Ideas, Thoughts, Things, & Awesome Things to Look Into
From the Elementary Computer Lab
Lino is an online collaboration platform that lets teachers and students collaborate using virtual sticky notes, pictures, and text on a virtual canvas. As a teacher, you can have multiple classes set up. For me, this means I can have my five 3rd grade classes (one each day) have one canvas to collaborate on a project each day of the week. Same for the rest of the grades.
Lino is much prettier than Answer Garden, but that also makes it more complicated for some audiences. It can get quite colorful and very busy to look at. There are also a lot of teacher controls, and a lot of user controls. I literally open Lino up, teach orientation for 2-3 minutes, and let the kids start using it while I'm talking. As the kids start playing with it, they discover new tools, and they learn from each other how to use the multitude of controls.
You'd have a much harder time using the output of this platform into a word art maker (like Tagul). Lino also has a iPhone and Android app download that is quite nice for adults or BYOD events like conferences.
Other uses that I have used with students include students making their own bulletin board of pictures, notes, and reminders. I have used this program for many years and it keeps getting more intuitive and this allows me to use it with younger and younger students. At one point, they even simplified their name. It used to be LINOIT, and people were confused on how the "OIT" should be pronounced.
**Both pictures are screen shots of the landing page of Lino.
I like cooperative learning games. I have used something like this made out of laminated paper in the past, so I wanted to see how hard it was to design a prototype for the 3D printer. This is only a 3 inch prototype model because I had to scale it down to fit on my school's 3D printer. That's OK, because prototypes of the second or third try are not generally printed full-scale. As it is shown here, the plus and equals spots are too small to fit a pen or wood pencil, and the squares are too small for the unit squares aka ones blocks in the base ten block manipulatives that are everywhere in most elementary schools. So for demo purposes, we used beads.
I saw the Turing Tumble a while back on Kickstarter. I went ahead and ordered a personal copy of the "game" for me with the intention of evaluating it for possible use in my elementary computer lab, probably as a station. Of course, as many Kickstarter projects, it seemed to take forever. But, the makers kept in contact via email, and it finally arrived. The unboxing was pleasant, and easy, which means the packages were easy to open and intuitive. After playing around with this for about two hours, my son (4 years old) and I got through puzzle 10. He has no idea (well maybe a little idea) what is going on with the switches, and is learning to attach the green switches properly. It is marketed for kids MUCH older than he is, so it is interesting watching him figure it out. He is delighted hearing the marbles drop and the switches switch.
As for my classes, I'm thinking this is going to be a great station in the 4th and 5th grade classes. I would never do this as a station with the PreK-2nd graders because there are a ton of pieces, they are fragile, and there is simply too much reading. The reading of the book is critical to actually understanding at a basic level what is going on. Otherwise, it's an expensive, fragile Marble Run. To get the logic and computer lessons out of this, the kids will have to read and experiment.
Note. I received no product or compensation for this evaluation. I supported the Kickstarter program and received this product through that support.
Heather M. Miller
This is a space where I post my thoughts on things and ideas in the Computer Lab. I am a K-12 certified Engineering and Technology teacher. I'm writing this for myself and my colleagues as part of my own teaching practice day-to-day, and for my own self reflection.