beanz Magazine

Storytelling Apps, Learning to Learn, and More

Some thoughts on starting the third year of publishing this magazine and what's new this month.

Welcome to the August issue of the magazine! This issue starts the third year of publication and there are a number of improvements you might notice. The layout of the print magazine, for example, is all new to pack more stories in each issue and uses saddle stitch (a fancy word for staples to bind pages).

The August issue, regardless of publication year, provides teachers with inspiration and ideas on how they might include technology as they start a new school year. Last August I found neat 3D animation software tools and resources which work great for kids not interested in programming. This issue highlights visual storytelling apps, an interesting type of software that makes it easy for anyone to create and publish stories with text, images, and video. These apps could be perfect for students who are shy. Or kids who want to learn then practice professional storytelling skills.

This month I republish a neat story about how fifth grade students use one of my favorite software tools, Trello. If you don’t know, Trello makes it easy to organize and share notes. Paul Solarz, their teacher, has mashed up Trello, Weebly, genius hours, and a few other tools to help his students learn how to learn. I was so impressed, I also interviewed Paul about how he helps his students, how he became a teacher, and what he thinks of technology in the classroom. It’s a great read and I’m grateful for his time. Hopefully you will find the interview with Paul and the Trello story inspiring and actionable.

Also new this publication year is a recurring feature about local groups you might want to look up and help out. This month, Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr is featured. Next month, Coder Dojo. Random Hacks is up first because this magazine started partly as the result of attending their first event, in May 2013. Watching kids unfamiliar with technology work for a day with college kids and local non-profits to create apps for the non-profits was inspiring. It’s a different kind of hackathon where working together, exposure to software development, meeting local non-profits, mentoring kids, and identifying problems and possible solutions counts more than finishing an app in one day. Technology is allowed to help and connect people.

I started publishing this magazine in August 2013 as a way to share what I found as I explore my interests in kids, software programming, computer science, and how we use technology every day. It’s also been fun to find and feature people doing neat things with technology in their lives. It’s also been inspiring to research then write reader ideas for stories. Likely Year 3 of this magazine will be the best and most fun year. I appreciate your support and ideas so far!

P.S. If you don’t know, this magazine is 100% reader supported. There are no ads to distract your reading. If the magazine helps you, please consider an online only or print plus online subscription.

Also In The August 2015 Issue

In his classroom, he and his students learn together as a community.

These fifth grade students use their genius hours and Trello software to answer tough questions.

Visual storytelling apps are a great way for kids to document and explore their lives.

Raspberry Pi, Arduino, BeagleBone, Micro Bit, Edison, CHIP, and other handheld computers trace their history to board computers used by engineers.

Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. helps schools and groups host one day hacking events for kids to work with local non-profit groups.

Resources based on teacher recommendations and other sources.

The new Sphero SPRK Edition makes it even easier for teachers, parents, and kids to learn math, robotics, and programming.

Facts, programs, and groups can help girls succeed at STEM careers.

She was in her 30s when she led the team that developed mission critical software used guide the Apollo moon landings.

Learn about and explore the code used to guide Apollo missions.

CRUD is a powerful concept used everywhere in software programming that uses a database.

Links from the bottom of all the August 2015 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for August 2015.

Some thoughts on starting the third year of publishing this magazine and what's new this month.