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Typing Class: Middle School Computer Lessons

Typing Class: Middle School Computer Lessons

Do you teach a keyboarding class? Today, typing on a keyboard is still a vital skill for students. With more high stakes tests (PARCC) being taken on computers, keyboarding is more important than ever. However, teaching just keyboarding is boring! You need to spice up your typing instruction with some interesting lessons that can relate to students lives and draw their interests. If you are just teaching a class that covers typing only, good luck. you are probably dealing with student behavior issues and kids looking at their fingers on the keys just to get through your class. I recommend that your class only types for 5-7 (10 at the most) minutes of typing each time you meet. Short and sweet at the end of the class. Brain research dictates that the beginning of a class is the most vital time for learning. More than likely you use this time for your keyboarding, really the last few minutes may be the best time for keyboarding.

If you are looking for classroom computer lessons that will interest your students, check out www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com and check out the 2 free sample lessons from the “Complete Middle School Computer Curriculum”.

 

@mprezios

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Middle School Computer Lessons, Office tools in the classroom: What is the best choice?

Middle School Computer Lessons, Office tools in the classroom: What is the best choice?

Does your school use Office (probably the 2003 version) or Office 360, maybe Google Docs? What one is the best choice for the schools of today? More importantly, how will you adjust your instruction to whatever tools you have. The lessons at www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com are presented in a way so that they can be used with any office or office type program PC, or Mac, Microsoft or Google.

Also, you will need to consider what devices will the students use. Do you have desktop pc’s? Netbooks? Tablets? or do they bring their own? Given the choice I feel that Google docs is the best option, it can easily be used on any device at school or at home. It makes collaboration easy and it is free.

If you are looking for middle school computer lessons or simple high school computer lessons visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com and request 2 free sample lessons from the Complete Computer curriculum.

Twitter: @mprezios

 

Implimenting Technology; Middle School Computer Lessons

I wanted to review something that would be relevant to me and my building. I immediately went to the “Tech &Learning” web site to look. Initially I was looking for an article on security for classroom use Ipods and Ipads. Because there is a debate in our district whether to force teachers to submit their school Ipads to be locked down and made all the same. I am obviously against this. But, what I stumbled upon was a short article about a classroom app that looks really useful. I am always searching for tools that teachers can use in their classrooms and I am eager to share what I find. Most recently I have shared “Evernote” and “Google Drive” with my staff. These useful apps should be on every educators device.

            The article that I found was a review of an app called “Class Dojo”. The best thing about it is that it is free! Free of course to you if your school has basic tech tools, if not you could use your own smartphone. Class Dojo is a behavior tracking program that monitors the student behavior in your classroom and shows the results to your class. As soon as I read the concept, I thought it could be a brilliant tool in the fight against student apathy and classroom disruption. I am always looking for things that teachers can add to their bag of tricks for technology and classroom management.

            Teachers can create an account and create their classes and personal avatars can be made for each student. As teachers monitor the room they can make positive or other observations for the class right on their device. This data is instantly displayed for students to see in the class. Teachers can make classroom behavior goals and the entire class will feel like they are a part of reaching it. This is designed for use on an Apple device but can also be downloaded on a pc.

Reflection:

As a school administrator, purchasing and implementing new technology can be a delicate dance. Where you decide to spend your precious technology budget is a vital decision that can affect your school in a very positive way if done properly. On the other hand, if you don’t do your homework your shiny new technology will sit in a corner with an inch of dust on top. I believe the most powerful classroom tool is the teacher, I would start there, simply ask “What new technology would you like available to you?”. What I would not do is to go out and order 30 document cameras and present them at a staff meeting. In that case you will see the whole spectrum; 10 may use them, 10 may open the box the rest may not even pick them up. I think asking first will give the best direction.

I feel that the 3 best tech tools for a teacher are wireless mouse, projector, and working pc, it goes without saying that you also need internet in your building.

            Now comes the question of implementation. This is where I feel that we are now in my building. I hope that my teachers see me as a leader in educational technology. When I am in any teachers classroom, not necessarily for a observation but for any reason, I like to suggest tech tools that they might find useful. Thus adding an aspect of technology to a lesson that may not have that. This new thing could help reach learners in that class that may not be engaged. Yesterday, I was in a language arts classroom and the teacher was discussing a song, he was trying to explain it to the class with little success. I suggested that he pull it up on Youtube. Simple and effective and most importantly free! Now that teacher has a whole new thing to add to his lessons. So, as far as implementation goes, my philosophy is; take what the teacher is good at and add a little technology to the mix and everyone will benefit. Also, use what you already have available to you, what are your free resources? It does not have to be a directive like

For more ideas visit: www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

“The Power of ICU” book by Educator Danny Hill; Middle School Computer Lessons

“The Power of ICU” book by Educator Danny Hill; Middle School Computer Lessons

Today I had the pleasure to hear the ideas and experiences of educator Danny Hill author of “The Power of ICU”. This is a dynamic idea where the end result is students taking responsibility for their learning. In a nut shell, teachers no longer accept students taking a zero for a grade. Instead all students complete all the assignments. I must admit that I had read his book before attending the presentation and already wanted to be a part of bringing this to my building. However, after sitting in on Mr. Hills talk, I am ready to dive in and do what ever I have to do to in order to make this work in my middle school. The question that I keep asking myself is “Don’t I want to be part of a great school?”. Well, I really do and I feel that this is the concept that can take us there.

Why not? Does our current zero based grading system really reflect learning…nope. So, why not attack it from a different angle. Lets hold those apathetic kids accountable for the work that they refuse to do. After all, what are we really teaching our kids in our classroom? If you dont pay your taxes, do you get a zero? No, you are forced to pay them one way or another. How is giving a zero or taking points away teaching responsibility?

I suggest that anyone (Even tech teachers) take a look at the book “The Power of ICU by Danny Hill”. As a tech teacher and tech support person in my district I will be a leader in implementing this in my school by helping to set up, maintain and sharpen a Google Docs spreadsheet with a list of every student in my building and any missing assignment they may have. This is just the beginning, I am hoping this will lead my building onto a path where we are proud of the students we produce.

I hope I have many future posts about my experiences with this philosophy. My biggest fear is that the rest of the staff not fully committing to it.

I would love to hear your comments!

For more middle school computer lessons and ideas check out www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

How I use Skype; Middle School Computer lessons

How I use Skype; Middle School Computer lessons

In my room, I have my netbook that I use for instructions connected to skype. In the past I have used it for skyping with other teachers and classes throughout the country. Yesterday, I used it a little differently.

My 8th grade class is going to the High School next year and many of them had questions about the computer classes that were offered there. So, during my 8th grade class we skyped with the computer teacher at the HS. He gave my students a brief description of his classes and answered any questions that they had. It went well. He used an IPad and I used a tablet pc. He also showed him the lab via the ipad, which was good for them to see. I plan on repeating this in the future.

I would love to hear your comments!

For more great lesson ideas visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

Middle School Computer Lesons; 5 Essential Student Skills

Middle School Computer Lessons; 5 Essential Student Skills

If you are currently teaching a computer class or have just been told that you will be next school year, what are the 5 most important things to cover in your class? For my students, I feel that giving them a broad range of computer activities and experiences is the best way to help them grow as learners. In my class we may not cover one topic exhaustively but cover many topics lightly. My students only have my class for approximately 45 days per year and I feel it is in their best interest to introduce as many things during tha t time as possible.

– If you are looking for great “Middle School Computer Lessons” visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com for classroom and teacher books.

The top five skills that I try to emphasize with my class are:

5- Social media – this class discussion is always an interesting one

4- Web Navigation– Students benefit from sharpening their search skills; There is a great “Google Search Game” in my book.

3- Office skills– Word Processing, Presentation tools, Excel…

2- Typing/Keyboarding– Text all you want, typing with a keyboard is still where it is at…for now

1- Being able to use the computer as a tool to achieve your goals. Helping students choose the proper avenue and tool when utilizing computer skills in their real life.  This includes troubleshooting common errors and problem solving.

I would love to hear your comments!

For more ideas visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

Middle School Computer Lessons; What to do with that old PC?

Middle School Computer Lessons; What to do with that old PC?

arcade machine
It doesn’t have much to do with Middle School Computer Lessons, but it is kind of a neat idea. Take that old PC and convert it into an “Old School” MAME Arcade machine. I Found an old Ms. Pacman shell with no guts, added my old Gateway and an X-arcade controller.

For actual materials that you can use in your “middle school computer” class

visit www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com

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