I have been assigned the task of teaching an "advanced technology" course this year to 8th graders (the irony here is that I have never taught a "basic technology" course). As I have found out the hard way, no one in the school district has taught this course either. So...

Can anyone point me in the direction of a course outline/syllabus that I could borrow heavily from so that I can have a blueprint for the trimester/semester/year. I am planning on addressing blogs, wikis, podcasting, and videocasting (?). I would like to use the students cell phones as well as the new PC computers that are coming with all of the bells and whistles. I have some basic ideas on where I want to go but I would love some ideas on how to get there.

Oh, yeah, maybe a rubric or two would be helpful as well...


Any of your thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Tags: 2.0, 8th, blog, cellphone, course, grade, middle, outline, podcast, rubric, More…school, syllabus, technology, web, wiki

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I am struggling to get their low production to mesh with my high expectations. We have done a lot of starting, stopping, backing up, and restarting. It has been frustrating -- but I am also finding that I am more in tune with the middle-schooler's mind than I have been in the past -- this has become the benefit. This is why we had to take a break from a student-run school newspaper -- we weren't communicating on the same level. To buy some time I had them create a "page" on Wikispaces and this has been truly worthwile. It will provide a better base for us to move forward...
Do you have state standards that you can look at to get some ideas. That is how I got started when I first started in the computer lab. Of course no one else that I worked with knew a thing of what I was talking about. I must say that now that most of their reports have to be typed or filled in on-line, I have a lot more people to talk to me.
Maddie, I looked the state standards.... and found nothing. I have been plodding along this year doing a lot of backing up and restarting throughout the year. My plans and my student's ability and desire did not always mesh. Due to budget cuts it doesn't look as though I will be teaching this class again... However, I still will need to finish off the year and, therefore, will be looking at your work using the scratch program.
I pulled up the PA state standards and had to weed my way through the technology sections.
What age group are you working with?
Have you tried using Excel for budgets or collections the students might want to organize. Power Point with animation, such as cartooning. I had a donation of stuffed animals and we did a rainforest project and each child was able to take the stuffed animal with them when they completed the project.
We had a variety of stuffed animals and the older students wrote stories about their animal and then we are going to organize them and give the younger students the story and the stuffed animal. When the students started they were reluctant to write I told them not to worry about the spelling, but to just get their ideas on the paper and we could work with it later. I was able to teach them how to use the spell checker in word and for some the grammer checker.
I am in California working with 8th grade students. The emphasis, of this class, is 2.0 technology -- if I had been asked to do a straight intro to computers I would have been set. As it is, we are pulling the use of Excel and PowerPoint into the class to support our development of our blog and wiki...
I teach technology to 6-8 graders in Texas. We have definite standards called TA TEKS that can be found here: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/.

In Dallas ISD our 6th and 7th grade courses are basic computer skills classes and are a semester long. Students must take the 7th grade course (in 7th or 8th grade) before they continue to high school so it is a "required" elective. Since we don't have a "required" curriculum for the 6th grade class I branched out this semester with several Web 2.0 projects: e-mail, blogging, online activities.

The 8th grade class is an advanced course and we are in the process of writing curriculum for it now. I will be writing the multimedia unit which will include audio editing with Audacity, 1 slide ppt multimedia slideshow utilizing graphic layering, audio editing and custom animation and video editing with Movie Maker 2. Someone else is writing curriculum based on a program I started using last semester for the first time, Storytelling Alice (free download), that teaches programming. I also do a unit on Scratch animation (free download from MIT). Lastly, we teach the students web design. I taught mine simple HTML coding and then moved them to an HTML editor but I'm not sure what the new curriculum will include. In Texas it's required that students take a technology course as a high school credit in order to graduate. We decided to write the 8th grade curriculum to coincide with the high school technology applications courses so the students would have an idea of what to expect from the high school classes.
It's nice to see so much in place. One problem we have is the computer exploration callas in 7th is WAYYY to basic for a kid with computer interest. I teach in a pullout gifted program for elementary kiddos and by the time they get to 7th they done TONS with us---blogs, wikis, podcasts, webpages, video, robotics and so on. So they usually take the more advanced 8th grade offering in 7th to get something new. It would be nice to survey the younger kids to see who knows what and offer a basic class and an advanced one but scheduling probably prohibits that.
Our 5th graders took a pilot technology exam and several of my friends that teach at the elementary level said they had 1-2 students pass it. Students at the elementary level sometimes attend computer classes 1 week out of every 10. A technology teacher isn't budgeted at the elementary level in our district and this year we had a huge RIF and a budget shortfall that has caused numerous elementary schools to cut the technology teacher position in favor of core teachers. The passing rate on our middle school exam is not very good, even with the huge curve the powers-that-be apply. We still have many students that don't have computers/Internet access at home and the test is nothing but a huge vocabulary test. It hardly seems fair that the middle school technology teachers in our district are held accountable for students who may have had very little elementary computer skills training and we are expected to get them up to par in one semester. The exam is a curse and a blessing at the same time. Because we are a "required" and tested elective at least the basic class must be offered in middle school, thus I didn't get RIF'd!
Becky, Thanks for providing the link to the standards used in Texas -- I'll look this over before I work out my plans for next year. I have looked into Alice, used Audacity, and have bypassed the HTML coding lessons for now. We (the district and school) have dumped "technology instruction" on the core teachers. At the same time technology teacher can no longer provide support as he has been directed to teach "other stuff" using technology... I hope to work something out that introduces the resources that can be used immediately to prove mastery of material taught within their core classes... We'll see how it goes...
Marsie, this year is the exception -- I have one class of 8th graders four days a week in 50 minute class periods (this is also a year-long class). Next year my schedule will change -- three classes of mixed ability 6th-8th graders four days a week in 50 minute class periods; however, the class will drop in length to 12 weeks. While this will be a change, I cannot imagine teaching it in the manner you have to do so...

As the focus is on Web 2.0 technologies and many of my students do not have web access I do not assign homework - this works well for all. : )
I have my students one semester, every day for 45 minutes. Next year we're cutting the number of periods down from 8 to 7 so I'll have them for a longer time, one semester.
That would be a good chunk of time to be able to work with them... I am thinking that 12 weeks will not be enough.



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