Learning with Micro:bit

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Learning with Micro Bit

278: Learning with Micro:bit

Guest Joseph Lemke shares with us how he is learning with Micro:bit and why this is a great way for students to explore coding.

What is a Micro:bit?

  • programmable microcontroller, like a tiny computer
  • has built in sensors like temperature, gyroscope, compass, microphone, speaker, touch button, blue tooth antennae to talk to other microbits and your phone
  • has enough computing power to do a lot of things

What are the strengths of Micro:bit?

  • it’s a good starting microcontroller because has a good programming platform
  • microsoft makecode – graphical platform or text code
  • micropython is another option

How do I get started?

  1. Purchase a starter kit for about  $25 on Amazon.
  2. Go to Makecode.microbit.org, and work through the Tutorials

What are some of the favorite projects you’ve made with micro:bit?

  • drink dispenser
  • controlled dot matrix printer from the 80’s
  • Borg costume
  • fingerprint reader for light switch

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

 

Finding and Using Online Classes for Homeschooling Effectively

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

277: Finding and Using Online Classes for Homeschooling Effectively

Finding and Using Online Classes for Homeschooling Effectively

In this episode we look at  the importance of finding and using online classes as part of homeschooling effectively.

Choosing the Right Online Class:

  1. Determine your goals and what’s best for your children.
  2. Consider your children’s learning styles and your budget.
  3. Decide on the level of flexibility needed (live classes vs. asynchronous classes).
  4. Accommodate any learning disabilities your children may have.
  5. Decide whether the class will be the sole learning source or a supplement.
  6. Ask for recommendations from friends, homeschool groups, and online forums.
  7. Read reviews and watch class demos to narrow down your choices.
  8. Get input from your high school-aged children.

Using Online Classes Effectively:

  1. Remember that you are the homeschool parent in charge of your children’s education.
  2. Monitor your children’s progress and ensure they complete assignments on time.
  3. Provide technical assistance and help with scheduling, especially for younger children.
  4. Communicate with teachers about any learning disabilities or family issues.
  5. Teach high schoolers how to communicate with teachers directly.
  6. Monitor grades and address any issues promptly.
  7. Discuss the appropriate use of AI in classes with your children.

Previous episodes mentioned

Episode 220 – How to use the internet to find the right curriculum for your child 

Episode 194 – The role of parents in online classes


Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

 

 

Replay with Update: Online Stock Market Resources

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Online Stock Market Resources

 

This is a replay of episode 95 – you can find the original show notes here.

The Stock Market Contest run by show sponsor FundaFunda Academy is happening this summer – June 1 to July 31 for grades 4 – 12. You can register here.

Making Math Fun: Building a Thriving Homeschool Math Club

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

276:  Making Math Fun: Building a Thriving Homeschool Math Club

Making Math Fun: Building a Thriving Homeschool Math Club

 

My guest, Haley Story, has built a thriving homeschool math club  and taught children that math can be fun. Haley was on episode 243 where she talked to us about Math Contests

These are the questions Haley answers in this episode:

1. Why did you start a math club
2. How did you get the word out
3. What do you do during math club? What resources do you use?
4 How many attend and how do you cope with the different ability levels.
5. How do you make it fun

Resources used in the Math Club

Board games that are NOT “math games” but that do a great job of teaching math 

Be sure to listen to the episode to hear exactly how Haley started the math club and runs it!

 

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Web Development for Homeschoolers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

275:` Web Development for Homeschoolers


Podcast episode on Web Development for Homeschoolers

In this episode, host Meryl van der Merwe interviews Robert Walsh, an experienced web developer and educator from Excalibur Solutions Stem Academy. They dive into the fundamentals of web development, discussing HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and the advantages of learning to code websites over using drag-and-drop builders. Robert shares insights on the ideal age for kids to start learning web development, free online resources, and the benefits of taking a structured web development course.

Robert Walsh was also a guest on Episode 266 where he talked about teaching students to use Tinkercad.

What is Web Development?

  • Creating content that displays inside a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari)
  • Building dynamic and interactive web pages with coding
  • Requires knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
    • HTML = Structure
    • CSS = Appearance
    • JavaScript = Interactivity and behavior

Why Learn Web Development Instead of Using Drag-and-Drop Tools?

  • Drag-and-drop tools have limitations and may not give the desired result
  • Learning HTML, CSS allows customization beyond drag-and-drop capabilities
  • Adding custom JavaScript enables complex behaviors not possible with drag-and-drop

Age to Start Learning Web Development:

  • Middle school age (6th or 7th grade) can conceptually grasp the basics
  • Need to be comfortable with a computer keyboard
  • Ability to differentiate syntax between HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

Free Resources for Learning:

Benefits of Taking a Web Development Course:

  • Get feedback and assistance from experienced instructors
  • Learn best practices and coding conventions
  • Structured curriculum and guidance

Robert’s Web Development Course Offerings

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Ethical AI Use for Scholarship Success

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

274: Ethical AI Use for Scholarship Success

Ethical AI Use for Scholarship Success

Guest, Monica Matthews, a scholarship expert, talks to us about Ethical AI use for scholarship success for your children.

Monica was also the guest on episode 117 where she shared tips for completing online scholarship applications that will help students be successful.

Find Monica at her website, How 2 Win Scholarships, her Facebook page and her Facebook group, Scholarship Help and College Talk for Parents.

Topics Covered:

  • Using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to write scholarship essays – why it’s a bad idea
  • Red flags that scholarship providers look for to detect AI-written essays (strange word choices, lack of personal stories/details, similar phrasing across essays)
  • Potential positive uses of AI for scholarship applications (grammar correction, brainstorming ideas, rephrasing)
  • How scholarship requirements may change due to AI (more personal questions, video essay submissions)
  • Importance of developing your own authentic voice and not relying too heavily on AI

Key Takeaways:

  • Scholarship providers want to hear your unique personal story – AI cannot replicate this
  • Use AI as a tool for brainstorming, grammar checks, etc. but don’t let it write your essays
  • Be prepared for scholarship apps to crack down on AI use and require disclosure
  • Work on developing skills like video editing as more visual components may be required
  • The ethical use of AI writing tools is crucial for long-term success

Resources Mentioned:

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Engaging Online Art History Resources

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Engaging Online Art History Resources273: Engaging online art history resources

In today’s episode, guest Holly Egan who teaches the Art History class for teens at show sponsor FundaFunda Academy, shares her favorite online art history resources.

Main supplemental websites for her art history class:

Smart History -Has over 800 contributors from all over the world

https://smarthistory.org/

National Geographic – great art history section with engaging articles

Art History School –  artist biographies explored by Paul Priestly

Artthropology.com– a collection of art history videos an art history teacher has put up on her site from various sources

Khan Academytheir art history videos

 

Art Museum Websites 

MoMA  

The Met 

The Whitney  

 

YouTube Channels for Videos:

National Galleries Scotland & Royal Academy of Arts – videos on movements, artists, exhibitions

The Magnificent Paintbrush – excellent, short artist bios from an elementary art teacher

Tate YouTube Channel

The National Gallery YouTube Channel 

Favorite art channel on this list is The Art Assignment. It’s a PBS Digital Studios channel uploads videos focus on contemporary art. Host Sarah Urist Green interviews the artists from around the world and the artists give an assignment to the audience.

Holly’s Art History Class

Art History 2024

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Vacation Planning with AI

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.


Vacation Planning with AI

 

272: Vacation Planning with AI

In this episode one Vacation Planning with AI, Meryl discusses using AI tools like Claude, ChatGPT, Copilot, and others to plan their upcoming summer road trip out west in their Sprinter van. She shares her experience asking the AI for suggestions on stops, restaurants, activities and more along their route through states like Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and others before arriving at  Capitol Reef National Park.

She also covers using AI to plan a hypothetical trip to Boston with kids aged 6, 9 and 14, asking for child-friendly museum recommendations under $40 total, outdoor activities, novels/websites to prepare them for the trip, and more.

Key Topics:

  • Using different AI tools like Claude, Anthropic, ChatGPT, Copilot to plan a road trip
  • Asking for stop suggestions with specific interests like hiking, cycling, kayaking, historic sites
  • Getting restaurant recommendations for certain cuisines and price ranges near highways
  • Planning a family trip to Boston with age-appropriate activities under a budget
  • Requesting book/website recommendations to prepare kids for the Boston trip
  • Tips for crafting effective prompts when using AI for planning

In Summary: Meryl summarizes the pros and cons of using AI for vacation planning based on her experience:

Pros:

  • Using it as a family activity to introduce kids to AI
  • Finds unique suggestions you may not have considered
  • Provides a lot of relevant information in one place (activities, restaurants, books, websites)
  • Allows for very specific queries (price ranges, cuisine types, interest filters)
  • Good for getting a jumpstart on planning

Cons:

  • Some responses were completely off-base or useless
  • Incorrect information given at times (e.g. non-existent books)
  • Still has limitations, paid versions likely much better
  • Requires learning how to craft effective prompts

If you want to follow along on Meryl’s real trip out west, you can do that by following show sponsor FundaFunda Academy’s Instagram account – https://www.instagram.com/fundafundaeducation/

All online tools mentioned in this episode

Destinations.AI– Did  not find it useful

Gemini 

CoPilot

ChatGPT

Claude

Perplexity

 

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Magic Student AI Tools

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

271: Magic Student AI Tools

This episode covers the Magic Student AI tools  from Magic School, following last week’s episode ( (Episode 270 – Magic School AI)) on the teacher tools.

Magic School Features to Explore

  • New Google Chrome extension to easily access the tools
  • New YouTube channel explaining how the different products work
  • Can  create a classroom to control which tools students have access to

Magic Student AI Tools Discussed

  • Chatbot for students called Raina (not found very helpful)
  • Writing feedback tool (fantastic for getting feedback on student writing at different grade levels)
  • Research assistant (disappointing results)
  • Create a skit tool (fun for generating skits based on provided characters/scenarios)
  • Step-by-step tool (provides step-by-step instructions for any topic/task)
  • Literary devices tool (gives examples of literary devices based on a provided scenario)
  • Joke creator (jokes not very good)
  • Study bot (helps guide students in what to study for a test)
  • Study habits tips
  • YouTube video summarizer
  • SAT reading practice test
  • Chatbot builder (create a custom chatbot on a specific topic)
  • Character chatbot (roleplay as a literary character)
  • College/career counselor
  • Rap battle (super fun to have historical figures rap battle each other)
  • Book suggestions tool
  • Coding assistant
  • Debate partner (odd/not very useful)
  • Email writer (generated overly long emails)
  • Make Relevant (explains why a topic is relevant to real life)
  • Real World Connections (connects topics to the real world)

Here are the lyrics for the Rap Battle I generated

Round 1: Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter, here, dropping beats, not bombs,
From the peanut farm to the White House with calm.
Habitat for Humanity, building homes for the poor,
Eradicating diseases, who could ask for more?

Negotiating peace, like it’s my prime mission,
Camp David Accords, now that’s a vision.
Energy crisis and inflation, I faced it head-on,
A Nobel Peace Prize, yeah, I won one.

Round 2: Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali, the greatest, no dispute in the ring,
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, I bring.
Champion of the world, not just once, but thrice,
Against injustice and war, I didn’t think twice.

Rumble in the Jungle, Thrilla in Manila,
My fists do the talk, couldn’t be any realer.
Fighting for Civil Rights, stood against the norm,
Converting to Islam, sparking a reform.

Round 3: Jimmy Carter

Building hope and fighting disease, that’s my creed,
With diplomacy and compassion, I lead.
Solar panels on the White House, I was the first,
For renewable energy, I have an unquenchable thirst.

From Iran hostages to energy laws,
I dealt with it all, never paused.
A farmer, a governor, then a prez,
Always serving the people, yes, that’s my jazz.

Round 4: Muhammad Ali

I dodged the draft, said no to the war,
My fight was here, with poverty and more.
An Olympic gold medal, I threw it in the river,
For a country that practiced racial sliver.

I talked the talk and walked the walk,
For civil rights, I was the rock.
Philanthropic efforts, long after the ring,
Ali, the People’s Champ, forever the king.

End of Battle

Two giants from history with very different battles,
One fought with words, the other with rattles.
Carter and Ali, both champions of peace,
Their legacy and lessons will never cease.

So who wins this battle, it’s hard to say,
They fought in the ring and the world in their own way.
Let’s celebrate these heroes, from sports to the senate,
Their courage and conviction, limitless, infinite.

 

 

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Magic School AI

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

270: Magic School AI

In  this episode we explore a new resource called Magic School AI, which can be used by homeschoolers to help their children retain and understand concepts, and provide engaging ideas for lessons.

In this episode we look at the tools for teachers (ie would be used by the homeschool parent). Next week we will look at the tools for students

Here are the Magic School AI tools mentioned

    • Text Rewriter: Rewrites text in different styles (humorous, matter-of-fact, ironic, etc.)
    • Question Generators: Creates questions based on YouTube videos or text input
    • Rubric Generator: Generates rubrics for writing assessments
    • Student Work Feedback: Provides feedback on student work based on grade level
    • Text Summarizer and Text Leveler: Summarizes and adapts text to different grade levels
    • Song Generator: Creates songs on any topic and tune
    • Text Proofreader: Checks grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity
    • Unit Plan Generator: Generates unit plans
    • Math Story Word Problems: Creates word problems on specific topics
    • Jeopardy Review Game: Generates Jeopardy-style review games with answer keys
    • Vocabulary List Generator: Generates vocabulary lists for specific topics
    • YouTube Video Summarizer: Summarizes YouTube videos
    • Real-World Connections: Suggests project ideas for real-world applications
    • Science Lab: Provides experiments and instructions using readily available materials
    • Data Table Analysis: Generates data tables and analysis questions
    • SAT Reading Questions and Practice Tests
    • AI-resistant Assignments: Creates assignments that are more resistant to AI-assisted cheating
    • Choice Boards: Generates lists of project ideas for students to choose fro

Here is the song about Simple Machines that Magic School AI generated

Simple Machines Wonderland

(Sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things” by Julie Andrews)

Pulleys and levers and inclined planes too,
Wedges and screws and wheels turning through,
Gears that are meshing and helping things lift,
These are the simple machines – what a gift!

Like a seesaw that goes up and down,
Or a wheelbarrow moving dirt through the town,
A flag pole so tall with a pulley on top,
Simple machines make our work never stop.

From a doorknob turning, to a key in a lock,
All these examples are part of our stock,
Ramps for the wheelchair or for loading a truck,
Simple machines are amazing, oh what luck!

So remember these tools that make work a breeze,
In our simple machines wonderland, if you please,
They help us each day to make tasks less tough,
Simple machines – we can’t thank them enough!

Sign up for the FundaFunda Academy newsletter to access free unit studies

 

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode