I started a tech club at my school (a middle school) this year, designed to be a way for students to learn about various technology tools and use them more in the classroom. My initial thoughts were to teach a little bit about everything graphic design, websites, blogging, podcasting, programming, video, and the various tools in Microsoft Office. However, most of the students involved want to learn about programming and creating video games. I have no problem with this, other than I don't any experience with this, so I am looking for programs to use with a group of 11-12 year olds.
I have heard of Logo and Scratch and have only worked a small bit with the first one. So any resources/tutorials you can lead me to would be awesome, as well.
Thanks so much!
I totally understand. I teach tech in middle school and I've been dying to get them started on programming, but my experience stopped at BASIC a hundred years ago. My sixth graders wound up with almost 2 extra weeks before the semester ended, so I turned them loose on Scratch. Fabulous! They can do it on their own, but a little help helps. One of my guys had some experience with it, so I screencasted his tutorial. They ate it up. I'll be watching to see where you go with this. I'd like to legitimately incorporate a more elaborate program.
Thanks! I have only recently heard about Scratch, but it sounds exciting. Thanks for the links to the tutorials, I will be sure to check them out!
Wow! How did I miss this entry?
There is a company that offers a free product called MultiMedia Logic. I've used it in the classroom and it is awesome! You can construct logic statements with switches and light bulbs. For example, the English language statement:
"John and Jessica will go to the library" can be converted using logic gates to the following:
John and Jessica can each be represented using an on/off switch
the outcome can be represented using a light bulb.
Then, you can flip the switches to either on or off to represent each person going to the library. If both switches are in the on position then the light bulb will go on. If either switch is in the off position the light bulb will be off.
Download it and play with it and you will love it.The URL is http://www.softronix.com/
They also have a nice version of Logo too.
Please let us know what you thing about either tools after you use them. Feel free to contact me if you need help.
Thanks! Any ideas are appreciated. I'll check it out and see what we can do with it. Thanks again!
Thank you, too!
I wanted to update those following this post. We had a VERY successful year with our technology club. We ended up with 8 students, which later dropped to 7.
We started by giving the students a list of technology possibilities that included: PowerPoint, blogging, animation, podcasting, digital storytelling, graphic design, web design, vlogging, programming, designing video games, filmmaking, and learning about hardware issues. We asked them what kinds of technology they would most be interested in learning about to help us as a guide for planning for each meeting. They wanted to learn all of it, but to our surprise, mostly wanted to learn about programming. Since I and my co-sponsor don't have much experience with this, we talked about doing this later in the year.
We decided as a club as to what projects we would be doing each meeting. This worked out because the students naturally got along together, much better than any of us had thought. We would have projects where they could pair up with another member, but in most cases the students ended up working as a 7 person team. And they preferred it this way.
During our second meeting, we gave the students two choices for the projects we could begin working on. One of those choices was to enter our school district's recycling video contest. They chose to work on this and this would take up our next 8 weeks. We worked together on storyboarding, writing the script, filming and editing. In most cases, my co-sponsor and I would demonstrate how to do something and then our students would take over doing it themselves.
After the film was turned in, we worked on a geography podcast competition for Moving at the Speed of Creativity. Then we began working on creating our own version of Truth or Fail, a popular YouTube series.
Since we only started in January, it didn't give us a lot of time, but it was definitely a good start. We ended up winning the video contest in the middle school category! This is a huge boost and our students are already thinking of ideas for next year.
I would like to have more of a concrete schedule next year, where students know exactly when things are due, and they can be working on a group project and an individual project of their own choosing. Here are some of the ideas I have come up with for possibilities for next year: National History Day website design contest, MHz Networks shortie film contest, Next Vista for Learning Shoots Video Contest, 60 second book recaps (video), My Hero International Film Festival.
I also had a friend tell me about these programming/app design websites: Codeacademy.com, codeyear.com, phonegap.com, and bluej.org. I haven't really taken a look at these yet, so I still need to determine what level these are all at.
Thanks so much for the interest!
have you heard about animo to.com?
I have Cindy. We used it a couple of years ago for a math lesson review. It went over pretty well, but we haven't really used it since. I am trying to do some innovative things with this group and use it a little bit to try new things. This might be something else to try.