Monday, September 26, 2005

MIT Participatory Simulations

Today, students made their Participatory Simulation presentations to their classmates. Project components included a title page, step by step instructions for the simulation, special instructions for the teacher, and an explanation of the purpose of the simulation. FYI: Students do not normally wear camouflage attire at our school--this was a special day during homecoming week!

Students will begin taking a photo each day that will be compiled into a photo journalism project--I hope to see photos of current events occuring around the school and community.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New Projects

This past weekend, students used their Palms to record video clips of such events as the football game, friends, and pets. On Monday, students synced their handhelds and used Windows Movie Maker to edit their videos. Transitions, titles, and special effects were used to enhance the original video. Tuesday, students were given the opportunity to present their final video to fellow classmates. We're not ready for the academy awards yet--but it was a good start!

Today, I divided the class into groups and assigned each group one of the MIT Participatory Simulations. They are to research the simulation, find out how it works and what it is supposed to teach the class. Monday, each group will turn in their project and teach their classmates how to use the simulation.

What's New?? Students saved their windows moviemaker video to the palm desktop and saved it to their Palm. Most were able to show their videos on their palm. Another student discovered how to edit the user name on the palm. (We were still using last year's user names.) Last night, an area church sanctuary burned to the ground. One of our students actually captured the fire on her Palm.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Did You Know?

You can save a word document created on your palm to the memory card. The memory card can then be inserted into a digital camera's card reader and loaded into the pc. The file can be formatted and printed and saved back to the card.

When creating transcripts for oral histories, we found that earphones from "only a dollar" stores work great.

The arrow keys on the portable keyboard will not work when the caps lock is on.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Palms Travel To Parking Lot

Imagine this -- 81 degrees - 76% humidity -- and 15 students on the parking lot with their Palm Zire 72s! Yes, it was hot; however, the students seemed to enjoy the project. Prior to our journey to the parking lot, I beamed the students an Excel spreadsheet in which they would use to gather data concerning the cars and trucks. Students were to look for makes, colors, and registration hang tags and record their data on the spreadsheet. We synchronized our world clock and set an alarm for 8:45. When the alarm sounded, students were to gather back at the front door of the building.

Back in the building, students synced their handheld to their pc and used several functions to manipulate the data into something more meaningful. Students were also instructed to make their spreadsheet more attractive with graphics, color, shading, and fonts. A graph should also be generated to show their results.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Saturday's Workshop

Twenty-four educators from throughout Tensas Parish attended Saturday's workshop. When we finally removed the Palms from their hard plastic wrappers, we discovered there was no battery power--ooops. While the batteries charged, we discussed ways in which handheld computers could be used in the classroom, viewed samples of student projects, and explored websites.

The group was very enthusiastic and patient while the batteries were being charged. Participants learned to enter contact information into the address book and beam their business card. We learned how infectious diseases spread by running the participatory simulation Cooties. Sketchy was a real hit! Among the animations created were Hurricane Katrina, Solving Addition Problems, the space shuttle as it moved through the layers of the earth's atmosphere, and a field goal complete with referee and cheerleaders! I learned that you cannot beam from one handheld to another if the handhelds are on top of the elmo device--so much for that demonstration!

We had a very interesting, but productive day. I look forward to visiting with this group again soon.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Welcome To FPHS

Franklin Parish High School consists of approximately 800 students in grades 9-12. The school is located in rural northeastern Louisiana and is the only high school in our parish (county). This blog will be used to discuss what we have learned about handheld computers at our school. I currently have 15 computer science students who have Zire 72 handheld computers on a 24/7 basis. We have been in school for three weeks--students have already created a review quiz with Quizzler and a Sketch animation. Several of our Sketchy animations depicted Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Students are currently completing an oral history project using the Palm for collection of data. I have encouraged them to use all aspects of the Palm..their camera, video camera, voice memo, Documents to go, etc.

Tomorrow, I will be presenting a workshop entitled "Just Beam It -- Using Handhelds Across the Curriculum" to a group of teachers in neighboring Tensas Parish. It should prove to be interesting--we will begin the workshop with teachers actually taking the Palms from the boxes and setting them up for use by students. It should be interesting -- I'll keep you posted.