Tag Archives: STEM

Pics from @BrynMawrSchool’s innovation lab. Thanks for the tour, @KennedyKristen! #edcampIS #MakerEd

img_3664

A highlight of today’s @edcampIS at @BrynMawrSchool today was my awesome tour of the Innovation Lab from their Director of Innovation, Kristen Kennedy. Like many maker-educators I meet, Kristen taught herself most of what she knows, and she continues to learn constantly. The Upper School lab spaces were previously occupied by other departments (Art, languages, technology), and were revamped two years ago to be agile, flexible, and collaborative learning spaces for fabricating, making, and tinkering. Architects designed the spaces and Kristen’s colleagues (including Director of Technology, Justin Curtis) made choices for location, mobility, permanence, storage, and use of equipment.

Writeable surfaces abound:

Long flat storage areas and counters for work space (with tools mounted on the walls above) were important features to consider:

There is a HUGE Shopbot (under a fascinating ventilation system) and lots of other fun machines including a vacuum sealer, drill press, lathe, table saw, multiple 3D printers, laser printer, etching machine, and more. Larger items are often on wheels to make them mobile and allow for them to be easily moved out of the way and under counters when not in use:

The space also allows for many areas to showcase past and current projects:

As for classroom learning strategies, I learned a few from Kristen including why there was a container of mini ducks. I sometimes encourage students to “ask three then me” in order to get them to ask each other before continually seeking answers from just me. The duck takes it a step further; rather than ask the teacher or a classmate a question, they are encouraged to “ask the duck” — this made me laugh out loud.

img_3696-1

I also learned that Kristen is a fan of Rocketbook Wave and the Rocketbook app. I’d only ever seen the Kickstarter campaign for the notebook that can be reused by heating it up in a microwave, whereupon the ink disappears and the papers are again free to be written upon. Kristen makes photocopies of Rocketbook pages, hands them out to students to write on, and then uses the free Rocketbook app to snap a pic of each page. Thus, she gathers and organizes PDFs of student notes into their class’s section (using the symbols at the bottom of the page and the QR code). From the Roketbook app’s download page:

The Rocketbook app works in conjunction with the Rocketbook Notebook. Rocketbook allows people to enjoy the pleasure of writing in a traditional paper and pen notebook, while digitizing all notes and sending them to the cloud, using your smartphone.

Kristen told me she’ll be offering a PD workshop for teachers this summer. Stay tuned!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Photos from a magical #MakerDay at @mouse_org! #STEAM #STEM #MakerEd #KidsCanCode

Mouse is an which organization strives to “empower all students to create with technology to solve real problems and make meaningful change in our world. Additionally, they are “committed to creating more diversity in STEM and opening opportunities for students from underserved communities across the country.” (via their website)

I was lucky enough to attend Maker Day on November 19th — these Maker Days happen twice a year and are a family-friendly celebration of creativity, problem solving, problem finding, prototyping, and making open to middle and high school students.

Maker Day gives you twice the time as our regular Maker Night to spend creating alongside professionals. More time so you can dig deep into coding, 3D design, or crafting something to take home. It’s a great experience to get your hands dirty with technology for an afternoon and get creative. A perfect day trip for a tech club, Maker Day will feature activities from content on create.mouse.org and more.

At the event, there were many different stations of activities peppered around their space. Upon entering, one could assemble and decorate a Google Cardboard VR headset.img_0635

Another station encouraged attendees to construct a DIY Operation game out of cardboard, tin foil, LED light, wire, and a coin cell battery.

I spend a lot of time at an activity chatting with Deren Gruler of Teknikio. She and some volunteers helped attendees create a light-up superhero cuff that could test for conductivity — if you close the circuit with an object and the LED lights up, then the objective is conductive!

There were additional stations set up to explore wind power, coding, MakeyMakey video games, Arduino circuits, breadboarding, and more.

I also spent some time reading the inspiring words and Mouse mission statements printed on the walls…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Brilliant and simple way to document class observations via @DearMsHashim. #ETSA16 #edchat

As part of EdTechSummit Africa 2016, I traveled around South Africa, Swaziland, and Ghana helping run 10 summits in 30 days for hundreds of teachers. My particular 90-minute workshop was on using Google Sites to build a professional portfolio. There were 11 other volunteer educators on the tour, and I had a chance to attend their classes, assist as needed, and learn from each of them. I particularly enjoyed observing participants respond to Anusheh Hashim‘s session, Brains, Bridges and Blunders: A Hands-on Workshop Connecting STEM and Inquiry (description pasted below):

While working with hands and materials in efforts to solve a problem or respond to a challenge, questions arise as a child’s curiosity beckons. As a desire to discover transforms into a need to understand, the teacher – a guide rather than a lecturer – helps children access resources to channel their wonder. Mistakes are made and persistence is developed. The class is immersed in an authentic learning experience and an academic culture in which learning is truly student driven. Participants in the workshop will spend time engineering an open-ended project with a group using few materials and receiving limited instruction. Afterwards, we will debrief and discuss how students’ work towards a goal drives their learning, how this work can connect to specific learning standards and applications of technology, and how working with a group benefits students’ social development.

So many of the teachers in Anusheh’s workshop were initially shocked and confused at her short directions to build a bridge with straws, paper clips, and three partners. They expected a long list of instructions which she simply didn’t provide. Traditionally, we are trained to follow recipes, and, without detailed steps, there is a chance we can do something wrong. I loved watching teachers learn to let go, create, prototype, and embrace the inquiry-based approach Anusheh introduced. Further, teachers later talked about how they could integrate inquiry into their own classrooms and lessons.

Anusheh opened my eyes to a deceptively simple classroom observation/documentation strategy. As groups began to engage in their activity to “build a bridge” with no other guiding principles, she’d walk amongst the tables, pausing to answer questions and amplify great ideas. She’d also make significant trips to the front of the room where she had two columns ready: I see and I hear. How easy and sensible! By transcribing key words and notable phrases at the front, Anusheh simultaneously demonstrated she was attuned to their work and aware of their progress without directly guiding them. I was telling a former colleague, Mary Jo Allegra (@sunporchstudio), about Anusheh’s I see/I hear technique, and Mary Jo was immediately inspired to do something similar and daily in her own art classroom this year. It occurred to me that Mary Jo could also assign a different student to be in charge of I see/I hear for each class. I think kids would love to have the opportunity to record I see/I hear statements as a rotating class “duty”…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized