Thursday, October 27, 2005

Meeting of the Minds

On Monday, we invited the Computer Architecture Class to join us for a brief introduction into the world of Palm handheld computers and the MIT participatory simulations. Approximately 35 students participated in this joint venture. Since the Computer Architecture Class has experience working with Cisco networking, we chose Netsworks for our first simulation. These students received a "crash course" in basic palm operations while simulating the way data flows through a computer network. It was safe to say that all students were actively engaged in the learning process. This also gave our visiting class the opportunity to explain the simulation from a computer networking point of view.

This week, my students are finishing their video projects for Station FPHS which include such topics as student talent, cheerleading competition preparation, a public service announcement concerning teenage pregnancy, school news, and a unique look at the imaginary world of books. We're beginning to explore the area of podcasting and look forward to experimenting with it in the upcoming weeks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Show and Tell

We all enjoyed the software exploration project--there are many good programs referred to on Tony's site. Yesterday, students shared their new-found programs with their classmates using an Elmo along with a projector. Some of the more interesting school-related programs included Hangman, First Aid, Earth and Sun, Match Who, Angles, and Matches. I could see where Angles could be useful in a Geometry class. We explored first aid suggestions for snake bites, bruises, and flash floods. Two of my students who are more musically inclined presented Bug Band and Rhythm Pro--One student actually played cadences that are used by drummers in our band. Of course, the students really enjoyed the games! Reflax was interesting in the fact that you had to match the word with the color--it's harder than it sounds. We all got involved in trying to beat the palm in Coconut Fern and Tic Tac Tough. Finding all the different images in Illusion4 proved to be quite challenging for some of us. Wordz could be helpful for those who enjoy crossword puzzles and anagrams. Aside from their presentation, students were also required to turn in printed instructions as well as a video clip. I definitely consider this to be a worthwhile project and one worth repeating in future classes.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

We've Got Dropairs!

After reading Tony Vincent's blog concerning the Dropairs program, I had my students download the program on their Zire 72s. They could choose any two boards to download and install as well. Once they were familiar with how the program worked, they downloaded the dropairs board maker and designed their own boards. We really enjoyed this project--we now have dropair boards designed for American History, Foreign Language, Literature, Chemistry, and Computer Components. I'll try to post them on my Palms for Patriots webpage soon.

Next week, students will explore the Learning In Hand website where they will select one curricular application and one appropriate game to install on their handheld. Requirements for the project will include a short paragraph explaining the purpose of the software, step by step instructions, and a short video clip. The ultimate test will be for another student to try the step by step instructions and see if they actually work!

Later in the week, I plan to divide the class into groups of two. These groups will use their palms to create a public service announcement that would be of interest to a teenage audience.

Monday, October 03, 2005

This Week At FPHS

By tomorrow, most students should be finished with their oral history projects. Students took the video, audio, and digital photos from the Palms along with a PowerPoint presentation to create a multimedia project using Producer. Of course, their final product was created with a PC; but all the ground work was completed using the Palm.

The photo journalism project was interesting to grade this week with such photos as homecoming week activities, a local church in ruins after it burned last week, and storm damage due to the remanents of Hurricane Rita.

The students seemed to enjoy the MIT Participatory simulations. They particularly enjoyed Live Long and Proper and the new simulation - Netswork. We plan to invite our computer architecture class one day and have them participate in Netswork with us.

On Wednesday, students will explore the Learning At Hand website and select one curricular application and one school-appropriate game to download. Students will download the programs to their folder on the PC desktop and unzip the program bundles if necessary. Students will hot sync the programs to their handheld. Students must write simple instructions for downloading, hot-syncing, and installing the software to their handheld. Students are encouraged to use screen captures and photographs. Students must also write step-by-step instructions that explain the purpose of the program and how it is run. Once again, screen captures and photographs may be used. Students will also create a short video clip that will show students how the program works. I'll keep you posted.

I have many photos of my students at work--if only I could get blogger to upload them!