Come Learn With Me In June

I would love for you to come and learn with me this summer as I will be one of the speakers for the 1st AppsEvents Google for Education Raleigh North Carolina Summit to be held at Cardinal Gibbons High School on June 14 & 15, 2017. This high intensity two day event focuses on deploying, integrating, and using Google Apps for Education and other Google Tools to promote student learning in K-12 and higher education. The program features Google Certified Teachers, Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers, practicing administrators and solution providers and you can find the schedule here. Register now to send teachers, administrators, tech directors/tech support staff, and anyone who is interested in finding out more about leveraging Google tools to support student learning.

I will be doing two sessions: G Suite Loves iOS – Experience the Love Between Them and Get Your Story On with Toontastic 3D App. Both sessions will be fun and move you from your starting point forward with tips and tricks for how to incorporate these great tools into the learning of your school and students.

If you can not come but would like to work with me, check me out in the Google for Education Trainer Directory and send me a request.

16 Hours 40 Minute Flight Not Needed for a Student Connection

As part of the STEAM by Design Seminar I have prodded and held on based on what I and the students needed at that time. I love this fluidity and most of the students are adjusting to owning their learning more each day. Emma has had an awesome week as she was working on getting the City of Lights project ready to film, started an art project with Julia as they felt we needed more art in our STEAM by Design Seminar. I had to get more Pink Duct Tape for their projects. As class was proceeding Emma said it was too bad that our 3D Wox printer by Sindoh did not have any pink filament. I said they do not sell that color and we can only use their filament. She said, “I think I will contact them!”  She wrote all of this on her own and as you can tell she is great at persuasive writing.

Hello,
I am an 8th grader at Durham Academy in Durham North Carolina. I use the 3D WOX printers in my STEM class at school. I really like to make cool  things that I can use, but you don’t make any pretty colors for us to print with. It would be awesome if you could make colors such as pink, purple and sky blue. I like the 3D WOX printers better than any other company, but the only thing that would prevent me from recommending it are the filament colors. I think that you would get a lot more buisiness with better colors.
Thank you very much for considering this idea.
Sincerely,
Emma

Dear Emma,

The new Filament colors (Purple and Pink) are going to be available in the early March. (This had not been announced anywhere – emphasis mine)
You will be able to purchase them through Amazon.
Please let us know for any other questions.
Thank you.
3DWOX Team

This was really a cool response and we were both happy about the reply. She went to her first two classes and then came running into the STEAM lab at break beaming with smiles and floating on clouds as she had another message.

How cool is this? I love this printer (have 3 and ordering 3 more) for our school as the printers just plain work! Now I love this company for supporting a students dream to print in pink!

3D Administrators – More Than Just Pretty Heads

Our school has an auction each year to help our parent’s association raise funds for educational items. This year I thought about offering something called “Family Scan” with the following description:

Would you like to explore the world of 3D scanning and printing? Your family could have the opportunity to be 3D scanned using the Structure 3D Sensor https://structure.io/#home-about-vid​ which will allow the creation of a 3D printed bust of up to 6 family members. Mr. Schaefer will work with your family to schedule a time to scan and will then print your busts to be picked up later.

As a proof of concept, I worked with my STEAM students to scan the, Head of School, Associate Head of School, Upper School, Middle School, Lower School, and Preschool Directors. My student Will is now my go to person to scan as he has become very good with using the scanner.

Wait I Know that Drawing

Emma, I saw this notice last night on Twitter from Bookcreator about the new features coming and thought wait I know that drawing.

http://bookcreator.com/blog/2017/02/book-creator-coming-web/

The finalist where your book is shown and linked to YouTube. http://bookcreator.com/blog/2016/04/comic-book-here-are-finalists/

Your book on YouTube https://youtu.be/wSv_GgOcfVc

If you are still creating you might want to consider getting Creative Commons license although we did give permission for them to use your book for promotions so they have the license to use it.

Still impressed by your work a year later.

What is the Problem?

Andy Pronto and I were working on a project the other day and he mentioned an article he had read while getting his oil changed. He said it was about how hard it is for us to change how we teach, integrate technology, or try other type methodologies into what we do. The article resonated with me as I have done professional development in many different settings for many years and often feel discouraged at the pace of change that comes from the work. It is not because attendees do not value what they learned. There must be something else especially when we all have seen the world change around us in so many ways.

The author; Zachary Herrmann  points out some really great insights in his answers to this question:

So what does a teacher stand to lose by changing her/his practice?
1. A traditional sense of one’s own competence​
2. The comfort of predictability​
3. Familiar successes

“Every time we find a gap between our values and our practice we have an opportunity to reflect and ask, Why? What is really getting in the way?”

“Teachers must embrace the same message we give to students: Learning is about taking risks, trying, failing, and improving.”

The Challenge of Change
RESOLVING TO CLOSE THE GAP BETWEEN OUR VALUES AND OUR DAILY WORK AS EDUCATORS

http://www.gse.harvard.edu/uk/blog/challenge-change

The Reluctant Learner Uncovered

ussbenhamdd-397

The USS Benham DD-397

On the first day of the STEAM by Design Seminar, I asked all of the students why they signed up. It sounded cool or my parents signed me up were the most common answers. One student who was signed up by his mother was reluctant to stay and said so. Since the seminar is done through study hall, he could easily just not come. I did suggest that he give it a day or two before he decided. Those days were filled with struggles and a desire to stop. He persevered and worked on the lessons until his skills and confidence grew. Then one day he asked if he could make his own creation and I said yes as long as it was his creation and not a copy of someone else’s work. That was the day the once reluctant learner became uncovered as he has become a very engaged and creative STEAMer. I found out that one of his passions is WWII aircraft and ships. He is using Wikipedia as a source for his images for inspiration while he creates the 3d object. I asked him why he likes to do these planes and ships and he responded that he just enjoys researching and reading about them. He proceeded to tell me all about a ship (not this one) that was a fuel tanker during the attack on Pearl Harbor that was destroyed. He knew the backstory of the ship and what happened to the crew after being bombed. He also knew how it was scuttled and other details. Is he a reluctant learner or just a uncovered learner that has found his agency in learning. I am very proud of him for the growth he is making.

STEAM Surprise

steamsurprise

I came back to my office today after helping some folks with their use of Evernote, and on my desk was this surprise. It is the creation of Emma R. in my STEAM by Design Seminar. We are working on the City of Lights project with our Arduino Basic Kits and CircuitScribe Maker Kits.  I purchased the CircuitScribe Maker kits at https://www.circuitscribe.com/product/maker-kit/. She and the most of the group have been working on putting it together. She worked extra hard as we found out our jumper wires were not male/female so we had to improvise. I am loving how these seminars are going as it is clear to me that with guidance our students are capable of striving and learning with less help and direction from the oldest life form in the room.

Finding Time for STEAM – NCAIS Conference

time

This Friday, 10/21/16, I will be presenting in room 6 from 10:15 – 10:45 at the Annual NCAIS Conference. I proposed this session last year as I think other schools could benefit on how I have approached developing the STEAM by Design Seminar.

Proposal Summary
Making, Makerspaces, and Design Thinking are powerful new instructional methods and concepts that many schools are adopting or trying to adopt. This session will focus on how a Middle School teacher started a STEAM by Design class in a schedule that did not have any room. Come to this session to find a place to add a STEAM by Design seminar in your school.

Proposal Description
Schools are faced with a dilemma when trying to institute new programs or classes. Most schedules in schools are already full leaving little or no room for creating new models of learning and teaching. Our Middle School wanted to have a STEAM class with Coding, Design Thinking, Electronics, 3D Design, 3D Printing, and Making. How do we add something to an already full schedule for students in a way that will not overload the students while also exposing them to these skills and concepts. The answer was to look at the area where students are provided time to study even on days when perhaps they do not need the time to study, or that they would like to learn something about STEAM and still have the time to study when needed. Therefore we are offering a STEAM by Design Seminar as a year-long class open to any seventh or eighth grade student who wants to take the seminar (provided they are also not a double foreign language student). The seminar will meet three out of the six days that their study hall meets. The STEAM by Design Seminar will explore these concepts and skills using the online resources (Project Ignite by Autodesk and CodeMonkey). With this approach, our school plans to infuse the STEAM concepts and skills related to STEAM and Making without wide institutional change that would require committees and time. If we fail, we iterate and adjust to the next design.

This is the presentation I will be using so please feel free to make a copy of

Portfolios, Reflections, and Change

Goals, Reflect, Artifacts

For 7 years now we have been working on creating student portfolios in the Middle School. We are now on our 3rd iteration from what we started with in 2010. I think this iteration is more efficient and will take the least amount of time to fulfill the potential portfolios offer. To quote a fellow teacher when I asked him if his graphic novel unit was proceeding how he hoped. “It is too soon to tell if the juice is worth the squeeze.” This is sort of how I feel as while some of my colleagues think they are a great idea and support them with time and energy, many have no interaction at all. In fact, I would say most of our school has no interaction with the portfolios. Once students leave the Middle School, the portfolio process ends. I spend a lot time “squeezing” the portfolio process and while I believe firmly that students and teachers should have a place to share and reflect on their learning process, I am willing to stop drinking the juice. There are so many other places I can put my time and energy to develop more student agency that I think this is the last year for my championing the use of portfolios. I still think it is a good idea, but I have failed to inject it into the learning culture of our school. I learned that I needed to get more people on board before starting the portfolio process since I believe that would have helped to institutionalize the process.

This is the message I sent to the MS Faculty yesterday

I just finished setting up all of the portfolios for all new students and each 5th grader. You can view all of the past and current portfolios at this address: https://sites.google.com/a/students.da.org/studentportfolios/  (Private Google Apps so only DA students and teachers can view)

I changed the layout a bit and reworked the reflection prompts as follows:

Setting Learning Goals: Each year you should write some learning goals that will guide your learning for the year. What do you hope to learn at school or outside of school? In order to be successful, you need to write these goals down along with ideas on how you will accomplish your goals.

Prompts for writing learning goals:
I am excited to learn about …
To accomplish my goals I will …
Why does your learning matter?

Writing Reflections: Reflecting is the most important part of the portfolio process, for without it, the portfolio becomes simply a collection of work without purpose. By reflecting on your work, you will engage in meta-cognitive thinking and begin to develop a working knowledge of who you are as learners.

Questions to ask yourself when reflecting:
What is the story of your learning as told by the artifacts you chose to add?
What did you learn about yourself as a learner?
What did you learn on your own?
What did you learn from other members of your community?
What are your feelings about your learning?
What was hard or difficult and how will you overcome similar obstacles in the future?
What advice might you have for other students on how to be as successful in the grade you are completing. Examples: How to use the iPad to be successful, how to study, etc..

Some information is from http://tworeflectiveteachers.blogspot.com/2015/03/slow-down-and-reflect-idea-worth.html with a Tip of the Hat to Ms. Goldstein.

Over the weekend I read this article by Mike Crowley and thought there was some nice alignment with what we hope our portfolios showcase. Of special note was this paragraph about Yale adding 3 questions to the selection process for admitting students.

Perhaps, finally, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon with the recent news that Yale University is adding three critical, new questions to its selection process:

What is a community to which you belong? Reflect on the footprint that you have left.
Reflect on a time in the last few years when you felt genuine excitement learning about something.
Write about something that you love to do.

The old system is finally starting to break. Who you are is more important than your grades. Your development as a person is of greater value than your ability to play the game of school. It is important to have a passion, to make a meaningful contribution.

STEAMing Along

arduinoworking

The STEAM by Design Seminar has met only a few times since the start of school. The image above shows a group of STEAMERS working with Arduino Basic Kit and Project Ignite. I actually purchased the kits from Project Ignite as the kits have all of the parts needed to do most of the lessons in the Project Ignite Classrooms. I am very pleased with how our group has embraced the concept of the seminar as on the first day I asked why they wanted to be a part of the seminar. There were quite a few “I thought it would be cool” and a few “My parents thought I should do it” with the usual enthusiasm of a middle school student when they had no choice in the matter.

Since the first day most of the “My parents” contingent have stuck around and are now saying things like; “Yes, I did it” or other exclamations of delight. The ability to work together is a process and shows signs of life that will help us down the road. Today, one student got her Arduino to do the Blink Sketch and was so proud she wanted to take a video to show her mom and dad. Pinch me now. Of course this seminar is very different and has taken some adjustment as I do not tell them what to do, am less helpful when I want them to find the answer themselves, or create conditions where failure is a real possibility. Today, after a failed print we tried to figure out what caused it. I pointed them to the great Simply3D resource for how to figure this out. After we determined with thought it was Layer Shifting, I asked them what tool could we use to find how to fix it? Some said a book or do you not know? I said I know of a tool but could not remember the name of it although I did know the name of a co-founder. I said if we can figure out who Sergey Brin was perhaps we would find the tool I was thinking about. Yep, a student Googled it and found he was internet entrepreneur that founded Google with Larry Page. We therefore have tried to slow down the speed of the printer to see if that helps.

3D Printers

I have not felt as excited to be teaching a class in years. I feel like the old Science teacher I was before I got into technology.  I also read today this post on Computational Thinking which affirmed my concepts for this class even more.