Tag Archives: Dena Rothstein

Working with 6th graders to update their digital portfolios using #GoogleSites

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Amy Kissel (6th grade English), Peter Weiss (6th grade English Associate), and Dena Rothstein (6th grade Social Studies) collaborated on a Personal Artifact Project. Kids were provided a mason jar to fill with items that represented their identity. They had to choose and describe factually one of their own items and also compose a fictional story about a classmate’s item.

Later, I came in and asked the students create a new page on their personal Google Site for the 2013-2014 school year. They used this same Google Site in 3rd and 4th grade and will continue to add to it throughout their middle school years…or until the technology changes.

We talked about how this page should use the Announcements template so it can be structured like a blog. Because they took a picture of their jar and their objects, students use the 2-column layout for this first post. So the image/s could be in one column and the text could be in the other. We also talked about what it means to curate a portfolio and craft their digital presence.

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5th graders at @The_School are “outsourcing” their Greek 3-D temple designs!

There’s an awesome project happening in two of the 5th grade classrooms at The School at Columbia University right now. To supplement their study of Ancient Greece, Dena Rothstein and Heather Lortie, are having their students collaborate with students from The Marymount School across Central Park on the Upper East Side. (The School is located on the Upper West Side…) Both groups are designing 3D Greek temples using Tinkercad and sharing their online files with a group at the other school to tweak, customize, and ultimately build (“print”) in our 3D printers. The humor of us being able to say that we are literally outsourcing to the East is not lost on us.

Teachers supporting this collaboration at The School are Heather, Dena, Greg Benedis-Grab (@gbenedisgrab), and Don Buckley (@donbuckley) with a lot of support from Cristina Martinez (@finlaycm) and a little support from me. On the UES of the park, Jaymes Dec (@jaymesdec) and Lesa Wang oversee Marymount’s particpation in the project. Jaymes designed the new Fab Lab at Marymount, and he just spoke at TEDxNYED last month.

Today, the groups communicated “long distance” and “real time” using Google Video Chat. (Cristina Martinez turned on the Chat feature for students just for this project and just for a few days. Usually, this feature is disabled.) I moved about checking on all of the groups. At one point, I observed four kids (two in front of me and two on the screen) discuss their designs and even use a secondary laptop facing the camera to visibly demonstrate how to use Tinkercad to make a triangular hole to decorate the roof of a temple. I thought that was awesome. 🙂

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Notes from our tour of the Marymount’s new Fab Lab with @JaymesDec

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I just got back from a tour of Marymount‘s new Fab Lab led by Jaymes Dec (@JaymesDec) and Lesa Wang. (Fab is short for Fabrication) Lesa has been teaching art at Marymount for years, and she says her whole curriculum has changed as a result of having the Fab Lab available to her. Marymount is an all-girls PreK-12 independent school on the Upper East Side. Visiting along with me from The School at Columbia University were Greg Benedis-Grab (science), Gina Marcel (K-2 Technology), Dena Rothstein (5th Grade), and David Waterbury (Tech).

Jaymes learned about technology as a graduate student in the ITP program at NYU Tisch. (ITP = Interactive Telecommunications Program). He has experience teaching afterschool robotics classes at Vision Education. Jaymes helped establish GreenFab in the Bronx, and when their 3-year funded project ended, he happened to be consulting for Marymount to set up their Fab Lab. Currently, he is employed by Marymount working on projects with grades K, 5, 6, 7, 8.

In terms of building their 3D designs, Jaymes prefers Tinkercad over 3DTin. He says Google SketchUp isn’t designed to create 3D files natively – for that, you need to install a plugin.

In the Fab Lab are a ridiculous number of printing machines including an Epilog Laser ($30K) and the corresponding filter system. There are also multiple CNC printers including Makerbots and ShopBots. (CNC = Computer Numeric Control) The Shopbot is a 3D milling machine that can drill on 3 axes. This particular unit has a digitizing probe that can act like a 3D scanner so you can scan, modify, and print!
There were awesome examples of student work on the whole 4th floor:
– In the Science room, students were constructing workable prosthetic arms.
– In the Art room, students were redesigning toothbrushes, building their “dream car,” and making models of buildings.
– In the Fab Lab, students were building a variety of functional 3D objects.
Our ultimate ulterior motive for visiting was to see examples of innovation in education and to find a way for our 5th graders and Marymount’s 5th graders to collaborate on a project. Both schools study Ancient Greece, so one possible collaboration may involve The School kids designing temples and outsourcing to Marymount kids for actual printing (and vice versa). Or maybe we even have kids collaborating “long distance” on a design project using GoogleDocs and Skype.

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