Tech – 4 – Good: App Dev in Grade 9

During our grade 9 IT course we try to show students a range of tools available in today’s market. From 3D printing to App development, the idea is to give them exposure to a variety of tools and encourage them to follow up with areas they are interested in. In our first unit, we explored App Development by using a tool called MIT App Inventor. The project outline is below as well as some of the screenshots of their final products. Enjoy!

The World of 3D Printing

20170202_145210(0)In our first year of using our brand new 3D printer, we’ve been experimenting with a spectrum of ideas and possibilities. In Grade 9 IT, we started investigating by looking at what this exciting industry brings to the table. The future of positive impacts on society that have been unlocked with this technology truly leave our students with an evolved sense of what is possible. Especially after they print something for the first time…it’s like a switch has been flicked where you suddenly realize, “woah…I just printed an actual object…and now it’s in my hands.” I suppose it would have felt like that with 2D printing as well, but this is way cooler. Although we have only managed to print a few custom designed trophies and personalized guitar pics, the trial and error of using this new tech has been an interesting journey.

Two of our CAS students, Philipp and Ayush, are using their keen interest in this technology as an opportunity to teach others how to use the MakerBot Relicator 2. In Grade 3, students are beginning their production unit where they develop a product and learn the intricacies of marketing and sales. This year they are trying to print some products for sale using the 3D printer and

Here’s an example of what 3D printing is doing right now for the construction industry!

Researching in the Early Years

As Early Years students prepare for the next grade level, we begin to look at strategies they will need to help them be successful in their new classes. One of those strategies is researching.  

For the past few weeks, Mr. Smith, our Hisar Early Years 3/4 teacher, has been working with students to support them with their research questions. Understanding that asking specific questions is an important skill, students are asked to think about what they really want to learn.  So last week, Mr. Smith asked Ms. Wachowiak, our Primary Technology Integration Specialist, to come in to discuss keywords and research questions.

Two students, Folke and Sebastian, were very curious about big cats. They wanted to know, ‘What are the differences between jaguars, cheetahs, and leopards?’ We used to help up look at images to see if we could ‘spot’ any differences. After looking at several photos, we found that we had even more questions than we began with!

Afterwards, the students shared their thinking with the class using the iPad app Explain Everything which prompted many more questions and some interesting theories. Additionally, students have begun to incorporate their new found knowledge when engaging in play based learning activities. Big cats are no longer just animals, but rather a cheetah which is the fastest animal on the planet or that a jaguar that has very powerful legs. Please see the video below and hear our questions regarding these amazing animals.

Coding Unplugged

IMG_7261It is wonderful to see students as young as 5 years old become completely engaged in creating simple step-by-step instructions using a program like Scratch Jr or witness an 11-year old solve a problem and move up a level after debugging a misstep within her instructions. But do these students know that this is computational thinking? Do they understand that with these programs they are decomposing, abstracting, searching for patterns, and creating algorithms?

Much like a person would use a recipe when baking a cake, a computer is programmed with a set of instructions to perform a task or multiple tasks. With coding unplugged IMG_7550(no technology devices within the lessons), students are beginning to see the logic and reasoning behind coding. They learn to use symbols to communicate and that these symbols must be clear and precise. Students also learn how to take a big problem and break it down into smaller problems to create basic computer programs.IMG_6758

With coding unplugged, students gain a deeper understanding of computer science while developing the skills of critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, creativity, and perseverance.

If you are interested in coding for children, the primary school is currently using resources. However, please feel free to explore more resources below:

What is a Good Digital Citizen?

IMG_5089On Monday, students in grades two through six discussed what it means to be a good digital citizen. In school, we hear so much about digital citizenship so we thought it would be a good time to establish expectations and responsibilities when online. Also, we reviewed how to positively and respectfully participate in an online community.

Students discussed their thoughts on what it means to be in a community, characteristics of an effective digital citizen, and situations they have run into when online. Many classes also created charts to record their thinking.  All and all, a good day for digital citizenship!



Students also watched the video below ‘Characteristics of a Responsible Digital Citizen’


Useful Resources for Parents and Tech

Below are several resources that we find helpful in managing technology at home:


Privacy and Internet Safety (Common Sense Media)
Maximize the benefits of the Internet while minimizing the risks.


Questions Every Parent Asks (Common Sense Media)
How to take control of the technology in your child’s life.


3 Simple Rules for a Healthy Media Diet
How to manage screen time at home.


The Smart Talk
Help and guidelines for having a clear conversation with your kids about technology.


All About Cyberbullying (Common Sense Media)
Find answers to many questions regarding cyberbullying and resources to help.


Family Media Agreement (Common Sense Media)
Create an agreement at home with guidelines and rules when using technology.