Monthly Archives: October 2012

Tech Trends Assignment

Games have been around for certainly as long as I can remember.  Even the term “game” itself tends to describe a positive and fun experience.  Years ago, I would not have described myself as a “gamer” (still am not really).  Back then (15 years ago), I thought gaming was a waste of time and brain power.  I had one experience years ago that changed my thinking.

As a new teacher, I was asked by students to be a “computer group” sponsor.  So, as with any new teacher wanting to get involved, I agreed.  When I went to the first meeting that day, I encountered not a “computer” group but a “gaming” group.  I don’t even remember what game they were playing, but I have never seen a group of kids (most of whom were not great students) so ENGAGED!!  I could barely get their attention.  My first thought was to turn off the game right away, but I decided to jump in and see what they were doing.  I hate violence in games, but the strategy needed was incredible!  It required a lot of analytical and algorithmic thinking to be successful.  At that point, I remember thinking I need to work with this and use it in my classroom.  Have I?  Well, not exactly.  Time has gone by and I haven’t done much with the concept of integrating game based learning into the classroom.  My hope is that will change.

Alice is a 3D programming environment that helps students visualize the ideas of Object Oriented Programming — objects, functions, methods, etc.  I just started using it in my Intro to Programming class last year as an intro to Java and the kids love it.

The lesson I have created below is not for my programming class, but for my Algebra class.  For my Programming final last year, students were asked to create an interactive quiz in Alice (on any subject).  I created one to quiz my students on systems of equations.  I used it last year and now my students always want to be quizzed in that method.  If I had the time, I would absolutely mix in more games.  It tests the same material but in a much more engaging and interactive way.

Here is a demo of the quiz:

Standards Implementation:
1.1 Analyzing instruction to deliver better methods for presenting material.
3.1 Using resources (Horizon Report) to improve learning.

Accessibility Page

As the internet becomes more and more important, it becomes imperative that we ensure all people (including people with disabilities) are able to have equal access.  This assignment explored different ways web designers can make web pages more accessible.  I chose to take a look at screen readers.  Screen readers allow people with sight issues to utilize the software to hear the website as they scroll over the website.

Accessibility Page