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Tech Clubs   Tags: clubs, tech club, technology  

Intended for educators, includes ideas for student tech clubs
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2012 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Philosophy & Scope

According to our Tech Club parent permission slip, "The purpose of the club is to offer students a chance to explore some of the school’s software such as Comic Life, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, Garage Band, and Keynote; and to create projects that are not graded or linked to curriculum."  The school day doesn't seem to allow time for as many creative tech projects as we would like, so we offer a tech club to give the students a chance to explore.

We designed a scope that worked for our grade levels at our school. We wanted to introduce the programs in order for the teachers to utilize the skills we covered (if they decided to incorporate the programs into the curriculum) and a scope allowed us not to repeat programs from grade to grade and it also allowed for kids to be in tech club year after year with out repitition of material. 

3rd grade:Keynote (presentation), Stykz (simple animation)

4th grade: iMovie (moviemaking effects), GarageBand (music creation & podcasts)

5th grade:Google Sketch Up (3D drawing), Alice or Scratch (programming), Gamestar (game design)


Stykz is an animation program that we use with 3rd-5th graders. First we introduce the program to the students, and show them the features of the program and how to navigate the tool bars. Next, we assign all the students with the same assignment, to make the stick figure walk. We discuss the movement your body makes when walking and we show examples and non-examples of a person walking. After the kids make their first animation walk then they are given free time to create and design their own animation.

  • Stykz
    Multi-platform stick figure animation program, Stykz is frame-based, letting you work on individual frames of your animation to make it just right. Onionskins let you see what was in the previous frame so you can make adjustments to your current frame easily. From Sons of Thunder Software.
  • Comic Creator
    Children and teens create comic strips online by choosing backgrounds, characters, and props. They can also write dialogue using speech bubbles. There is a Comic Strip Planning Sheet, a printable PDF that comic creators can use to draft and revise their work before creating and printing their final comics. When the comics are completed, they can be printed out and shared. The sample comic strip shows a three-pane comic. From ReadWriteThink.
  • Make an Animation
    With AnimateStar kids can learn the basics of animation using a 40 frame easy to use interface. Animations can be as short as 2 frames or as long as 40 frames. From ABCya!
  • Automatoon
    Not ready for prime time, watch for the relaunch with a classroom specific product called
  • Toondoo
    ToonDoo is a cool, comic-creating tool from Jambav, a fun site for kids. Jambav is devoted to creating a unique array of free and customizable online games of educational value for children of all abilities. Must create an account, but students could use the teacher's account, as usual, be careful of the galleries.
  • $ Go Animate for Schools
    GoAnimate state-of-art animation tools are perfect to complement your teaching and get your students to put learning into practice.
  • $ Animation-ish
    Animation-ish is an easy-to-use animation software program that inspires creativity and enables children to "show what they know." From Fablevision.

Movie Making

The possibities are endless when you are the designer and director in iMovie! Our students get a chance to be in charge of desigining movies using still pictures, video recordings, music designed by them in garage band and the list goes on! We introduce our students to the user friendly features of designing their own movies and the kids blast off with their creativity!!

  • $ iMovie
    Movie editing software for Mac. If you know how to drag and drop, you can make a movie in iMovie. Here’s how easy it is: Just drag your favorite clips into the project area and arrange them however you like. Drag in titles and transitions. Drop in photos. Add a song from iTunes or GarageBand for your soundtrack.
  • Animoto
    Turn your photos, video clips, and music into stunning video masterpieces to share with everyone. More of a slideshow, but turns your images into a movie effortlessly.
  • Kids' Vid
    Kids' Vid is an instructional web site that gives teachers and students the tools necessary to implement video production in the classroom.
  • Movie Maker
    Quickly add photos and footage from your PC or camera into Movie Maker. Then fine tune your movie just the way you want it. You can move things around, speed it up or slow it down—it’s up to you. Edit the soundtrack and add a theme
    Movie Maker adds transitions and effects automatically so your movie looks polished and professional.


When it comes to progaming we tend to use it with our older students in the building. We introduced it to our 4th graders this year. First, we show the program and how to navigate through the system. Then we assign them to work through the tutorials which reveals the ins and outs of the program. After they complete the tutorials they are set free with their creativity to design their world.

  • Alice
    3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing. Tutorials available, multi-university intiative
  • Scratch
    Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web. From MIT and the NSF.
  • Anne Abraham's Scratch Wiki
  • Computer Science Unplugged
    CS Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.

    The activities introduce students to underlying concepts such as binary numbers, algorithms and data compression, separated from the distractions and technical details we usually see with computers.

    CS Unplugged is suitable for people of all ages, from elementary school to seniors, and from many countries and backgrounds. Unplugged has been used around the world for over fifteen years, in classrooms, science centers, homes, and even for holiday events in a park!
  • Greenfoot
    Greenfoot teaches object orientation with Java. Create 'actors' which live in 'worlds' to build games, simulations, and other graphical programs. Greenfoot is visual and interactive. Visualisation and interaction tools are built into the environment.
  • Math and Programming
    This activity will introduce you to basic programming. Create your own geometric artwork. Explore angles, measurement, and two dimensional geometry. Online activity.


Keynote is a presentation program that we use with our 3rd and 4th graders. The program has many amazing and exciting features to offer. In tech club we expose the students to the dynamic features it has. The children design "All About Me" projects utilizing all of the special features we demonstrate. It is a great way for the kids to be creative and have a skill they can use on school projects in the future.

  • $ Keynote
    New cinematic animations, transitions, and effects in Keynote will keep your audience captivated. We use the automated builds to make presentations that appear to be movies.
  • Prezi
    Prezi is a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and the connections between them. The result: visually captivating presentations that lead your audience down a path of discovery.
  • Google Presentations
    Not only does it have everything you need to pull together an awesome presentation, but you’ll never have to hit “save” again. Tell a story together, collaboratively with rich animations, customized drawings, seamless transitions, a variety of themes, and much more.
  • Glogster
    Interactive posters loaded with text, graphics, music, videos, and more. Be careful of the galleries for content inappropriate for students - make note of Glogster for educators.
  • SlideRocket
    Presentations online. Collaborative and can be viewed from anywhere by providing the link. Lite version is free. Includes some capabilities to include quiz type activities.

Music and Sound

Some students have that musical ear! During tech club we allow for kids to create their own music from scratch. Students have the opprotunity to put their musical talents in action with Garage Band. They can design creative beats with a single instrument or an entire rock band! The possibilities are endless!!

  • $ GarageBand
    Your own recording studio. If you want to learn to play an instrument, write music, or record a song, GarageBand has everything you need. We use Magic GarageBand, even those with no musical talent can create music, then we move on to creating music with loops and podcasts.
  • Audacity
    Audacity® is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds. Audacity is available for Windows®, Mac®, GNU/Linux®, and other operating systems.
  • Musicshake
    Source for copyright free music and music creation online.
  • VoiceThread
    VoiceThread creates collaborative, multimedia slide shows that hold images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments.
  • Incredibox
    This interactive Flash website lets you create your own a capella beatbox vocal group. Just select your vocalists, set the effects, and let ‘em sing.

Game Creation

Our students today love to play video games of all types! So why not teach them how to design them?! In our 5th grade tech club we introduce our students to the world of creating games. Gamestar is designed to take them through all the dynamics of game design. After the accounts are set up for each child the fun begins. With the use of the teacher guide and the website, the children not only get to play games designed by kids their age but they get to publish games they designed!!

  • Gamestar Mechanic
    Teachers set up accounts in Gamestar Mechanic for a class. Students learn the principles of game design by playing games. After playing their way through the lessons, students can create their own games. Begun with a MacArthur Foundation grant, now a part of E-Line Media.
  • Sploder
    Sploder™ is online game software that allows people to create cool games and publish them on the web. Sploder™ even allows you to easily put Flash games on your site without having to learn Flash. From Neurofuzzy.
  • Kodu Game Lab
    Kodu lets kids create games on the PC and XBox via a simple visual programming language. Kodu can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming. Anyone can use Kodu to make a game, young children as well as adults with no design or programming skills. Kodu for the PC is available to download for free.

Photography and Images

  • $ iPhoto
    In iPhoto ’11, you can browse, edit, and share your photos full screen. Do more with your photos than you ever thought possible. And do it all in one place.
    Using the image generation section, student can create avatars, signs, buttons, favicons, etc
  • Fun Photo Box
    Online photo editing tool where you can create funny pictures from your photos. Choose from a variety of online photo effects, animations, e-cards, and face in hole prints. Offers paid printing services.
  • Pics4Learning
    Copyright free photos for educational use. From


  • Google Sketch Up
    Recently purchased by Trimble. 3D drawing. With luck, will remain free. Students love this one. Explain and present your ideas using 3D models.
  • Blabberize
    Animate the mouth (or other selected area) of an image.
  • Voki
    Voki enables users to express themselves on the web in their own voice using a talking character. You can customize your Voki to look like you or take on the identity of lots of other types of characters… animals, monsters, anime etc. Your Voki can speak with your own voice which is added via microphone, upload, or phone. Use individually or sign up for a classroom account. From Oddcast.

If you have $$$

What child doesn't love hands on fun?! In lego robotics students get to design machines from the ground up and bring them to life! With a step by step guide and teacher direction, children have the opprotunity to build their own machine. After their macine is put together, they progam it to move through obstacle courses. There are no limitation when it comes to lego robotics!

  • Lego Robotics
    We run a separate Lego Robotics club. Great club with high interest, it is expensive to buy the kits and get started. Competitive leagues are available.
  • Claymation
    We run a separate club for Claymation. This is stop motion animation such as the Wallace and Gromit films. A fun club, but it requires time and supplies.
  • 3D Printing
    One of several affordable printers for 3D printing. Our grant was turned down, but we are determined to bring this to our school.

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