The American School in Japan
Teacher: Derrel Fincher
Before reading further, please read the Student
Learning Outcomes as the course is intended to help students exemplify the
Student Learning Outcomes and the focus of the course is on each student's learning.
Explorations I Explorations I focuses on helping
students understand and learn how to learn current technology available in
the middle school. As such, in addition to direct instruction, the students
are expected to learn how to find answers to their questions in the help
files, use other students as resources, and assist other students. Students
will create a digital portfolio to showcase their understanding of
technology, and this portfolio will be assessed for their eligibility for a
waiver from the ASIJ high school technology requirement. Specific topics will cover word processing, desktop
publishing, web publishing, presentations, spreadsheets, digital imaging,
and basic network operations. However, in order to demonstrate their ability
to learn about various technologies on their own, students will have time to
explore and use the other software and hardware available and incorporate
the results in their portfolio. When possible, students are expected to
fulfill the requirements of the course by completing assignments in other
classes using their skills.
Explorations II and III Students will have the opportunity to
explore various multimedia technologies, including digital audio and video,
web site development, Macromedia Flash, programming, and digital image
creation and manipulation. Students are not limited to these and are
encourage to propose projects. In the past, this has been as varied as
building a PC (the students purchased the hardware and software) and
exploring Java. Students will explore their topics of interest by proposing
and creating meaningful projects. Students in Explorations II will propose
and complete several projects over the semester while students in
Explorations III, who have already found their area of interest, will focus
on one or two main projects. Explorations III students are also responsible
for preparing a short tutorial on their main topic then leading the class
through it. Explorations II and III students are also expected to provide
assistance to others. One key component for the projects is that the student
must develop their project with an audience in mind.
Students will be expected to write a short reflection of what they have learned
at the end of every third class at a minimum. These Tri-Class Reflections will
be a journal of their progress and provide part of the evidence of their accomplishments
at the end of the quarter.
Students are expected to share their work and discoveries on the collaborative
Web site for the course. The Web site is password-protected.
Students will be expected to use those resources, as well as this web
site, program manuals, help files, Internet sites, peer helpers, and others.
Students are expected to work with others in the class and provide help to
Students will be responsible for self-assessing their growth and learning,
and documenting their progress. At the end of each quarter, students will write
a self-assessment where they propose a grade and support their proposal with
evidence. In addition, they will have a peer assessment done of their project
and their progress in the project. I will review the peer assessment,
self-assessment, evaluate their evidence and evaluate the peer assessments
they have written in order to assign the grade. The focus will be on how the
student pursued and created opportunities to expand their understanding and
knowledge. We will develop rubrics as a class.
Procedures and Policies
Students are responsible for their own learning and progress but they must
also make effective use of the class time that is scheduled. I will provide
assistance and demonstrate various techniques. Students may either
follow along in the presentation or work on their projects. However, each presentation
is only given once; students who need assistance later are expected to seek help from
others before asking the teacher.
Specific Expectations of Accountability
Students are expected to follow the the acceptable use policy they signed
when entering the Middle School and behave ethically at all times. Specific
issues include not knowingly infringing on others' intellectual property or
using their knowledge of computers or programming to disrupt the work of others.
Students will treat others in the class with respect.
0422-34-5300 ext. 422/651
042-362-4314 (before 9 p.m.)
Parents, if there is anything you would like me to know about your middle-schooler,
or any other comments you would like to make, please email them to me or