Fake News

‘So, I guess this means I can’t drink water anymore.’
Grade 5 student after looking at a ‘fake’ webpage on the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide (H20).

A couple of weeks ago, Grade Five teachers asked me to discuss with students how to know if a website is credible with reliable information or is it a website that should not be trusted.

We discussed questions that students should be asking when looking at websites:
screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-6-28-29-pm
We wanted to stress that just because it is online, does not mean it is true, real or credible. In order to demonstrate this to students, we looked at a fictitious or fake website called ‘Dihydrogen Monoxide – DHMO Homepage. There are several fabricated websites created by educators to help students see how easy it can be to be fooled.

After looking at the www.dhmo.com website, the alarm bells began to ring as students read how ‘dangerous’ Dihydrogen Monoxide is to humans.  Students were asked to look at the questions (see image above) and at a certain time, we asked students to cross-reference to verify their findings.  Once we tried to verify the Dihydrogen Monoxide website, many students still had difficulty grasping the idea that the information on the original website was false and that Dihydrogen Monoxide was just water… H2O.

Things to do at home:

  • Teach your child to verify sources
  • Model how to question motivations
  • Help your child to think critically when researching

Below are to articles that go a bit more in depth about this subject:
Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds
Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds

Resources:
Source of Website Questions

Personal v. Private Information

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-6-20-52-pmWould you be able to tell the difference between personal information and private information?

Based upon the Elementary School Community Technology Agreement G3-G5, students in grades 4 and 5 are taking a closer look at the guideline regarding personal information v. private information.

  • Keep my personal information private by not sharing it with anyone online or in person. I will also not share my friend’s, classmate’s, or family’s information.

Currently, we are looking at what information is private information (not safe to share online) and personal information (what is safe to share online). We want students to learn about the benefits of sharing information online, but also about the safety and security risks of sharing certain types of information. By distinguishing between the two, students are empowered to stay safe online.

And we always tells students, if they are not sure or are questioning an online information requests… when in doubt, ask your parents or a trusted adult.

Below is a Family Tip sheet from Common Sense Media.
screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-6-21-07-pm

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 photosforclass.com to help up look at images to see if we could ‘spot’ any differences. After looking at several photos, we found than we had even more questions that 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.

Grade 5 Takes The Lead

At IICS, we have been looking into avenues that allow students to personalize their learning experiences. As a result, MYP students have begun to participate in Exploratory groups where they delve into subjects that they are interested in learning about within a structured environment.

One such group is our student coders. These brave computer scientists are led by Phillip, a tenth grade student, and our Primary Technology Integration Specialist, Claire Wachowiak. These students have begun learning about Java as well as the reasoning behind coding with some unplugged lessons.

Although this time is set aside for MYP students, two fifth grade students, Hanako and Joey, have expressed an interest in coding and have begun to join this group to learn more about Java.

The other day however, Hanako, Joey, and Ms. Wachowiak decided it might be interesting to demonstrate Makey Makeys. So last Tuesday, Hanako and Joey took the lead to teach these eighth and tenth grade students a lesson in Makeys; Joey even used his own game he created in Scratch to show what these invention kits can do. 

The upper grade students were open to learning from the younger ones and overall, everyone was engaged and enjoyed learning. All and all a wonderful day, lead by two innovative fifth graders.

 

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 (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_7548

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 Code.org resources. However, please feel free to explore more resources below:

https://www.symbaloo.com/embed/https—hourofcodecom-tr?

Hour of Code 2015

When we asked second grade students what coding means to them, they came up with some very interesting responses:

Coding is…

  • giving commands
  • following step-by-step (directions)
  • hard, frustrating
  • being specific
  • happy when you figure it out
  • (following a) pattern
  • figuring out the least amount of movements to solve a problem

Most students who participated this year’s Hour of Code would agree. Students describe coding as the language of computers. Essentially if you are using technology, code is involved.

However, coding isn’t just about learning a language, it is a skill that encourages collaboration and promotes problem solving, including critical thinking. It helps student to develop their logical thinking skills as well as nurture their creativity.

If you are interested in learning more about coding, please check this out for more resources.

 

After The Hour of Code…

As we look back at the Hour of Code and the next steps we want to take in regards to students and coding, we are asking the questions: Why coding? How can we integrate coding into our curriculum?

on our way to the Asian side...At a recent LTEN conference, Claire Wachowiak and Brycen Davis, our Technology Integrationists, met Bager Akbay. Among other things, Akbay runs a Coderdojo in Kadıköy. A Coderdojo is a community-based programming club for young people. In these free clubs, kids learn how to code, create apps, and explore technology in a comfortable and open environment. How can we bring this to IICS? Ms. Wachowiak and Mr. Davis, along with tenth grade students, Philipp and Ayush, decided to take the ferry to the Asian side to find out.

Upon visiting this Coderdojo, they found an environment of engaged students, many of them using the same tools that we have been using at IICS. Both students and volunteers learned together in a space that invited creativity and learning. As we watched the students collaborate to solve problems, a 3D printer produced student made designs. We witnessed another student using a ‘Makey’ to bring his code to life. It was an atmosphere that encouraged innovation and fun.

Over the next few months, IICS will be looking to bring this energized spirit around coding and computer programming to IICS. We want to thank Bager Akbay and his crew for their generosity in allowing us to visit this Coderdojo.

Talk to your kids about coding! Here are some coding resources if you would like to explore this innovative world.