I was fortunate to be a part of the NCAIS Food for Thought session on Immersive Technology on April 1, 2019. When Stephanie Keaney reached out to me last year about helping with her idea, I said yes as I love working with NCAIS, Stephanie, and other independent schools. We decided on the topic of immersive technology as this area is on the growth curve and wondered what we could all learn about it. Also, I started to use CoSpacesEdu with my STEAM by Design class and wanted to share what we had learned. We also use the Merge Cube and Goggles. Stephanie hopes to have 20 to 25 people attend these lower key events so when 4o people attended we were both very excited and pleased. We were fortunate that Karen MacKenzie from Cary Academy, along with Michelle Rosen and Michele Guiterrez from the DA Lower School were willing to come and showcase some of the resources and tools they use. We really had a low ceiling too high ceiling resources.
For me, the best part was that Holly and Ellie agreed to come and demonstrate what we use in STEAM by Design. Since it was a day off for students, their parents also had to provide transportation. They were excellent, and at least one attendee made a note of how awesome it was that students were doing the face-on activities.
Here is a short video (no audio) of Holly and Ellie using the Merge Goggles with a CoSpaces Edu Space while using AirPlay to broadcast. The Goggles allow you to interact with commands in the Space. Look for the small dots as Ellie will press the buttons on the Goggles.
Tinkercad is wonderful software for learning how to design objects in 3D. We also use Makers Empire but due to technical issues, (my brain forgot to ask to have the app installed) we were not able to use it at camp. Tinkercad is free like sunshine while Makers Empire is a very affordable subscription model. We had 12 creative young people who worked hard this week. They were successful with most of their designs and prints although failures were abundant since doing more prototyping will result in the refinements needed to slice their designs.
Below is Octavio’s Snowball Fight Snow Speeder.
Ella really got into making Bunny figures with different themes like; Too Much Coffee Bunny, Scuba Bunny, etc…
While it took some time to get the STEAM by Design students fully committed, we have lift off or rather marble off. My thanks to John Umekubo @jumekubo at St. Matthew’s Parish School for the inspiration with his marble run project http://www.creatorsstudio.org/special-projects/magnetic-marble-run-wall There have been many iterations by the students to get theirs working and as you can see many interpretations on designs. I gave the student the following information and directions. Your name must be on it, and these are the measurements you need. Marble, 18 mm, Magnet is 15mm x 3mm and Tinkercad hole measurement diagram.
I did not discuss mass, plane, or gravity. While I wanted them to prototype with cardboard, this aspect is a weak point with our students as most want to get it done like on a checklist. I will keep working on this aspect since we have no grades to motivate this type of hurried learning. Today the students were pretty excited to see how it could work and I have to say, it is pretty awesome. I love how students will play on it during the day.
I love it when a teacher asks me something they would like to do with their students to help connect what they have been studying or reading to the larger world. Julie, Patti, Mike, and Melissa wanted to make maps so we looked into G Suite’s My Maps and Google’s Tour Builder. With the help of these explorers we have embarked on our journey comparing and creating our story maps. We had decided on My Maps as it appeared to be a more friendly and feature rich environment and was available in our G Suite. After working with a class, Julie and I wondered if Google Tour Builder would work better since there is more sharing options as we want the maps to be viewable on their blogs. My Maps will not work as our students are not allowed to share outside of our G Suite domain. Tour Builder allows for sharing with a link which we can put on their blog. With this in mind, we will work with the afternoon class in Tour Builder. I enjoy ideating as we work through the learning goals and the technology. I just got a message from Patti saying, “I’m in for Tour Builder.”! This is an example of the tour I built in Tour Builder. Since I have not read the books or stories, it is not an accurate example of what our students will create.
The only caveat is that we must create on a desktop computer and then share to iPads to view as the creation is not supported on mobile, “yet.”
Another day, another story about distractions caused by devices. Why do none of these articles and studies discuss the power of the off button? I wrote about my culpability in a post as I own that I have distraction on my hands.
Do a Google search for mobile devices and learning and you will find an abundance, (About 111,000,000 results 0.71 seconds, again a humble brag) according to Google’s humble brag) of information about how the same devices can be used to increase the learning with adaptions and conscious use. That is about 79,600,00 more although to be honest I did not read them all to make sure if they were pro or con.
I get it and agree, but until there is no longer an off button on the devices, we are still the overlord of the devices we put in our lives. I for one do not want to go back to the day when digital learning happened when you went to the computer lab. For fun, I did a Google search for how to turn off my iPhone? I did not see this number coming (About 16,900,000 results (0.55 seconds)). If there are that many resources on how to turn off an iPhone we might need an intervention.
I need to come clean about my love of Apple products as I feel both extreme pleasure and a sense of responsibility for what we, as a society, have allowed to happen. I played a part in this since I have visited the Apple Campus to learn how to bring devices to our school. I attended the MacWorld Expo in January 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. These were glorious times with so much promise for the future. We would be able to move computer use from a destination room to being available when needed. Why then did we end up where we are today? Web filters, apps to monitor usage and destinations, apps to turn off other apps, and the list grows each day. We are on the cusp of great advances with machine learning allowing us to talk to our devices to get answers to on the spot questions. Information is no longer scarce and yet many classes and schools act as if it is. Our schools should be different with all of the devices we have added to them. For the most part we have underutilized the power of the devices but instead worked hard at restricting what they could bring to our learning. I am a participant in this movement and want to own my share of responsibility, but not more than my share.
I gave a talk to the sixth grade yesterday about making wise choices with the devices we give them. I write a book that is on all of the devices to support what I think is important for our learning community. I start with the usual acceptable use and what to do and what not to do. I dislike this part of my role but do it as I must to get to the next part of my role. That is to be a role model for how to balance the devices in our lives. Granted, today I turn 61 so I am long past the age of my students, but I think I remain relevant. The students are amazed that I do not own one of the smartphones that I saw introduced in 2007. I do not like talking on the phone and frankly think the costs of the device and the contracts for service are too high. I have a burner phone for those I love to contact me if needed. My school supplies me with all sorts of devices so I have everything that I need. I live on a farm so I now have 3.5Mbps DSL which is fast enough to do most things but not all things. I have watched as my children and grandchildren have been overtaken by the devices they bring to the farm when they visit. The woods on the farm does not call them like it used to when we looked for the fairy village as the iPad or TV has more draw. So with this in mind I wanted to shake up my presentation to the students which is why I asked these questions and shared these resources. Maybe you will find them useful.
Question: How many of you have an Instagram account?
Response: That is amazing since none of you are 13. I do know that you are all capable of lying to get what you want since everyone has to be 13 to use the good stuff on the internet. I discuss a bit about COPPA.
Advice: If the first thing you have to do to get something you want is to lie, you probably should reconsider if you really want it more then your integrity.
This allows us to discuss how humans will do many things to get what they want and lying is sometimes the least problematic action.
I then shared these resources so they could understand why they “wanted” and were willing to lie to get it as I think this is important information so they do not internalize that they are bad people.
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.
This post has been a long time coming as something always seemed to get in the way. This past year, I had the pleasure to work with our grade 8 language arts teachers on a graphic novel project. Students investigated graphic novels in class in preparation for writing their own. Using the awesome Book Creator App on our student iPads they were charged with creating their own graphic novel. We used the comic book template and this Google Slide Presentation to get started. Using Sketchbook Express (iTunes link) or other drawing apps on the iPad, students created images to go with their story. Many students combined their 8 years of art to create amazing images to support the story. Esme (Havoc) created her novel with images she drew in a style that creates a darkness. Esme told Mr. Michelman that she worked the hardest she has ever worked on any project on her novel. She told him that it was not ready as she wanted a little more time to perfect some element. As the school year came to a close we got this message from Esme:
From: Esme Sent: Monday, May 30, 2016 2:55 PM To: Ben Michelman Subject: What Will Become of Havoc? Hello Mr. Michelman, Sorry for interrupting Memorial Day, and I know this is terrible timing, but I was wondering what will happen to the graphic novel I made. What should I do with it? Because I want to be able to still edit over the summer, but I don’t know how I’ll be able to do that. Sorry, Esme
How many times as that happened in your teaching? The assignment is over, student has graduated, and they want to still work on a project you assigned? This is the definition of engaged and highlights what can happen with student agency.
Emma took a different approach and used models for her drawings. Using her sister and family dog, she posed them and took images. Using the same Sketchbook Express app, she brought the image in on a layer and then used more layers to trace her characters. Once done, she removed the first layer. Her story and images are also well developed and support the happy ending in her story. I submitted her book to the Book Creator contest where she was one of the top ten finalists. She also started creating another book on Romeo and Juliet in order to help students understand it better.
I think both of these students have a future in book writing or whatever they choose to do. The only aspect I would hope they would include next time in their books, is a Creative Commons license so their work can be tied to them as a creator.
A challenge for their future teachers would be to connect to this passion and continue to bring it out. If you would like to read the ePubs you can access them in the shared Evernote note.
I am very excited to be offering this seminar next year. The image above is version 3 of how I imagine one of the computer labs being reconfigured. This is a low level reconfiguration as we are not adapting it to a true maker lab as we are not at that point so everything is on wheels and portable. As I write this post, my new 3D printer was delivered. We have 2 Polar 3D printers which are great for prototyping and have served me well with learning about 3D printing, but I wanted the next step as well. I was about to purchase a Makerbot but read about the Sindoh 3DWox. After checking it out online and figuring if the MIT Fab Lab listed it as the printer to get I was not being sold a bill of goods, I ordered it. As fate would have it Zack B. was in the lab next door so was able to see it delivered and we opened it together. He has been coming by lately saying that he has been seeing many cardboard boxes being delivered!
Below is the proposal as presented.
The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) by Design Seminar will integrate the elements of STEAM using Design Thinking (Define, Understand, Imagine, Prototype, Try, and Repeat) during explorations in Coding, Electronics, and 3D Design and Printing. Coding, Electronics, 3D Design and 3D Printing are concepts and industries that continue to shape our present and will greatly influence our future. The STEAM by Design Seminar will explore these concepts and skills using the online resources (Project Ignite by Autodesk andCodeMonkey)
The seminar will be project-driven and feature design challenges.
Engineering and Electronics: Students will learn to design electronic circuits with123D Circuits andArduino kits. Once designed, students will construct the actual designed circuits.
3D Design and Printing: Students will learn 3D design skills usingTinkercad and other apps as needed.
After learning the basics of 3D design and 3D printing, students will work on a design challenge related to a problem they would like to solve. Students will learn to work independently and in groups as they design, create and make their challenge prototypes. Once designed, students will have the option of printing their prototypes on our school’s 3D printers.