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.