Tag Archives: TechnoWonderland

No Technical Issues! How Wonderful!

Today, I had the perfect class.

I had no technical issues. It was wonderful!

We are still working on TechnoWonderland. In today’s class we were completing the Session 1 Extension Activity, Amusement Park Map. The technology skills targeted in this lesson were copy, paste, group, and ungroup. The task had students use clip art as symbols to produce a theme park map that includes attractions, food court, entertainment, and services. In the last class, the network was sluggish and students struggled to insert clip art. Intermittently their machines would hang, which became a source of frustration.

UPDATE 03/27/2018: TechnoKids has updated TechnoWonderland for the LATEST version of Microsoft Office.

But today was different.

computers


A perfect class!
No computer problems.

When I walked into the computer lab that morning I was greeted with a pleasant sight. The “do not use” tag was removed from the out-of-commission computer in the back corner. ALL the computers were working in the lab. I breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t have to hope that a student would be away sick so that I would have enough machines. (At one point this year I had three machines down).

The day just got better and better! All the students were able to login and none of the machines hung. The entire class was able to access the Internet with no freeze ups. Everyone was able to save their files AND no one lost work.

I NEVER heard, “Mrs. Love this isn’t working”. Not for 40 minutes! Instead, the only hands up in the air were for students that had questions directly related to the task.

WOW!

The students were actively engaged for the entire class period. The noise level remained at a constant hum. There were no spikes in the volume, usually associated with a technical issue.

After class I chatted with my co-worker about how pleased I was that the class had been so productive and error-free. We both agreed that this is so rare for a technology education teacher. Typically, at one point during the class you are going to encounter the unexpected. Although some circumstances can be easily resolved, others can be quite puzzling.

I wasn’t the only person happy. One student commented on how smooth the computer lab was running. Shortly thereafter another student said, “Oh no, why did you say anything? You’ll jinx it!” I laughed! It turns out we all know how rare this moment can be.

I wish I could bottle this moment. It feels fantastic!

Critical Thinking and Picture Formatting

Your students will apply a picture style because it looks “cool” or fancy. Very little consideration is given to how the shape, border, or effects enhance the message in a publication. It is a good idea to encourage your students to think critically about how the options they select convey information to the viewer.

Today, I was working with a class of Grade 7 students on TechnoWonderland. We are working on Assignment 3 finishing up the poster activity. In case you have been following the blog, you might be thinking, “What! Are you still working on THAT?” Yes, we are. This is our FOURTH class. The first class had the students practice their login procedures and plan their amusement park. The next class had students add text to their poster. The third class was VERY SHORT because the morning assembly ran too late. And today’s class continued with the insertion and formatting of pictures, clip art, and shapes. The plan is to have the poster completed next week. It is important to accept that creating technology-based projects takes time.

UPDATE 3/27/2018: TechnoKids has updated TechnoWonderland for the LATEST version of Microsoft Office.

I studied my students’ screens at the beginning of class to determine their progress. I was once again reminded about how much students like “razzle dazzle“. They want to apply as many effects as possible to their pictures. Let’s face it; it is fun to make a picture glow with a bright green color. When your students are learning a technology skill it is important to celebrate the fact that they can achieve a particular task such as add a border, apply a shadow, or change the shape of an image. However, at some point, your expectation should shift to having students apply formatting techniques that enhance the message.

Picture Styles Group in Microsoft Word

Use commands from the Picture Styles group to format a picture.

At the start of class, I took five minutes for a direct instruction lesson about picture styles and formatting decision making. It was a “click and point” task. In other words, I demonstrated the feature on the screen and then students applied the technique to their own picture.

You may want to do this task with your students. Throughout each step, I explained when the option would be effective and provided examples. Students offered their suggestions on what type of school assignments they could apply these features such as illustrating a story, report writing, designing a title page, or giving a presentation.

This type of activity does not take long to complete and it will help your students critically think about the message pictures convey in their school work. Try it!

Insert Picture STEP ONE: Insert a picture or clip art.
Picture Border STEP TWO: Have your students set the color, weight, and dash style of the border.
Explain that a solid line often frames an image better than a dash style. Demonstrate the difference.
Picture Effects STEP THREE: Have your students apply a shadow, reflection, glow, soft edges, bevel, and 3D rotation. As they experiment with each option demonstrate how to create an attractive image that enhances the message.

  • Shadow, reflection, and bevel are three effects that will make ANY image look great.
  • Glow tends to look the best if printing in color. However, the colors provided are not very flattering. Demonstrate how to pick a custom glow color, by selecting More Glow Colors from the gallery.
  • Soft Edges often creates a disappointing effect. Very few pictures look good with a point size larger than 5 applied. Demonstrate how 25 Point and 50 Point make an image almost invisible.
  • 3D Rotation should be used sparingly. The styles that look the best keep the image upright, whereas often the picture is difficult to view if it is rotated to look as if it is lying down.
Picture Shape STEP FOUR: Office 2007 users can change the shape of a picture EASILY.
Encourage your students to select a shape that enhances the message. For example, place an image of a flag inside a Wave Banner or use an Arrow shape to draw attention to text.
Picture Shape Office 2010 users will need to use the Crop to Shape option from Crop in the Size group.
Encourage your students to select a shape that enhances the message. For example, place an image of a factory inside a Teardrop if making a report about water pollution or acid rain.

ICT in Education: Creativity and Computers

ict in education - creativity and computers

Design computer-related tasks that spark creativity!

Recently, I began to teach TechnoWonderland to a class of grade 7/8 students. They love the idea of creating their own amusement park. We have just completed planning our park and now students are designing a poster using Microsoft Word. As you may have guessed, from a technology skill standpoint we are focusing on word processing skills. However, there is so much more happening than formatting text and objects.

UPDATE 3/27/2018: TechnoKids has updated TechnoWonderland for the LATEST version of Microsoft Office.

CREATIVITY!

Even though everyone in the class is doing the same task and completing the identical steps, each poster is unique. To give you a sense of the range of ideas, one student called his park Safari Fest and it has all animal themed attractions. While another student called his park Horror Land and it has all scary rides. The students have come up with clever ideas for the names of their restaurants, shops, and attractions. I am amazed by their CREATIVITY!

Three Reasons to Provide Tasks that Inspire Creativity

There are numerous benefits to inspiring creativity in your students. Creativity helps students:

  • develop original ideas
  • become activity engaged in a task because they feel motivated
  • apply their unique talents and interests to complete a task

Three Ways that ICT in Education Promotes Creativity

Consider the ways that ICT in education fosters creativity:

  1. Undo/Redo:Students can easily undo or redo any action. This frees them up to be creative because they don’t have to worry about mistakes ruining their work.
  2. Save a Copy: Students can save a copy of their work, which keeps the original file intact. This allows them to take risks because they have a “safety net”. If things don’t work out, they can always return to the original file.
  3. Alter Design and Layout: The computer allows students to easily format, size, and arrange information and objects. This allows them to play around with the content, layout, and design to create the perfect look for their work.

Improve student learning. Design computer-related tasks that promote creativity.