Author Archives: TechnoHella

TechnoHella

About TechnoHella

Hella Comat, Curriculum Writer - Hella Comat is a dedicated professional, who has taught in the education system for more than 30 years. As a pioneer of technology integration in Ontario public schools she was one of the first teachers to introduce the internet, video conferencing, web design, and multimedia learning activities to teachers and students in the Halton Board. To inspire teachers to use technology, she has led sessions for the Touch Technology program, ran workshops at education conferences, and sat on numerous advisory committees related to technology-issues. In recent years she taught the Computer in the Classroom course, at York University. Her lifelong commitment to teaching and learning was acknowledged when she was honored as the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Science, Technology, and Mathematics. Hella's contribution to the blog includes entries about the importance of technology integration. Drawing from her in-depth knowledge of technology in the classroom Hella writes about teaching strategies and useful resources that can benefit your practice. In addition, she provides innovative lesson ideas that you can implement into your own curriculum.

Top 6 STEM Jobs: Prepare Students to Succeed

Scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematical thinkers will shape the products and services of tomorrow. STEM education places a focus upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Art and design are also considered to be critical elements in preparing young people for the digital age of tomorrow, so often the term STE(a)M is used. The primary goal of blending these disciplines into curriculum is to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to pursue STEM related careers.

STEM

Art and Design are often included with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Teach STEM Skills for Career Readiness

Equip your students with the skills needed to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow using TechnoKids technology projects. We may not know what the careers will be in the next decade and beyond, but we can provide learning opportunities to make our students “future proof”. There are no specific, ideal skillsets we can teach young people. We can only instill a foundation of skills, knowledge, and attitudes based on today’s technology. We hope to create an adaptable mindset to apply learned knowledge to whatever the future holds. And to engage students to pursue a lifelong interest in becoming tech-savvy, we need to ignite a passion for innovation and learning. Make technology fun and kids’ interest will be sparked.

TechnoKids Projects Prepare Students for STEM Careers

I searched online for current, best STEM related jobs. Although the results will of course change over time, they reveal a need for a diverse set of technology, interpersonal, and higher-level thinking skills. TechnoKids has technology projects that teach foundational skills which are precursors to these careers. TechnoKids projects have students assume real-world career roles to learn basic yet critical STEM competencies. The skills they acquire will equip them to tackle the workplace of tomorrow.

Check out the job descriptions and see how the skills mastered in TechnoKids projects provide a basis for future success.

Financial Analyst

What does a financial analyst do?

  • Helps people make wise investment choices such as projecting college savings, mortgage decisions, or estate planning
  • Uses software to prepare reports, budgets, and forecast models
  • Analyzes, tracks, and reviews financial performance

A financial analyst may work in a bank, insurance company, or in pension and mutual funds.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

In TechnoInvestor, students assume the role of a stock broker. They collaborate to form investment teams. A spreadsheet is used to track a portfolio and then an investor’s report is prepared to summarize results.

TechnoInvestor Learning Objectives:
✓ Apply problem-solving strategies to a real-world situation
✓ Develop financial literacy
✓ Organize, format, calculate, graph, and analyze data

Business Operations Manager

What does a business operations manager do?

  • Coordinates different departments to meet company goals
  • Guides team projects and hires people
  • Makes decisions about clients, products, contracts, budgets, and company policies

A business operations manager may work in an international corporation, a consumer goods manufacturer, a government agency, or social services.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

career readiness

In TechnoRestaurateur, students launch a new restaurant. They conduct a survey to make informed business decisions. Then they design a company logo and write a professional letter to raise investment capital. They design a floor plan. Financial earnings are analyzed and finally a newsletter advertises the success of the budding franchise.

TechnoRestaurateur Learning Objectives:
✓ Problem solve to make logical decisions
✓ Apply critical and creative thinking to develop a plan
✓ Collect, organize, calculate, graph, and analyze data
✓ Write a persuasive letter and newsletter to entice investors

Web Developer

What does a web developer do?

  • Designs and builds a website to suit a client’s needs
  • Writes code using programming languages and integrates graphics, audio, or video
  • Monitors, maintains, and repairs problems

A web developer may be self-employed or work for an ecommerce business, an advertising company, an online publishing firm, or a technical, scientific, or management service.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

teach STEM skills

In TechnoHTML, students become web designers. They use HTML5 and CSS to code a web page.

TechnoHTML Learning Objectives:
✓ Identify the topic, purpose, and audience for a web page
✓ Set attributes, add hyperlinks, insert images, and create lists, background, classes, and tables
✓ Troubleshoot to fix problems

Information Security Analyst

What does an information security analyst do?

  • Monitors and protects an organization’s computer networks and systems
  • Develops security standards and best practices
  • Researches security products and prepares reports

An information security analyst may work for a financial institution, a computer company, a government agency, or in the service industry.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

STEM education

In TechnoInternet, students learn responsible digital citizenship. They develop search strategies, access digital resources, practice Internet safety, and communicate electronically.

TechnoInternet Learning Objectives:
✓ Demonstrate responsible, ethical, and safe behavior
✓ Discover effective search strategies and assess trustworthiness of web-based information
✓ Communicate online using netiquette

Marketing Coordinator

What does a marketing coordinator do?

  • Writes, designs, edits, and prepares creative promotional materials
  • Conducts online marketing initiatives such as ads, email promotions, and marketing campaigns
  • Analyzes campaign insights and reports to management

A marketing coordinator may work in a consumer products company, for an event planner, or for media outlets.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

STEM career education

In TechnoAdvertise, students adopt the role of an advertising agent. They produce a range of professional publications: a flyer, catalog, custom mailer, and newsletter for clients.

TechnoAdvertise Learning Objectives:
✓ Write a resume and cover letter to apply for a marketing position
✓ Format text and graphics, create a table, add headers and footers, and insert a table of contents, index, and cross-reference
✓ Merge data into a personalized form letter

Social Media Strategist

What does a social media strategist do?

  • Creates compelling editorial and promotional content to attract a target audience
  • Communicates and responds to clients using social media best practices
  • Strategizes for optimal viewership and engagement

A social media strategist may work in the news media, online advertising, social media, fashion, technology, or consumer goods.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

STEM skills middle school

In TechnoBlog, students read, write, and comment on blog posts to express their expertise and opinions as responsible digital citizens.

TechnoBlog Learning Objectives:
✓ Identify the topic, purpose, and audience for a blog
✓ Plan and organize writing ideas to express an insight, advice, and opinion post
✓ Format and revise posts to optimize content and layout of title, sections, tags, and images
✓ Exchange ideas using commenting etiquette

Prepare Students for STEM Jobs

STEM education and career readiness are a key focus of our goals as teachers. TechnoKids projects are an ideal way to build the job skills that students will need to succeed. In my search for best STEM careers, I found so many fascinating ones that I’ll describe more in an upcoming blog.

Why Not Use Paint?

use paintIt is simple and has been around for a long time. Microsoft Paint is an effective and surprisingly powerful tool for the classroom. There are many more capable graphic editors and drawing programs available. But Paint is free and available as it is found in every Windows Start menu in the Accessories folder. It’s also easy to learn and use, and it has the basic tools needed to draw, color, and edit.

money idiomSee the step-by-step instructions below to get to know the Paint tools. Then try a fun, creative drawing assignment from TechnoBudget. Get elementary or middle school students thinking and drawing. Use Paint to illustrate a money idiom. The literal meaning of the saying is painted in the picture while the real meaning is explained in a text box. Try it out!

Here are some money idioms to get your students started. Pick one and illustrate it!

Made of money Laughing all the way to the bank
Money grows on trees I am broke
That is a money pit Money to burn
Money burns a hole in your pocket A penny pincher
Spend money like water Spend money like it is going out of style
Break the bank A shoestring budget
  1. Open Paint. Paint is included with the Windows operating system. It can be found by typing Paint into the search box on the taskbar, or under Accessories or Windows Accessories in the program listing.
  2. Draw freehand:
    1. Click the Pencil. use paint
    2. Click Size. use paint Choose a line size.
    3. From the Colors group, click the Color 1 box. use paint Pick a color.
    4. colors palette

    5. Click and drag in the drawing area.
  3. Draw with a brush:
    1. Click Brushes in the Shapes palette. use paint Pick a brush option.
    2. Choose a size use paint and a color. use jpaint
    3. Click and drag to draw.
    4. Experiment with the other brush choices.
  4. Draw a straight line:
    1. Click Line in the Shapes palette. line
    2. Click and drag to draw a line. Press the SHIFT key to make it straight.
    3. Drag the end handle to change size or position use paint
    4. Select the line. Press the DELETE key to remove it.
  5. Draw a curvy line:
    1. Click Curve. curve Draw a line on the canvas.
    2. Click on the line and drag to bend it.

    draw a curved line

  6. Draw a polygon:
    1. Click Polygon.use paint
    2. Click and drag to draw a line on the canvas.
      Click at different spots to draw the polygon sides.
      Click again on the start point to draw a filled shape.
    3. To fill the shape with color, click Fill with color. fill with color Pick a color. Click inside the shape.
  7. Draw a shape:
    1. Choose a Shape from the Shapes palette.
    2. use paint

    3. Click Outline outline to pick an outline style and click Fill fill to pick a fill option.
    4. From the Colors group, click the Color 1 box. use paint Pick a color for the outline.
    5. Click the Color 2 box. color 2 Pick a fill color.
    6. Click and drag to draw the shape.
    7. Drag a corner handle two way arrow to change the size.
  8. There are three ways to fix a mistake. Try them:
    Note: Once you have clicked OFF a shape and it is not selected, you cannot make any changes to it.

    1. Click Undo. undo Your last action will be cancelled.
    2. Click Eraser. Click Size use paint and pick an eraser size. Click the Color 2 box. color 2
      Pick white. Click and drag to erase.
    3. Click Select. select Draw a box around the part of your drawing you want to erase. Press DELETE on the keyboard.
  9. Draw a text box:
    1. Click Text paint text . Click and drag to draw a box.
    2. Write the real meaning of the idiom. Select the text and explore the Text Tools Text tab to change the look:
paint font font size bold italic underline use paint
Font Font Size Style Color

use paint

Tips:

  • Drag a corner handle to alter canvas size. two way arrow
  • Magnify an area using Zoom. zoom
  • Copy copy paint and paste paste paintobjects.
  • Undo undo or Redo redo an action.

Money Management and TechnoBudgetThis assignment is an extension activity from the technology project TechnoBudget. Teach personal finance. Middle school students budget for a shopping spree and justify a spending plan using Google Sheets or Excel lessons.

Develop financial literacy and money management skills.

Quick Search Tip for Quality Results

site:search

Any search tip that makes online research more efficient is a welcome relief for teachers and students. Researching online with students can be a time consuming and sometimes frustrating task. The amount of information available on the Internet is mind boggling. Too often searches result in a lot of worthless or irrelevant information, or data of questionable trustworthiness. How can searches limit results to quality content?

Limit a search to a website

Site:search is a great way to save time and limit search results. This method restricts a search to a particular site or a specific type of site. It’s simple: in the search box, type site: followed by the limiting factor and search topic.

For example, if you want to just search the Smithsonian website for information on Wilbur and Orville Wright, type site:smithsonian.com wright brothers. Results yielded will be all references within the Smithsonian web archives, instead of the millions of suggested sites that will appear after a search for ‘wright brothers’. Left out are blog or opinion articles, all commercial sites using the name Wright Brothers, or any other unrelated sites. As an added bonus, since the source of all information will be the Smithsonian Museum, you know that the facts will be authentic and trustworthy.

Limit a search to a domain type

Learn Research SkillsInstead of limiting a search to just one site, you can restrict it to a type of site. This eliminates a whole minefield of biased or unreliable sources. For example, if you are searching for information about forestry and you type gc.ca Canada lumber, you will receive only sites that are published on Canadian government websites. Such information is authoritative and saves time researching the credibility of sources.

Here are some ways to restrict searches to trusted websites appropriate for classroom use.

Limit a Search to a Domain Type:
site:gov site:org site:edu
Limit a Search to Government Sites:
site:epa.gov site:nasa.gov site:loc.gov
Limit a Search to Organizations:
site:britishmuseum.org site:pbs.org site:worldwildlife.org
Limit a Search to Publications:
site:nationalgeographic.com site:timeforkids.com site:popsci.com
Limit a Search to Research-Based TV Shows:
site:history.com site:biography.com site:discovery.com

site:searchTeach your students the site:search tip. Their online research will be more efficient and will yield better, more legitimate results. TechnoResearch is a technology project that introduces essential research skills to elementary and middle school students. Learn how to plan, retrieve, process, share, and evaluate information. Using this fun and engaging project, students will acquire skills that are transferable to any inquiry challenge in all areas of the curriculum. Read more about TechnoResearch here.

10 Things You Should Know When Animating a Presentation

Whether you’re a teacher presenting a PowerPoint slide show to colleagues, parents, or students or if you’re teaching students how to give a dynamic presentation to their peers, following are ten tips to keep your audience hooked! Animating a presentation creatively can keep viewers engaged and interested.

  1. Use a variety of animation types
    There are lots of types of animation effects: an entrance effect makes an object appear, an emphasis effect draws attention to an object, a motion path makes an object move in a selected path on a slide, and an exit effect causes objects vanish. Consider adding more than one animation to an object – it can appear on the scene using a zoom entrance, then pulse using an emphasis effect, move around using a motion path, and finally fly out using an exit animation.
    Be careful though. The variety of animations should not be unlimited. A repeated animation gives consistency to a presentation. For example, text on all slides always appearing the same way lends a professional touch to the presentation.
  2. animating a presentation starburst

  3. Plan the order of appearance of objects and text
    What should show up first? second? third? Usually, you would start with the title, then text, then pictures. If there is a picture of a character and a callout with what he is saying, the picture should appear first, then the words. Sequence the animations in a logical order for what is on the slide.
  4. Consider the audience when choosing animation effects
    Lots of fun, exciting effects such as Boomerang, Bounce, Pinwheel are appropriate for younger children watching a slide show with lots of pictures, while presentations with text for adults would suit more moderate animations such as Fade, Wipe, or Float.
  5. Group objects
    If you want several objects to animate at one time, group them. To do this, click on a slide object and hold down the SHIFT key. Click on the other objects you want to include in the group. Once they are all selected, select Group.
  6. animating a presentation group

  7. Control flow of information
    If there is bulleted text on the slide, the bullets should appear one point at a time. If no animation is applied and text appears all at once, people may read ahead and tune out extra information provided by the speaker. If the text is animated, ensure that there is ample time to read the words. Although you are familiar with your own slide show, remember that most viewers will be seeing it for the first time, and need extra time to read the words and watch the action.
  8. Suit the type of animation to the topic
    Pick appropriate effects. For example, a bounce effect works for a ball but not a car. Spinning text is confusing; appear, fade, and object color effects work better for words.
  9. Choose effect options
    Animation effects often have a number of options which can be adjusted in most apps. The type of options such as direction, speed, or color, vary with the particular type of effect. For example, you can choose to have text float in from the top or bottom. Not all animation effects have options.
  10. animating a presentation

  11. Manual or automatic?
    Decide if you want to control the animations manually – use the On Click start action – or automatically – choose After Previous. Some apps, such as PowerPoint, allow you to change how an animation starts, how long it plays, and if there is a delay between effects. Some apps, such as Google Slides, set the speed as slow, medium, or fast. Make sure the animations play slowly enough so that a first time viewer is not confused by the action.
  12. Make objects appear and disappear
    When animating more than one text box on a slide, you can make them show and then vanish, one at a time. In this way, you can have several text boxes placed on top of one another, yet appear separately and then disappear. This is perfect when characters speaking or debating. A conversation can be animated on one slide.
  13. animating a presentation debate

  14. Don’t animate everything
    Animating a presentation should attract viewer interest, not distract them. Clip art that is scenery such as a building or tree may look odd zooming onto the slide.
  15. Have fun with animation using these TechnoKids technology projects.

    animating a presentation

    Use TechnoPresenter to teach essential research and presentation skills. Students create a slide show on any topic of their choice, then build public speaking skills as their present to their peers.

    toon animating a presentation

    In TechnoToon, students create a digital story that looks like a cartoon or animated comic strip. Inspire young writers and budding artists using Google Slides or PowerPoint.

    animating a presentation

    Take a stand! Students collaborate with a partner to debate the pros and cons of a controversial issue of their choice in TechnoDebate. They use Google Slides or PowerPoint Online to prepare an animated debate.