Allison Mollica.

Yesterday, all the teachers did a presentation about what they are learning in Writing Trainings we have been attending. It was pretty cool to see the younger grade incorporating "Beginning, Middle and End" as well as Emotions in their writing. As we prepare for the Common Core Standards, I hope I can do enough to prepare my students for the future. I shared the recently released Smarter Balanced sample items. The writing prompt for the Narrative is very similar to what type of prompt students are writing for the MSP.

Today, I had my students do the HOUR OF CODE Challenge. I was really inspired as one of my students who struggles with handwriting speed was one of the first to complete the Challenge. I hope the students will decide to do more coding at home.

This afternoon, I went to another PLC for Google Drive. Some teacher who could not make it to the other sessions, but still wanted to learn how to implement Google Drive asked for it specifically. I was able to share what I had learned about gClassFolders.

I was just thinking about my to-do list for tomorrow. It included me "Making copies" of a lot of different documents. I should really just SHARE many of these through Google Drive as assignments! I can be more productive, since I don't have to wait until the morning when I'm at school to print and copy. Plus, I can save paper and the environment! I've got to go---> going to Drive with Google.

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