Tag Archives: oDreams

Coding in the Classroom

Not every child will grow up to be a historian, yet there is value in teaching history. Not every child will be a mathematician, yet there is importance in teaching math. What about teaching computational thinking? Computational thinking is a way of describing and solving problems that applies higher level critical thinking. How can programming be a productive addition to an already overloaded curriculum? Consider this quote from Steve Jobs.

“I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”

— STEVE JOBS, THE LOST INTERVIEW

AgentSheets Logo
AgentSheets is a software program that lets you create your own agent-based games and simulations using drag and drop, rule-based programming. For more information on AgentSheets and Scalable Game Design, visit scalablegamedesign.org.

Programming encourages children to use technology to solve problems, first by designing games, then by transitioning to STEM-oriented simulations. Learning to program with Scalable Game Design and AgentSheets software introduces computational thinking patterns using motivational and interesting methods tied to the core subjects. The benefits include enriching learning, elevating critical thinking and expanding 21st century and STEM skills.

eMINTS is offering a course in Scalable Game Design. The pilot begins in August and the course will be offered again in the spring. If you are interested in coding in the classroom, please fill out our eLearning interest form.

Carla Chaffin is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Firefox: Organizational Tip – Tab Groups

This was my browser workflow before finding Firefox Tab Groups….

I would be working on, let’s say, a blog post. I would have open multiple browser windows (2-3 usually), each with their own VERY IMPORTANT plethora of tabs, all in some sort of order that made sense in my delusional organization plan. I thought I was organized! With my tons of tabs, in order, in multiple windows, trying to figure out which to bring to the front, where a specific webpage was, and then deciding that they were grouped wrong and then dragging tabs from one window to another. (See mess below)

TooManyWindows

BEFORE

I would drive myself nuts trying to position the windows just right so that I could drag tabs to new windows. It was crushing when I would accidentally close a window FULL of sites to never see them again. Don’t even get me started about the amount of prime property it took up in my dock when all these windows were all minimized. It really was going to be the death of me until…

enter stage right…my savior, my knight-in-shining-armor, my hero ….Firefox Tab Groups. I had the webpage with instructions in an open tab for more than a month before adding it to my “EXPLORE” list in my Outlook ToDo list. It took me a few more months before I had a week this summer to do some R&D and get back to that “EXPLORE” list.

It was AMAZING, I read the instructions and made a couple of quick clicks, typed in a couple of names, and turned that crazy mess of windows and tabs into THIS (see below). It became a beautifully organized, gathering of websites sorted into groups of small images with titles all in ONE window. Ahhhh, sweet organization!

PinnedTabinGroups

AFTER

How to Tame the BEAST: It’s pretty simple to set up, but the directions from Firefox didn’t work exactly as stated on the website under the “How do I create a tab group?” section. What I did was first add a couple of tabs, then selected “Customize” toolbar from the View>Toolbars drop-down menu.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 4.34.12 PM

From there it was a piece of cake. I created new groups by double-clicking in the gray area to add a new tab in a new group. Then i named my groups by hovering over a group until the “Name this group” text field showed up (where you seem my “Work – Must Do” title) and then I typed in the name I wanted. Named Tab GroupThen I dragged the existing tabs around to the appropriate group and resized the group areas so that I could see a larger or smaller image of the tabs to help me identify them. I have 3 main groups, 2 for work and 1 personal group.PinnedTabinGroupsWhen I am ready to start browsing I click on the tab I want front and center, notice all of the other tabs in that group are available in the same window. When I want to get back to view all the tab groups I just click the “Group Your Tabs” button in the top right corner of the Firefox window. TabGroupsIconYou should practice going back and forth between tabs and groups but be careful because when it asks if you are sure you want to close the windows it means all of your Firefox windows.

DontCloseWindowsThere are a few additional features such as searching and saving resources for reviewing later using Pocket. These instructions, and more, can be found on the Use Tab Groups Mozilla Support Page. All images captured by Brooke Higgins.

Brooke Higgins, occasional blogger, is an eIS for the eMINTS National Center working with eMINTS teachers, trainers, and administrators. All of her posts, including this one, can be found at The Higgins Helps blog.