Managing Devices for Remote Learning

Part time school, distance learning, bring your own device – these classroom trends can all introduce a diverse mix of technology devices. Multiple devices such as desktop computers and tablets, and a variety of operating systems challenge teachers to become instant experts. But we’re educators, not computer scientists. What to do? Managing devices that are not the same doesn’t have to be a roadblock.

There’s lots of help available. There are free apps that work the same no matter what device students have. As for curriculum, TechnoKids has versions of technology projects for Google Apps as well as Microsoft Office 2019, 2016, 2013, and Office Online.

Here are some suggestions and tips to questions you may have. If I’ve left out any issues, just email us at information@technokids.com and we’ll try to help.

managing devices

What free apps are available to work on multiple devices?

There are two commonly used choices for teachers and students: Google Apps or G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 both offer free accounts. They also have options specifically for education use. Simply sign up! Once logged in using a browser, students can access a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation app, and many more tools to create digital assignments. No matter what device they are using, what students see will all be the same.

How do I share files with my students?

There are lots of options to help teachers give assignments to their students digitally.

Sharing can be as simple as uploading a file for students to download and work on. Use email, Dropbox, Google Drive, or many other cloud storage services.

Or there are powerful classroom management systems let teachers set up classes, create and distribute templates, and evaluate student work. Students sign in, join a class, and then complete and submit their completed activities. Collaboration is another benefit of these tools. Teachers can create forums to encourage community question and answer spaces. In this way, students can help one another instead of just corresponding with the teacher. 

TechnoKids offers helpful step-by-step instructions to set up Google Classroom and Class Notebook. Click on the links to get started.

Do TechnoKids projects work on different devices?

When you purchase a TechnoKids projects, you will automatically receive multiple versions. No deciding and restricting your users to limited options. Most TechnoKids projects come in all of the following:

  1. Google Apps
  2. Microsoft Office 2019, 2016, and 2013
  3. Microsoft Office 365 Online

You can give each student the specific version needed for their device. Instructions, tools, and sample images will match in the Student Workbook will match what they see.

How can I track my students and their devices?

To keep organized, it’s a good idea to create a class list and record what device each student is using. Use a spreadsheet with the headings Name and Device. Add any other columns as needed. Now you can sort and filter the data by what device students are using. Then it’s just one step to upload the version of a project that corresponds to each group using a specific type of device.

How can I adjust my curriculum to accommodate multiple devices?

See Six Tips to Adapt to Online Learning with TechnoKids and Distance Learning Hints for Success to see some suggestions. Read helpful, time saving hints such as using student peer coaches, flexibility in assignments, and timing options.

How can students build creative projects?

When it seemed as if remote learning was going to be a short-term event perhaps for a few weeks or so, the quick solution may have been assigning worksheets to students. But now it seems that some form of distance learning may be a part of education for the foreseeable future. Students need to be challenged with inquiry based, creative, and engaging assignments. We know that they are savvy consumers of media. But they should also develop their creative expression and become producers of media.

Offer tasks that require higher order thinking skills, independence, responsibility, and collaboration. Students using a variety of devices with which they are familiar can meet the challenge of student-centered, self-directed education. Promote ‘anytime, anywhere‘ learning that extends beyond classroom walls.

Where can I read more about managing multiple devices?

Get TechnoKids BYOD Handbook.

This free, downloadable ebook will answer frequently asked questions, suggest fun web apps to use, and give classroom management tips for working with a variety of computers, tablets, and smartphones.

FUN TIP: As a motivating start to an inquiry project, check out the Word Clouds section of the BYOD Handbook. Students brainstorm words associated with a theme. Then they use a free online tool to automatically create a unique image from the words. It’s a fan favorite!

word cloud

Managing Devices Unscrambled

At first, it may seem like chaos with so many different devices being used in the classroom or by students working remotely. But it’s actually empowering for students to use their own technology. They are comfortable with their own tools, and that’s the first step in achieving meaningful, relevant, and engaged learning.

Six Tips to Adapt to Online Learning with TechnoKids

ipads and technokids

Teachers are all working ‘differently’ these days as they shift to virtual classrooms. It’s a challenge! But some of these changes might even enhance student achievement. In a previous post, I outlined some general hints for success. Here are some specific tips to adapt to online learning with TechnoKids projects.

No Internet or Limited Access?

Even if students do not have a reliable Internet connection, you can modify TechnoKids projects to adjust. They can use Microsoft Office desktop programs to develop essential technology skills and explore ways to compensate for lack of online connectivity.  

Money Management and TechnoBudget

Offer alternative resources. TechnoBudget teaches financial literacy and personal finance. Students create a budget and spending plan with an online shopping spree. Instead, suggest that students browse through paper shopping circulars or use their own knowledge of prices to achieve the same goal. They will gain the critical spreadsheet skills whatever creative way they find the item prices.

Omit research tasks. TechnoTravel is a presentation project in which students promote a weekend getaway. Rather than researching online, suggest to students that they pick a place with which they are familiar. A known topic will eliminate the need to research online. Students will still acquire the key technology learning outcomes.

Not Enough Time?

online learning

Leave out selected activities. All TechnoKids projects have optional assignments that may be omitted. Review Questions test student understanding of concepts and tools. Skill Reviews are exercises that repeat skills in a new way to support understanding. Extension Activities are challenges that offer enrichment or additional skills. Any or all of these activities may be omitted without losing any of the technology objectives of the project.

Assign selective parts of a project. TechnoInternet teaches search strategies, Internet safety, digital citizenship, and more. Pick and choose the activities according to which skills your students need or which ones your curriculum requires.

ipads and technokids

Teach half a project. TechnoTurtle is an introduction to programming using Python and the Turtle library. You can use just the first three sessions instead of all six to provide a solid foundation in coding skills for beginners.

Too Many Technology Skills to Teach?

Use TechnoKids resources. TechnoEarth encourages students to become environmental advocates. Bypass the research requirement of the project. As an alternative, focus on the skills of designing an infographic. Use the 13 provided fact sheets on critical universal issues such as acid rain, invasive species, endangered reefs, and more. These one-page summaries provide all the informative and comprehensive facts that students need to create their unique call to action.

TechnoRestaurateur

Zone in on the fundamentals. TechnoRestaurateur turns students into young entrepreneurs. They complete a variety of activities as they plan a new restaurant. Restrict the project to only the survey and graphing skills. If time allows, include the summary report to build word processing skills. You can omit designing the company logo and drafting a floor plan and still maintain the key elements of the project.

Are Some Students Progressing at a Faster Pace?

ipads and technokids

Include optional activities. Did you leave out selected activities as suggested above? If some students are moving ahead of others, assign the Review Questions, Skill Reviews, or Extension Activities to keep them engaged and learning new skills.

ipads and technokids

Offer follow up projects. If you’re using Scratch Jr to teach coding, and a student has finished TechnoWhiz, use TechnoTales to build on their skills and enthusiasm. Similarly, if students want another programming challenge after TechnoTales, introduce them to TechnoCode using Scratch 3. Refer to TechnoKids’ project matrix to view the grade level, technology skills, and app used in each project and to determine what’s next.

Diverse Technology Skills in the Class?

ipads and technokids

Designate student peer coaches. To both assist the teacher and to engage students who have advanced skills, invite selected children to communicate with and assist their classmates. Make use of the unique collaborative nature of online technology – Google Classroom, Microsoft Online, Class Notebook, Teams, Zoom or even email or texting. Encourage kids to help others with troubleshooting, editing, or partner and group assignments.

bookmaking lessons

Add flexibility to the curriculum. TechnoBookmaking builds word processing skills with a collection of templates to create fun publications. They can make unfolding riddle books, flip flap stories, layer fact books, and many more. Allow students to make one, two, or as many of the activities as they can without setting minimum requirements.

Having Trouble Engaging Students?

ipads and technokids

Hook students with their personal interests. TechnoBlog allows students to write in their own voice. In this project, they select a topic of personal expertise such as a sport, a favorite author, or a hobby. With step-by-step instructions and writing starters, they publish a series of different blogs. They share an insight, provide advice for peers, and articulate an opinion about their subject. Then they communicate with an authentic audience of their classmates for feedback, developing responsible digital citizenship skills.

Entice students with expressing their opinions. In TechnoDebate, pairs of students choose a controversial issue of their choice and argue the pro and con sides of the topic. Using Google Slides or PowerPoint Online, they design an illustrated slide show. When complete, they offer rebuttals, support their viewpoints with facts, and invite class participation. Do cell phones improve communication? Should zoos be allowed to operate? Is it fair to lose marks for late work? Build on your students’ interests and concerns.

Online Learning with TechnoKids

If you have challenges to solve regarding remote classrooms or questions about online learning with TechnoKids Computer Curriculum, contact us. Email information@technokids.com. We’re here to help.

NEW! TechnoPython – Python Lessons for Beginners

Do you need Python lessons for beginners? If yes, then you will be happy to learn more about TechnoPython. It is a new programming technology project from TechnoKids. This curriculum resource includes coding activities that are ideal for middle school and high school students.

In TechnoPython, your students become game developers. They learn the Python programming language by building games such as Pet Monster Rescue, Guess It, and Adventure Quest. To conclude the curriculum unit, students share their favorite Python program in a coding presentation.

Not only do the Python lessons teach fundamental programming concepts, but they also spark an interest in computer science. At the same time, the assignments develop soft skills that are highly valued in a programmer, such as curiosity, logical thinking, persistence, and creativity.

TechnoPython has Python lessons for beginners,

Complete Python Programming Missions

In TechnoPython, students learn the Python programming language by completing programming missions. Each mission begins with the basics and then advances to more complex tasks. With this in mind, you can assign one mission or do them all! In fact, TechnoPython offers so much flexibility, you can use the lessons as part of computer science class, programming unit, Python workshop series, or for an Hour of Code.

Coding Jungle Programming Mission

The goal of the Coding Jungle Mission is to gain an understanding of the Python programming language. The mission has four tasks. To start, students experiment with code to learn about the role of a programmer and about terminology. Next, they play the Python Hunt game and edit the program to discover how it works. Afterwards, they develop debugging skills by adding “bugs” or mistakes to the Catch the Bugs game. These assignments are ideal for beginners.

Coding Jungle Mission
Introduce the Python programming language to beginners in the Coding Jungle mission.

Pet Monster Rescue Programming Mission

In the Pet Monster Rescue Mission, students design a program that matches an owner to their ideal pet. The mission has four tasks. First, students learn about strings, integers, and variables so that they understand how to write text and ask questions. Next, they apply this programming knowledge to inform others about the adoption process. Afterwards, they complete a flowchart that outlines the logic needed to match a person to a pet. Finally, they build the decision-making code that determines if a pet with horns, scales, one eye, or many arms is a good fit. This is done by writing if and else statements that use logical operators. These Python lessons for beginners include extra challenges to improve the program and make it unique.

Pet Monster Rescue
Write if statements using logical operators to match a person to their ideal pet.

Guess It Programming Mission

In the Guess It Mission, students build a guessing game. It asks players to guess a number correctly before they run out of chances. Clues tell the player if their answer is too high or low. Coding challenges help students to enhance the game design. They can format the output, create a cheer, keep score, or switch player feedback. This programming mission has six tasks. Programmers combine the random library, loops, and conditionals to build a fun game that players will want to play again and again.

Guess It Mission
Build a guessing game using Python lessons for beginners.

Adventure Quest Programming Mission

In the Adventure Quest Mission, students create a text-based adventure game. It has players explore a strange land to earn coins and collect special objects. The programming mission has nine tasks. To prepare, students learn how to control data entry. This will prevent typing errors from causing bugs. Next, they describe the places players visit when they travel North, South, East and West using functions. To add interest to the storyline, they then apply their programming skills to create a game that has the player pick the correct color to win money.

Game development continues with a treasure hunt. Players travel East to collect objects and store them in a backpack. To prepare for this part of the programming mission, students learn how to add, remove, sort, and count list items. Once this skill is mastered, they create an adventure with loot and hidden dangers. Will the players find treasure or risk losing it all?

Python lessons for beginners
Design a text-based adventure game using the Python programming language.

Teach Programming Skills to Middle and High School Students

Is student engagement important to you? If yes, then TechnoPython is a great way to start teaching the Python programming language. Instead of having students mindlessly copy code snippets, they build unique games. In other words, everyone follows the SAME instructions, but each person creates an original program!

Teach essential programming skills using Python lessons for beginners:

  • build an algorithm using a flowchart that describes the steps in a program
  • write Python code to achieve a specific goal
  • apply debugging techniques to identify and fix errors
  • format the output of program to make it easy to read
  • collaborate with others to review program design
  • name a variable and assign a value
  • prompt the user to input a value for a variable
  • convert a variable from an integer to a string or vice versa
  • manipulate the case of a string to upper, lower, or sentence case
  • calculate the values of variables
  • create an editable list of items; add, remove, sort and count items
  • loop a set of instructions forever or until a condition is met
  • repeat a set of instructions a specific number of times
  • break a loop to stop running a set of instructions
  • control the outcome using if, elif, and else statements
  • trigger actions using logical operators (==, !=, <, >) and True/False values
  • develop a function to run a block of instructions
  • import Python libraries
  • select a random integer or choice

Python Lessons for Beginners

Are you teaching programming to kids? It should be noted, TechnoPython is jam-packed full of Python programming activities. The technology project has:

  • 24 Python Assignments: The TechnoPython assignments are divided into sessions. In each session students complete a programming mission. The assignments have detailed steps, troubleshooting tips, and coding challenges. By following the instructions, students gradually learn how to independently plan, write, and debug original programs.
  • 8 Extension Activities: The extension activities are additional assignments for enrichment. They present a wide range of learning opportunities. Some are programming tasks that introduce a new skill while others are reflections about the coding experience.

What Do I Get with the TechnoPython Technology Project?

Do you want to save time designing your own lessons? TechnoPython has everything you need to teach a computer science unit or hands-on programming workshop:

  • TechnoPython Teacher Guide: The teacher guide has six sessions. It has lessons for teaching each programming mission. As well it includes preparatory steps, teaching strategies, and learning objectives. It also has simple explanations of code snippets to help explain how a program works to children ages 10 and up.
  • TechnoPython Student Workbook: The student workbook is a complete booklet of assignments. This file is in PDF format. Use it to double-side print. Place the instructions into a binder or duo-tang for distribution to students.
  • TechnoPython Student Worksheets: The assignments are available as individual worksheets. These files are in a secure PDF format and require Adobe Reader or Kami to view and annotate. Import these worksheets into an LMS such as Google Classroom or Canvas to create assignments.
  • TechnoPython Resources: TechnoPython includes a folder that has customizable assessment tools, task lists, certificates, templates, and samples.

Simplify Teaching with the TechnoPython Resources

  • 6 Python Reviews: The reviews are quizzes. Questions are true/false, fill-in-the blank, or multiple choice. They assess students understanding of programming terminology, Python commands, or computer science concepts. These files are in a customizable Word/Docs format allowing teachers to add or remove questions.
  • 5 Python Skill Reviews: The skill reviews are additional assignments to solidify learning. They encourage the transfer of knowledge to a new task. Many of the skill reviews in TechnoPython require students to enhance the program built in the session. These files are in a customizable Word/Docs format making it possible for teachers to edit the content.
  • 3 Python Peer Reviews: The peer reviews are question sheets that have students play each other’s games and then provide feedback. They are an excellent way to promote collaboration and celebrate learning.
  • Game Marking Sheets: Each game built using Python has a marking sheet. There is one for Pet Monster Rescue, Guess It, and Adventure Quest. These files are in a customizable Word/Docs format so that teachers can adjust the scoring or criteria.
Quest Task List
Track programming mission progress using a task list that looks like a gameboard.
  • Python Task Lists: The task lists are gameboards with an outline of each part of the programming mission. Students can use them for self-monitoring or to recognize accomplishments. These are available as customizable Word/Docs files, allowing teachers to modify the programming mission.
  • Programming Mission Certificates: Each programming mission has its own certificate to recognize student achievement. These are available as customizable PowerPoint/Slides files. This allows teachers to customize the award by adding the student name or a school logo.
  • Programming Templates: The programming templates are used at the beginning of the TechnoPython technology project. They introduce Python to beginners. Students open the Python file and follow instructions to edit the content.
  • Over 30 Python Program Samples: Every program that students build has an accompanying sample file. These Python files can be used for demonstration purposes to explain the task or inspire learners. They also provide an answer key. For example, all coding challenges have solutions.

Contact TechnoKids to Learn More about TechnoPython

To get started teaching the Python programming language contact TechnoKids today or get TechnoPython right now!

Annotate a TechnoKids PDF on an iPad

tablet

With distance learning during COVID being our reality, making sure your students can complete tasks is not without its challenges. For the foreseeable future remote learning is essential. Which device a student has available to them at home may be out of your control. If your students are using TechnoKids and iPads, they will still need to be able to annotate the workbook assignments and submit them. TechnoKids’ resources can be used with an iPad. See iPads and TechnoKids Projects to read more about which TechnoKids titles to pick for use on an iPad.

Not all PDF editors are the same. When selecting one, an important consideration is that it must open and annotate a secured TechnoKids PDF document. Typically, we recommend using either XODO and Kami to type answers into a TechnoKids worksheet. These apps are a viable option for both desktop and Chromebooks users. However, XODO does not work well with TechnoKids and iPads. Read my review below to learn more.

XODO PDF Reader & Annotator

XODO is a fantastic application. I was hoping that I could get it to work with an iPad. However, I encountered lots of frustration.

First, I thought I could add Google Chrome to my iPad and add the extension for XODO just like desktop or Chromebook users can do. However, extensions are not available for the iPad. This was a disappointing discovery.

Next, I checked out the App store and installed the PDF Reader & Annotator by Xodo. I found that I could open and markup a TechnoKids PDF file, but the file needed to be available either On My iPad, from iCloud Drive, or OneDrive. Google Drive did not seem to be an option. If your students are working with Google Classroom, or sharing assignments through Google Drive, you will find XODO limiting.

Not willing to give up completely, I visited xodo.com and signed in (free registration). I then opted to retrieve a document from my Google Drive. This resulted in a Network failure error. I was unable to resolve this.

In my opinion, XODO was not a viable option for annotating TechnoKids PDF documents on the iPad. If you’re fine with moving files all around the device and not working directly with Google Drive, then the App may still work. Maybe as an adult this is doable, but for the average K-8 student, it is not an easy-to-use option.

Kami Your Digital Classroom Hero – Recommended

Kami is a PDF editor TechnoKids has been recommending for many years. It has annotation tools that make it simple to type answers into worksheets. For desktop or Chromebook users, Kami has an extension for the Chrome browser that works well. Unfortunately, extensions are not available on the iPad.

I could not find Kami in the App store. So, I opened my browser and visited kamiapp.com and signed in (free registration). From there I was able to tap OPEN FROM GOOGLE DRIVE. I did need to sign into my Google account again and give Kami permission to read my files. I could then easily get to my Google Drive files and open the desired TechnoKids PDF assignment.

open from Google Drive
Choose a file to open directly from Kami

Using the Markup highlighter, I could emphasize important text that I might need to refer to again later. I could fill in the blanks or make my own notes using the Text Box tool. I could even use the Drawing tool to write on the page using my stylus. I was able to move these things around the page or remove them with the Eraser.

Show markup Kami
Showing markup on PDF assignment

Saving and Sharing with TechnoKids and iPads

When I was finished, I was able to save the changes back to Google Drive directly from Kami. Keep in mind, that in order to continue working on the file you would need to reopen from Kami. When ready to submit your work, you have 2 options:

  • You can upload the document to your Kami account and then share with a link.
  • If you use the Google Drive App, you can display your files and share without having to open the file first.
Save annotated file
Save annotations back to Google Drive.

The person receiving the file then has 2 options as well, they can view the annotations simply when previewing the file, or they can choose to open it in Kami as well to add their own comments.

Can annotations be seen in Google Drive?

When I went back to open my assignment directly from Google Drive, the document opens in preview mode. It showed all the annotations that I had made. However, in order to continue working on the document it still needs to be opened through the Kami website.

Is Kami Free?

Yes and no. I was using the free version and was able to highlight, comment, add text, draw, add shapes, and erase anything I had done. I could save the changes I had made and even share the file. Some features, like inserting images, adding a signature, equations, accessing the dictionary, or text to speech come with the paid version. According to their website, the Teacher Plan is a yearly fee that supports 150 students and includes these additional features. School/district pricing is also available.

TechnoKids and iPads – Our Recommendation

In my opinion, Kami is a suitable option for annotating a TechnoKids PDF worksheet on an iPad. Students can type in their answers and submit the file to their teacher. It is a PDF editor that works with any device. Kami, TechnoKids and iPads are a powerful combination to make distance learning succeed.