2015 Teen Tech Week Grant Winner – Lana Nix

This is my 2nd year of being a media specialist so this is my first go around with Teen Tech Week.  We have come up with about 17 activities at Chestatee High School for our students to try their hand with at learning.  Some activities are limited for just a few students to be working with at a time like the Spheros, Exofabulatronixx Robot, slow motion animation, Makey Makey, K’nex, Chaos Tower and littleBits.  These items will help our students to learn about coding, building, circuitry, and video making.  This allows our students a new opportunity to learn something or to further their knowledge of a passion they already enjoy.  We received the grant from YALSA and Best Buy and we were able to purchase Spheros and an Exofabulatronixx Robot.  Both of these items will help our students learn the skill of coding.  The Sphero is merely a remote controlled ball in which they can program its movements.  We hope to incorporate the Sphero and coding into a math course next year.  Teen Tech Week will give the students the first glimpse of what they can accomplish with such a simple tool.  The Exofabulatronixx Robot is one in which our students can put together and take apart and put together in a different form again.  Its pieces connect by means of magnets.  When the students have finished creating their robot, they are then able to create a program which will tell their robot what path to take.

We also have activities that anyone can complete even from home should they not have enough time at school.  Choices include: create an avatar, create READ posters, create with thinglink.com, join Twitter and follow our media center and school Twitter accounts, create infographics at piktochart.com, create music with ujam.com, create book trailers, spend an hour with code.com, or create QR codes with books in the media center.

There are many activities that every student should be able to find one within their interests.  Those that master a task early will be asked to share their leadership in showing new students how to complete activities or can move on to another activity.

In trying to make sure that all students have the opportunity to enjoy Teen Tech Week, on the last day, we have asked our self-contained special needs classes to come to the media center at the beginning of the day.  We will pair them up with a student from our Education Pathway course to work on at least one activity together.  The students from the Education Pathway course are those students who are considering becoming an educator themselves.  Students helping students . . . now that is going to be GREAT!

When students have finished their activities, they have been asked to share what they created.  We have scrolling announcements at Chestatee High School and pictures of the students working will be shared through these announcements as well as sharing the finished project.  READ posters will be voted upon and the top five will be printed in large format to post throughout the school.  Avatars will be posted to see if the students can guess which student it looks like the most.  Book Trailers will be added to the media center website.  Videos of the students playing and learning with the Spheros, Exofabulatronixx robot, slow motion animation, and Makey Makey will be shown on the media center website as well as the school SupeTube website.  The K’nex and Chaos Tower will remain on display in the media center for students to watch physics in motion.  There will be a place for everyone to view our students’ creativity in one way or another.

Teen Tech Week will introduce new web tools to our students.  By introducing these tools, our students will be able to see ways to incorporate them into the classroom with projects they have been asked to create in their different courses.  These will be new avenues for them to share their innovative minds and it will allow them different outlets to express their own creative thoughts.  Students see cool tools to play with, but for an educator we get to witness the behind the scenes work of what they are actually learning and comprehending.  The true hidden agenda behind the cool toys!

Lana Nix has 9 years in the education field and is currently in her 2nd year at Chestatee High School as their media specialist.  Chestatee High School is in Hall County, GA.  You can follow her on Twitter @wareaglesmc or visit the media center website at wareaglesmc.weebly.com.

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