This post goes alongside the previous one that I had written about the kids in my classroom having weak tech skills.
I’ve decided to start a training program in my classroom for some of these basic skills and I thought I would share the details. As I mentioned in one of the comments in the previous post, I don’t want a lot of these basic skills to be the focus of my classroom; but I do need a way to place some emphasis on them. I also have to say that I’m not a big rewards-in-the-classroom kind of guy. Actually, that is understating it. I don’t believe at all in setting up reward economies or handing out goodies for behaving well in class. But in this case, I had some stickers and buttons and I decided I might as well put them to use.
This is pretty simple. The kids can take part or not, it’s up to them (although I am expecting most of them to do so after the reacton I received on Friday in class after introducing the program. They can work on these skills at school or at home, I simply want them to have them. I’ve only got a few steps right now, but I’m expecting to add more rather quickly.
Several years ago I had Jeff Utecht’s Google Ninja icons made into buttons. I had handed them out in my classroom in the past but I’ve recently found them in a cupboard and I decided to put them to work as a reward for students completing a small set of skills.
YELLOW BELT (I know, I know, this isn’t a yellow belt button, but hey… I thought it would work!)
– Publish at least 6 blog posts. One of these blog posts needs to explain how we can tell if something is true or not true on the internet.
– Publish 3 pictures of your own pictures to the classroom flickr account (check with Mr. Fisher about this before publishing!)
– Organize the work in your Google Drive account into different folders of the different subject areas.
– Make a spreadsheet showing your favourite bands, OR foods OR video games. Make this data into a graph using Google docs.
– Make a presentation on a topic that you choose using Google presentations. Your presentation needs to have at least 10 slides.
– Write a blog post explaining what Creative Commons is and telling why it is important.
– Make a good quality video of at least one minute long.
– Record a good quality audio file of at least one minute long using audacity. It must have your voice and at least one sound effect or other piece of music included in it.
(I bought these Ada Lovelace stickers at Adafruit last year)
ADA LOVELACE CHALLENGE (Ada Lovelace was one of the world’s first computer programmers. I always like kids, especially girls, to know and understand that role that she played)
– Publish a blog post that is a biography of Ada Lovelace, telling who she is and why is important to the history of computers
CODE COMBAT (codecombat.com is one, among many, good starter coding sites online)
– Win at least two levels of Code Combat
I’ve got some goodies coming in from Mozilla that will add to my stock of stuff and will add more challenges to this list. I’ll see where this goes and if it will make a difference to some of these basic skills. If you’ve got any suggestions for things that I should add to my list, I’d be interested in hearing from you.