Author Archives: Christa Love

Christa Love

About Christa Love

Christa Love, Vice President - Christa Love has a passion for education and technology. A graduate from Brock University she has an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Child Development, Bachelor of Education in Primary and Junior divisions, and Masters of Education in the area of Curriculum Studies. Her work at TechnoKids Inc. began more than twenty years ago as an instructor at a local learning center. Since that time she has operated the summer camp program, taught at the research and development center at John Knox Christian School, trained educators throughout the province on issues related to technology integration, and overseen the curriculum development of hundreds of technology projects. In recent years, Christa has become the vice president of TechnoKids Inc.

Get a Jump Start on Using OneNote Class Notebook

The Internet has many online resources teachers can access to gain help with creating a Class Notebook using OneNote. A quick Google Search will generate a list of sites. However, often they contain outdated information. New things are happening all the time with OneNote Class Notebook. For this reason, it is best to get current information direct from Microsoft.

Below are some of our favorite Microsoft OneNote resources:

Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook Education Blog

Stay up-to-date on what is happening with OneNote. The Education Blog includes announcements, tips, and practical applications in the classroom.

OneNote for Education Video Series

The OneNote for Education website provide access to informative videos. This series is best-suited to teachers that are new to OneNote and need help getting started. In addition to learning about the basics, educators can also view classroom scenarios that provide ideas for implementation.

OneNote FAQ

To transform a TechnoKids project into a Class Notebook requires OneNote 2016 to insert the assignments, which are in PDF format. Many teachers have concerns that OneNote 2016 will no longer be supported. The good news is this is not the case. You can get current information and your questions answered by reading the OneNote Frequently Asked Question page.

Transform a TechnoKids Project into a Class Notebook

Transform a TechnoKids project into a Class Notebook
Transform a TechnoKids project into a Class Notebook

How to Make a OneNote Class Notebook Handbook

Microsoft Education provides general information teachers can use to implement the use of Class Notebooks into their practice. If you are using TechnoKids projects, and you would like to transform the assignments into a Class Notebook using OneNote, it is best to refer to the How to Make a OneNote Class Notebook handbook. The instructions will guide you through the process.

TechnoKids Class Notebook Support

If you have additional questions about TechnoKids and OneNote, refer to the Class Notebook support page. The content is divided into seven sections:

  1. Get Started
  2. Create a Class Notebook
  3. Add Assignments and Assessment to the Class Notebook
  4. Add Resources to the Content Library
  5. How Students Use the TechnoKids Notebook
  6. How the Teacher Views Student Work
  7. Tips for Using a Class Notebook

TechnoKids Class Notebook Video Series

If you prefer to follow along to instructional videos, check out our YouTube Class Notebook for Teachers playlist. It is a how-to series that explains how to transform a TechnoKids project into a OneNote Class Notebook.

Do your students need help using their personalized notebooks? The video series Class Notebook Tutorial for Students provides step-by-step instructions. Viewers learn how to annotate TechnoKids assignments, make a copy of a template, view a sample, and submit work. Use this series to support learners.

Transform a TechnoKids Project into a Class Notebook

Learn how to transform a TechnoKids Project into a OneNote Class Notebook. A Class Notebook is a blend between a digital file cabinet and a binder. It organizes course materials such as assignments, templates, samples, and quizzes into a OneNote publication.

A OneNote Class Notebook is an ideal way to distribute TechnoKids project assignments and resource files. Follow the instructions in the TechnoKids Class Notebook Handbook to use OneNote to create a notebook for the entire class. Step-by-step instructions with illustrations explain how to produce unique personal notebooks that each student can use to complete TechnoKids worksheets, follow assignment instructions, and submit work.

OneNote Class Notebook
Transform a TechnoKids Project into a OneNote Class Notebook

Why Should I Create a TechnoKids Class Notebook?

Go Paperless!

A OneNote Class Notebook is digital. Teachers distribute assignments, templates, samples, or other resource documents electronically. There is no need to print handouts that require a pen and paper to complete. Instead, students can type answers directly onto a OneNote page which can be viewed instantly by the teacher.

Access TechnoKids Project Materials Anywhere, Anytime

A TechnoKids Class Notebook resides in the “cloud”. It is online. Students can use any OneNote app to access the file. This allows them to complete a TechnoKids project anywhere, anytime.

Complete Assignments Without Adobe Acrobat Reader

TechnoKids assignments are in PDF format. They have security that requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and annotate the file when working on a Windows device. However,
when using a OneNote Class Notebook this is no longer the case. Instead, the TechnoKids PDF files are inserted on to OneNote pages. The student can then use the Draw tools within OneNote to type their answers.

Type answers into a TechnoKids assignment using OneNote.
Type answers into a TechnoKids assignment using the Text and Pen tools in OneNote.

Communicate with Students About a TechnoKids Project

A OneNote Class Notebook includes a Welcome section. A section is like a divider in a traditional binder. It groups pages together. The Welcome section is a public space that students can view. Use it to introduce a TechnoKids project, outline tasks, or provide reminders.

Use the Welcome section in the OneNote Class Notebook to introduce students to the TechnoKids project.

Share TechnoKids Templates and Sample Files

A OneNote Class Notebook has a Content Library. It is a section where teachers can attach TechnoKids resources such as templates and samples. The files are read-only. Students can view the content but cannot make any changes. To work with a file, they must make their own copy.

Access a TechnoKids template in  the Content Library.
Teachers can share templates and samples with students using the Content Library section of a TechnoKids Class Notebook.

Distribute TechnoKids Assignments to Control Pacing of Instruction

A OneNote Class Notebook has a private section the teacher uses to direct the flow of instruction. It is not available by default and must be enabled. Use this section to add TechnoKids assignments, reviews, and marking sheets ahead of time. These pages remain hidden from students until the teacher distributes them to Students’ notebooks.

Enable the Teacher-Only section to direct the flow of instruction.
Direct the flow of instruction by adding TechnoKids assignments to the Teacher-Only section of the Class Notebook. When the class is ready to complete a TechnoKids assignment, distribute the OneNote page. This will automatically place a copy into each Student’s personal notebook.

Easily Submit Student Work

The TechnoKid Class Notebook you create, will have a My Work section. This section allows students to submit their work. They will attach their completed TechnoKids projects to a OneNote page. The file might be a PowerPoint slide show, Word report, or Excel budget sheet. Teachers can access the My Work section in each student’s personal notebook to view their work and provide feedback.

Submit student work by attaching the file to a OneNote page in a TechnoKids Class Notebook.
Submit complete TechnoKids projects to a OneNote page. Teachers can access this section in each student’s notebook to view their work and provide feedback.

Provide Feedback to Students

The teacher can access each student’s personal notebook. This allows them to view assignments and completed project files. Feedback such as stickers or comments can be added to pages using the tools in OneNote.

Provide students with feedback using sticker packs in OneNote.
OneNote has sticker packs you can use to provide feedback.

Collaborate to Share Ideas

Many TechnoKids projects have brainstorming activities or group discussions about a topic. A OneNote Class Notebook has a Collaboration Space. It is a public section where everyone in the class can share and collaborate. The information in this space can be edited by any student. When working on a TechnoKids project you might want to use this section to list topic ideas or create a community forum for questions and answers. It is important for educators to moderate student contributions to this space. To restrict access, sections can be locked or moved. Refer to Lock the Collaboration Space.

Microsoft Office Proficiency and TechnoKids Projects

TechnoKids has over 20 Microsoft Office projects for K-12 students. Using the project-based activities, students gain proficiency. They apply digital literacy skills to create an amusement park, draft a budget, operate a restaurant, produce a newsletter, and more! Seamlessly integrate technology into curriculum. Combine OneNote Class Notebook and TechnoKids to simplify instruction and engage learners.

Python Debugging Strategies for Beginners

Explicitly teaching Python debugging strategies provides students with a toolkit of techniques. The same debugging strategy cannot be applied to every problem. Provide students with a multitude of strategies and explain when they are most effective. This will enable programmers to thoughtfully debug their programs using a toolkit full of techniques.

10 Python Debugging Strategies for Beginners

Do not wait until the end of a programming unit to teach Python debugging strategies. Instead, help students find and fix bugs. Below are 10 techniques that will build confidence and independence in your students. They are based on using IDLE Python to write code. Many of these strategies are included in the Python project TechnoTurtle for elementary and middle school students.

1. Look Before Highlighted Word to Find Syntax Errors

Syntax is the set of rules for how to order words and use symbols to write code. If a bracket, colon, or indentation is missing the IDLE Python program will show a Syntax Error box on the screen to identify the problem. It will also highlight a word to pinpoint the location.

Do not be fooled! The problem is not the highlighted word. Instead the mistake is BEFORE it. Look at the words just in front of the highlighting, or the line of code above to find the error.

Syntax errors are often typos. Missing commas, hashtags, or too many brackets are common. If that isn’t the issue, study the order of the words as they might be put together wrong.

Python debugging strategies

Explicitly teaching Python debugging strategies. A Syntax Error is often missing symbols such as a colon, comma, or hashtag. Tell young programmers to look before the highlighted word.

2. Indent a Block of Instructions the Same Number of Spaces

Instructions that loop or run when a condition is met, are grouped together by indenting the lines of code to form a block. For example:

# correct way to make a loop
if answer==”tiger”:
    print(“You are right.”)
    print(“You win!”)

# wrong way to make a loop
if answer==”tiger”:
print(“You are right.”)
print(“You win!”)

When the code is not written correctly, IDLE Python will show a Syntax Error that states, “expected an indented block”. When this happens, check to see if the first line ends with a colon. If it does, then verify that each instruction in the block indents the same number of spaces.

3. Skim and Scan the Error Message to Find Clues

IDLE Python will display an error message in the Python Shell. It is in red text. To a novice, it can seem like gibberish. The best thing to do, is to scan the text for familiar words. Look for the line number. This will tell you where the error happened. To quickly go there within the program, right click the line number and select Go to file/line.

Before you view the line of code, study the bottom of the error message for more clues. It may say NameError at the bottom. If it does notice if the word is spelled correctly. If it is then check to see if a library was not imported or a variable was not defined properly.

Python error messages

Scan the message for clues. Look for the line number. Go to the last line to see if a function is spelled wrong. If it is right, you may have forgotten to import a library.

4. Look at the Color Coding

IDLE Python applies a color theme to text. This makes types of Python words different colors. This can be helpful when trying to find mistakes. Here are some helpful Python debugging strategies for beginners:

  • Comments are red. If a comment is not red, it is likely missing a # at the beginning, such as #this is a comment.
  • Strings are green. If a string is not green, it is likely missing quotes around it. Or, if a bracket is green, it likely that the end quote is missing.

Python color coding

Use color coding as a clue to find and fix errors.

5. Apply Trial and Error

A proven Python debugging strategy is Trial and Error. Trial and Error is a method of testing different ideas until one is found that works the best. The programmer will run their program and then study the output. They will notice the things that are wrong or unexpected. This analysis allows them to come up with a better idea to try next.

Trial and Error is systematic. The programmer only tries one idea at a time. This way they can pinpoint what is most effective.

Trial and Error is best applied when a programmer is fine-tuning the output. Their code has no syntax or naming errors. Instead, the focus is on discovering the ideal value or sequence of instructions to achieve the goal.

6. Code One Line at a Time

This Python debugging strategy can be used while writing a program or after it is written. When programming, type a line of code at a time and then run the program to test it. This allows you to quickly identify if there are typing errors or an issue with the sequence of instructions. This makes mistakes easier to spot.

Once a program is written, if you cannot find the mistake, divide the code into parts. Copy a chunk at a time into a new program. Run it to see it that section is error free. If it is, add another chunk of code to the program. Continue until you find where things are broken. Now you can focus your attention on that area.

7. Compare Using a Similar Model

If you cannot figure out what is wrong with the code and everything seems right, another Python debugging strategy is to find a similar program. Study the code to notice how it is constructed. This can provide a clue as to why the code is not working properly.

8. Copy and Paste from a Working Program

If you cannot debug the code and you are getting desperate, refer back to your previous work. Use existing code that is error-free as a jumping-off point. Copy a snippet of code that does a similar task from an existing program and paste it into the current file. Adjust the values or text to suit your programming objectives.

9. Enlarge the Font Size to Make the Code Easier to Read

When you have been programming for a long time the text can blur together. To make the lines of code sharper you can increase the font size or change the typeface to something that is easier to read. Now typos might be easier to spot. To do this:

  1. From the IDLE Editor Window, select the Options menu.
  2. Select Configure IDLE
  3. Click the Fonts/Tabs.
  4. Pick a font face such as Arial.
  5. Near the bottom pick a size such as 14.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Click the X to close the window.

IDLE Python options

Increase the font size and change the font to make bugs easier to spot.

10. Ask a Peer for Help

If you cannot find the error ask a friend for help. Often a fresh set of eyes can easily spot the typo in a line of code that has been looked over a hundred times. If the problem is related to the output, explain what you want the code to do. Look at the code together. Describe what is going right, and pinpoint where things start to go wrong. Run the program and study the outcome. Work together to discover a solution.

Python Debugging Strategies Support Learning

Make time to teach Python debugging strategies. Understanding how to code should not be restricted to those with a natural ability. Instead, provide your students with a toolkit of techniques they can use to find and fix errors. This will develop a positive attitude towards programming, build confidence, and promote independence.

Reasons To Explicitly Teach Debugging Strategies in Python

Teach debugging strategies to beginners. This will enhance the learning experience. The instruction should be evident and apparent to the students. Instead of hoping that young programmers will discover techniques, guide them through proven methods to find and fix errors.

Teach Debugging Strategies

Teach debugging strategies to promote independence, build confidence, and spark a life-long interest in programming.

10 Reasons to Teach Debugging Strategies

There are many benefits to deliberately teaching debugging strategies at the start of a programming unit:

1. Improve Comprehension

Teaching debugging strategies to beginners allows them to make sense of the Python programming language. Similar to reading comprehension, explicit strategy instruction, gives student the skills they need understand text. They learn how to decode the meaning of the error messages and apply techniques to correct the code.

2. Promote Independence

Guiding students through exercises where they break and then repair the code, promotes independent practice. During the activity, young programmers receive instant feedback about what makes code work. This allows them to take control of their own learning.

3. Develop a Deeper Understanding of Code

Young kids are always asking “Why?” As they grow older, they may not ask the question aloud as often but they continue to wonder about their world. When they are taught debugging strategies they begin to form connections to why a line of code must be written in a particular way. They understand the purpose for quotes, brackets, indents, and hashtags. Ultimately, this makes them better programmers.

4. Build Confidence

Young programmers can quickly become discouraged when their programs do not run. In the IDLE Python environment mistakes are highlighted in red with boxes that tell you instantly there is an error. This information on the screen is helpful if a learner knows how to apply it to correct the problem. However, if the meaning of the errors are unknown then they look like gibberish. Instead of having students struggle and give up, teach them strategies they can use to find and fix errors. Each success will build confidence.

5. Encourage a Positive Attitude Towards Programming

One of the goals to teaching programming to elementary and middle school students is to spark an interest in STEM. To ignite a passion for coding, the experience should be fun. Glaring at an error message with no idea how to fix the problem is not enjoyable. In fact, if it goes on too long it can make a novice dislike programming. Teaching students about common errors is empowering. They can make their programs run and see the results of their efforts, which is a great feeling.

6. Establish a Toolkit of Programming Techniques

The same debugging strategy cannot be applied to every problem. For example, Trial and Error is a wonderful way to test ideas. However, it can be inefficient when the issue is a loop missing indented instructions. Provide students with a multitude of strategies and explain when they are most effective. This will enable programmers to thoughtfully debug their programs using a toolkit full of techniques.

7. Reshape How Mistakes How Perceived

Children often believe that mistakes are “bad”. They don’t want their work to be imperfect. Teaching debugging strategies allows students to rethink mistakes. They become teaching tools that promote learning. Also, they enforce that not everything is wrong in the program. Instead only one thing is not quite right. The debugging technique of Trial and Error is an excellent way to celebrate mistakes. Students can experiment with different values or move a line of code to discover how it changes the output. The process of testing an idea and then studying the outcome is one way to put a positive spin on errors.

8. Make Programming Accessible to Everyone

Teaching debugging strategies makes programming attainable for everyone in the class. Success is not limited to only those students who have a natural ability. Instead, beginners can make original creations because they understand how to improve their code.

9. Avoid Classroom Management Problems

It is challenging for a teacher to help a class full of students struggling with the errors in their programs. As frustration levels grow, learners can quickly become disengaged. This can result in behavioral issues as they express how they are feeling. By knowing some simple but effective debugging strategies, students build the skills and confidence they need to troubleshoot code independently.

10. Provide a Foundation for Future Learning

Teaching debugging strategies is a great way to promote a life-long interest in programming. By successfully building programs, young programmers will want to make even more. They will be able to transfer their skills to more complicated programming tasks. Getting over the obstacles to learning at the start of a coding unit invites the possibility that students will continue to code in the future.

Python Lessons for Beginners

TechnoTurtle has programming activities that use explicit strategy instruction to teach debugging strategies. Students are guided through editing Python scripts to find and fix common errors. This provides a foundation for creating their own unique programs.

To learn more about TechnoTurtle, visit TechnoKids.