Tag Archives: faculty

Year of Innovation pop-up houses on display at @The_School

After the incredible success of the Tools at Schools design collaboration with aruliden and Bernhardt Design, Don Buckley (@donbuckley) was inspired to have faculty at The School apply the design thinking model for our Year of Innovation.

These pop-up houses, on display throughout the school for a few weeks, are the result of many months spent researching discussing, researching, ideating, and prototyping. Inside are snapshots and notes from each group and an iPad3 (on an iPevo Perch with headphones) running a video where students, faculty, and parents talk about each concept (Homework, Discipline, Recess, Lunch, Grading). Kudos to Hil Szanto (@hilszanto) and Cristina Martinez (@finlaycm) for the videography and editing!

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Faculty at The School kicked off The Year of Innovation this week thanks to @donbuckley and Aruliden.


Thus, the task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.– Erwin Schrödinger

Don Buckley (@donbuckley) is the Director of Innovation at The School at Columbia University and my boss. It has been a pleasure to work with him for the last 5 years, and he has only continued to amaze me with his energy, creativity, and refusal to be stagnant or predictable.

Last year, Don was instrumental in partnering with Aruliden and Bernhardt Design for the Tools at Schools design project. Our 8th graders learned how to research, analyze, ideate, design, prototype, and present, and the full-size models of their desk, chair, and locker were on display at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in May. Incredibly The School won the Editors Choice Award for best design school! I wrote a post about it here: http://karenblumberg.com/tools-for-schools. Don submitted a SXSW proposal about this project. Click here to vote for it: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/8644

This year, Don and the incredible designers from Aruliden (founded by Rinat Aruh and Johan Liden) will teach our faculty to think like designers in order to redesign our school. We were told that Design Thinking entails the following steps: Define, research, analyze, ideate, prototype, refine, repeat, choose, implement. As an introductory activity we worked in small groups to define problems we recognized within education and specifically at our school. We were then told that our groups would be focusing on one of the following issues: discipline, lunch, grading, homework, recess. My group was assigned discipline, and we spent time talking about how ideally we would teach kids to be more disciplined by teaching them to find interests and be self-motivated to develop strategies to maintain focus.

The timeline for our Year of Innovation is:

Day 1: August 30 – Define the problem

Day 2: October 4 – Map out the problem

Day 3: October 25 – Allan ChochinovReframe the problem

Day 4: December 6 – Blue Sky brainstorm

Day 5: January 3 – Paola AntonelliBlue Sky to real life

Day 6: January 31 – KickstarterCommunicating creativity

Day 7: February 7 – Story solutions

Day 8: April 3 – Tell the story

Day 9: April 17 – Aruliden open house

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Me and @PaulieGee (or How my Twitter feed feeds me)


In the midst of a night out in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I stopped to sup at Paulie Gee’s. Paulie serves up delicious brick oven pizzas with poetic names and ridiculously tasty combinations. It is worth ordering more than one Baconmarmalade Picante, as this is one you don’t want to stress about sharing. I checked into Paulie Gee’s on Foursquare (which I link to Twitter and Facebook). Contrary to what my less public friends believe, I don’t share everything, and I’m mostly selective about what I do choose to post.

The pizzas were delicious, and when I finally came up for air, I noticed a man in the open kitchen area looking at his iPhone and doing that tell-tale thumb-scroll down the screen. Then this man leaned over to talk to one of the servers, and she motioned over to my table. I immediately deduced this guy was Paulie, and he had just read my tweet. He came over, shook hands with us all, told us we ordered correctly (as he was almost out of kale and figs), and gifted me my bacon marmalade vanilla ice cream sundae for dessert. I’ll be back in a heartbeat.

I’ve been trying to get my faculty to use Twitter for a few years now, and not for just desserts. I follow hundreds of educators and technologists who share ridiculously awesome project ideas, websites, gadgets, hot topics, survey data, blog posts, humor, and personal insights. I forward tons of links to my faculty, and I try to always include the Twitter username of the original poster to reinforce who to follow for great resources.

I frequently explain the concept of a PLN to teachers at my school. I am blessed with multiple Personal Learning Networks, and I tell how Twitter introduced me to many people in my field or who share interests in food, music, technology, New York, travel, photography, etc. At Educon, EdCampPhilly, NAIS, TEDxNYED, TEDxDenverEd, TEDxEast, and ISTE, it was such fun to finally meet face-to-face people that I’d been following for minutes, days, months, or years. I show how the convention of Twitter hashtags makes it so much easier to find new people to follow, join thematic discussions, and virtually attend a conference/meeting. Finally, I differentiate between aggregators and aggravators; One gathers news for me, and the other gets an eventual unfollow.

Ultimately, Twitter is a microblogging tool and a social networking site, and I hope I reach some sort of balance between using it socially and professionally without alienating/annoying every one of my contacts. Or perhaps I’m kidding myself. Last month, I was on a tour of Pearl Harbor. The guide asked if there were any celebrities amongst us. I deadpanned, “I’m a minor celebrity on Twitter.” Another lady in our group returned, “Only in your own mind.” I would have preferred a retweet.



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Going Ape for Apps for the iPad

My school just purchased a classroom set of 20 iPads (64GB Wifi) with the hopes of using them in an academic capacity. We’re currently researching/purchasing apps and planning projects. We already have a 1:1 MacBook program in grades 2-8, a class set of iPod Touches, a few Kindles, iMacs and SmartBoards in every classroom, Flip cameras, motion sensors, probes, class sets of microphone/headphones, class sets of digital cameras, and enough electronics to sink a ship. Plus, we are blessed with forward-thinking leadership, a faculty willing to integrate technology in the classroom, students excited to try out new tools, and a technology team that I learn from on a daily basis.

I spent two hours sifting through available apps; Many of them were for the iPad, but a few were iPhone apps that run on the iPad (denoted with a *). I skimmed Apple’s own list of Education apps, a website entitled I Education Apps Review, an article on ISTE Connects: “iPad Apps for Education,” and an article from eSchool News: “Developers seek to link iPad with education.” I came across another site listing iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch Apps for (Special) Education, and I’ll have to find time to explore those later this week.

Here’s the beginning of an apps list compiled me and other members of my Technology Department:

3D Brain (free), ACT & SAT Vocabulary Builder HD ($4.99), Adobe Ideas  (free), *All the Countries (free), Beautiful Planet HD ($0.99), Bloomberg for iPad (free), Brushes ($7.99), Adobe Ideas 1.0 (free), Demolition Master (free), Dinosaurs: The American Museum of Natural History Collections (free), Doodle Buddy (free), Dragon Dictation (free), eClicker (free), Factoring ($0.99), Free Graphic Calculator (free), Free Spanish Tutor 24/7 (free), *Geomaster ($0.99), *Geomaster – US States (free), GoSkyWatch Planetarium (free), *Greek Gods Free (free), Guinness World Records Lite (free) Guitar Lab (free), History: Maps of the World (free), iFactor Quadratics (free), iFormulae (free), iFractal (free), *Muscle System: Head and Neck (free), Pad Math ($0.99), Pastebot ($2.99), Periodic Table of the Elements (free), Photopad (free), Planets (free), Proloquo2Go ($189.99), Quick Graph (free), Roster Recall   ($1.99), *SAT Vocab 1 ($4.99), *SAT Vocab 2 ($4.99), Science Glossary (free), Scrabble ($9.99), Shakespeare (free), Shakespeare Pro iPad Edition ($19.99), *Skeletal System: Head and Neck (free), Sonic Pics Lite (free), Sonic Pics ($2.99), *SpanishDict (free), Story Kit (free), Sums Stacker ($0.99), Sundry Notes Pro (free), TanZen HD Lite (free), TanZen HD ($2.99), textPlus (free), textPlus ($2.99), The Elements ($13.99), U.S. Historical Documents ($0.99), U.S. Historical Documents Pro ($4.99), *Ultimate Guitar Tabs ($2.99), *USA Presidents (free), Wikipanion (free), *Wikipedia Mobile (free), WolframAlpha ($1.99), World Atlas with Fact Book and Travel Guide ($0.99), WORLD BOOK – This Day in History (free)

Side note: When I when to iTunes to sift through the Education section of the App store, the first available app in the list was How to Get Girls into bed without trying ($0.99). This particular app was categorized under App Store > Education > Offshore. Whatever.



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