Unplugged Coding

Unplugged Coding

Episode 43: Unplugged Coding with Sandra Balisky

 

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Sandra Balisky from Real World Learners is our guest today. She has a background as a math and English teacher and is now homeschooling her own children and working on an online math course for early elementary students. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram

Sandra explained the concept of “unplugged coding” (listen to the episode to hear what it is!)

What coding skills can you learn when you’re not using a computer?

  • Writing a “program” for others to follow that includes giving precise directions. This often entails using positions on a grid or using degrees in a circle to describe location
  • Learning about binary code, how it works and why computers use it, and how to create a simple set of directions with on/off conditions
  • Understanding and coming up with conditional statements (if/then) and playing around with how those affect the overall “gameplay” experience
  • Learning the ins and outs of computer hardware and software
  • Using loops to eliminate repetition and make the code as simple and concise as possible
  • Learning about digital citizenship and how to safely and effectively navigate the online world
  • Developing a growth mindset!! These activities will stretch kids to think and problem solve in new, creative ways. It will also encourage them to persevere and not give up in the face of challenges!

Where can I find resources to help my kids have fun learning these skills without sitting in front of a screen?

Sandra has a post about unplugged coding with a free printable unplugged coding game and she has other unplugged activities for sale:

More Resources that offer lists of activities, printables, and ideas for things to do to practice coding skills offline.

Once your children have learned some principles of coding from unplugged activities, consider signing them up for one of Fundafunda Academy’s Intro to Game Programming Online Class.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How to practice coding without a computer #unpluggedcoding #codingforkids @codingfun


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Online Tools for Photography

Online Tools for Photography

Episode 42: Online Tools for Photography with Piers van der Merwe

 

Piers is not only my husband, but also the photography teacher at FundaFunda Academy. You can see his work at Onstandby Travel and on Smugmug. Here are the online tools for photography he mentions in this episode.

1. Editing Tools

You can find other ideas here.

2. Where to store photos

Popular websites like Flickr and Photobucket aren’t a good idea as many of the photos teens could encounter there will not be appropriate. Better ideas for places to store photos are:

  • Google Photos
  • Apple Photos
  • Dropbox

3. How to share photos

  • Link from the folders in Dropbox or make public on iCloud.
  • Use free websites like Blogger, Weebly, WordPress if you want to share publicly.

4. Online resources for learning more about photography?

5. Favorite photography apps

Listen to the episode to get a code for a discount for FundaFunda’s online Photography class for Fall 2019!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Online Tools for Photography #photographywebsites #photographyapps #photography

Explore cities with digital scavenger hunts

Digital Scavenger Hunts

Episode 41: Explore cities with digital scavenger hunts

 

My oldest daughter, Rachel, suggested I do an episode on this as she and I have enjoyed a number of Digital Scavenger Hunts together. Rachel teaches the Visual Literacy class for FundaFunda Academy.

Digital scavenger hunts can be found in most cities – and sometimes even in specific locations eg museums.

They are a self-paced tour/scavenger hunt /problem-solving game all in one

1. Tour guide: they provide info on the city you are exploring
2. Scavenger hunt – everyone is looking for the solution to the clue
3. Game – you earn points as you progress. There are usually hints but then you lose points.

Benefits

1. Exercise
2. Use thinking skills
3. Educational
4. Find places you never would on your own
5. Go at your own pace
6. Competitive / game element

Where can you find them?

You can Google “digital scavenger hunt “city” mobile device”. You can also often find deals on Groupon / Living Social.

Here are some I have done or gifted to my children.
Scavenger Hunt
Crazydash
Huntzz (this a British one)

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Digital Scavenger Hunts #familyfun #vacationfun #homeschooltravel

How teens can start a podcast

How Teens can Start a Podcast

Episode 40: How teens can start a podcast with Abby Banks

 

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Today’s guest is Abby Banks from Making Room for One More. She is also the host of the Homeschool with Moxie podcast.

Abby explains how teens can start a podcast – and why they should consider doing it.

Why should teens think about starting a podcast?

  • gives teens an opportunity to apply skills to a real project
  • improves communication skills
  • they become problem solvers
  • they can share their stories / other stories

What skills will they learn?

  • speech and communication
  • technical skills which are marketable
  • making money with sponsorship
  • organizational skills

What can they do a podcast about?

  • local interest
  • whatever they are passionate about – they don’t need to be an expert

What equipment do they need to get started?

  • microphone – the ATR2100 Audio Technica USB microphone is a good one that is affordable

What all is involved in getting a podcast launched?

  • hosting
  • submitting to the different podcast websites

Check out Abby’s new Podcast Launch for Teens online course. That link takes you to a post is that will allow teens to download the suggested schedule/topics as well as a brainstorming exercise to come up with a podcast theme.

Our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy is running a High School Challenge just for homeschoolers throughout July. Teens complete as many challenges that will help them prepare for college as they want to. For each challenge completed they receive points and the students with the most points will be able to win prizes. AND – one of those prizes is one of Abby’s Selling on Etsy Masterclass for Teens! So sign up your homeschooled high schoolers now!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How Teens can Start a Podcast #podcastinfforteens #homeschoolteens #homeschoolpodcast

Ways teens can make money online

Ways Teens can Make Money Online

Episode 39: Ways teens can make money online

 

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Today’s guest is Abby Banks from Making Room for One More. She is also the host of the Homeschool with Moxie podcast. She will be drawing on her own experiences making money online, to share with us ways teens can make money online.

1. What sorts of online businesses students can have?

Youtube, affiliate marketing, selling services eg graphic design, selling physical products on eBay and Etsy

2. Why it is a good idea to get teens running an online business?

As teens run their own business they will be expressing creativity, improving writing skills, learning how to take good photographs, involved in customer service and much more.

Abby offers 2 classes for teens – one on Selling on Etsy (this one could be used for elective credit) and one on Selling on eBay (a shorter course perfect to do over the summer vacation).

Our listeners can get a 20% discount with coupon code MOXIE on either course.

Our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy is running a High School Challenge just for homeschoolers throughout July. Teens complete as many challenges that will help them prepare for college as they want to. For each challenge completed they receive points and the students with the most points will be able to win prizes. AND – one of those prizes is one of Abby’s Selling on Etsy Masterclass for Teens! So sign up your homeschooled high schoolers now!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Ways Teens can Make Money Online #homeschoolteens #homeschoolentrepreneurship #homeschoolhighschool

Geocaching – Technology meets nature

Episode 38: Geocaching – Technology meets nature

 

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Geocaching is a fun “treasure” hunt in nature to find hidden caches using GPS and your eyes 🙂

Go to the official Geocaching website and there you will find links to their app. The basic app is free and is all you will probably need but there is an upgrade if you want more options.

The app shows you all the caches in an area. Drive to one of them and use the app to find the area it is hidden in.

Be sure to check the app for all info before you start looking. You can find the size of the cache, a description, and sometimes even hints or photos. You can also read comments from people who have been before you. And you can see when someone last visited and if they found it.

If you find the cache, sign the log book. Some caches contain swag so if you want to take what you find, be sure to bring along some small items to put in the container. Now you can go and click on “Log Geocache” and have the pleasure of seeing the green icon turn into a yellow face!

Be sure to take along bug spray, water, and a first aid kit when you go geocaching as you will be climbing in bushes at some points!

This blog post contains a useful video to watch to show you how to use the Geocache app, and you can see photos of the 3 teens and me having fun trying it out.

If you have rainy weather and can’t go Geocaching, take a look at FundaFunda Academy’s digital breakouts. You will find them on the Teaching Resources page in the store. Perfect for families to try to solve together.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

#Geocaching #summerfun #nature

Programming with Scratch

Programming with Scratch

Episode 37: Programming with Scratch

 

In episode 11, I covered ways to introduce your children to programming. One of those ways was Scratch, and in this episode, I will go into more detail about programming with Scratch.

What is Scratch?

Scratch was created by a team at MIT to be an accessible way for children to learn to code. It is free and can be used online, or it can be downloaded. Scratch can be used by children from age 8 all the way through high school. Younger children can use the Scratch Junior app on an iPad.

Scratch is block based. Students don’t need to type the code but just drag the blogs and stack them together

Learn more about Scratch from this TED talk by Mitchel Resnick who headed up the MIT team that developed it.

Why is Scratch great to use for coding?

  • It is easy to use. Students can learn the basics quickly.
  • It is fun to use.
  • Completed programs can be easily shared
  • Students can play each other’s games with one click see how it was coded
  • .

What can you do with Scratch?

Scratch can be used to create interactive cards, animated stories and many different types of games.

Here are some examples:

Cloud Catcher Game
Shoot the Fishes
Beach Hunt
Lucky Shot

Be sure to take a look at FundaFunda Academy’s online Scratch classes. You can select 5-week self-paced ones that progress from Beginner to Advanced or a one-semester class that can be taken over the summer or during any semester. The full semester classes are equal to all 3 of the 5-week classes and will earn high schoolers a 1/2 credit in computer programming.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

And join our Facebook group.

Programming with Scratch #learntocode #scratchprogramming #homeschoolpodcast

Tips for buying and selling curriculum online

Tips for buying and selling curriculum online

Episode 36: Tips for buying and selling curriculum online

 

If you are buying or selling curriculum online this summer, here are some tips to help you.

And be sure to join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast. We will carry on the conversation there.

Some places to buy and sell curriculum online

1. Facebook groups

Look for local groups first. A good national group is Homeschool Curriculum Marketplace (over 70 000 members)
Also look for groups that specialize in the curriculum you use eg Sonlight or classical homeschooling

2. Forums

If you are a member of a homeschool forum, see if they have a classified section. Well-trained Mind is the one I used.

3. Used curriculum websites

Homeschool Classifieds has an out-dated look to the website, but it works well and I have bought and sold a lot of curriculum there. You get a certain number of listings free. After that, you can pay, or share info on local field trips etc to earn extra credits.

4. Amazon and eBay

So many options on both these websites and you can often find real bargains. You will likely end up making less if you sell through them, but you are also more likely to make a sale because of their huge audience.

General Tips for Buying and Selling Curriculum Online

You will need to get a PayPal account for buying/selling on all the places listed above except Amazon

Create a spreadsheet and use it to record your research before you start buying and selling curriculum online. Keep track of the new price for the item, how much you see it selling it for, the date you buy/sell it, when it ships, how much profit you make, etc.

Tips for Selling Curriculum Online

Remember you will need to pay for postage (and fees if you sell on Amazon or eBay).

A postage scale can be a great investment

Get your kids involved. Either pay them an hourly rate or give them a cut of profits. They will learn real-world skills and you will get some help!

Save Amazon boxes and padded envelopes throughout the year.

Don’t sell single paperbacks – it just isn’t worth it. Bundle a few together, or state in your listing (if you are listing on a FB group) what the minimum amount you are willing to sell is. That way people can make their own bundles.

Take photos as post whenever that is an option as people like to see what they are getting.

If you plan to sell on eBay, I would suggest you list it as “Buy it Now”. You can see what your item usually sells at by setting the filter to “Buy it Now” and then scrolling down and on the left look for “Show only”. Check Completed Items and Sold Items and you can see what your item has sold at recently.

Tips for Buying Curriculum Online

To find the cheapest website selling used books, go to BookFinder.com.

But before you do that, if you have use Chrome or Firefox and have the Library Extension you may realize you can just borrow the book from your local library instead.

When you use eBay, I suggest selecting “Buy it now” unless you absolutely love the thrill of trying to win an auction.

If you know the item(s) you are wanting will be hard to find, start looking in May and buy as soon as you see. If you know there will be plenty available you can hold out until August when you might snag one for a better price as people get more desperate to sell.

Got more tips? Share them in the comments or in our Facebook group.

Be sure to take a look at FundaFunda Academy’s online classes and web-based unit studies. This class uses all the methods mentioned in this episode – and more – to study history!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Tips for buying and selling curriculum online

Using technology to study history

Using Technology to Study History

Episode 35: Using technology to study history with Vicki Tillman

 

Join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast.

My guest today is Vicki Tillman. She is a fellow podshow host and you can listen to her on The Homeschool Highschool Podcast. She develops curriculum and is a homeschool coach at 7 Sisters Homeschool.

Techie Ways to learn about History

  • Watch History Movies. Movies help students to get immersed in the period. Look for lists of movies to learn about history.
  • Watch Short Videos. Find good short videos on the History Channel and on Youtube.
  • Play Online History Games. Listen to our episode on Free Online History Games.

Techie Ways to Check for Mastery of History Topics

  • Create History Videos. Students can use their phones to make either a documentary or to write a script based on research and act it out. Students watch each other’s videos so they learn from each other too.
  • Illustrate a video story or song or poem or document about a historic time period. See what Vicki’s son Ezra has done on his Youtube channel

Be sure to take a look at FundaFunda Academy’s online US History class. This class uses all the methods mentioned in this episode – and more – to study history!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Using Technology to Study History #homeschoolhistory #homeschoolpodcast #Homeschooling

4-H and Technology

4-H and Technology

Episode 34: 4-H and Technology

 

4-H started over 100 years ago. According to the 4-H website the goal of 4-H is to “help young people and their families gain the skills needed to be proactive forces in their communities and develop ideas for a more innovative economy”.

Although 4-H started as an agricultural youth program, it has moved into urban settings and in recent years incorporated the STEM fields.

Student can participate in projects like engineering, computers and technology, and rocketry. Other projects like photography, business, line and design, and even the agricultural ones can contain a techie element as tech is important in all these fields.

In addition, students can attend 4-H STEM camps – in my state, there is an Engineering camp.

4-H students who compete in a project have to create digital portfolios, thus ensuring they all learn basic tech skills.

Even if your children never do 4-H, you can make use of some of their free STEM resources for K – 12th grade. There are instructions for projects like “How to build your own robot” and “How to make fruit batteries”.

You can find local 4-H groups to join here.

Our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy has great web-based unit studies that will engage students during the semester or over the summer. Each module teaches the subject and then has a project for students to do that could earn them prizes.

Join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

4-H and Technology #4H #youthprograms #homeschooling