First year computer teacher creating units from scratch.

Some background info first. I am a first year teacher. I am a social studies major with some technology experience. I am going to be teaching computers 8 and 9 in a small rural school. 8th grade is an entire year and 9th is only half the year. The students have had some computer instruction in previous grades but only about 1 hour a week.

Right now I am creating the 8th Grade Computers outline for the year before I start creating units and I could already use some feedback and ideas.

The below link is the educational technology standards and expectations for the state of Michigan
http://www.techplan.org/mets6to862305.pdf

In the syllabus I am working on I have watered it down to 5 categories.

Understand and apply basic computer operations and concepts including keyboarding, terminology, troubleshooting, file storage, etc

Identify and evaluate social, ethical, and human issues including cyber bullying, identity theft, privacy, plagiarism, social networks, etc

Utilize various productivity tools including photo editing, word processing, database creation, publications, programming, etc

Employ communications tools including email, group discussions, web collaboration, presentations, web page, newsletter, video etc

Use research tools including search engines and databases and assess content for accuracy and bias


For a moment I thought it would be orderly to cover each area one at a time. However these categories have a lot of overlap.

How would you break these standards into manageable units?

After I familiarize students with google docs/bookmarks/calendar/etc. I will most likely start with research

The idea was if I start with research than any new concepts or ideas students would be able to research and learn on their own. I also considered reviewing keyboarding. I will have to wait and see where my students skills are when school starts.

Then maybe go in to MS Office or Internet safety or computer history or...? For example it would be nice if students could present their research on computer history with a power point or blog entry or voice thread. But that would require them to know how to do that first. That is why I am asking:

What would you cover and in what order? Do you even have set units?

Thank you in advance. You have no idea how much your advice will help =).

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I'm not a computer lab teacher, I teach gifted kids who use technology all the time. One of my talents is remembering stuff and I remember a discussion here at Classroom 2.0 last summer. The whole discussion was on computer lab teachers and curriculum. I specifically remember a really good computer curriculum that somebody wrote. Any way the discussion is here---there are 176 comments so get busy. I'll look for that curriculum I was speaking of and if I find it before you do I'll post it here.
...in the meantime look for Alice Mercer, Kelley Irish, Kevin Jarrett,Larry Ferlazzo, Anne Mirtschin, Amber Coggin...here's Amber's wiki You'll see these people here at CR20 and you can search for their blogs.
Thank you so much. I will look through it all later today.
Hi Brian,
Check out what this teacher does at his school:
http://schools.u-46.org/index.pl?iid=7940
Also, besides being a high school teacher, I teach a graduate class on Productivity Software. Please check out my links and use anything that will help.
http://schools.u-46.org/index.pl?iid=2990
Click on Graduate Classes
Click on Productivity Software
He has a lot of good ideas and activities. Thank you very much.
One question I have is what tools and software do you have at your disposal?

No matter where you are going with this good word processing and photo editing skills are important building blocks. Word Processing skills go well beyond keyboarding.

Internet safety and information evaluation skills are essential before go to web 2.0 applications.
We have MS office 2003 and open office. For photo editing we have Photoshop essentials and Microsoft photo editor.

We will be covering Internet safety and information evaluation for the first unit.
You must be absolutely overwhelmed with ideas!! Did you see this?
I have not looked at it yet but I appreciate all of the useful information that is rushing in!
Hey Brian, I have taught in the lab for 5 years, I also have to create my own stuff. Lots of Work!

My approach is a project based approach, everything we do is related to a project they will produce. Yes I have to teach the small steps, such as how to use Word or P.Point or Photoshop, but afterward I give them projects that require them to use the tools I have taught them.

Example: they have to create a business plan for a restaurant they are creating for a pretend client. they draw up logos, menus, radio and tv commercials and if they have time a website. Photoshop, iMovie, garageband, iWeb and lots of Internet resources are used. they have to complete a packet for the 1st draft, then after it's approved, they begin. I use iWeb as the glue, the commercials, logos, menus are placed on the "restaurant" website they have created.

I try and make each project real world, as if they were working for a design company, or production company.

I have files and projects ideas if you are interested.
chris

PS. I do feel that your projects will depend on your software and tools available. I use Apple, so I have the iLife series.
What a logical tactic to take, real world applications. I'm being sarcastic, but I think you've hit the nail on the head. It seems to me that this is how it should be done rather than teaching the skills in isolation. I think it would be neat if the tech people would team teach with the classroom teacher to extend to the real world what the kids are doing in the classroom. N.
I agree. In my school the 8th grade science and history teachers have all the same students that I do. So my goal is for the students to apply their skills in multiple subjects every chance we can get.

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