Tag Archives: computer curriculum

Computer Science and Technology Integration

Brain research tells us that learning really ‘sticks’ when activities are both meaningful to students as well as integrated in curriculum in an interdisciplinary approach. As well, students are motivated when they are actively discovering and investigating a problem.

computer science

Teach coding with Scratch to middle school and junior students to build computational thinking skills.

TechnoCode, the newest technology project developed by TechnoKids, was created specifically to spark an interest in computer science by engaging students. As they use Scratch to build programming skills, young learners construct a series of activities for kids. As game designers, they consider their users’ interests and abilities. They become authentic programmers who plan, code, and actually field test their unique creations.

The TechnoCode project is primarily a STEM project that teaches coding. However, the activities also integrate into other areas of curriculum including language arts, mathematics, social studies or science, visual arts, and music.

Computer Science

TechnoCode is an introduction to programming. The activities have students build algorithms that sequence commands, events, loops, and conditions. Use the project to target computer science learning outcomes. The project includes a detailed list of skills achieved in each Session, ideal as a teacher checklist for assessment.

Language Arts

The assignments in Session 1 and Session 4 can be integrated into curriculum as a language arts unit. In these assignments, students engage in visual storytelling. They create animated scenes and stories. To extend language arts learning outcomes, the concept of plot, setting, and characters is also applied when engineering games in Session 3 and 5.

Integrate coding into curriculum.

Integrate coding into curriculum.

Mathematics

Integrate TechnoCode into an existing problem-solving unit in Math class. The assignments are an ideal fit because coding requires mathematical and logical thinking. For example, placing sprites on the stage requires plotting ordered pairs, rotating objects involves knowledge of angles, and setting the size of sprites uses percentages. As well, logic is used to control when or if an action happens.

Social Studies or Science

Include The Session 4 Skill Review in TechnoCode as a creative way to showcase learning into another subject area. In this activity, students build an interactive diorama. It shows a scene from nature or a historical event that engages the viewer to click on objects to learn more. Complete the activity to have students share facts or create a simulation about a topic currently being studied. Samples provided include space exploration, tornado, and farming.

Visual Arts

Target visual arts learning outcomes with TechnoCode. Graphic design is interwoven throughout the activities. Students apply their creativity to paint or edit unique sprites and backdrops. They also apply their skills to engage the audience using visual elements. In addition, the Session 2 Extension Activity specifically has students draw artwork with a pen using code.

Music

Integrate TechnoCode into a music class. In the Session 3 Extension Activity, students invent an instrument. This activity is a fun way for students to express their musical talent.

programming

TechnoCode technology project teaches programming using graphical blocks.

Inspire your students to become coding ninjas with TechnoCode!

Teaching Ideas for Programming with TechnoCode

coding with Scratch

TechnoKids’ newest release is TechnoCode, a technology project that introduces coding with Scratch to elementary and middle school students. It is an ideal project for Grades 4 and up. Jam-packed with programming activities, TechnoCode sparks an interest in computer science. Step by step instructions explain how to build animations, stories, games, art, music, and simulations.

Empower students with real-world skills they can use in the workplace. The instructional materials in TechnoCode encourage students to think like programmers. Resources include sample videos to inspire imaginations, planning sheets with guiding questions to help design scripts, assessment tools to evaluate student work, and coding journal logs to reflect upon learning.

Ideas for Implementation

The TechnoCode project has students create animated scenes, construct mazes, broadcast stories, engineer games, design artwork, compose music, build a diorama, and more! The activities are suitable for any teaching situation. Select the option that works best for you and your students:

  • Coding Unit with Elementary Students: Assignments in Sessions 1-3 in TechnoCode are ideal for students new to Scratch. The activities are perfect for Grades 4 and up. Students design animations, create art, develop games, and compose music. The emphasis is on coding basics including how to build scripts, sequence commands, control action with if then conditions, and create simple loops. The activities focus upon directing movement, synchronizing sound, and understanding x and y coordinates.
  • Coding Unit with Middle School Students: Once students understand the fundamentals of coding in Sessions 1-3, they extend their learning in Sessions 4-6. The activities are ideal for students that understand the fundamentals and are ready for a challenge. The critical and computational thinking required is ideal for students in Grades 6-8. They produce a story, engineer a game, develop a treasure hunt, build a diorama, and remix a project. The emphasis is on having students manipulate the appearance of sprites, direct the timing of events with broadcasting, and create original artifacts using conditions, variables, and operators.
  • Scratch activities for kids.

    Build games using Scratch. Learn how to use variables to track the score.

  • Computer Science Course: TechnoCode has 25 assignments designed to ignite an interest in computer science. The focus is on thinking like a programmer. Each coding activity is divided into four parts – exploration, practice, freestyle, and reflection. Using a question and answer format, students discover the function of command blocks. Next, they follow guided instructions to build scripts. Afterwards, they apply their skills to complete open-ended challenges. Once a Scratch project is finished, students write a coding journal entry to reflect upon the experience.
  • Hour of Code: If you only have one class to teach coding there are many assignments in TechnoCode that can be used for this purpose. If your students are beginners, they can develop simple animations. Assignment 5 targets how to build a script, Assignment 6 explores directing movement, and Assignment 14 focuses upon changing the appearance of a sprite. If your students have existing knowledge of Scratch, the skill reviews in Sessions 2-5 are excellent challenges.
  • Coding Workshop Series: If you are running a workshop series as part of an after-school program or community event, then you will need to select assignments that fit the number of classes offered. As well, consider the age range and coding abilities of students.

Coding with Scratch is highly addictive and fun! Your students will develop a host of essential technology skills as they create unique games, interactive stories, animations, and more!

New! HTML Coding for Chromebook Users

teach STEM skills

Teach HTML coding using Chromebooks

TechnoHTML5 has always been a favorite top seller for educators. With the current focus on STEM education, teaching HTML coding is more relevant than ever. Now that Chromebooks are prevalent in the classroom, TechnoKids has modified this popular project specifically for Chromebook users. Using a web-based text editor that integrates with Google Drive makes HTML coding a breeze. Now when you order TechnoHTML5 you will receive two versions: one for desktop HTML text editors such as Notepad or Code Writer and a version for Chromebook users that uses a free app such as HTML Editey.

STEM Activities to Learn Life Skills

I wrote in a previous blog about the reasons to teach programming. Of course, not many students will choose careers as computer scientists or program developers, but that’s not the main rationale for coding lessons. Strong communication skills and personality traits that lead to success in life and the workplace are critical goals for students. Learning to code does just that. As they learn to plan, organize, write, edit, and troubleshoot, students build invaluable life skills. Perseverance, problem solving, analytical thinking, creativity, and collaboration are enhanced by learning programming. These crucial personal habits will benefit students for life.

Everything Educators Need to Teach HTML

TechnoHTML5 for Chromebooks is an introductory HTML project for middle and high school grades. Students build a web page using HTML and CSS. They style text, graphics, and hyperlinks. Optional challenges have them format lists, add a background image, create a class, add animated gifs, and more! Step-by-step instructions with checklists in the Student Workbook build organizational skills. The Teacher Guide includes assessment tools such as a summary of skills and customizable marking sheet to evaluate the completed web page projects. Digital resources include sample files, reference sheets, review questions, and skill reviews for practice.

Coding for Chromebook

Students design a web page on the topic of their choice using TechnoHTML5.

Chromebooks Make HTML Coding Easy

HTML Coding is fun and easy using a Chromebook and Google Drive. coding for ChromebookOn a desktop, I found it cumbersome to always save my work in the text editor then toggle to a browser and refresh to see a preview. But using a free text editor for Chromebooks such as HTML Editey provides instant feedback. Two panes allow the user to write code and see immediate results.

There are many other great features to HTML Editey that we’ll write about in an upcoming post.

Blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs into Curriculum

It can be a challenge to blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs into one program. Are you teaching in a school that requires your students to learn how to use both Microsoft Office and Google Docs? Or are you in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) setting where students have a variety of devices and software applications? There is a solution. TechnoKids computer curriculum is a collection of technology projects that use a project-based approach to learning. Lessons are available for Microsoft Office, Office Online, and Google Docs.

There are advantages to students knowing how to use both Microsoft Office and Google Docs applications. By becoming proficient in both, they will be better equipped to select the best technology tool to complete the task. Use the suggestions below to effectively blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs into curriculum using TechnoKids instructional materials.

Blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs

How to Blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs into One Program

Provide students with the project version that suits their device

Almost every TechnoKids technology project has a version available for Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft Office 2013, Office Online, and Google Docs (there are a few exceptions). This allows schools with a BYOD policy to accommodate all students. The entire class can complete the same technology project. However, each person will use the project version that matches the software on their device. Since TechnoKids instructions are illustrated and step-by-step, students can work independently to complete assignments.

Select projects based on device availability

Many schools have a blend of devices that are available to students. For example, some may have a computer lab with Microsoft Office installed on the desktops, with classrooms that have access to mobile carts with Chromebooks. In this case, to provide a balanced program, you can divide the TechnoKids technology projects between use in the computer lab and classroom. A computer teacher could select a technology project that targets technology skills using Microsoft Office. At the same time, a classroom teacher could select a different technology project to integrate Google Docs into a curriculum unit during language arts or social studies class.

Divide the projects by grade

Some schools have assigned which grades will use Microsoft Office and which will use Google Docs. Often this decision is based upon when students are permitted access to email and online storage services. TechnoKids computer curriculum is designed to gradually build proficiency in using technology tools. Teachers in the elementary grades can use the Microsoft Office technology projects to build a solid foundation and promote digital citizenship. Later, as students enter Junior and Senior High they can use the Google technology projects to transition easily to web-based applications. Alternatively, a school may prepare older students for Microsoft Office Specialist certification or the workplace. In this case, the school program could use the Google technology projects in the elementary grades and then transition in middle school to TechnoKids’ advanced Microsoft Office technology projects.

Choose a project according to instructional goal

Study your curriculum and know the skills you must teach. Often, the learning objectives will dictate whether Microsoft Office or Google Docs is required. For example, if you are expected to introduce database skills then you will be selecting a Microsoft Access technology project from the TechnoKids computer curriculum collection. Or if you are required to teach Mail Merge then you will be selecting a Microsoft Word technology project as this function is not available in Google Docs.

TechnoKids Computer Curriculum

Pick a project version based on program features that boost creativity

Sometimes you can complete the same technology project in either Microsoft Office or Google Docs, but the final product will not look the same. This is because the software applications offer different features which can restrict or enhance creative expression. Certain TechnoKids technology projects have more razzle dazzle if they are completed using Microsoft Office. For example, TechnoMap uses the Zoom feature in Microsoft PowerPoint which gives the interactive map more “wow” than one made using Google Slides. Another example is the visual story produced in TechnoToon. This is more fun to make in Microsoft PowerPoint because there is advanced control over animation and effects. If you must blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs into curriculum, determine which product features will engage students the most and use that as a guide when selecting the application to use.

Pick a project version based on program features that offer a richer learning experience

In most cases, Microsoft Office and Google Docs are similar. However, there are times when the tools available in one application are superior to another. For example, TechnoKids technology projects that include a poll, survey, or questionnaire are best done in Google Forms because it has more options and better reporting. Although TechnoKids provides choice, you should select the project version that provides students with the most meaningful learning opportunity.

Decide on a project version based on file output

Consider the final product version and how it will be shared with others. For example, will it be printed, shown as a video, displayed on a screen, or posted to a school website? The answer to these questions can determine whether to use the Microsoft Office or Google Docs version of a TechnoKids technology project. For example, you may want to use the Microsoft PowerPoint version if the goal is to convert a presentation to a video to play at an Open House. However, if the goal is to post a presentation to a class blog then it would be better to use the Google Slides version of the technology project, as it can easily be linked or embedded.

Sequence projects to compare applications

TechnoKids computer curriculum provides an assortment of activities that target the same technology skill area while making an entirely different product. For example, there are multiple word processing projects that have students create books, journals, fact cards, newsletters, biographies, resumes, cover letters, advertisements, and more! When offering a blended program, you may want to teach a word processing project with Google Docs and then a different word processing project with Microsoft Office. This will introduce your students to both applications without them becoming bored by completing the same task. It is also an excellent reflective opportunity to compare application features.

Select one project, but complete it using different versions

There are several ways to blend one project version with another. Choose the option that best suits your situation:

  • Start the project in one project version but complete it using another. TechnoKids computer curriculum includes the same technology project for multiple versions of software. If time is a restriction, you can select the beginning assignments from one version of the technology project to start to create a product in one application. You can then select the ending assignments from another version of the same technology project to complete the task in an equivalent application. For example, students could begin to design a fact card in Google Docs by adding content but complete the formatting of the publication in Microsoft Word. This option provides an excellent way to compare program features and maximize instructional time.
  • Create the project in one project version but extend learning using another. TechnoKids technology projects include extension activities. These additional lessons can be used to combine the use of Microsoft Office with Google applications. For example, students could create a publication or presentation using the assignments in the Microsoft Office version of a technology project. Upon completion, they could then use Google Docs to complete an extension activity related to the theme.
  • Create the project in one project version but collaborate using another. TechnoKids technology projects include activities that include an opportunity to work with others. To blend the versions together, students could use the Microsoft Office instructions to create a product. Upon completion, the file could then be uploaded to Google Drive and shared with peers. Using the Google version of assignments, students could co-author, engage in a question & answer session, or peer review using commenting.

We are here to help! If you are expected to blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs applications into curriculum, it is important to be familiar with program features to provide students with the best learning opportunity. Contact TechnoKids to discuss project selection or program design.