Tag Archives: distance learning

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.

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.

iPads and TechnoKids Projects

With so many different devices being used to teach technology skills, we are often asked whether iPads and TechnoKids resources are a good fit. The simple answer is Yes! But… there are cautions and qualifications. Here are a few common questions.

ipads and technokids

Which TechnoKids projects can I use on an iPad?

TechnoKids has over 25 projects that iPad users can complete. To determine which options are best for your students, view the TechnoKids Project Matrix. Any TechnoKids project which has a version for Google Docs can be done on an iPad. In addition, some Office Online, Internet, and Programming projects can also be completed but with slight modifications.

Should I use the iPad Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps?

TechnoKids has many projects for Google applications. If students have a Gmail account, they can access all Google apps online from Google Drive. TechnoKids has lessons that use Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, Sites, and more.

For the iPad, Google has created specific apps for Docs, Slides, and Sheets. While these apps are easy to use, they are limited in their features. They won’t work for TechnoKids projects. For example, in the Slides iPad app, a user can create a slide show, apply a theme, set slide layout, present, and share work – but not much else. The limitation in features, means that TechnoKids instructions will not match.

In most cases the Google iPad apps are a bare bones, disappointing alternative to the full app. The iPad Google apps are best used to work offline, make edits to a file, or to view a completed document. In our opinion, they are too ‘light’ to create an appealing, powerful project from scratch.

But there is a solution….students you can still use the full version of Google apps on an iPad. Keep reading!

How do I access Google apps on my iPad?

The best way to access Google apps on an iPad is through a browser. Open Chrome (recommended and must be installed) or Safari and go to Google Drive. From that starting point, all TechnoKids instructions will match what you see on your screen.

This method is highly recommended for accessing Google apps on iPad. Students get complete versions of Docs, Sheets, and Slides with all tools. As well, they can also create projects with Forms, Sites, Drawings, and more! And, all Google apps are free.

Can I use Microsoft Office versions of TechnoKids projects on my iPad?

Yes, students can use the Office Online version of a TechnoKids project. As is the case with Google projects, you will be working online through a browser such as Safari or Chrome. Like Google, you must have a Microsoft account, but it’s free too.

Please note, if students must work offline, Microsoft does offer apps for the iPad similar to Google’s. These include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The apps can be used with a Microsoft account, but I would caution teachers to first check the instructions in the TechnoKids project that is being used. Note the similarities and differences as some tools may be unavailable in the iPad app. Using an iPad app for Microsoft Office is likely only a workable alternative for TechnoKids Primary or Junior projects which have fewer features than the more advanced titles.

Which TechnoKids programming projects can be done on an iPad?

TechnoKids has many programming projects that can be completed on an iPad. Some require slight modifications in instructions.

technowhiz

TechnoWhiz uses Scratch Jr. This free app is perfect for use on an iPad with its touch screen and drag and drop features. Teaching young students to code? Scratch Jr is definitely an ideal starting point.

technotales

TechnoTales also uses Scratch Jr. and is an ideal follow up to TechnoWhiz. Students design an animated fairy tale as they use visual programming blocks to learn coding basics.

ipads and technokids

TechnoCode uses Scratch. This is a great next step after Scratch Jr to spark an interest in computer science. Instead of an app, Scratch 3 is used online. Just sign up for a free account and you will be programming games, puzzles, mazes, animations, stories, and more.

technoturtle

TechnoTurtle, which is a beginner’s Python programming project, uses the Turtle library. To use it on an iPad, use the website Trinket and your Google account. You can input the code and see the result beside it on the screen.

technopython

TechnoPython, a new project that teaches Python programming to middle and high school students. It can be done on an iPad. You will need to download Python for an iPad. To learn more visit Python.org.

TechnoHTML teaches students to become web designers using HTML and CSS. You will need an HTML editor for the iPad. Visit the app store to see what is available and free. I would recommend trying out one or more of the free apps to see which works best for you.

How are TechnoKids PDF Workbooks annotated on an iPad?

When using an iPad, students will need a PDF app or account with an online PDF service. This will allow them to type answers, highlight text, and make notes in TechnoKids assignment sheets. If you are looking for a free option, TechnoKids recommends KAMI, which is a free online service that works with Google Drive. See our next post Annotate a TechnoKids PDF on an iPad to get specific directions.

What are the drawbacks to using an iPad and TechnoKids?

  1. Any project that requires writing more than a few sentences is inconvenient on an iPad without an external keyboard. TechnoKids intermediate projects such as TechnoNewsletter and TechnoBiography have students write extensively, so an iPad would be a deterrent to producing one’s best work.
  2. A smaller screen does not allow students to have TechnoKids pdf workbooks open on a split screen while they are completing a project in another app. Instead, they must toggle back and forth between screens. That may be a source of frustration for younger students. A solution would be to print the workbook.
  3. Internet access is almost a necessity. As mentioned above, most apps work best and have the most features when used through a browser.

What are the benefits to using an iPad and TechnoKids?

  1. School districts have embraced the portability, ease of use, and affordability of iPads as compared to desktop computers. Parents have also valued iPads as educational tools as well as sources of entertainment for their children. As a result, iPads are commonplace, and many students are very familiar with using them. They know the touch screen gestures to open, close, move, drag, tap, and more. What they do not know is often intuitive and easy to figure out.
  2. Collaboration, a valued strategy, is easy with both Google Docs and Office Online. Students can readily work together, edit each other’s files, and share finished documents.  
  3. iPads and TechnoKids projects, in either Google Docs or Office Online versions, can readily be used for both physical and virtual classrooms. Whether it’s the ideal device is a debate that will continue. But in a time when educators must contend with online learning using a variety of devices, an iPad will definitely work well!
ipads and technokids