CS Ed Week: Plans at North Gwinnett

November 28, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving was a pleasant break from a very stressful three months of work and we were all ready to get away and take some time off.  Now as I get ready for next week, I realize how close CS Ed Week is.

At our school we are conducting a technology competition. I am very excited! In order to encourage participation students will be designing projects as a class activity.  The categories are: Multimedia, Game Design, Web Design and Graphic Design. Next week students will demonstrate all the projects and I am going to ask them to do a peer review.  This will decide which ones are going advance to the school level.

Our Technology Showcase and Awards Banquet is set for December 9th. I am sending out personal invitations to parents this week.  I am certainly going to include some fun data about importance of computer science education in high school as well as the jobs scenario.

Finally, we have our December GATE speaker finalized. I am working on the details, but if all goes well the speaker will talk to all computer science classes on Friday, Dec. 9th and during students’ lunches.

CS Ed Week should be fun.

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Creating Flash banners and slideshows

November 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As a part of  our district retrofit, we now have the latest Adobe products on our computers! It almost seemed foolish to not take advantage of it. So I started on a Flash component. I told the students I wanted them to create animated banners which they would incorporate into their websites. I have told them the goal of this component of CS Principles is to eventually design a simple Flash game.

The challenge with Flash or any other Adobe product is that it is quite complicated to use. If students do not have step by step instructions, they become overwhelmed soon.  However I decided not to buy any books on Flash. They are likely to get outdated in a year or so. There are several online videos and tutorials on Flash. For a link to all of them please visit my Moodle site: http://nghsonline.com/login/index.php and click on Login as guest.

I saw a good bit of success this week. Students created a simple slideshow with their images. Then they created their own banners. The requirements were: create a simple rectangle, have some color, text and possibly an image that moves. I was very happy to see the projects that were submitted. I will be posting my best projects on my moodle page.

More updates on our CS Ed Week activities in my next blog.

Web Hosting and firewall issues

November 11, 2011 at 5:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We are officially done with the web development component. I think I am ready to say that other than the cyber security topic the students have a good understanding of the Internet and its infrastructure.

I asked the students to describe the web design activity and the challenges they faced in one word. Their responses was very interesting. The most common responses were communication and teamwork.

I had one very interesting one; he said “pineapple”. I had no idea what he was talking about, so I asked him to explain. He said, that it was metaphor and in many ways his experience with web designing resembled his experiences that he has when he sees a pineapple. Initially, I thought he was joking, but I soon realized he was quite serious. While I could not completely relate to the analogy,  I promised him I would add it to my blog.

A few students mentioned challenging. And I think I agree. Adobe products have grown unnecessarily complicated. Creating a simple 4 page website using HTML and a web editor should be easier than what Dreamweaver has evolved to become over years.

I am trying to host the webpages on our school webserver. I would like for the students to be able to do an ftp activity in class. This would help them understand the protocols and the actual process of hosting. However, it is not possible to install the ftp software on the school machines. I am trying to get this installed so the students themselves can upload their webpages and have it run online.

I am at a Grace Hopper conference and the CSTA leadership cohort meeting this weekend. This has been a very informative, but exhausting day.

But as Robert Frost once said…

Miles to go before I sleep.

Presentation and Teamwork challenges

November 4, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The teams have started putting all of their webpages together and the websites are starting to work well with each other. It looks like one class has a mega review site that reviews entertainment in various areas and the other class is more a knowledge based website on various areas of entertainment. I had to work with the school system to figure out if the students can ftp from school. If they do actually ftp, they will really understand the underlying structure of the internet and the concept of an internet server which would be an invaluable lesson.

Since the teams have been working together for a while, I now see them getting a bit irritable with each other. Especially when it comes to agreeing what is valid content and what makes a webpage look professional. And since they are in teams there is a nice sense of competition that is improving quality.

I finally now have a working website for CS Principles: http://csprinciplesatnorth.yolasite.com
It links to my blog and my moodle site where I have all the lesson plans, projects etc. posted.
It is a nice place to showcase all my student projects.

In a month we have CS Ed Week. GATE is sponsoring a school wide technology competition. We are partnering withLanierHigh Schooland running the competition between the students of both schools. We are in the process of deciding categories, dates, registration forms, promotional activities, etc. Exciting times!

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