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Typing Practice

What it is: This blogging alliance has been expanding my knowledge of great tools for the classroom faster than I can keep up with!  Recently, I found two more excellent ways for students to practice typing from @2sparkley‘s blog.  The first is reminiscent of the popular Rock Band, called UpBeat.  Students can choose a song and level of difficulty.  They must type the letters as they appear to keep the song going smoothly.  This had my students absolutely SILENT while they practiced typing.  They were so involved and having a great time trying to keep up.  The way the game is set up, really challenges kids to touch type.  They can’t very easily keep up without touch typing!  Students stopped by my lab the morning after I introduced the site to tell me how many combos they were able to get.  The second typing site is called Typing Chef. In this game students try to type words as they float past on bubbles.  The goal is to type the word on the bubble before it pops. It gets increasingly harder as more bubbles float up and speed up. How to integrate UpBeat and Typing Chef into the classroom: Typing can be a subject that elicits groans.  Adding these games in the mix as additional opportunities for practice is sure to make students happy to practice.  I try to keep typing to a minimal in my classroom.  With only 35 minutes once a week with students, I don’t want to spend all of our time practicing typing. I have the kids do the majority of typing practice at home.  Once a year (sometimes twice) I hold a big typing Olympics competition.  Students can earn a free break dress code day (we have uniforms), this is great incentive…like gold to them!  The fastest boy and girl touch typist in each class get the break dress code certificate.  I make a huge deal about how athletes who participate in the Olympics have to train hard.  Practice doesn’t always make perfect but we are aiming for practice makes permanant (good habits).  I created the following website for my students to use in their training www.typing.weebly.com.  Upbeat and Typing Chef have both been added to the games page of my Typing website. Tips: UpBeat is a Mini-clip game. This site is often blocked at schools, make sure it is unblocked at your school before you plan on using it in class. Please leave a comment and share how you are using UpBeat and Typing Chef in your classroom.

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Make your own iPad Stylus for less than 10 cents!

Posted by admin | Posted in iPod, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary | Posted on 30-08-2011

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We had an incredible first week at Anastasis Academy.  It was amazing to see all of our hard work come together in the form of a student body.  Walking through the classrooms this week it was obvious: this is a place of learning.

One of our first-week of school activities was creating our own iPad stylus.  Since we are a one-to-one iPad environment, this seemed like a good beginning for everyone.

We learned that to make a stylus, we first had to find some soft, conductive material.  A Google search informed us that we could use conductive foam (the kind that is used to pack electronics), conductive thread, conductive yarn (we thought this would be PERFECT for our pens but couldn’t get any delivered fast enough), or a Scotch Brite sponge.  I was a little skeptical of the Scotch Brite (it just seemed TOO easy) but it worked like a champ!

The kids had fun exploring how the yellow, soft part of the sponge would draw on the iPad when they held it in their hands.  Some of the kiddos were a little baffled when they put the sponge into the plastic pen body and they found out that it no longer worked.  Students added a little wire and soon the pens were working again!  It was a great way for all of the kids to experiment with conductors and insulators.

Below are the steps for making your very own $0.10 or less iPad stylus.

*I bought a pack of Scotch Brite sponges, cheap, penny pens from a local office store, and a small roll of craft wire.  We made about 50 pens for $6.00!

1.  Separate the Scotch Brite sponge from the abrasive green backing.  Cut the yellow sponge remaining into small wedges.

2.  Take the ink out of some cheap plastic pen casing.  Drill a hole near the head of the pen with a small drill bit.

3.  Cut 6 inches of wire.

4. Tightly wrap the wire around the small end of the sponge wedge.

5. Thread the sponge through the head of the pen (our pen head separated from the pen body).

6. Bend the end of the wire farthest from the sponge into a 90* angle.  Thread this into the pen body and through the pre-drilled hole.

7.  Pull the wire through the drilled hole and wrap it several times around the pen body.

8.  Cut the exposed end of the sponge into desired pen-nub shape. 

9.  To use the pen, make sure that your hand is touching the wire at some point. Draw or write with your stylus!

The kids loved making their own stylus.  There was a lot of talk about perseverance (when we tried to thread the wire through the small drilled hole), conductivity and exclamations of “I did it!”.

It was a wonderful exercise in frustration and success.  Every student was proud of their finished product that actually worked!  Students learned about conductivity, perseverance, insulation, and building with every-day materials.

One of our students, Benton, made a short stop motion animation with his pen…you can see it below:

 

Now for our next trick- working with @ianchia to figure out how we can construct conductive manipulatives that work with the iPad.  Should be fun!

Comments (24)

[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Make your own iPad Stylus for less than 10 cents! One of our first-week of school activities was creating our own iPad stylus! Source: ilearntechnology.com […]

Fantastic learning opportunity, and very clever too. Can’t wait to try it!

[…] Kelly Tenkely does it again at iLearn Technology. […]

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[…] they put the health sponge in to the plastic pen body and that they found out that it no…Read more… This entry "iLearn Technological innovation?? Blog Archive?? Make an individual iPad Stylus […]

[…] Make Your Own iPad Stylus for Less than 10 Cents | iLearn Technology This entry was posted in Tech and tagged DIY, Stylus, Tablet by admin. Bookmark the permalink. […]

[…] Make Your Own iPad Stylus for Less than 10 Cents [iLearn Technology] Tagged:clever usesdiystylus […]

[…] Make Your Own iPad Stylus for Less than 10 Cents | iLearn Technology You can reach Alan Henry, the author of this post, at alan@lifehacker.com, or better yet, follow him on Twitter or Google+. Article source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/lifehacker/full/~3/j2uk0-7zPZg/build-your-own-tablet-stylus-on-the-cheap-with-a-ballpoint-pen-and-a-spongePosts Related to Build Your Own Tablet Stylus on the Cheap with a Ballpoint Pen and a Sponge [MacGyver Tip]7notes for iPad Lets You Take Notes On-Screen with Your Finger [Video]iPad: If you've been waiting for a utility that finally lets you take notes on a tablet screen like you would a piece of paper, …Today’s LinksThe Birdy Is a Super Simple Budgeting Site That Records Your Purchases Via Email [Personal Finance] If you appreciate the need for budgeting and tracking …Samsung Galaxy Note May Revive the StylusRecommend: 0 Comments Print By IDG News Service, PCWorld   Sep 1, 2011 2:30 PMBuild Your Own Grid-It Tech Organizer in a Vintage Book [DIY]Grid-It organizers are versatile gadget containers we're really fond of, but this DIY version wraps that modern organizing goodness into a vintage book for a …Report: Amazon 10-Inch Tablet Production Starts Early Next YearAmazon CEO Jeff BezosProduction on a 10-inch Amazon tablet will begin in the first quarter of 2012, while a 7-inch slate from the company will …Did you like this? Share it:Tweet […]

[…] Make Your Own iPad Stylus for Less than 10 Cents | iLearn Technology You can reach Alan Henry, the author of this post, at alan@lifehacker.com, or better yet, follow him on Twitter or Google+. […]

This is great! Are you worried at all about the sponge slipping up into the pen leaving a hard edge that might scratch the surfaces of the iPads? Thanks for sharing your activity and instructions. Sounds like the students enjoyed it. I think I’ll give it a try!

[…] Make your own iPad Stylus for less than 10 cents! via iLearn Technology […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Make your own iPad Stylus for less than 10 cents! RT @ianchia: Kids at @TeamAnastasis making their own iP*d Stylus for less than 10 cents http://t.co/alKTkUl #mlearning #slide2learn #ipaded #iear #edapp… Source: ilearntechnology.com […]

Not worried about the sponge slipping up because of the way you wrap the wire around the sponge it really isn’t possible for that to happen.

[…] a cheap disposable pen, some wire, and…yellow sponges…don't believe me, check it out here – iLearn Technology – Cheap iOS Stylus Patrick Share this Do you know somebody else who would find this post interesting or useful? […]

[…] this step-by-step tutorial (inspired by iLearn), we’re going to show how to make your own capacitive stylus that you can use with […]

[…] http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=4221 – Using pen, foam and wire – geared to kids […]

Great tutorial guys, we were doing some research into how stylus’ are made for the iPad and found this enlightening article. Definitely going to have a play around with this.

It it is. Super cool but I tryed it a different way I used pen wire and sponge then I took the sponge hooked it on to the pointy part wrapped a wire around and then it was finished way better than anything you should try this. Thanks. Bye

[…] constructing a styles from foam, wire, and an old pen. Students at Anastasis Academy made with own iPad styluses for less than 10 cents using a sponge and […]

[…] community together for some activities.  Our first year, students worked together to create iPad styluses out of sponge and wire for less than 10 cents.  Last year we held an all-school day of play (highly recommend that!) and marshmallow/spaghetti […]

Gummi worms work, too. Really!

Sponges are made without he brillo.

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