Category Archives: Computer Science for All Initiative

How Technology is Changing English as Another Language Instruction

Long gone are the days in which students learning English simply memorize and repeat what their textbooks and teachers tell them. English learners around the world of all ages are tapping into and embracing the power of technology in countless ways to enhance and support their language-learning experience. Technology in the English language acquisition classroom is critical to helping students not only learn English but also to be able to succeed academically in main content areas.

Video

One of the most widely-used methods of teaching English using technology is the use of video. Students can watch short clips that are relevant to a particular grammatical point they’re learning, vocabulary content they’re studying, or to practice social pragmatic skills by watching a roleplay of how language is used in certain social situations, for example.

As a self-study tool, video empowers students to practice listening and to learn new vocabulary by watching YouTube videos, television shows, movies, documentaries, and more in English. With the subtitles turned on and then off, students can pick up more of what characters are saying and master more of the language on their own.

Video can also be used as a tool to demonstrate understanding of a particular topic and to practice all four domains of learning a language: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students can write a script, act it out, read it on camera, and listen to themselves with school headphones as they edit and re-shoot video of they find parts of it aren’t clear. They can then share this video with their peers and instructors as a demonstration of what they’re learning.

Apps

Hundreds of apps are available for mobile phones, iPads, tablets, and PCs that focus on various aspects of learning English. For example, students can listen to podcasts with headphones on a topic that they’re interested in, such as the latest news. They might play games that encourage them to practice their grammar skills or improve their reading comprehension. The number of apps for practicing specific English skills are nearly limitless, it seems, as new apps are being created every day.

Blogs and Pen Pals

To improve writing, students can engage in a wide variety of activities that incorporate technology. For instance, students might write posts in small groups, pairs, or as individuals for the class blog. They are likely to pay more attention to their writing if they know that it’s available to the world through the Internet and that their classmates will be reading their posts and then commenting on them (another great way to practice writing).

Students can connect with other English learners or with native speakers of English in another class through websites that connect teachers and students around the world as pen pals. If a student has an e-pen pal they like to write to, they are more likely to be internally motivated to put their ideas into an email to share with their pen pal on a regular basis than if they have to write just because the teacher says to.

Another idea to improve writing is to have students share their thoughts on online articles or discussion forums. The BBC offers a site for teenage students to read short news stories and then comment on them, for example. Using online identities (and with parents’ permission for young students), commenting on news stories or in a class discussion forum can be great ways for students to utilize technology to improve their language abilities.

Computer Testing

Technology is not just present in the classroom for instructional purposes. For students who live in countries or who attend schools where academic content is presented in English, they often face difficulties in learning how to use the technology required for them to take assessments of their academic abilities, including their English language proficiency.

Teachers must do more than teach English. They must teach students how to use the platforms, click and drag, type in text boxes, for example. Students must learn vocabulary related to the instructions for the technological aspects of the test, such as “drag” or “icon.”

Students who are from low-income homes may not have access to computers and the Internet, and their schools may not have much in the way of computers, either, if they are located in low-income areas. Students may be familiar with how to use mobile phones and tablets more than computers, and this can put them at a disadvantage when they have to put on their headphones during an assessment at school and navigate the exam’s computer interface on their own.

Technology is not just for entertainment purposes. English courses for adults and children are available for free and for a cost. Private tutors and online English teaching companies teach using web conferencing software. Schools and governments test students using computers and expect them to know how to use them and the Internet to research and write papers.

Teachers are incorporating technology into the classroom to make learning more fun and engaging for students on an individual level. Technology in the English classroom is changing the way students are taught and how they learn, and it will continue to do so in new ways as technology advances.

References: https://busyteacher.org/13732-using-technology-esl-instruction-10-modern-ways.html

http://www.colorincolorado.org/blog/computer-based-common-core-testing-considerations-and-supports-ells

PI-TOP V2 LAPTOP WITH RASPBERRY PI – perfect for a STEM/ STEAM curriculum !

Looking for the perfect tool to help your students learn to code, create awesome devices, and take their knowledge to the next level?

Look no further!

pi‑top is a modular laptop that gives you the tools to complete amazing DIY projects and bring your inventions to life. 

Perfect for a STEM and STEAM curriculum and now available from Encore Data Products.

This product will enhance any collaborative , makerspace learning activity and encourage creativity and innovative learning for students of all ages.

CALL TOLL FREE 866-926-1669 or ORDER ONLINE

PI-TOP V2 LAPTOP WITH RASPBERRY PI 3 MODEL B+

Sliding Keyboard Design
Slide out the keyboard to reveal the built in Modular Rail. It’s a workspace for you to build your creations, using pi-top accessories and electronic components.

Includes Inventor’s Kit
pi-top teaches you to create your own inventions on your journey as an inventor. We’ll help you get started with this awesome inventor’s kit click the icons to see what you can make.

pi-topOS: Polaris
At the heart of everything is our shining star – pi-topOS: Polaris – included with pi-top.

Add on options available:

pi-top PULSE – LED and speaker for creating games , light shows and music displays. With full Amazon Alexa compatibility you can even have your pi-top talk to you and answer any question you might have!

pi-top SPEAKER – play sounds, watch videos, code up music and create your own musical projects!

pi-top PROTO – a great prototyping board for physical computing projects.

 

 

 

 

TECH SPECS

DISPLAY
14” full HD LCD screen
1920 x 1080 resolution
180° screen angle range

RASPBERRY PI 3
1.4GHz quad-core arm cortex A53P
4 USB ports
40 GPIO pins
HDMI port
Gigabit Ethernet port
802.11 B/G/N dual-band wireless LAN
Bluetooth 4.2
3.5mm audio jack
Camera interface
Display interface
Micro SD card slot
Videocore IV 3D graphics core

CHASSIS
6-8 hour battery life
105mm sliding keyboard for internal access (US layout)
104x75mm trackpad with Gesture Control
Modular Rail for pi-top accessories

INCLUDED HARDWARE
18V, 2.5A charger with AU, EU, UK and US adapters
8GB class 10 SD CARD with pi-topOS
SD Card Removal Tool

FURTHER INFO
Please note: not compatible with pi‑topSPEAKER mk1
Version can be identified on underside of the pi‑topSPEAKER

 

 

Computer Science Standards to Incorporate Technology Across K-12 Schools

In December 2015, Congress passed the new Every Student Succeeds Act, which expanded educational standards to include computer science as a core subject in K through 12 classrooms across the country. To provide support for this initiative, President Obama recently announced the Computer Science for All Initiative, which incorporates technology in education. What does the Computer Science For All Initiative mean for public schools? Here’s a rundown of the initiative and how schools can support computer science (CS) learning.

What The Initiative Brings

The goal of Obama’s Computer Science for All Initiative is to equip K-12 students in public schools with computational thinking skills in order to encourage careers in computer science and related fields. In our technology-driven culture and economy, teaching students basic CS and providing them with tools to succeed in CS will give them economic and social mobility as they grow. However, as many as 22 states, do not allow computer science classes in schools to count towards students graduation requirements. This initiative will change the environment and culture around CS, turning it into a standard rather than a luxury for public schools.

The initiative calls for $4 billion in funding for states and $100 million given directly to school districts in an upcoming budget. The money will expand training for teachers in CS fields, provide instructional materials for students, and help to build and sustain regional partnerships to support the CS learning goals. In addition, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Corporation for National And Community Service (CNCS) are joining the cause by providing $135 million to computer science funding this year.

Overall, this initiative focuses on making computer science a subject that should be implemented in all public schools, giving students an opportunity to learn the skills that can transform them into future developers, scientists, and creators. Most importantly, the initiative hopes to target underprivileged demographics that enter computer science field at low rates (especially women and students from African-American and/or Latino backgrounds).

Already, more than 60 school districts have committed to providing access to computer science classes for their students. State education departments in Delaware and Hawaii have begun to already integrate CS classes across their public education system. With the growing support and need for STEM students and professionals, it is likely that computer science will become a supported standard across the United States.

Technological Tools Needed for Computer Science Classrooms

The most important component for a school district to begin a successful computer science program is to have the right infrastructure in place. Teachers need to be adequately trained, instructional materials should be provided, access to Advanced Placement Computer Science classes should be provided, and a CS curriculum needs support from administration and faculty. The initiative provides funding for schools and districts that need this institutional support.

In addition, students will need not only a supportive environment but the technical tools for computer science learning. All schools need a variety of applications and devices to help students develop and create code and software across multiple platforms. For example, while a Chromebook can run and support various types of coding programs and resources, having an iPad, iPhone or Android tablet can help students learn about programming for these devices and allow them to test their creations in the classroom.

Students are also likely to need earbuds, headphones, or headsets in order to complete their CS courses. Many software programs, online lessons, and collaborative exercises require listening and responding to an online teacher mentor, or group. Having these tools on hand will allow for individual learning and collaborative opportunities in-class and online.

Overall, the Computer Science for All Initiative will become an important component of our educational system. To help you prepare for the initiative and provide the quality tools needed for your students, contact us. We can provide your classroom with the necessary tools for a budding computer science program.