Computer Science Education: Celebrating The Hour of Code With Virtual Speakers and Hybrid Teaching
During the week of Dec 7th-11th students in the North Reading Public Schools participated in the “Hour of Code”. The “Hour Of Code” event is a global event in which students are urged to participate in a coding/programming orientated lesson for one hour.
This week often inspires and motivates many students to pursue more coding, programming and interest in learning about our digital world.
Due to restrictions this year we reached out to our community to see if there are parents/family members or others who may be interested in recording a 5 minute video as a virtual speaker we can share with our students grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12 to show the value of Coding Skills or Computer Science/ Engineering in real world applications. Areas of our request included software, programming, hardware, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, engineering/devices. Please check out our virtual speakers page here:
Our Community Question: Do you work in the Computer Science/Engineering field and recognize the value of these skills in students' futures?
To see our virtual speakers please visit our "North Reading Hour of Code Virtual Speakers Page" We appreciate the time and effort our parents put into sharing their skills and knowldege.
The event is sponsored by Code.org who provides a tremendous amount of activities, lessons and resources to support student engagement with the hour of code through their website: http://hourofcode.org which can be done at home or at school.
In all schools the Digital Learning Specialists are integrating the “Hour Of Code” activities into their work on a daily basis during the week both in person and online. This included the sharing of content specific coding lessons in science and cool grade level activities for elementary students. The event is a great opportunity to have students understand the value of understanding the value of computer science in their current education and future.
Data Privacy Updates : Kahoot Approved
As we began to roll out our district data privacy intiatives in the past few years one of the most requested applications was the game based website/app Kahoot. One of the challenges for this app to become approved was that the developer had no obligation to sign a data privacy contract with any US Entity. Recently however, they have signed a Data Privacy Agreement with a Massachusetts district and now we can add them to our district based contracts with specific applications. The Kahoot App is a great engaging resource for Teachers to assist students with content recall and game based engagement. As an additional resource I have provided the link to our Data Privacy Process for app/resource review.
Why Districts Limit Extensions and Add-Ons In Google Apps For Education
Ever wonder why your school device is locked down from adding certain extensions and Google Add-Ons? The answer is that because many of these apps and resources are createrd by 3rd party developers who may be using your data for their purposes. This could include selling or marketing purposes. These apps/resources and extensions can also act erratic and prevent proper function of the device or browser.
It is important that prior to using an extension that you read reviews,understand what types of data it does or does not collect and how it can change the function of the device. Also, check out this article on how Google is now going to work on limiting some of the data collection practices of these resources here. Google Is Limiting How Chrome Extension Developers Can Use Your Data
Innovative Assitive Technology: Read & Write for Google Chrome
Read & Write for Google Chrome is a powerful tool to support student learning with Text to speech, line reading, text and picture dictionaries, word prediction and line highlighting. Be sure to check out the range of uses for this tool and check out my video link below on how to get started. Also note that teachers can get a free premium subscription by going to the link below after installing the trial.
Getting Started Video:
Teachers can get a FREE premium subscription to Read&Write for Google Chrome. To register and activate your subscription, go to texthelp.com/en-gb/products/read-write/free-for-teachers/ after installing the Read&Write for Google Chrome trial.
Digital Learning In The News: End Of Flash
For those who have been using edtech tools for the past 10-20 years you are definitely familiar with the depth that Flash had embedded itself into our tool kit for enabling animated images, video files and animations. Often used in science simulations, website home pages and other interactive web content flash enabled the web to have the next level of interactivity.
With the upgrades to web development with HTML5 and the rocky relationship with Adobe and Apple to support flash across browsers effectively Adobe effectively announced the end for Flash support a year a ago. As an homage to Flash I have linked the Best Flash Sites Ever. Please review your favorite interactive sites for any change of support based on end of support. Conclusively here is the official Adobe page anouncing end of support. If there are workarounds they may not be secure or function well due to lack of support. Many resources should at this point have rolled over to a HTML5 option. https://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/end-of-life.html
Cool Tech: Installation Of The Hudl Camera
This past month I had the opportunity to assist with the install of a Hudl Camera in the North Reading High School gymnasium to support live and recorded streaming of games to external stream sites like YouTube.
The process of install was extremely easy and all the camera requires is a dedicated ethernet connection and an installation at a specific height and angle to support its cameras lens. The Huddle app also enables configuration to check the set up of the camera angle to the device for capturing video.
Once configured the coaches were able to link their existing Huddle account to the camera and set up specific stream site channels. The elements of this install were identifying the wall, configuring a wired ethernet connection and checking the installation angle and height.
For more information on the Hudl camera visit their website here: https://www.hudl.com/products/focus