Monday, December 1, 2014

Foiled by filters

Today our second period class hit a roadblock as half of the students in class were blocked from logging into their gmail accounts.  This also prevented them from accessing their symbaloos.  Once students realize they can't use the required tools, they get frustrated and it affects their research.  Luckily, the entire day wasn't a total loss as the filters allowed students access halfway through third period.  Some students have hit a wall on their research.  They do not know where to turn after a basic google search.  I will continue to encourage these students to set up a feedly and seek out others who are doing the same type of project.  I am going to have to give them more resources for research before our next session in the computer lab.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week #2

This week was our first time in the computer lab where students were allowed to do some research. After an introduction on how to fill out their proposals, students watched two video examples from students who have already completed a Genius Hour project. The biggest challenge we will face over the next few weeks is research. Students will have to go beyond simply "googling" their subject matter. Our district filter is not blog friendly and a lot of good sources may be blocked. So far sites dealing with building a drift car on a budget and planning a Sunday school curriculum have been restricted. But despite our limits with technology a lot of our students are off to a good start. Some of the projects I am looking forward to include healthy habits from turning vegetarian to trying yoga to getting ready for prom. Students are building cars, computers, and apps. Finally, a lot of these projects will end up benefitting multiple charities.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week one.

This week students spent a class period in the IMC creating their Symbaloo pages and their blogs.  The idea is to store both their Symbaloo and their blog on the class Schoology page.  Symbaloo worked well, however most students were prevented from creating a blog using the district's computers.  The district filter does not block Blogger, but it does prevent the creation of a new blog.  Many students were able to create their blogs on their phones, then access them from the school computers and post them on Schoology.  A small number of students cannot use the blogger app on their phones and had to create their blogs at home.  So far, two students can't create a blog on their phone and have no access to computers at home.  I am still searching for a way to help these students, including having them use Schoology to blog.  The school's filters often make using technology difficult and more frustrating than some teachers are willing to deal with, but nothing worth doing in education ever comes easy.