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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!

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