Tag Archives: online 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.

How to Engage Students in Remote Learning

project-based learning

Teaching is a wonderful yet demanding task when students are physically present in a classroom. But it’s a whole other level of challenge when they’re learning from home. Online learning or virtual instruction has been available since the beginning of the Internet. This model has primarily been used by colleges, universities, and corporations. However, in recent months due to school closures many teachers have been offering their classes remotely.

There are strategies educators can use to not only deal with this new situation, but also transform the education model to inspire students. This article outlines factors to consider when teaching in a virtual classroom and provides links to helpful resources to support learning.

Design Meaningful Lessons to Engage Learners

A challenge to remote learning is designing lessons that spark student interest. Often it can seem like school has become one boring worksheet after another. To overcome this hurdle engage students with real world connections. Design lessons that pose authentic problems and offer topics to which students can personally relate. As they investigate these issues and propose solutions, students are more involved and motivated.

Project-based learning is the essence of all TechnoKids materials. At first glance, this instructional approach may seem too difficult to implement using a remote learning model. However, each TechnoKids technology project includes lessons that have step-by-step instructions with illustrations that explain how to complete a task. Resources such as sample files, provide examples of completed work. As well, templates jump start creativity. TechnoKids makes it easy to support learners as they complete meaningful tasks from home.

Empower students with challenges to explore real world issues in your virtual classroom. Hook student interest with role playing. As they recognize relevance, students are inspired to learn. Two projects that are an ideal fit for middle or high school students are:

meaningful projects
  • TechnoWonderland: Students become marketing executives for an amusement park. They solve a variety of challenges as they develop technology skills.
  • TechnoTravel: Students play the role of a travel agent. They construct a travel advertisement to promote a weekend getaway.

Provide Activities for Multiple Devices

Another hurdle to overcome when lesson planning for a virtual classroom is access to technology. At school, typically the hardware is standardized so that everyone has the same device. However, when working from home, students have a variety of devices.

Teaching in an online classroom is similar to a BYOD program. Students could have desktop computers, laptops, or tablets such as Chromebooks or iPads. Or perhaps, they only have access to smart phones. As well, the operating system varies. It could be Windows, Mac, or Android.

Curriculum should allow students to achieve success using any hardware configuration. The challenge is to offer assignments or projects that are open-ended enough to be successfully completed using any computing device.

remote learning

TechnoKids projects will work with a wide-range of hardware and software. Teachers can download multiple versions of the same lesson from TechnoHub. Assignments are available for Google Apps, Microsoft Office Online, Office 2019, Office 2016, or Office 2013. This allows teachers to provide instruction that will work on any device. Everyone in the class can be learning the same thing, using different technology. Two popular projects that are ideal for remote learning are:

  • TechnoToon is a fun digital story-telling project. Students can create their animated cartoon using a browser such as Chrome or Safari and Google Apps, or Microsoft Edge and Office Online, or a desktop version of Microsoft Office. There are many options.
  • TechnoNewsletter has students create a fan club publication. They can use Google Docs, Microsoft Word Online, or Microsoft Word 2019, 2016, or 2013.

Differentiate Instruction

A further challenge to teaching remotely can be meeting the needs of all learners. Not all students are the same. Each has unique abilities. A child may have a learning disability or English as a second language. This requires teachers to modify tasks to accommodate individual needs. This can be done ahead of time, as part of curriculum planning, but is often done in the moment – which can be difficult when teaching virtually.

In a school setting, when a child raises their hand, the teacher can provide assistance immediately. The educator can assess the student’s needs and then apply a different approach to explain a concept or adjust expectations. This personalizes learning.

Moreover, when students are working from home, visual cues that show frustration are no longer present. This prevents the teacher from instantly making the necessary modifications to meet the needs of the learner.

When learning remotely, one way to accommodate all learners is to use lessons that have activities with varying degrees of difficulty. All children receive the same assignment. However, students can select from a list of choices. This allows them to complete the task that suits their ability.

TechnoKids projects provide a range of tasks that support all learners. One project that offers a wide-range of activities to differentiate instruction is TechnoCode:

  • TechnoCode sparks an interest in computer science. Students create games, puzzles, mazes, animations, stories and more using Scratch 3. Teachers and/or students can pick and choose activities. Younger students may just complete the first three sessions. Middle school grades can continue on to the computational thinking challenges of Sessions 4 to 6. Assignments include challenges with varying degrees of difficulty.

Provide a Flexible Pace

Another consideration when teaching remotely is scheduling the pace of instruction. Students may not have access to devices throughout the day, as parents or siblings could be using the technology. This restricts the ability to complete assignments in a timely fashion.

Be accommodating in setting timelines and goals. Ideally, activities should be flexible and allow each student to progress at their own pace. There are great resources that allow teachers to personalize learning. OneNote and Google Classroom let you set assignments for individual students. You can pick and choose what and when to give to each student according to their needs and progress. TechnoKids offers support and step-by-step instructions on how to set up a Google Classroom or Class Notebook.

TechnoKids projects are ideal for self-paced learning. Two projects that students will enjoy are:

  • TechnoBookmaking has a collection of templates to publish a tiny picture book, a flip flap story, a riddle book, an accordion book, and many more. Mix and match! Complete as many as you want, in any order you want.
  • TechnoRestaurateur has students take the role of an entrepreneur developing a new franchise. Depending on which learning objectives teachers select, they can choose and omit assignments. For example, if spreadsheet skills are important, include all of the calculation and graphing activities and leave out the floor plan and logo designs.

Host Class Discussions that are Interactive

distance learning

Class discussions are an integral part of the learning process. Students can express ideas, ask questions, gain knowledge, and develop a fresh perspective. When instruction is delivered online, instead of in-person, the experience is somewhat different. However, technology provides unique ways for students to communicate with one another.

Face-to face instruction using online tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams allows everyone to connect. The etiquette requires that only one person can talk at a time, or else it is difficult to hear. Although, this is the case in the regular classroom, it is even more important in a virtual setting.

To keep everyone actively involved in the discussion, teachers can ask questions that are responded to using the built-in chat feature. This gives everyone a chance to share their ideas. You can ensure that students know that their perspective and individual viewpoints are valued by posting emoticons to individual comments. For example, a thumbs-up, smiley face, or animated sun are some ways to respond to contributions.

Another way to invite others to share their opinion is to offer polls. By keeping instruction interactive you can verify that everyone is participating. Moreover, this will help students to feel part of the conversation, which makes them less likely to tune out.

Another way to engage learners is to share your screen. This allows you to demonstrate a concept or clarify a misunderstanding. If using a TechnoKids project, it is a simple way to show the steps to complete an assignment. For example

  • In TechnoBudget, students budget for a shopping spree. They organize the items using a spreadsheet. By sharing your screen you can demonstrate how to create formulas and graph data. In addition, you could have students justify their purchasing decisions in a lively online discussion.
  • In TechnoMap, students produce an interactive map. There are significant differences between creating a map using Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, and PowerPoint Online. A virtual discussion is a great way to clarify the task, help students select a version, and answer questions. You can model sample maps by sharing your screen.

Invite Student Input and Welcome Personal Choice

Since online learning can be alienating to some learners, inviting student input is more important than ever. Students enjoy having choice. They like their opinions and interests to matter. For many, it gives them a feeling of empowerment. It also is motivating, because the assigned task is personally meaningful.

To simplify teaching in a virtual classroom, have students complete the same assignment. However, let them choose their topic. Everyone is learning the identical skills, but with different content.

Most TechnoKids projects allow students to pick a topic, area of personal interest, or unique and creative focus.

  • In TechnoEarth, students become environmental stewards. Each student picks a topic of personal, local, or international concern. Then they design an interactive infographic to create a powerful call to action.
  • In TechnoSite, students build a website. They choose their own areas of interest as the topics for the web pages.

Collaborate with Others

What students are missing most when they aren’t in a classroom is social interaction. Compensate by assigning work that requires students to work with others. Their level of engagement will grow, as will the essential skills of effective communication and accountability.

Many TechnoKids projects make use of the collaboration tools available through technology.

  • TechnoDebate has students work with a partner to take opposing positions on a controversial issue. They work together to prepare an animated slideshow to support each side, respond to arguments with a rebuttal, and answer audience questions online.
  • TechnoBlog allows students to express their opinions and expertise as they post a series of articles. Peers read, write, and comment on their work to develop digital citizenship skills.
  • TechnoQuestionnaire invites students to design questions to research opinions of a sample group of their classmates on an authentic issue. They analyze the results and present their findings to their peers.

Provide Self Assessment Tools

Working remotely can make some learners disengage. To encourage fundamental personal skills such as responsibility, self-direction, and self-confidence, include tools that allow students to measure their own progress. As students rate themselves, they develop critical thinking and problem-solving techniques. These tools can be checklists, rubrics, journals, or marking criteria. They help students consider what they have learned and how to do better.

checklist

TechnoKids projects all include a variety of assessment resources for both teacher and student. Most student workbooks have checklists both at the end of the project and often throughout each stage, such as a research outline or a planning organizer.

  • TechnoTurtle uses the Python Turtle Library to teach basic programming and ignite an interest in computer science. Each session has Review Questions. Students complete a variety of checklists as they create a Mad Lib and a Carnival Game. They reflect on their learning by answering questions for a coding journal.
  • TechnoAdvertise has students play the role of an advertising executive design a variety of publications. They review checklists for a product catalog and advertising flyer before they submit work for evaluation. Marking sheets for the five publications are provided for self-evaluation as well as teacher assessment.

Turn Learning into a Game and Celebrate Achievements

Gamification, the use of game-like concepts, can be used to stimulate learning, celebrate successes, and simply add fun to curriculum. Teachers know the value of stars, progress bars, and any type of positive reinforcement. As adults, we collect loyalty points to get rewards such as coffee, groceries, or travel miles. In the absence of a personal touch, certificates and badges given online can remind students that they are progressing and that their efforts are recognized.

remote learning

TechnoKids projects reward students for their efforts. Every title includes a certificate of completion and a parent letter outlining technology learning objectives that have been achieved. As well, projects include many encouragements for students and strategies to add fun to schoolwork.

  • TechnoInternet is a series of lessons that teach Internet safety, search strategies, digital citizenship, and more. Included in the resources is a map on which students can track the places they have visited: e-Library, e-Playground, e-Media Center, and more. When finished, they receive an Internet Citizenship Card.
  • TechnoTrivia teaches students to build a quiz with a variety of questions, an answer key, and feedback. Planning, research, communication, and analysis skills are developed through a fun, game-like activity.
gamify