Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Desktop Publishing

With today's computers and software, it's gotten much easier for anyone to create desktop documents. More and more people who have not had proper instruction on combining text and graphics in an effective way are publishing documents. As a result, there's a lot more bad design floating around out there.

The following websites may be beneficial in teaching your students to plan, create, and edit documents created with a word processor using readable fonts, alignment, page setup, tabs, and ruler settings as specified in the Texas Technology TEKS.

In the district where I work, we also use in teaching the technology TEKS to our K-8 grade students.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Teaching Search Strategies

Obviously, the Internet has changed the way our students learn and the way teachers teach. Just about anyone today can "surf" the Internet, but finding exactly what you're looking for in a short amount of time requires an understanding of search engines and how they work. I like the following websites for teaching students to search the Internet as specificied in the Texas technology standards 4A-B:

Personally, my favorite Metasearch engine is Dogpile because it searches multiple search engines simultaneouly.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Teaching Students to Evaluate Websites

Anybody can post information on the Net, making it possible for student to find "proof" of any ideas or belief. For many students, "If it's on the Web, it must be true."The fact is that students increasingly depend on the Net for information. As they search the Web, they need to evaluate their findings. We teach student about author's purpose in Reading/Lang. Arts classes, but we also need to teach students to determine a Web site's purpose. Most Web sites are designed to sell services and products, present information, advocate ideas, or entertain. Some do several of these at once. Teachers should make sure that kids understand the purpose(s) of a site, and that the purpose(s) may not be entirely obvious. A good starting point for students when teaching TEKS 6A-6C of the technology TEKS is to ask the 5 W's of Evaluating Websites.

  1. What am I getting?

  2. When was it created?

  3. Where am I?

  4. Why am I there?

  5. How can I distinguish quality information from junk?

Websites that may assist in teaching kids to evaluate websites are as follows:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Teaching Copyright Laws and Issues

Copyright is a reality we face in this time when technology makes it easy to steal others' ideas. We must oue teach students to not only be familiar with what copyright law restricts, but also what it allows in regard to "fair use". Students need to be aware that just because a page doesn’t have the © symbol, doesn’t mean it’s not copyrighted; almost everything on the Web is copyrighted.

Under the Foundations strand of the Texas Technology Standards, students are expected to

(A) discuss copyright laws/issues and model ethical acquisition and use of digital information, citing sources using established methods, and

C) describe the consequences regarding copyright violations including, but not limited to, computer hacking, computer piracy, intentional virus setting, and invasion of privacy;

I found the following interactive website helpful in teaching grade 6th-8th students about Copyright laws/issues and Fair Use.

Check out the Citation Machine which is more appropriate for high school and university level students who need assistance with citing their research sources.

This is a great video from Teacher Tube on the topic:

If you plan is for one year, plant rice;If you plan is for ten years, plant trees;If your plan is for a hundred years, educate children.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

HTML Interactive Websites for Beginners

The technology Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for grades 6-8 specifies that students must use terminology related to the Internet appropriately including, but not limited to, electronic mail (e-mail), Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), electronic bookmarks, local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), World Wide Web (WWW) page, and HyperText Markup Language (HTML).

I found the following interactive websites extremely helpful in learning the main HTML tags.

However, I need a lot more practice with learning the language of the Internet. What other websites are helpful in learning hyper text markup language?