#edtech #edchat #elearning
For years I have been all alone in teaching my elementary students about the world of technology, I've made all my own lessons from scratch as I tried my best to give my students the tech skills that they so desperately need in this new world of the 21st Century.
That was all perfect until I came across Learning.com this summer at the ISTE conference in Philadelphia. I just wandered into their booth drawn by the free candies that they prominently displayed at the back of the booth. "Candy," I thought in my head, saying it like I was Homer Simpson. I was just inches away from my reward when I was approached by a rep from Learning.com who asked me if I would like a demonstration of their products.
I was beat and needed to sit down so I agreed.
The first product they showed me was their web based tech training for elementary students called EasyTech.
"This should be good," I sarcastically thought to myself believing that I had the best tech lessons on the planet..
I watched as they demonstrated how easy it was for students to log on and then follow along with an animated lesson about certain tech subject.
Learning.com blew me away with EasyTech.
The lesson I watched was done with a cool animated character named Lukas Blackwell, a young rocker who is on a european tour and wants to stay connected to his friends and fans so he starts his own blog. I was pleasantly shocked at how much detail this little lesson covered, they really went into all of the deeper aspects of blogging, not forgetting to cover Internet safety all along the way.
The animation and narration of EasyTech is top notch and it is not just a "sit and watch" lesson, on every other slide the student needs to interact with the lesson to make sure that they are understanding the content that is being presented. Learning.com has got strong academics backing these lessons -- something that caught my eye from the first of the demo.
Here is a link to the same lesson on blogging that I saw at their booth in Philadelphia.
Just click on the Curriculum link and then Grades 6-8 Sample.
The other half of the EasyTech program are the lesson plans for teachers to use once the online lesson is over. This is usually a PDF that has it all spelled out for the teacher. Here is a quote from the blogging assignment:
In this activity, students create and respond to blogs as they read and write about literature. To begin, the class is divided into two teams. Each team brainstorms prompts about the current reading and theme for the other team. The teams then break into pairs to respond to the prompts in their blogs. Students post blog entries in first person as one of the main characters, and respond to other students blogs in their own voices. In a culminating project, students watch a modern-day movie version of the literary work and blog a final movie review essay that compares and contrasts the movie to the original work and provides a movie review.
Learning.com's EasyTech is a fee-based subscription service that is for the K-8 market. They also offer other products like: Aha!Science and Aha!Math, which I will review at a later date.
Here are some photos of my students using Learning.com's EasyTech on their netbooks:
EasyTech lessons are aligned with the ISTE NETS-S standards (something that I strongly believe in), and that they are available in both Spanish and English.
What really ticks me off about this particular EasyTech lesson on blogging is that I worked for years to develop and refine my own blogging lesson and in the end I didn't cover half of what was covered by Learning.com And what really hurts is how my kids think that the rocker character "Lukas Blackwell" is so much cooler than me.
I should have never fell for the candy!
- Brad Flickinger, Bethke Elementary School