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Study Opportunities' Blog

Crosswords

We all know that learner activity is far more productive than their sitting watching you PowerPoint. The problem is the time and effort it takes to create meaningful and worthwhile activities. Last week we looked at Quizizz as a re-enforcement and assessment tool. Crosswords can be another fun way to re-enforce vocabulary and help your learners... learn!

Crossword Labs is a free online tool that lets you create crosswords, print them out or even complete them online. When I say free I mean really free - no irritating advertising or clutter. A simple clean interface that allows you to create, print and share crosswords that works as easy as pie.

Crossword Labs also has a huge library of crosswords made by other people (some of which can be used by other teachers in other subjects at school - think of how popular you'll be when you tell them about this free resource!).

To get a little bit of extra capability - and to support the author of this very useful tool - you can choose to pay a once-off lifetime fee of $9.95 for which you will even be able to download the answer keys for crosswords created by other people - so that you don't have to work out the answers on your own! Paid members can also choose to make their crosswords private and protect them with a password.

So how does a tool like Crossword Labs help you as a teacher?

Well, here's an idea to keep your learners busy (and learning) for a lesson or two:

  • Take a section of work that is new to the learners.
  • Provide resources (textbook section, your own notes, online resources).
  • Create a crossword on this section of work.
  • Either print out the crossword or share the online address for the crossword.
  • Let the learners complete the crossword by finding the answers they need in the resources given to them - freeing you up to walk around, watch them work, help them with concepts that they don't understand, etc.

When they have completed the crossword you can then test how much they have learnt by following it up with a Quizizz test that will help you see what work they know and what work they are struggling with!

You could even make the work count for marks.

We've taken the time to create a crossword with all the basic terms for the hardware section of Digital Technology Grade 8 Module 1.1. These terms overlap with CAT Grade 10 and IT grade 10 basic hardware concepts - so teachers of these subjects - you can also use this example for your learners as well!

NB:

If you press enter after typing a word into a line in the crossword then your answer will change from blue to either green (correct) or red (incorrect) to give you an idea of how well you are doing!

Once again, if you create some crosswords that you would like to share with other teachers and readers of this blog then please add a link in the comments. The more we share, the better everyone's life will become!

News:

Windows 7 is officially dead and off life support. Microsoft will no longer issue patches or security updates for Windows 7, so please make sure that your computers have been updated to Windows 10. Please also inform your learners and encourage them to upgrade as well - and make sure that your school's IT department has upgraded all the school computers as well.

Networking and Internet

  • My Broadband compares the cost of a 10 Mbps Uncapped ADSL connection from 2012 with the same connection on Fibre today. Prices have more than halved.

Hardware

There is hope for better batteries yet. We all know that battery technology is the big hurdle between us and better, more powerful, longer lasting mobile devices. Two new technologues show a glimmer of hope on the horizon (maybe in 5 years time):

It's good to know a little about these technologies so that you can talk about future trends where the move to mobile continues and accelerates thanks to better batteries!

Hacking and Security

Software

When talking about subscription software models you can add a new disadvantage. The software company can simply cancel your scubscription at any time for any reason - and you don't even get a refund!

In September / October 2019 Adobe cancelled all Venezuelan user's accounts for their Creative Cloud subscription products. President Trump had just signed an executive order stopping US companies from doing business in Venezuela.

Adobe gave users until the end of October to download their files but claimed that the Presidential order prevented them from giving refunds.

Internet publicity led to Adobe backtracking on the decision not to give refunds - and, by the end of October 2019, reversed its decision to cancel the accounts.

This is an example of one of the possible risks associated with a subscription software license and can serve as a good discsion topic in class.

Social Media

  • How does trolling work? It's hard to describe, explain and teach. Here's a resource that can change that. Troll Factory is a game that puts you into position as a new recruit in a trolling business. your job is to gain followers and reposts by posting on social media using your phone. Your boss sets you tasks and you choose what type of posts to make. You get rated according to how much hate and disinformation you spread. It is an excellent way to see how the whole fake news / trolling business works and, because it takes the form of a game, should help your learners learn and understand the concepts better than if you just explain them.

That's all for this week. Happy teaching!

Comments

Welcome to 2020!

With the new year comes a new change to the format and contents of the blog. We'll try to add resources and tools each week as well as a news summary. This week we take a look at something that can increase the amount of fun, competition, participation and learning experienced by your learners. We're talking about online testing / quizzing.

"...tests strengthen memory even more than do extra opportunities to study the material."
- from The effects of tests on learning and forgetting : SHANA K. CARPENTER, HAROLD PASHLER, JOHN T. WIXTED, AND EDWARD VUL.
University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California.
2008

There are many testing and quizzing tools out there. Some are free and others are subscription based. Some allow for a whole range of question types whilst others are basically multiple-choice on steroids.

This week we are going to take a look at one that allows for a competitive class quiz scenario with a live scoreboard that you can project so that your learners can see who is winning. The tool is:

Quizizz.

  • Quizizz is free.
  • It also has a great, gamified feel to it which makes the quizzes feel less intimidating - and I have found that the competitive class quiz creates a buzz in the classroom and energises the learners.
  • The question types are multiple choice, true/false or select the correct answers (multiple select). This is a limited range of question types so, as much fun as it is, don't use Quizizz as your only form of assessment!
  • As a teacher you get feedback on the class average, which questions quiz takers struggle with, marks for the quiz (which can go straight into your mark book) and more.
  • Learners can take the quiz in the classroom - or at their own time at home or on any of their mobile devices (there are native apps for Android and iOS as well as a web interface).

Here are some videos that you can look at to find out more.

If you like the tool, create some quizzes and want to share them you can add them for people to find using the comments below.


News links:

Social Implications

Hardware

SQL

User interface

AI

Software

Hacking

  • Some great examples of how social engineering can be used to hack someone - the topic of social engineering is often difficult to describe or give example of. Use this to give some practical examples - and warn your learners not to do this themselves!

Finally: All about AWS

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