Tag Archives: project based learning

STEM and Web Design for Kids

Why should you consider incorporating STEM and web design into curriculum? Do students really need to know how to build web pages? After all, how likely is it that they will choose jobs in computer science or careers requiring any these skills? What benefit is an understanding of web design if becoming a web designer is not a future goal?

STEM and web design

Learning how to create a web page has substantive value. Knowledge of website construction and the decisions that need to be made in its creation empower students. Following are some of the benefits to teaching STEM and web design.

Provides an Authentic Audience

When students make a website and publish it in the public domain, they are aware that not just their teacher or classmates will be viewing their results. Anyone in the world will be able to see it. They are motivated to provide the best quality of their work by having an unlimited number of actual, legitimate viewers. This is strong incentive for putting their best efforts into their creations.

Builds Digital Citizenship

In designing a web page, a student becomes a producer of information. With this power comes responsibility. The website should be a meaningful contribution to the World Wide Web. To achieve this goal students must apply Internet search strategies to link to trustworthy sources of information. They must also respect copyright laws in regards to the use of media. Moreover, they need to create content that is respectful of others. These activities promote digital citizenship as it requires them to behave appropriately when online.

Develops Media Awareness

Considering the perspective of the audience is a critical skill in web page design. In planning an online publication, students should first reflect on their target audience. Whether it is their peer group, younger kids, or the public in general, the website should be appropriate. Decisions about wording, types of graphics, and suitability of hyperlinks is affected by the type of viewer. A clear navigation system through the site, information blocked into organized headings, appealing images, and working and informative links all contribute to a site attractive to the consumer. Understanding what engages an online audience is essential.

Fosters STEM Career Skills

Very few students will become actual web page designers. However, a very large proportion of students will pursue careers related to technology skills. Whether they become online marketers, bloggers, programmers, software developers, scientists, systems analysts, or engineers, the future will favor young adults who have STEM skills. Building a website can spark an interest in pursuing other STEM areas.

stem and web design

Promotes Creative Arts

STEM has been amended to STEAM to include the value of the Arts. When publishing a web page, creative decisions need to be made: background themes, layout, image choice and type, text typeface and formatting, and overall page appearance. These choices are all important in keeping the viewer engaged. Eye catching and aesthetically appealing websites will attract and hold a viewer’s attention.

Encourages Collaboration

STEM and web design

Effective communication skills are an integral part of many STEM job skills postings. It’s a rare career that doesn’t require proficiency in working as a group. And website creation isn’t done in isolation. Before publication, a site should be submitted to peers for comments and constructive critique. The written or spoken teamwork between designer and testers is a key component in the development of a successful project.

TechnoSite to Teach STEM and Web Design Using Google Sites

STEM and web design

TechnoSite is a project in which students become web designers. Using Google Sites and following illustrated, step-by-step instructions, they construct a website that includes links to fun places for kids on the World Wide Web. Develop vital career skills by teaching STEM and web design. Learn more about TechnoSite and how you can purchase and download it today!

New! TechnoSite Web Design Lessons for Google Sites

It’s here! TechnoKids’ all-new project TechnoSite makes it simple for students to become creative and competent web designers.

TechnoSite

In this project, students use Google Sites to construct a professional looking, multi page website. Incorporating their own content, images, and links, they create a website that includes links to fun places for kids on the World Wide Web. Along the way, they learn how to become website critics, rate the quality and safety of popular sites, and develop essential search strategies.

It has never been easier to quickly create a custom website. With a free Google account, not only do students have access to Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps (and more!) but Google Sites as well. Use the templates, themes, and familiar tools to build fun and engaging web pages. Collaborate online with peers. Then publish and share information and ideas with classmates, a team, club, or interest group. Pick a topic and you’re ready to design!

What Can You Do with Google Sites?

Google Sites website

Design a multi-page website with TechnoSite and Google Sites.

TechnoSite gives students the building blocks of a website. Following illustrated, detailed instructions in the Student Workbook, they can use Google Sites to:

  • apply a theme to have a consistent, professional looking design
  • create a banner and pick a background image
  • use suggested layouts to arrange information
  • add text, images, dividers, hyperlinks, and hotspots
  • incorporate video
  • include a logo
  • design a photo gallery
  • insert an Image Carousel
  • position a navigation bar
  • and lots more!
Google Sites Preview

Google Sites preset themes and layouts allow students to quickly make a professional looking site. In this Preview mode, you can see what the site will look like on a wide screen, tablet, or phone.

What Will Students Learn Using TechnoSite?

Before beginning to build their website, students are introduced to the World Wide Web. They master internet terminology such as web browser and home page. They learn how to critique websites using standard criteria: navigation ease, appearance, content, and safety. Then a rating scale is applied to decide if the sites may earn their “Kid Stamp of Approval”. Students also become Super Searchers as they compare search engines, scan and filter results, and try different keyword phrases.

TechnoSite integrates a variety of learning skills as student build their websites. Following is a condensed selection from the Skill Summary included in the Assessment Tools in the project:

Digital Literacy

  • use appropriate keywords to locate information using search engines
  • determine whether a website is appropriate for children
  • collaborate with a peer to improve the quality of a website

Language Arts

  • organize research using a planner
  • describe a website to summarize the content and entice visitors to click on the link
  • reflect upon the web design process

Internet Skills

  • use keyword suggestions to locate resources on the Internet
  • scan search results to discern the website that is the best match
  • analyze the results of different search engines

Web Design Skills

  • customize design using a banner, theme, and images
  • insert text, images, dividers, and video
  • insert and test hyperlink and hotspots

What Is Included in TechnoSite?

When you purchase TechnoSite, everything teachers need to complete the project and teach students to build a website is included in the resources:

  1. Teacher Guide in pdf format for printing or viewing
  2. Student Workbook in pdf format for printing or viewing
  3. Assessment Tools: Student Checklists and Teacher Marking Sheet and Skill Summary
  4. Sample Websites using Google Sites
  5. Reviews, Skill Reviews, and Extension Activities to support learning

You’re ready. Order and download TechnoSite today and your students will become skilled web designers tomorrow!

Sound Libraries Continued, Two More Free Resources

In a previous article, I listed 8 great free sound resources that students can use to download fun and engaging sounds to add to their stories, presentations, or other digital creations. Fortunately, there are new sound libraries posted regularly and here’s a couple we found that are appropriate for educational use. If you have others to recommend, please let us know.

BBC Sound Effects

  • search by suggested category, then narrow the search by a specific term, e.g., Animals – lion
  • all 16 000 sound effects are in WAV format
  • sounds are available for download under terms of BBC copyright but may be used for personal, educational, or research purposes
  • clear and easy preview with description and sound duration listed

BigSoundBank

  • search feature includes alternate suggested search terms to help find suitable results
  • all sounds are free and royalty-free
  • sounds are in a variety of formats: MP3, WAV, AIFF, and more
  • limited library of hundreds of sounds, but if no fitting sounds are found, other external sound websites are suggested
  • also included is a thorough listing of additional sound and music websites
  • sections of the site are in the creator’s native language French, but the library of sounds are listed in English

free sound libraries

Project-Based Lessons for Technology Integration

TechnoKids has projects in which students add sound or music to engage their audience and add interest.

In TechnoCode, students use Scratch to build games, puzzles, mazes, animations, stories, and more. They write scripts to add sound blocks that play audio clips, make them repeat, and combine sound with other actions.

In TechnoInternet, students learn about responsible digital citizenship. As they practice Internet safety, they also explore online radio stations and music services, search for sound clips, and bookmark sound libraries.

Sound Libraries Caution Note

Some sound collections may contain sounds inappropriate for school use. Discuss digital citizenship responsibilities with students before using these resources to confirm their understanding of suitable content.

Differentiated Instruction and TechnoKids

differentiated instruction

Every time teachers step into their classrooms, they face the evidence of the need for differentiated instruction. Each student arrives at school at a different starting point: a certain attitude of readiness for learning, an individual style of acquiring knowledge, and a distinct level of mastery of concepts. Multiply these three factors by the number of students in the classroom. The resulting figure is daunting but makes it obvious that ‘one teaching method fits all’ isn’t a practical strategy.

Differentiated instruction recognizes and supports individual differences in learning by using a variety of teaching strategies. There are so many options and resources available today that we can adjust for the diverse abilities, needs, learning styles, and interests of our students. As teachers, our goal is to optimize student growth and success at all levels of ability, not simply to achieve or reach a standardized benchmark. Teach every student.

Brain based learning studies support a variety of instructional strategies. As students make connections between what they already know and their new learning, interconnections in neural pathways are formed. As a result, information is stored in multiple areas. Meaning and retention are both enhanced.

In teaching ICT, we have lots of ways of tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. TechnoKids project-based computer lessons support differentiated instruction with student resources, teaching strategies, and assessment tools.

Process

Differentiated instruction requires that we provide a variety of learning opportunities. Students should be able to build a repertoire of tools. They can accommodate their own preferred styles of learning, as well as recognize and build skills in their individual areas of weakness.

TechnoKids project-based learning supports the process of learning using differentiated instruction:

  • Vary learning tools. Integrate technology and use the computer as an alternative and additional tool.
  • Target different senses with multiple instructional strategies. TechnoKids Student Workbooks engage students by reading written instructions, studying illustrations that support text, looking at infographics, and handling manipulatives such as TechnoKids tool flashcards. Sample files have students listen to audio and watch video. Brain based learning studies show that most of us learn best when the kinesthetic senses are used – doing, handling, building. Robotics projects prepare students to build STEM skills and support hands-on learning. TechnoKids Teacher Guides provide teaching strategies, technology integration ideas, and assessment tools.
  • Chunk material into manageable parts. TechnoKids projects are divided into smaller sessions or assignments. In this way, a complex task becomes doable.
  • Present learning tasks in graphic organizers. When students create a plan of their ideas for a an inquiry, TechnoKids projects often have them use a chart, brain storming web, or mind map to outline and develop their proposals.
  • Repeat to reinforce. Students build skills through practice, so Skill Reviews and Extension Activities allow for repetition.
  • Allow students to work at different paces. By using the pdf or print copies of TechnoKids workbooks, individual students can complete the activities on their own timeline.
  • Mix up individual and group collaboration. Individual, pair, small group, and whole class activities should all be part of classroom experiences. Flexible grouping allows students with similar learning styles to work together.

Content

Recognize that students have different levels of familiarity with concepts before a lesson is taught. Differentiate activities by designing assignments that cover various levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, from remembering (lowest level) to evaluating (highest level).

  • Give students the big picture. Most TechnoKids resource files include a number of samples of completed projects. Seeing and reviewing a finished project solution motivates students, builds interest, and provides a clear example of what is being assigned.
  • Provide a starting point. A number of TechnoKids projects, especially primary level projects, include templates. Students can focus on the technology and learning skills without getting bogged down in the less critical details of setting up a document.
  • Combine methods of instruction. Blend a mixture of teacher directed, print, video, and any other instructional techniques. This serves the purpose of both maintaining student engagement as well as appealing to diverse learning styles.

Product

The final creation or solution to an inquiry process should be interdisciplinary and open-ended. Allow students to build on their learning style strengths by offering choices. Self directed learning allows for students to work independently and develop critical skills such as organization, creativity, judgement, and persistence.

  • Build engagement by offering choices. Involve students by encouraging them to pitch their own ideas for projects. TechnoKids projects allow for creative thinking and open-ended learning experiences.
  • Offer a variety of outputs. When students are given options, they take more responsibility for their learning and become more engaged. TechnoKids projects may be a presentation, visual art, timeline, graphic story, newsletter, questionnaire, blog, interactive map, animation, and many more!
  • Provide opportunities for assorted types of assessment. TechnoKids grading tools include student, peer, and teacher checklists, rubrics, rating scales, marking sheets, and skill summaries.
  • Incorporate reflection. Summarize learning, process new learning, identify areas for improvement, and set goals. Many TechnoKids projects contain a reflection component in a final celebration of learning.