Thursday, June 30, 2011

Students Creating Mobile Apps in ANY Class*

*must have a computer with internet :)

I am a computer programming teacher.  The first nine years of my teaching career...  Enough about me! :)

Actually, let me give a little background on why I wrote this post...

A local university contacted me about helping create a PD class for teachers on App Development.  As I was writing him back about my interest and history, I thought... "what does he mean 'App Development'?  Will the teachers already know how to program?  Uh, oh, this will be like the not-so-old 'Build a Class Website' PD (see e-portfolio example in next paragraph)."  I decided to turn my replies into a blog post for others to benefit from.

There are two ways to look at app development in education.  Is your goal for the students to be users or producers?  Do you want students to be able to create apps showing their competency of a specific content area, or do you want students to learn how to program via app development?  Are the students creating an app or developing an app?  Think of it like this: you want your students to create e-portfolios.  Do you want to teach kids how to code in HTML and use Dreamweaver to create the site, or do you simply use a tool like Google Sites or Weebly to easily create the site? -- is the content more important or the tool/software?

Either way, I have your answer.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Reflection of Organizing a School-Wide PD Day

On Tuesday, June 14, 2010, I ran a Professional Development Day for staff at the Jackson Area Career Center (JACC). I organized, planned and presented at the PD Day.  Below, I will talk about the Process, the Good, the Bad, and the Conclusion.


The idea originated while I was at edCampDetroit back on May 7th. This unconference was an awesome learning tool (the sessions and the format). The format basically showed me the staff at JACC could run their own conference! I just had to organize it! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gamification of the classroom

I have been thinking about this concept for months now. I have read many posts about why you should do it and why you shouldn't do it. In the end, I concluded that I want to gamify my class.

Leaderboards, leveling up, badges, achievements, virtual goods, points system, coupons, locked stuff, progress bar, etc. I don't want to sugarcoat it so much that the learning is lost; I just want it to be gamified (not just the traditional carrot and stick of grades).

I teach "Game Development," so, it only fits that the class' content is delivered via a gamification system. How do I do that? It would be great if Edmodo (or another awesome LMS) had gamification built in. I wish @Edmodo would have an API, so I could (possibly) create a plugin. Alice Leung's blog talks about using Edmodo's current features (or lack there of) along with OneNote to gamify a science unit lesson. That was a pretty cool read.

What does "gamification of my class" mean? I am not 100% sure.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Donate Your Used Android/iOS Devices to Education

I teach programming to high school juniors and seniors. I started teaching game development this year, and found mobile App and game development the direction to take my class this fall.

For my class, I currently have some devices.

I would really like one device per student (each OS would be really nice).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weebly or Google Sites for Education?

Which one is best, and why?

I have only used Google Sites, but have found issues (ordering pages, gadgets, etc.)

Weebly or Google Sites for Educaiton?
Google Sites
other (leave comment) free polls

Friday, May 13, 2011

6 Needed Features in Edmodo

It's that time again... for me to ask about features in Edmodo.

1.  Google Apps Integration:  When? When? When?  I found an LMS that does this already - - however, their overall look and feel and user experience is MUCH lower than Edmodo's.  Google Apps for Education is NEEDED for Edmodo to just take over the LMS world!  I know some schools with Apps for Ed that basically use that as an LMS - turn in assignments, notifications, etc.  Why would they need Edmodo on top of that?  I know the answer, but it's hard for them to see.  Edmodo with Google Apps integration (not just single sign on) is the answer.

2.  Analytics: this needs to be greatly improved on Edmodo.  It is INVALUABLE when I can (easily) tell parents the last time their student was on the class site, what links they clicked, etc.  The parent feature helps, but doesn't tell them when their student has logged in, etc.  Time spent (with detailed log/charts) would be cool, too, so the kids don't get hip to just logging in and then out.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Business Partnership

My name is Steve Keinath, and I teach Computer Programming (game and App development) to high school juniors and seniors.  I am one of three teachers in the Information Technology cluster at the Jackson Area Career Center (a service of Jackson County Intermediate School District).  The two other classes are Computer Systems Tech (A+ certification) and Computer Network Security (Cisco certification).

I have been thinking about how we could connect our students with businesses with also giving to the community.  In the past, I might have asked for help from businesses, but didn't include the part where we gave back (to the community or otherwise).  For instance: before this school year started, I approached many businesses for free or cheap Android devices.  I didn't include the giving back part, and you guessed it, I received little to no response.  I've thought about doing community classes before, but didn't really know what the subject would be.  Finally, I melded these two ideas together with this business partnership idea.