Newest TechStars Curriculum Uses MinecraftEdu

Newest TechStars Curriculum Uses MinecraftEdu

The newest TechStars curriculum by technology education provider Computer Explorers is Minecraft: Desert Island Survival. In the course, students ages 8 and up will be fully engaged as they work collaboratively on a private server to build and expand upon a 3D immersive world exclusively designed for Computer Explorers.

“Minecraft is an open-ended tool that can be used to effectively integrate technology into the classroom. Current thought is that nearly 80% of future careers will require some science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Every possible means must be used to cultivate the interest of our youth in these fields. We believe Minecraft: Desert Island Survival is an effective means,” says Computer Explorers Curriculum and Program Development Director Elizabeth Marion.
minecraftStudents will work in Survival Mode which requires them to take into account resources, hunger, tools and more. They have to explore in order to collect resources and process what they find, such as smelting ore to create metal. As they develop their world, the students gain insight into the various elements of survival, settlement and exploration in a way that keeps them constantly observing, hypothesizing and testing. “Our course fully engages students while promoting individual creativity and building teamwork skills,” says Marion.

Minecraft: Desert Island Survival aligns well with the National Educational Technology Standards for Students(NETS-S) by creating original works as a means of a personal group expression, using models or simulations to explore complex systems and issues, promoting communication and collaboration with project teams, and allowing students to plan and manage activities to develop a solution.

Back to School Technology for Teachers in Preschools and Elementary Schools

Back to School Technology for Teachers in Preschools and Elementary Schools

Back to School Technology for Teachers in Preschools and Elementary SchoolsBy Renee Young

 

Technology is a valuable resource for teachers to incorporate into their classroom experience. Not only do teachers have the ability to engage their students with interactive learning applications, they also have access to tools that can support classroom management.

Technology for teachers includes applications that help with classroom behavior management, grading assignments and monitoring group assignments.  There are also tools teachers can use to allow students to share their work both with their peers and their families, promoting better communication between parents and teachers.

 

Behavior Management

ClassDojo, by ClassTwist, Inc., is a free application that assigns each student an avatar and allows teachers to monitor their behavior with a point system. Positive behavior such as staying on task, helping others and participating in class earn students one point, and is reflected on the screen with a green bubble.  Negative behavior such as not having homework, talking out of turn and bullying will show up in red, and one point will be subtracted from their total.

Real time behavior monitoring results in a reduction of time that class is disrupted. ClassDojo is equipped with a feature that will randomly select students, and the teacher can observe behavior at that moment, ensuring that students who quietly go about their work can also gain points and recognition.

This app also comes with the capability to track attendance, and has a built in timer for timed activities and test taking. At the end of the day, ClassDojo can generate a report showing trends in students behavior that can be sent to parents.  Students and parents alike will have a log-in, and can check on daily progress.

 

Grading Assignments

Flubaroo by edCode.org  is a free app written by a teacher for teachers, and makes grading assignments almost effortless. It works in conjunction with Google Drive, but is not a Google product or service.

Teachers can create tests and assignments by following the step-by-step instructions included in the app.  Once the questions are entered and Flubaroo is installed, it will appear in the menu on the spreadsheet.  Flubaroo will ask a few questions, and in less than a minute, the lesson will be graded for the entire class.  Then results can be emailed to students and parents, and a summary is generated for the teacher.

If there is a question that is marked incorrect by less than 60% of the students, it will be highlighted in orange to alert the teacher.  Students will be happy to have instant feedback, and teachers will love the time saved grading assignments.

 

Monitoring Group Projects

TitanPad is a free app that allows teachers can host and record student group project sessions with a real-time platform for project collaboration.  Teachers can invite their students to work on a project by sharing a URL provided by TitanPad.  Each student is given a unique color to highlight their contribution to the project.  Teachers can follow the progress of their students, and monitor each student’s contribution.

At Computer Explorers, we are committed to helping students prepare for the future while having fun today. Our vision is to help children reach their full potential by using technology as a tool to engage students, enhance the educational process and prepare them for the future. We welcome preschool and elementary administrators to contact us to find out how to bring our TechStars programs into your schools. Parents are invited to use our program locator to find TechStars programs close to home.



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