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

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 am very interested in any files or additional ideas! Unfortunatly we do not have a single apple in our school. I will still take anything you can give me. Thank you very much Chris!
What kind of software do you have, I will try and get my list to you .
Audacity is free for making podcasts/ commercials:
If you have Office, then a lot can be done there, I have my students write Choose Your Own Adventure stories for 3rd graders (we have a school across the street) and the other reason for writing them at 3rd grade level is it is easier to work with, but they still understand the concept. We use PPoint to create the stories, with hyperlinks for the choices.

I will not be in school to look until tomorrow but we have Office 2003, Movie Maker, Image Blender, Illustrator (I think), Photoshop Elements, Audacity, Cam Studio, and I am sure I am missing a few others. I can also download and install anything free online.

I was thinking more and more about this and I will for sure being going with a business plan type curriculum for my students. I will probably not do it for my 8th and 9th grader students but I will for my 10th-12th grade students. Computers 8 and 9 will focus more on computer fundamentals and collaboration with fellow students across curriculum.

Do you students sometimes use real local businesses? Maybe we could get some businesses to donate computer equipment if the students produce quality products.

Also do you have your students work in pairs, small groups, or individually for this?

Be sure to talk to the IT dept (if you aren't it!!) In my large district donated computers have to be new and under warranty to be hooked to the server. There are tons of grants you can apply for, I've gotten the Best Buy grant which starts at $2500.00 and can go to $25,000.00.
If you haven't read this discussion started by Elizabeth Davis you should. It includes some curriculum you might be able to use including the one Elizabeth Davis started.
Thank you once again for the link.

Does your school have an e-learning management system already in place like Blackboard or Moodle? If not, you should use Studeous ( Studeous will let you easily manage your class with all the best web 2.0 tools like videos, podcasting, text messaging, blogging, discussion, chat, calender, etc. Using Studeous would also be a great way to familiarize your students about these tools, creating a great learning environment and teaching all at the same time. It's free and hosted so you'll be set up in a matter of minutes. Let me know how it works out for you.




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