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Spent: Social Justice Simulation

What it is: I learned about Spent from my friend @ianchia last week on Twitter. Spent is a collaboration between McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham to show students how the decisions they make affect their lives.  The Urban Ministries of Durham serves over 6,000 people every year.  Students have the opportunity to accept the Spent simulation and challenge to see if they can make it through a month of living expenses.  They have just lost their job, their savings are gone, they have lost their house, and they are down to their last thousand dollars.  Students must find a job, make decisions about housing, food, emergencies, and more as they try to survive one month on minimum wage. How to integrate Spent into the classroom: Spent is a social justice game simulation that helps students understand the tough circumstances that so many face that have caused them to be homeless and in need of outside assistance.  The game uses scenarios that are true to life and shows students how each decision that they make has consequences.  Spent would be a great game for students to play in an economics or social studies class.  Students can play the game individually and come together at the end of the game to discuss how the decisions they made affected their ultimate outcome.  Which students made it to the end of the month and which failed?  What decision(s) led to that outcome?  If you don’t have the ability for students to play the game individually, play as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  Make decisions together as a class weighing the pros and cons of each decision as you go. Extend this online game by moving to a place of action.  What can your students do to help those in need?  Can they hold a school fundraiser to donate to the Urban Ministries of Durham? Can they create compelling call to action videos and post them to YouTube?  Let your students be creative and come up with their own solutions for making an impact. Tips: There are some great ethical scenarios in the simulation that should spark some interesting discussion and debate among students. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Spent in your classroom!

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Squad: Collaborative Code Editor

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, collaboration, Create, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Technology, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 05-12-2012

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What it is: We have some students at Anastasis Academy that are CODE crazy! They are really excited to learn how to code (we’ve used Codecademy) and practice with friends.  Squad is a free collaborative code editor.  With Squad, students can access the code they are writing anywhere there is an Internet connection. This means that students can chat and edit files together no matter where they are.  Squad constantly saves the workspace so that they are available even when multiple machines are logged in.  Students can see what teammates are working on, offer recommendations and even work simultaneously on a document.  Even better? If your students have a coding question (and you, like me, can’t answer) they can copy and paste the code in the workspace’s share URL and anyone with the URL can get in to help.  All of the files created on Squad belong to your students.  They can open (and save) local files, access a remote host via FTP/SFTP or grab a file from Dropbox.  The chat feature is searchable so that students can go back and learn from past mistakes or suggestions.

How to integrate Squad into the classroom: Do you have students who want to learn how to code?  What better way for them to learn and practice than together?!  At Anastasis, we have Crave classes.  These are classes that run once a week that students get to elect to take…something they “crave” learning.  One of our crave classes last year was learning to code.  I “taught” it.  No, I don’t really know how to code. We learned together!  You don’t have to be an expert to help your students explore their passions and interests.  We used Codecademy to learn together.  One of the limitations of Codecademy is that there is no where to just practice together after you have learned a skill.  Squad would be the perfect place for students to explore and practice together.

Older or more advanced students might want to create a club or work together to show what they know in another subject by putting their coding skills to use.

Tips: The free version of Squad limits students to 3 collaborators and 1 workspace, this should be plenty for your beginners!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Squad in your classroom.

Comments (2)

If you’re looking for a great site to learn to code, you need to check out http://codehs.com

We’ve made it really fun and accessible to get started and keep students engaged by teaching them to make fun graphics and awesome games, all from scratch!

We have an awesome, in-browser editor that lets students explore and create.

Most importantly, we have live tutors that answer your questions and give you feedback on your code, so you really improve.

Thank you for these resources! After I created my wedding website last year I became interested in coding, most specifically, learning more about using HTML and CSS to design blogs. Since then, I’ve been interested in teaching an elective for 8th graders. These resources and your experience make me even more confident that it’s something I’m willing to do! Thank you!!

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