Thank you to Hewitt School for hosting this year’s 14th annual Robo Expo yesterday! Many thanks to Erik Nauman and Jeremy Sambuca of Hewitt School, Hope Chafiian of Spence School, Michael Tempel of Logo Foundation, Lan Heng of Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Francesca Zammarano and Javier Alvez of United Nations International School, and Jane Moore (and me) for organizing again. Our event is a celebration of robotics, engineering, programming, physical computing, creativity, ingenuity, and perseverance. It’s a low-key, kid friendly, family-friendly, and age-appropriate afternoon, and I’m fiercely proud to be a part of the founding team since our first Robo Expo in 2005. 🙂
After completing a challenge, participants get robot stickers! This year’s challenges included:
You can view our tweets at @RoboExpoNYC. Here are images and videos below:
I’m grateful to have attended today’s Test Kitchen with Emily Pilloton and Christina Jenkins of Project H Design! Emily and Christina have launched (and are still prototyping) a series of Unprofessional Development (@theUnPD) courses, and I was lucky to attend their inaugural New York Campfire back in January.
This Test Kitchen was a differently wonderful experience, and it was awesome to benefit from Emily and Christina’s vast collective experiences of designing and cultivating learning opportunities. The day consisted of a variety of activities including:
- Choosing and applying awesome temporary tattoos from Tattly, then explaining why we made our choices. I chose Now or Never for a bunch of reasons.
- Doing a quick exercise of “Before I leave the classroom, I want to ________” inspired by Candy Chang’s “Before I die” project from 2011.
- Diving right into an ocean of possible projects, conversation starters, and thought-provoking activity prompts offered by Emily and Christina – all listed in the printed “cookbook” provided to participants and can be thought of as ingredients for a deep and/or dynamic learning experience. They ran the gamut and included things like: Powerpoint karaoke, the Fun Theory, Curious Terrain cards, Mythbusters, TD4Ed, live cams of animals as classroom background music, Buck Institute resources, Public Lab balloon and kite mapping, and a Wikipedia edit-a-thon among so many other ideas. Then each of us also shared an artifact that we hoped would inspire the group. I talked about edcamp and the power of this wonderful for teachers-by teachers grassroots professional development movement!
- Creating paper architecture inspired by Richard Serra’s action verbs. We were given the prompt “to hinge” for our green square of paper, “to gather” for our red square, and “to represent our temporary tattoo” for our orange square of paper.
- Reading and discussing Chapter 5: What’s Worth Knowing? of Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s Teaching as a Subversive Activity which inspired us to form and craft and rework our own questions that in turn guided the rest of the afternoon’s tasks. My question was: What is needed to survive?
- Going on a mini-field trip outside and drawing inspiration from our surroundings to help further evolve our question. Then drawing an image to represent our question.
- Thinking of a class activity or project that embodies the learning from this question. I considered that what each of us deems necessary for survival is completely subjective, and that maybe the pursuit of happiness (rather than just sheer survival) is a #firstworldproblem. Also, I often think about the folks locked up in Plato’s cave who believe that the shadows cast on the wall are real. (The venerable Frank Morretti loved comparing Plato’s Cave with The Matrix…) The people in the cave and the people in The Matrix were surviving, but they were also imprisoned physically and mentally even though they didn’t necessarily know it. Anyway, as per the intent of the exercise, I formed more and more questions which would ultimately guide a course of study if I were so inclined…
If you get a chance to attend an Unprofessional Development course led by Emily or Christina, I recommend you jump on it. Also, your school can opt to host Project H Design for amazing, thought-provoking, interesting, creative, and inspiring workshops. Thank you to the United Nations International School (UNIS) for hosting today’s event!
JP Connolly (@technobiologist) is doing such a great job as this year’s President of the New York Consortium of Independent School Technologists. Each year, the Prez is responsible for organizing the location and topic of our monthly face-to-face gatherings. I value these meetings and the group – it’s my favorite PLN. It was great to see exhibits from JP and Liz Arum (St. Anne’s), Jeremy Sambuca (Browning/Hewitt), Francesca Zammarano and Javier Alvez and Kamran (UNIS), and others.
Learn more about UNIS’s CoLaboratory here: http://www.makered.org/united-nations-international-schools-makerspace-aka-colaboratory/
See the full album of images from Robo Expo 2013 here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/specialkrb/sets/72157633360664013/
Today was the 9th annual Robo Expo (@RoboExpo)! The afternoon is a kid-friendly, low-key, age-appropriate event which is split into two parts: an exhibition where children from a variety of schools showcase their original designs, programs, and machines, and the challenges where students demonstrate that their robot can follow a line, gather cans, and stay on a table using sensors, attachments, and specially-written programs. The challenges change from year to year, and the prizes are robot-themed stickers. The past two years also included a table where kids could construct and take home brush bots!
This year, a NAO robot was a special surprise guest brought by Ryan Meehan of Teq (@TeqPD). Nao played games, responded to verbal and programmed instructions, and wow-ed the audience by dancing to Thriller and Gangnam Style. The robot was a little slow to respond at first, so I quipped that instead of NAO (pronounced “now”), we should call him LATER. Drumroll…crash!
We hadn’t even cleared up the last of the Legos and wires and mats before starting to plan for next year’s 10th running of the robots. While I uploaded a set of images to Flickr, I included some shots from my phone below: