It’s Pi Time!

So recently everyone that started on their 20% time needed materials, and so they have arrived, or most of them at least. So I have been doing a lot of reading in my instructables course and it’s somewhat of a lot to take in. There’s a lot of new programming lingo with Python and the Linux Operating System which is a given. Still Python is relatively straight forward with super simple aspects. I also see why PC gamers like Linux so much it’s really well crafted and not hard to get behind.

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The course itself is actually a lot of reading , which I wasn’t necessarily expecting with all the Treehouse things that we do. I’m looking forward to the more hands-on part of the course that I’m starting. I am relatively sure that I have everything on the list of required items from the previous blog.

The big things that I’ve learned is that Python, as I said before, is really simple (also it was named after Monty Python), Linux is a wonderful OS. There are some very interesting lingo in Python with seeing which user is using the Raspberry Pi, check the time, among other things.

So I’m beyond excited about about starting to work on the photo booth and more excited to see the finished product. I’ll keep everyone updated!

St. Paddy’s Day Testing

It’s that time of year again, time for students to stress out, lose sleep, and hope not to vomit. I’m referring to the standardized testing going on during this majority of this week and the make-ups, and other tests that have yet to come. A large part of taking toward the 1:1 initiative in high school would most definitely have us use our chromebooks for high stakes testing. Which is generally a good move, considering that each student has their own chromebook so there is no worry about distributing carts here anymore.

Being part of the CTS desk during testing is an interesting experience. If someone forgets to charge their chromebook, which happens quite often, then we issue them a loaner until two periods later. With testing in play we have to conserve loaners for the kids that need them for testing. Which wasn’t that many, and it’s great. What’s so weird about it is that I actually deny people loaners since they weren’t testing, that is something that hasn’t happened yet. It’s nice considering that we have more loaners in the tech office than usual.

So for Wilmington High School’s first year of 1:1 testing, it went went well with no issue, and as far as this week goes it’s been a breeze. I’m finished with my assigned work, and I am currently waiting for my supplies for my 20% time to get here.

Pi Will Take Up 20% (or more) of My Time.

So being part of the Cane Tech Squad we have opportunities to tinker with various things of our choice. I have decided to do a project with Raspberry Pi which is basically a small computer that you can do almost everything in. The project I’ll be doing over the next few weeks, or even months, is building a photo booth that uses a programmed raspberry pi.

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I chose this mostly because I think it’s a very cool idea, and photo booths are really cool. I would also have to learn a coding language called python which is a very basic and easy to learn language. Which I am very excited to learn. I do have some experiences with Raspberry Pi’s at Clinton-Massie, my friends and I attempted to build a super computer out of them during robotics club.

I am honestly very excited and eager to start this project, I’m sure I’ll keep everyone in the know with my 20% Time. If you want to learn more about the Raspberry Pi click here

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Materials: Raspberry Pi 3, 8 GB SD card, USB keyboard and mouse, HDMI screen, HDMI cable, Raspberry Pi camera module, 5V 2.5A power supply, Wire cutters, Wire strippers, Solderless board, 10 mm LED’s, 220 ohm resisters, Stranded ribbon wire, Various jumper wires, Large push button, Coincell battery holder, Small phillips head screwdriver, Photo set pieces and props.

It’s time to d-d-d-d-di-dii-diigo!

Diigo is honestly a very remarkable app, considering how basic the use of it is. Diigo is a chrome extension that allows a person to highlight text and annotate as they read through well… anything (literally anything even PDFs). Diigo is really useful, especially for the English classes that do a lot of analytical work with passages. It would help immensely with the conservation of paper.

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How diigo works is first you install it (that’s a given) sign up for free and once you’re at a page just highlight the text and a prompt should come up to let you just annotate away. The biggest downside is that the annotations are only visible by that person. However; there are some really amazing ways to annotate. You can annotate entire screenshots, PDF files, any article, and even bookmark the page you annotated. Also Every annotation made is saved, and kept until deleted. diigo.jpg

Tech, I think we need a break. It’s not you, it’s me.

A week without technology would quite honestly very nice and relatively refreshing. I would personally become more appreciative of the world around me, and far more social. Technology as a whole has honestly taken over the mind of society (We are the borg, we are one). We are so obsessed with our social appearance online that we don’t necessarily take into account the lack of social interaction we have today. We always see these kids that are neck deep in their phone and ignoring everything around them. If we did a technology cleanse those kids would be more sociable. At least until they got their phone back.

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I would honestly love to do a technology cleanse for at least a week, but because of what I do here (my internship) I kind of can’t. If there were a way around it I would be on board. The main point is that we have become too engrossed in our precious technology, don’t get me wrong I love technology and anything digital. To cell phones, computers, and those dank memes. But we as a whole have become very dependent on technology to maintain a certain kind of status. So a cleansing in ones opinion would be beneficial.

I.T. Exam (Proposal)

Recently we have been given a fair grant of $200,000 that is all to go to technology. In the best interest of the students, teachers, and even more so the future; it would be in our greatest of interests transition to a 1:1 program. Though there has been a recent survey that concludes that a fair amount of students don’t even use their computers at home, others don’t have internet. One could think of a quick simple solution that would help enable those students, an offline mode. Many of which can use google drive without internet and their progress on papers will be saved. In terms of cost, the district could have the students pay a “tech fee” every year eventually the board will have a decision to recycle the 1:1 devices or will them off to the graduating students since they have payed so much already for them. If the district were to buy the HP Chromebook 14 (as per each costs $279.99) with the grant we received the school could spend $167,400 on the student’s chromebooks. On the staff we would be spending $8,370, giving us an extra $24,000 to spend. We could put that extra money into putting a team of tech savvy students together to have them help the school with an I.T. kind of program. With the given option, I would heavily recommend that we make a move for the 1:1 initiative.

All in all, computers nowadays are everywhere and we use them all the time, whether it be a smart phone, tablet, or laptop. Computers are a necessity now, students should really take the time to familiarize themselves with computers, the internet, and all technology has to offer. Which can only further their education, and help broaden their minds.

 

Don’t use that kind of Google Tone with me!

So there’s this awesome little new extension on chrome called Google Tone! It’s really cool and I think some teachers may find it to be quite useful for keeping their students on task, or just giving them a quick way to get to a page. What google tone does is it sends out a sound from your speakers (Volume should be turned up) and any chromebook within ear shot (or should I say mic shot) will get a pop up notification with the URL of the page you’re on. They can click on the notification and they can be taken to whatever URL you sent to them. It’s a really handy tool! Mr. Reed discovered it during technology club a few weeks ago as we were finishing the 3-D printer, and we spent a fair amount of time just testing it out.

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Furthermore, I would imagine you teachers have concerns of students using the app extension inappropriately. Well have no fear! You can always see who sent out what URL as the notification pops up, and the microphones on these chromebooks have a good listening distance. If you utilize your chromebooks a lot in the classroom Google Tone may be a step in the right direction! With anything there will be some drawbacks. To me the biggest one is the sound, it gets some what annoying if it’s over used. Also one of my bigger concerns is seeing how it handles taking in a plethora of URLs and dealing with all the pop up notifications, not that any one would overload students with URLs. Right?

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All in all, I would really think Google Tone it a very useful extension especially for school. Even more so for the teachers that have their students go to a million different websites in a class period, or if you just found a good site to study on, or if there’s a student that’s having issues finding the page.