ILE Assessment

I show my slideshow as well as explain how my ILE went HERE. We got to present in front of the administration staff. It went very well. They were eager to hear from us and gave us their opinion on the subject. Parking was not a new subject for them. They liked our ideas and are considering putting them into effect.

Advertisements

Coding Apps and Websites

Over the past two weeks, I have been researching apps and websites that are great for learning to code. I was interested in this because I am planning to major in computer science. I am currently taking two coding classes this year and another two next year. One of them happens to be an AP class. I have found some apps and websites that are for children and first time coders as well as intermediate to advanced coders. First I will cover the beginner websites/apps.

 

Beginner

Code Monkey

The first website I found was Code Monkey. It is a free to use website that encompasses the basics of coding. It made coding into a game. It has preset functions which it can do. These can either be typed out or clicked on to get them into the source code. The objective is to collect all of the bananas in a level while staying efficient in writing code. I went far enough to see that they teach loops to develop efficiency. After each level, they give encouraging messages and rank the efficiency of the code between 1 and 3 using stars.

Codecombat

Another website I found was Codecombat. They take coding and turn it into a combat, puzzle and adventure game. It teaches the basics of python, javascript, coffeescript and lua. From what I played, it is early basics, however it is taught in a way appealing to children. You collect gems from playing levels which you use to buy gear. They can be armor, shields and weapons. To pass levels, you must fight ogres. For other levels, you have to avoid spikes and collect gems. This is similar to Code Monkey, but they added more obstacles. Another similarity between these games is that it will only let you move up, down, left and right. They do not allow you to move diagonally. You are allowed to change your angle, but you can only do that between movements. The game gives armor so if you mess up, you will not have to restart.

Scratch

The third website I found was Scratch. It is a website, a downloadable program, and an app. However, I could only find ScratchJr and Scratch Maze on the app store. Scratch is a sprite based program in which pre-programmed blocks are used to move the sprites around. There are interactable blocks that let you change values within them and combine others. On the website, there are many games and creations made by students. This program is more for learning the logic behind coding rather than any language by itself. It is a good starting point for younger children.

 

Intermediate to Advanced

The next few websites and apps are based on building knowledge on coding languages. They give a wider range of languages to choose from as well as go more in depth in each language.

Lrn

First up is the app Lrn. It teaches HTML, CSS, Javascript, Python and Ruby. It is free to download and easy to use. It splits each language into different units. These differ across the languages. For example, the HTML course has 6 units. They are HTML Intro, Lists, Tables, Media, Forms, and Layout. Each unit has around 15 mini tutorials within it. However, some have up to 20. It teaches basics such as loops, arrays, classes, functions and variables.

Pythoni

Another app, Pythoni is a coding app based around Python. It has a place within the app where you can type up and run codes. It also has tutorials. However, these are non interactable and are pages upon pages of reading. There are 5 different screens within the app. They are Learn, Python, Console, NetWork and Setting. Learn is where the written tutorials are. Python is where you type up your own code. Console is where the code is run. Network gives you the ability to go online. It looks and acts similar to safari. When you open a new tab, it give you the option to download any of his 34 other apps. Many include coding languages, but not all of them. It is a great app for people who already understand the basics of python and want to become more advanced.

Codecademy

Next is a website called Codecademy. It supports entry level and beyond. However it does move much faster than the beginner websites I talked about earlier. It teaches HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ruby and Python. It goes through introducing everything step by step. It is great for people who want to accelerate their learning of certain languages.

Coursera

An alternative is Coursera. It is both an app and a website. It has many tutorials on computer science in general, but also has more specific tutorials. It is lecture based and also has student notes to look over after listening to the lectures. It has many chapters on Python, Java and Ruby. This website teaches web development and iOS app development. On top of all this, it teaches game design which is a growing major.

 

For those who are interested in coding, I would highly recommend looking through some of these apps and websites. Below is a simple code I made earlier in the year with the basics of the coding language C++. 

#include <iostream>
#include <cstdlib>
#include <time.h>

using namespace std;

char Instructions(char p1)
{
	cout << "\n\n\tWelcome to Rock, Paper, Scissors";
	cout << "\nTo play, type R, P, or S" << endl;
	cin >> p1;
	p1=toupper(p1);
	return (p1);
}

char CPUchoice(char CPU, char rock, char paper, char scissors)
{
	srand(time(0)); 
	CPU=rand()%3;
	
	if (CPU==0)
	CPU=rock;
	
	else if (CPU==1)
	CPU=paper;
	
	else 
	CPU=scissors;
	
	return (CPU);
}
int main()
{
	char p1=' ', CPU=' ', R='R', P='P', S='S';
	int p1wins=0, p1losses=0, CPUwins=0, CPUlosses=0, ties=0, x=0;
	
	do
	{
	
	p1=Instructions(p1);
	
	CPU=CPUchoice(CPU, R, P, S);
	
	if (p1==R && CPU==R)
	{
		cout << "\nCPU played " << CPU;
		cout << "\nTie" << endl;
		ties++;
		x++;
	}
	
	else if (p1==P && CPU==P)
	{
		cout << "\nCPU played " << CPU;
		cout << "\nTie" << endl;
		ties++;
		x++;
	}
	
	else if (p1==S && CPU==S)
	{
		cout << "\nCPU played " << CPU;
		cout << "\nTie" << endl;
		ties++;
		x++;
	}
	
	else if (p1==R && CPU==P)
	{
		cout << "\nCPU played " << CPU;
		cout << "\nCPU wins" << endl;
		CPUwins++;
		p1losses++;
		x++;
	}
	
	else if (p1==R && CPU==S)
	{
		cout << "\nCPU played " << CPU;
		cout << "\nP1 wins" << endl;
		CPUlosses++;
		p1wins++;
		x++;
	}
	
	else if (p1==P && CPU==R)
	{
		cout << "\nCPU played " << CPU;
		cout << "\nP1 wins" << endl;
		CPUlosses++;
		p1wins++;
		x++;
	}
	
	else if (p1==P && CPU==S)
	{
		cout << "\nCPU played " << CPU;
		cout << "\nCPU wins" << endl;
		CPUwins++;
		p1losses++;
		x++;
	}
	
	else if (p1==S && CPU==R)
	{
		cout << "\nCPU played " << CPU;
		cout << "\nCPU wins" << endl;
		CPUwins++;
		p1losses++;
		x++;
	}
	
	else if (p1==S && CPU==P)
	{
		cout << "\nCPU played " << CPU;
		cout << "\nP1 wins" << endl;
		CPUlosses++;
		p1wins++;
		x++;
	}
	

}
while (x<=4);

cout << "\nPlayer 1 has " << p1wins << " wins and " << p1losses << " losses";
cout << "\nCPU has " << CPUwins << " wins and " << CPUlosses << " losses";
cout << "\nThere were " << ties << " ties";



}

 

Podcasts are Essential to Learning!

Podcasts

A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

Reasons to use Podcasts

Podcasts allow students to follow along with engaging explanations and lessons while thinking critically and analytically. A worksheet with paragraphs of explanations dulls down the content, and students are less motivated to understand it. The emphasis is not on understanding, but rather on getting through the worksheet and mindlessly memorizing facts and information. Unlike traditional teaching methods, podcasts grab the attention of the listener and maintain it. Because the students mind is freed from the task of reading through every word, they are able to analyze and conceptualize what is presented to them in the lesson. The emphasis moves from memorization of material to understanding, and thus more effective learning can take place. In a study done at the George Washington University, students found that listening to podcasts instead of traditional techniques improved their understanding and motivation, and resulted in higher test grades.

Podcast Apps!

Opinion Podcast, SoundCloud, and iTalk. iTalk is a great app for recording podcasts. It is very simple to set up. There is no need to sign up for an account because it saves everything directly to the app automatically. To record, there is a big red button that says “Press To Record”. Also, it lets you choose the name of the recording and the sound quality. The three choices are Good, Better and Best for the sound quality. While recording, it displays how much time has passed which is great if you want to fit it under a certain time limit. In the free version, however, it only lets you email the file. In the premium version, which is $1.99, it will let you upload it to Dropbox or SoundCloud as well. If you accidentally delete the wrong file, it gives you the ability to look at the recently deleted files and restore them. iTalk is a great free podcasting app.

For SoundCloud, it is a mixture of two apps, SoundCloud and AudioCopy. Similarly, this app is easy to use. When the app is loaded, at the bottom, it says Make a Recording. After clicking that, a new screen pops up with the word “Ready” blinking and a red circle at the bottom. To record, just click the red button. Once the recording has started, a timer that looks like a stopwatch appears. It also has an orange bar that goes across showing the levels, or how loud the sound is. After that, you can go to your recordings, pick the recording and it gives you some options. You can edit, share to SoundCloud, export to Garageband, sent it through a text message, email it, and even send it to your Notes app.

The last app is Opinion Podcast. Once you open the app, there is not much to see. The middle is completely white space, and the top and bottom portions with graphics take up about a tenth of the screen. However, it does make everything more simple. The top left has a little red record button, the top middle has a music icon where you can import sound, and the top right is the export button. The options for exporting are Classroom, Notes, Message, Mail, and Soundcloud. There is an “Open in” button, but it crashes the app. The free version has a maximum of a ten minute recording. However, if you can pay $3.99 to get unlimited recording. In the bottom right, there a settings tab. In this, you can change the title, description, picture. Also, you can change your account settings and open the podcast in Safari. All of these apps are great and easy to use, I hope you check them all out!

Tips

There are a few tips I have for making podcasts. First, make sure that you have a script. It does not have to be full complete, it can even be an outline. You want to have something that you can refer back to in case you lose track of what you were talking about. Second, DO NOT be afraid to do more than one take. It is very likely that there will be a few mix ups while speaking. If there are multiple mix ups and you feel as though it is necessary to restart, go ahead. Third, make sure that you stay on track. Do not let your mind wander too far from the subject you are talking about. It is okay to get a little bit sidetracked, but make sure that it is related to the podcast. Fourth, make sure that you have a quiet place to record. It would be very frustrating to record a half hour podcast to realize that the background noise overwhelms the recording. It is important to have a quiet space where the sound quality will not be negatively impacted. Lastly, have someone listen to it before you post. Having a second opinion is great. Not only will they catch mistakes you make, but they can also give more advice on top that you may not have thought of. For more tips, check out these three websites, here, here and here

How to Share

Podcasts are easily shareable and accessible, allowing students to reach a broader audience with their work. Soundcloud is one of the largest platforms to share podcasts on. With 40 million registered users, the possibilities for sharing are endless. Although many people use Soundcloud primarily for posting and sharing music, many educators and students use it for academic endeavors. Amazon S3 is another great site for posting podcasts. Although the free version is limited when compared to the features of the subscription version, paying for a subscription is much less expensive than on other podcast sharing apps. Podomatic is one of the most user-friendly podcast sites. You can create and upload easily from the site, and connecting with other users is simple. Students could also take to social media to post their podcasts. By Tweeting or Instagramming links to their podcasts, they would broaden their reach and be able to connect with many more students and teachers. Students could also design a cover page and upload their podcast to Youtube. Many students and teachers use Youtube to find educational videos and information, thus they would be able to connect easily.

Equipment

Recommendations on microphones to use for podcasting with an iPad

iPads come with microphones already installed in the device, but a good additional microphone is the Apogee MiC Digital Microphone. Although it is expensive, it is the highest rated microphone and has the most credibility.

For a cheap and easy to use microphone that you can carry around easily, I would suggest the iRig MIC Cast. At $40, it is a compact microphone that is around the size of a quarter. It is easily plugged into the audio jack of an iOS device. On top of its easy use, it has great sound. However, it does echo if you have your volume up to high. This applies to people who record voice overs mostly. If this is an issue, all that is necessary is to turn down the volume.

Recommendations on headphones to use for podcasting

Apple headphones are easy, comfortable, and cheap. Headphones I would recommend, especially for podcasting, are any headphones from Beats By Dre. They have a variety of styles of headphones, ranging from earphones that are small and fit into your ears, or headphones that are bigger and fit over your head. There are even wireless headphones available. The best Beats By Dre’s headphones to use would be those from their “Noise Cancelling Collection”. With these headphones, you can cancel out any outside sounds and avoid being distracted from your podcast.  

Recommendations on the types of connectors, cables, and adapters that would be needed when podcasting with the iPad

Not much is needed to create a podcast on an iPad, because everything needed is already in the iPad.

 

You can check out our podcast here, where we talk about digital citizenship.

Written by: Adam Princiotta, Caroline Akerely, and Chandler Joyce

My Script Calculator, The Best Calculator App You Are Not Using!

I found a great free app called the My Script Calculator that can be used for math and science classes. I use it in my  Physics  and Pre-Calculus classes. It is a calculator, but it uses your hand drawn numbers and operations instead of keys to press. It is great if you want to practice writing formulas out but don’t want to retype it into a calculator. It is fast, simple and gets the job done. I hope you check it out and enjoy!

In this tutorial I will be showing you how to do the following

  • Solve algebraic equations
  • Input operations
  • Save answers
  • Share your work
  • Switch between radian and degree modes
  • Change the number of decimal places it calculates to
  • Turn on palm rejection

iOS 9.3 Hype

Apple Classroom

Recently, iOS 9.3 came out for apple devices. It has many new features which I will go into in a little bit. First, I wanted to mention that there is a new Apple App that is out with this update. It is called Apple Classroom. This app is going to be great for keeping students focused on task.  According to the article Apple’s Classroom app goes live to bolster iPad in education,  teachers can launch the apps for the students. Also, educators will be able to see the screens of each student. This will keep them from losing focus or shifting their attention to texting or games. However, students will be aware that their screen is being watched. Apple Classroom is also linked with AirPlay. This lets educators present to any monitor hooked up to Apple TV. Another great feature of Apple Classroom is that it works great if you are sharing an iPad. It is very simple to swap between accounts. Also, Apple Classroom has an automatic connection feature so that classes can be formed very easily.

 

ios-9-3-hero-970-80

App Updates

Now there areA better experience every day. And night. many new features and updates. The updates are for the Health, Music, Notes and News apps. For the Health app, the major part of the update is that it now displays data from the Apple Watch. This makes it so that there is no more need to swap between two apps constantly. A smaller part of the update is that it is now easier to access the options. The Apple Music app and CarPlay now let you look through the songs in the For You and New songs sections. Also, the nearby feature lets you find gas stations, restaurants and parking lots. The News app is more organized now. It no longer restricts landscape mode, giving another view. It also loads faster and has more space for more stories. The Notes app has an update on privacy. You can now lock certain notes by fingerprint so that you are the only one able to see them.

nightshiftmodecomparison-800x600

Features

From the articles iOS 9.3 FAQ: Everything you need to know! and iOS 9.3: The best new features, I learned that with iOS 9.3, there are some great new features. The major one is Night Shift. This works similarly to F.lux. The basis of Night Shift is that the colors on the screen will start to shift little by little towards an orange hue. This makes it so that you do not strain your eyes as much at night. The phones locks down on your location and tries to match it with the sunset. It is great for people who like to read in bed. Don’t worry, the colors don’t stay in the orange hue forever, it shifts back in the morning. If you don’t want this feature, you can simply turn it off in the settings. If you have an iPhone 6 or above, you will already know about 3D touch. With this update, there is now a 3D touch for the settings app. This lets you turn Wifi on and off, check the battery settings and change the Bluetooth.

Opinion

I think that this update is great. It adds many new features and updates to apps that many people use. It also adds Apple Classroom as a downloadable app which will be great for education. Though I do feel like Apple is ripping off Google’s idea. They even kept the same name, just changed the company. Instead of Google Classroom, it is Apple Classroom. I feel like they could have been more original. I tried loading the app up, but it got stuck on an orange screen. I am guessing they will fix that soon. Anyways, I think it is a great idea to add in Night Shift. I use my phone at night and sometimes the brightness hurts my eyes. I know I am not alone in that, so I support this update and I think everyone should get it.

ILE Proposal

The BHS parking lot has become very disorganized, leading to confusion on where to park. My goal for this ILE is to make predefined spots for students to park. Instead of students struggling to find a parking spot, they will know that there will be one for them. All BHS students who drive to school and park in the student parking lot will benefit from this project. I selected this group because I have seen students look for parking spaces for minutes trying to maneuver around the other students who already found a spot. I am part of this group which also makes me want to get involved. Right now, our timeline is for April 1st, we want to have the special tags designed. For May 1st, we want to be ready to present our proposal to the administration office. Lastly, for June 1st, we want to have the parking lot ready for next year. The product of this presentation will be the layout for each parking ticket holder’s personal parking space. We want to have a map setup with each individual parking space numbered. Each student will get a number corresponding to their spot. Our resources would be a map of the student parking lot and the 3D printer that we would use to make the tags. I want to make the BHS parking lot have set parking spots to get BHS more organized and let students get to homeroom quicker, in case they run late.

Visitors From Kuwait and Twitter Chat!

The problems that I solved this week were fixing connection issues for the school wifi and getting wifi working at home for the school iPads. I solved these problems by changing the settings for wifi. For the wifi not working at home, I learned how to connect to the com-out internet. That internet connection acts as an outside connection. This way we could check if what we were doing was actually working. We changed the setting in the internet to peep. For the internet not connecting to the school wifi, we had to do something similar. We did not have to connect to com-out, but we did have to change the wifi setting to peep. This connection issue happened exclusively with Chromebooks. I did not offer any online resource because Ms. Scheffer helped us with the Chromebook and iPad issues.

I showed initiative this week when I had free time during class. I used the time to look for next week’s app review. I looked through many apps and I am thinking of doing Lumosity. I proved what it takes to be a leader when I showed visitors from Kuwait our Help Desk blogs. We also showed some of the student blogs. They asked a few questions about how our Help Desk is important. I exercised my creativity this week by making a script for my screencast. I also used Tweet Deck. This helped me overcome the challenge of being part of a Twitter chat. It gives me the ability to schedule tweets, look at my mentions, specific hashtags and more! I recommend this site if you want to be organized during a twitter chat. I was able to adapt to the new situation the Twitter chat like I mentioned before. Ms. Scheffer strongly suggested Tweet Deck like I just mentioned. It was exciting being part of a Twitter chat it was only my second time being part of one. The last time I had been part of a Twitter chat was in freshman year which was two years ago. This chat was great because I got to see many views on why people think tech teams are important. There were many supporters. It was great seeing people who shared our interest in technology. The chat was completely positive, everyone talked about the benefits of tech teams and connecting to others. Here something that I retweeted from last night’s chat.

Capture

I offered excellent customer service this week when I paid full attention to our visitors needs. I made sure that I learned how to help with the internet issues mentioned before. My whole group made sure to let them know that they can come back whenever they need help. I was able to manage my time and set priorities this week by getting the tweets for tonight set up. I have them scheduled to go out shortly after the questions are asked. I am also going to be there live so that if there are questions specifically for me, I can answer them. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I searched for apps to review. I looked in depth through around 5 in one class period. I need to improve on questions to ask for customer service. I made the mistake of not asking a customer what they needed help with. She said that she needed to speak to Ms. Scheffer. She happened to be out of the room at that time, so I took her information. If I asked what it is she needed, I could have helped her. She needed to know how to add videos to Google Slides. My goals for the next two weeks are to manage my time better to make sure I get work done early and make sure that every customer leaves the Help Desk satisfied. I am most proud of the fact that I got to show people from Kuwait how our education system works with iPads. Also, I am proud that we got to show them how important Help Desk is.

 

The Perfect Homework App

Today I am reviewing the app myHomework.It is very handy for making sure you are up to date with your homework, projects, papers, etc. It is incredibly simple to use which is very important for apps like this. Since not all classes use classroom, this can be of high use. Students can be used to seeing deadlines through Google Classroom. Also, with this app, you can put all of the homework in one spot instead of having to go to multiple pages in Classroom.

image

Once you open the app for the first time, it gives you the option to make an account. I suggest you do because it gives you the ability to save classes. Also, after you make your account, it prompts you to enter a class. You can enter more than one. Right now, I have 5 classes marked down in the app. They are English, History, Physics, Pre-Calculus, and Help Desk. This makes it easy for me to put the homework, projects, etc. into places where I will remember them. After you enter the classes, you can enter the homework.

image

To add the homework, you will press the plus sign in the top right of the screen. From there, you can enter a description, the class, what type of homework it is, (meaning if it is homework, a lab, a quiz, a test, etc.) the due date, if it repeats, how high of a priority it is, a reminder, a file, and any extra information about it. The most important of these features are what the class is, the due date and the reminder. Once the homework is marked under what class, you can sort it. After posting the homework, you can sort by all, class, priority, and type. This app is really useful, especially for time management. If there is a project due and reading due, the project will be higher priority, so you will mark it higher. This way you will see it first and get it done before the reading.

IMG_1496

On the far left of the screen, there are more options, but the major ones are calendar and homework. The calendar tab allows you to see how many assignments you have posted for each day. This will help you know when to get started on each assignment. The homework tab shows what needs to be done as well as the assignments that are late. This will let you know that you need to get them done as soon as possible so that you won’t lose points. This app is very easy to use, its great for students who want to get organized. You can use it on an iPad or iPhone, so you can swap between them if necessary. Once you make your account, the tutorial is useful and helps you get pointed in the right direction. It keeps you motivated to do your work, because the closer to the deadline, the more red the text becomes. You can change the style of the app, but you will need premium for that. Premium costs $5.00 for a full year. It is great for all classes because it keeps your assignments under control. I highly recommend this app for all students. I hope this app review has helped! Have a great day!

Weekly Reflection 2/1-2/19

I solved multiple problems over the last two weeks. They involved helping students download apps, teaching a teacher how to share videos and showing a town committee member how to use the Google apps. I solved their problems through teamwork. I solved these problems with two other students and Ms. Scheffer. Google was a useful tool in order to assess the problems. It let me know if other people had the problem before and how they solved it. I showed that I could be a leader by showing a group around the school. We showed them what it is like to use iPads in classes. I was able to successfully help many people. The woman we helped with the Google apps left satisfied and left with a much better understanding of how they worked and how to use them efficiently. I was able to learn how to get subtitles into iMovie. Also, I learned how teachers are able to show videos to their students if they are restricted. Sometimes documentaries and other videos are blocked and teachers want to show them to the students. Now I know how to let teachers not only show the video, but post it to classroom so they can watch it independently. Every time a person walked through the door into Help Desk, I immediately stopped what I was doing in order to greet them. I offered my help and I feel as though they left satisfied with the help I could provide. I was able manage my time and set my priorities to set up my twitter, blog and about.me page all within the last week. For next week, I want to improve my knowledge of how the customer service works at Help Desk.

Weekly Reflection 2/21/16-2/27/16

This week I helped teachers with the new update for Mac called El Capitan. Not all of the teachers had updated it, causing some glitches with the audio. I helped one teacher which required more time. She did not have an Apple ID, so she could not upgrade. I helped her set up an Apple ID and then downloaded it for her. So far, the glitches have been solved easily by simply updating your operating system. If this issue has been happening with your MacBook where the audio does not output, updating to El Capitan may help. I took the challenge of helping the teacher get El Capitan on her computer even though she did not have an Apple ID to start out with. I lead her through each step, making sure that she understood what I was doing so that she would be able to do it again if she needed to. This was the first week where I left on my own mission to help someone in the school. She was very happy that I was able to fix her computer and I made sure to remind her that if she needed any further help to contact the Help Desk. I want to improve my customer service skills. I want to make sure that each and every customer gets the better service than they were expecting. I want to make it so they will want to tell their friends about how great the Burlington Help Desk is! I will make sure to follow the steps of WIRED for every customer and will do everything that I can to make sure that every customer leaves satisfied.