TECH DAY AT GR By: Shelby Yates
January 18, 2013
In early December, our Student Tech Committee at Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School hosted a professional development day for students and teachers during our shortened morning schedule. The purpose of this day was to teach students and teachers more about their computers and software programs that are available to help them succeed currently in school, and also in the future. These presenters consisted of fellow high school peers and a few teachers. The presenters were: Kayli Folkerts, Megan Weber, Jesse Royer, Brady Kuehl, Braden Heithoff, Haley Easthom, Erin Wentzein, Tyler Wrage, Vasya Strohbehn, Aaron Shouse, Jennifer Strohbehn, Chad Bixby, and Andy McQuillen. who taught four sessions on various computer technology topics, including; Study Blue, GarageBand, QR Codes, Popplet, Lucid Charts, iPhoto/ PhotoBooth, and iMovie. Study Blue is a user-friendly website where people can create an account and store flashcards of notes, and use other flashcards that others have created on the website. The goal of this program is to make studying easier and more efficient, along with being beneficial to upcoming college students. Popplet is also a user-friendly, collaborative website where you can create concept maps and share your work with other people, as well as see other projects available for your use. GarageBand is a computer software program where people can create music tracks, expanding in a wide-range of possibility. You can do anything from recording your voice, to laying instrumental tracks over one another to create an original piece. On GarageBand, you can also learn notes for any instrument you choose, so it’s also like a lesson book for those who want to learn music. QR Codes is a good symbolism of how technology is changing our society. QR Codes are similar to barcodes that we are used to seeing on purchasing products, but have a different format. These QR Codes are plastering the nation, and colleges and businesses are truly absorbing this resource. By using a smart phone, you can scan a QR Code and automatically receive all the information about that product, business, or school in the palm of your hand. Pretty snazzy stuff, I’d say! Lucid Charts was my personal favorite. This was another user-friendly website where people can create an account, or sign in through a gmail or yahoo account, and create different types of charts—anything from flow charts, to graphs, to venn diagrams. It is a very simple program that makes creating charts of information easier to read and quicker to accomplish. The program automatically stores your updates as you work, so you can always log in and see all your projects. It is a great way to plot step-by-step processes in note format, without taking the time to write it all out by hand. It will be a fantastic website source for future education in college. PhotoBooth is simply just like it’s title. It’s just like having a camera on your computer. All you have to do is pull it up on your desktop, click the button, and after the 1-2-3, it snaps a picture of you or takes a video recording. The program also offers many special effects for your photos, which are fun to mess with when you’re having fun with your friends. iPhoto takes PhotoBooth to another step. It offers many different possibilities, where you can create albums of your photos, create DVDs and slideshows of your pictures, and upload things on the internet. It also offers a wide-range of special effects like what you would find in a professional photography studio, but on your very own computer. Lastly, there was an iMovie session. Here, students learned how to create, you guessed it, movies! By simply dragging a video recording from your PhotoBooth to iMovie, you can create a video strip. Add some slide transitions, a little theme music, lots of special effects, and you’ve got your very own movie. iMovie is a great program for those big end-of-the-trimester projects, and offers easy shortcuts to get the best quality video without costing you a lot of making time. A student survey was taken by the Student Tech Committee a couple weeks after the Professional Development day. The students were asked what sessions they attended, what they liked and didn’t like about the sessions, whether they should host another PD day, and what they should change for next year if they choose to host one again. Majority of the students found the day helpful and agreed that it was useful in teaching them more about their computers. Some things the students didn’t like was that the sessions were assigned to them which ones to attend, and were not given the opportunity to choose which topics they wanted to learn more about. More than 80% of the student survey takers agreed that they should host another PD day. The Student Tech Committee is currently balancing the responses from the student survey, and will decide whether to host another PD day in the future, and if so, what to do differently next year to make the day even more beneficial to Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School students.
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