Tuesday, December 02, 2014

HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC in the Classroom Contest

The Hewlett Packard EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC is a tiny desktop computer with lots of big features!

Its footprint is 6.9 x 1.3 x 7.0 inches and it weighs only 2.92 pounds, less than a lot of laptops! The HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC  has a 4th generation Intel processor and runs the newest Windows operating systems. The front of the computer includes two USB 3.0 ports (one of which is a USB fast charge port) and an audio-out and microphone jack.

Shown with optional stand, monitor, keyboard and mouse

On the back, it has an additional four USB 3.0 ports, a VGA connection, an Ethernet port, 2 Display Ports, and an audio-out jack. The bottom of the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC has a VESA mount.

A wireless card is an option as is an external DVD/RW drive. With a 500GB standard hard drive or up to a 1TB solid state drive, the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC packs a great computer into a "mini" package. Also, due to its small size, it has more than 3 times the energy-efficiency of a tower desktop.

The unit I received has a 2.9gHz i5 processor and is running Windows 7 Professional, but the upgrade disk to Windows 8.1 was also included in the package. It has 4GB RAM, a 128GB solid state hard drive, and the WiFi card.

Here is more detailed specs and information about the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC.


In the education arena, the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC can solve any number of problems as well as help schools think “out of the box”.

Teacher’s desks are notoriously cluttered with the tools of the trade…their teaching materials, stationery supplies for student use, and much more. The diminutive footprint of the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC can free up a ton of usable space on a teacher’s desk and also eliminate the “big box” on the dusty floor! Teachers can easily get access to the USB ports and audio jacks on the front of the EliteDesk G1 Mini PC when they need to, too.

Another plus for teachers is the WiFi capabilities of the device. In the past, teachers were tied to classroom area of the Ethernet jack and VGA connection. Now, with wireless projectors and wireless network access, the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini can sit anywhere in the room. In addition, with the plethora of collaborative apps that can have students share over WiFi, the teacher and students can share documents, collaborate in real-time on virtual whiteboards, and students can mirror their mobile devices to the teacher’s desktop.

In schools where security of computers in a lab setting or classroom is a concern, this tiny HP EliteDesk Mini 800 G1 Mini PC can be easily locked up at night in a drawer or closet. It does have the traditional cable lock port, but locking them up at night might be a better option.

The low cost and energy-efficiency also make this mini computer a perfect replacement for the bigger CPUs in a computer lab setting. The SSD drive makes them fast to boot up and, again, space is saved on the computer lab tables for other student project-based or reference work.

One creative idea, if students have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at home, is to have the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC become a school’s 1:1 device of choice. The light 2.92 lb. weight, the SSD drive which would not be subject to problems when carried in a backpack, and the built-in WiFi could allow students to bring it back and forth from school to home. In school, there would be labs of monitors, keyboards, and mice and extra sets of these in the classroom, library, science labs, and even the cafeteria!  A student would just hook-up his or her HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini wherever there was a “workstation” spot. 


HP graciously provided me with the opportunity to give away a new HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC to a lucky US or Canadian PreK-16 educator or pre-service or graduate education student! In order to have a chance to win the Mini PC, educators were asked to make a mini-- a mini-infographic that is!

As you know, an infographic is a visual representation of data. Having students create them as a formative or summative assessment can help them practice their information literacy, visual literacy, data literacy, and technology literacy skills.

When starting off with this type of lesson or unit, it is best to start small. Have students research to find one piece of interesting data, decide who the audience for the infographic is going to be, consider the type of data visualization that would work best to showcase the information, and then create a mini-infographic showcasing just that single piece of interesting data.

USA Today, since beginning publication, has offered a mini-infographic they call a “snapshot” on the front page of each issue of the newspaper. Researchers, reporters, and editors in each of the primary departments of News, Money, Sports, and Life account for most of the ideas and research for these snapshots. Once the research is complete, the information goes to a graphic artist who creates the infographic. This process usually take between three and four hours.

Here are some links to sample USA Today snapshots in the area of news.


In order to participate in the contest to win an HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC desktop computer, the educator had to create a mini-infographic or “snapshot” and submit it to me. The winner of the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC was randomly chosen from those educators who submit the mini-infographic.

The topic of the infographic had to be in their content area, an education or educational technology-related topic, or anything else of interest to K-12 educators or students. The infographic could have been intended to inform or persuade.  I provided the entrants with the background image to use for the infographic.

To find out more about infographics, visit my infographics page here: http://www.schrockguide.net/infographics-as-an-assessment.html


The easiest way to create a mini-infographic is to create a single slide in PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides.  For this contest, I had created a PowerPoint, Keynote, and JPEG version of the background entrants were required to use. The background illustrated the "clean" desk teachers would have by using an HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC!

On that single slide/image, entrants had to add the text and data information, and include the citation to the sources used for their infographic information. All of that information had to be that single slide. Here is a sample I created:

When entrants were finished with the slide, in PowerPoint they picked FILE- SAVE AS PICTURES, in Keynote picked FILE-EXPORT TO- IMAGES, and in Google Slides picked FILE- DOWNLOAD AS- JPEG IMAGE. They saved the image to their desktop or Google Drive (or their Camera Roll or Gallery if they were using a tablet).

Entrants emailed the single JPEG image to me at kathy@kathyschrock.net. They also put "Mini" in the subject line of the email and their name, email address, and Twitter handle (if they had one) in the body of the email.

Here were the links to the background image in the three different formats


Educators had to locate some small bit of data they wanted to share with other educators or students. Using the background on the single slide, they added --

  • a title for the infographic
  • a labeled chart or graph
  • text to explain what the viewer is seeing
  • URL to the page(s) where they obtained the data
  • Saved the slide as JPEG to their computing device
  • Sent the JPEG as an attachment to kathy@kathyschrock.net with the subject of "Mini"
  • Included their name, email address, and Twitter handle, if they had one, in the body of the email
The contest was open to PreK-16 educators and pre-service and graduate education students in the United States and Canada.

By submitting the mini-infographic entry, entrants had a random chance to win the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC and they were giving me permission to possibly post your infographic on my blog site whether they won or not. Their name would not appear on the Web page, just the mini-infographic itself.

By submitting the entry, if they were chosen as the winner, they were are also allowing me to share their name, email address, and mailing address with HP (or an HP associate) so they could send the winner  the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC.

The winner’s name would be announced on the blog (but not tied to their submission) and on Twitter.

The email address of all who submit entries will remain private except for the winner, whose email address will be shared with HP (or an HP associate).

The submissions were due on: December 7, 2014 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time and the contest is now closed.



Here are some of the great mini-infographics that were submitted! Thank you to all who re-tweeted about the contest and for those that submitted an entry!


The randomly-chosen winner of the giveway of the HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC was Mark Case! I used the DecideNow app on the iPad to pick the winner-- congrats to Mark!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Literacies for the digital age: Historical literacy

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in  December 2014 and is re-posted here with permission.

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts highlighting the digital literacies our students will need to succeed. The first three posts covered financial literacyvisual literacy, and media literacy. This post will provide you with some ideas on how to infuse historical literacy into the curriculum.
The thirteen literacies I feel need to be explored, practiced and mastered by students can be found in the graphic below.


The Hyperhistory site from the National Centre for History Education in Australia is a wonderful site for learning about all aspects of history education, including historical literacy. They have a teacher’s guide which contains information about the nature of historical learning, historical literacy, history education and ICT, and more. Their overview of the key elements of historical literacy include:
  • Events of the past: knowing and understanding historical events
  • Narratives of the past: having time to think about how the past can be explained through a variety of perspectives
  • Research skills; gathering, analyzing, and using artifacts, documents, and graphics
  • The language of history: interpreting words in history
  • Historical concepts: understanding the cause and motivation of historical events and to understand events from the point of view of participants
  • ICT understandings: how to identify bias, authority, and reliability in online information
  • Making connections: thinking about the present and the past
  • Contention and contestability: understanding about debate and discourse in a historical perspective
  • Representative expression: understanding history through art and media of the past (and visual media literacies are important here)
  • Moral judgements in history: dealing with the moral and ethical components of historical events
  • Applied science in history: facial reconstruction, computer imaging, DNA testing, forensic science, satellite mapping, etc.
  • Historical explanation: the ability to reason historically based on a foundation of evidence


The acquisition of historical literacy skills in the digital age involves aspects of other literacies, too. Students need to use the information literacy skills for the research process which involves::
  • Identifying a list of keywords about the topic
  • Creating an essential question
  • Listing the places for gathering their information. This may include the the Web, subscription databases, or experts in the field.
  • Conducting some cursory research to make sure there will be information available for their topic.
  • If necessary, re-working their original question.
  • Utilizing critical evaluation skills in order to determine the credibility, validity, and authority of the research they find.
  • Gathering their assets and remembering to cite their sources


Understanding history through the art and media of the past includes an attention to the media literacy skills, outlined by the Media Literacy Project, which include having students:
  • Understand how media messages create meaning
  • Identify who created a particular media message
  • Recognize what the media maker wants us to believe or do
  • Name the “tools of persuasion” used
  • Recognize bias, spin, misinformation and lies
  • Discover the part of the story that’s not being told
  • Evaluate media messages based on their own experiences, beliefs and values
  • Create and distribute their own media messages
  • Become advocates for change in their media system
Viewing the art and media of the past also involves the visual literacy skills included in the definition  created by the Association of College and Research libraries as those that “equip a learner to understand and analyze the contextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, intellectual, and technical components involved in the production and use of visual materials.”


One of the ways many of the key skills of historical literacy can be acquired is through the use of primary source documents. Since so many historical artifacts are now digitized and available online, items can be found to support many content areas and time periods. Historical literacy, to me, seems to be a component of all of the subject areas and not just a part of the social studies curriculum. There are many well-know collections of primary source documents, some of which provide materials to support teaching and learning. Here are two of my favorites!

American Memory Collection

The American Memory Collection is a project of the Library of Congress. It includes access to over 9 million items including written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. The digitized items are from the collections of the Library of Congress as well as other cultural institutions.
Their site includes a wonderful section about primary sources which provides teachers with guides and handouts to help this process. The parts of this section include:
  • Using primary sources: an overview of how to guide students through the process
  • Why use primary sources: how to give students a real sense of what it was to be alive in an earlier time
  • Citing primary sources: style guidelines for MLA and Chicago
  • Copyright and primary sources: generation information about copyright as well as specifics regarding the collections on their site
  • Finding primary sources: links to the gathered resources such as sets of primary source materials, sources by US state, themed resources, Web guides, and more
  • Teacher’s guides and analysis tools: guides for teachers to help them teach the analyzing of primary sources, printed texts, maps, motion pictures, oral histories, photographs and prints , political cartoons, sheet music and song sheets, and sound recordings
This is the Primary Source Analysis tool for students to use.

National Archives 

The National Archives and Records Administration also includes a teaching and learning section for using the documents of the United States government in teaching and learning.
The site includes links to:
  • Featured exhibits which are collections of documents about a theme, such as the “Charters of Freedom” and the “Discovering the Civil War”
  • The Digital Vaults which include 1200 of the over 10 billion records housed there; one of my favorites is a sample letter written by a teenager beseeching the government to allow the Beatles to perform even though, in 1963, there were labor restrictions in place that made it difficult for foreign musical groups to come to the US; students can also use the items in the vaults to make a poster of movie from resources they find.
  • eBooks that support exhibits such as signatures in the collection, baseball, emancipation, and the Consitution
  • Special topics on their DocsTeach page which include YouTube content, iTunesU courses, and podcasts, images, audio, and video “pinned” to Google Maps
  • DocsTeach allows educators to create their own interactive learning activities using documents from the collection and students can complete the activity via  an iPad app  or via a Web browser on a computer,
The National Archives site for educators also includes document analysis worksheets for the following types of documents.
Here is one example–the motion picture analysis worksheet. (Educators might consider putting these forms in a Google Form to make it easier to assess or share student work.)


When searching for social studies and historical information in Discovery Education Streaming, there are hundreds of resources available, in multiple formats and all grade levels, as shown in the image below.

In addition to the Discovery Education Streaming service, there is also an option to get access to the Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook which is a fully interactive, middle school social studies textbook that can be used via both a computer and an iPad. Following the unit/lesson design format of engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate, the Social Studies Techbook pulls together text, images, videos, activities, and assessments. For teachers, the standards and Common Core connections are included, as well as a lesson overview, teacher preparation instructions, and lesson teaching guidance. Solid pedagogical practices including both project based inquiry and document based inquiry, ELL tips, activation of prior knowledge, and both formative and summative assessments, such as brief-constructed and extended-constructed responses, are included. And, of course, the assets embedded in the Social Studies Techbook  are from the vast repository of the Discovery Education’s holdings.
The computer version and the iPad versions look and feel identical, so students can easily move back and forth between platforms if needed. Below is a screenshot from the browser-based version and from the iPad app. A sample screenshot is below.