Such is the rate at which computing, artificial intelligence, and digital technologies are impacting on our everyday lives, that the utopian vision of a digitally dominant future is becoming increasingly opaque. Will human society collapse into dystopian nightmare, a popular outcome in TV and film: Terminator, Blade Runner, The Hunger Games… or shall we ascend to our nobler, higher collective consciousness and create the egalitarian, moneyless society of Star Trek’s Federation?
The future is definitely uncertain, but fortunately what we do in the present can and will affect positive change! One of the effects of the advancement of new technologies that we are seeing in education is that subjects such as Technology, Computing, and Automation and Robotics are moving ever nearer towards curriculum center stage. These subjects are naturally and rightfully attracting higher numbers of students as their importance in shaping our society’s future has well and truly shifted from the realm of science fiction to that of science fact.
Popplet is proud to be a part of that shift. Here are some examples of how Popplet is being used to teach these rapidly emerging sciences.
Where to begin when it comes to teaching kids about technology? Safety online is an excellent place to start. Unfortunately, the internet, the hub of this digital revolution, is by nature both good and bad, so students need to learn how to use it safely. These “rules for staying safe online” popplets, from the Year 1 and Year 2 pupils of Parkfield Primary School, Manchester, England, are packed with good advice which most grown-ups could benefit from – I certainly did! This one below is from Aaron, but you can find more good safety advice by clicking the link above.
Autonomous Robots at Work in Society
What exactly is an autonomous robot? To answer that question, PLTW Launch Master and Teacher, Mrs. Kelly Newton of Ann Arbour, Michigan, had her 5th-graders collaborate on some robotic research. When the young scientists were done, they then presented their findings to the class using Popplet and the results are outstanding. The example below is about drones. If you check the original post, you’ll also find more examples of how autonomous robots are currently being used in health, industry, and in cars.
Building and Programming a Lion with Lego (Montar y Proramar un León con Lego)
Does anyone remember when Lego was all about building houses and creating homely scenarios? A long time later, Lego was all about rebuilding and recreating scenes from TV and movies. The pedagogical benefits of such activities are obvious and Lego has always been super cool for kids and even adults! But now Lego has taken it to a whole new level with Lego Education. What is of interest here is that not only can you build stuff, but students can also learn how to code and program their new-born creations to carry out tasks. That’s what the students of Colegio de la Encarnación in Salamanca, Spain did. They used Popplet for their research. Check out their work below:
— ColegioLaEncarnación (@laencarnacionpb) January 26, 2018
Different Uses of Technology
We don’t often feature the same school more than once in a single blog post, however, the Year 3 pupils of Parkfield Primary School, Manchester, (see Safety First above) created a set of great looking popplets which define what technology is by providing examples of how we use it. The simple ideas are always the best! The example below is by Lennon and Ava but you’ll find more examples in the original Twitter post:
Components of a Computer (Componentes de un Computadora)
We use computers for a great many things these days, so taking a look at what actually makes up a standard computer is definitely a worthy classroom task. Alvaro, from Rioja, Spain, thought so, and in the process, he created this wonderfully informative popplet that comes complete with explanatory videos as well as images:
The History of Computing Technology – a Popplet Lesson Plan
The hard-working educators we discover while researching our blog articles never fail to impress us. Their passion for their students learning and for the subjects that they teach is inspiring. That is definitely the case of with Ms.Jamie Maurus, Computer Technology and Video Production teacher at O.W. Best Middle School, Michigan. Ms. Maurus’ web page is one of the best examples of a teacher’s blog we have ever seen. It is organized, professional, full of great ideas and entirely functional as an administrative and pedagogical tool. And importantly for this article, it contains a lesson plan where students are tasked with creating a History of Computing Technology timeline using Popplet. Timelines are a Popplet staple. You can see the beginning of the lesson plan below. If you want to know how great a teacher’s blog can be we suggest you visit the source: Ms. Maurus’ website. Here’s a snippet of the Popplet lesson plan to encourage you:
Back to the future! For the moment, it appears that whatever prediction prevails, utopia or dystopia, there’s no stopping progress, and one thing is certain: The better informed the good citizens of planet Earth, the more likely a better future for all. A future where hunger, disease, and maybe even money have been permanently banished. Who knows, we may even reach a point in our evolution where we are finally ready to receive visitors – wouldn’t that be something!