Disclaimer: I am too tired to proofread this post, please excuse any typos and other errors.
Despite getting into San Antonio very late and only having a few hours sleep, I hit the ground running with the day long event Computer Science Firehose which consisted of a keynote by
Dr. Carol Fletcher Deputy Director of the Center for STEM Education - UT Austin
Leveling Up in Texas CS Education”. She reminded us that with the upcoming ESSA, STEM must be written into the district plan in order to use ESSA funds for teaching computer science. If you would like to learn about the leading national computer science teacher initative program (in Texas) known as “We Teach CS”, Here are Dr Fletcher's slides to get a better idea of what her amazing presentation was about, she had some really interesting stuff in there!
The rest of the day was spent in stimulating hourly sessions, all of which were stellar. Here is a brief summary of the sessions I attended:
Microsoft Strand: Todd Beard - Teaching Students Career and Future Ready Skills with Microsoft Imagine Academy. This was by far one of the most useful sessions I have ever been in since Todd explained how students 14 and up can take a certification course known as MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate] --talk about career readiness! There are some caveats as the school needs have an agreement for this module in their 365 package but anyone interested can look into this and the more advanced certifications that students can work towards when they complete this one. The idea is that students can get on the job training by helping out with tech support in the school or district to relieve the IT department of some of the time consuming calls that can be solved by the MTA.
Microsoft Strand: Todd Beard - Hacking STEM. In this hands on session, participants had an opportunity to develop a prototype of a finger sensor. The idea is that for a small amount of money, students can experience high quality STEM activities. To assist in this goal, some of the Microsoft crew started developing a website with activity instructions and templates so that teachers can quickly and easily provide this experience to students. There are activities for all ages and levels. It’s important to note that this is a work in progress and evolves whenever feedback is received, so if it does not meet your needs let them know so they can improve it! Check out the awesome activities here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/education-workshop/default.aspx
Microsoft Strand: Neal Manegold - Get to Know Minecraft: Education Edition with Code Builder- There is so much helpful information in this beautiful minecraft education page so take a peek at it! https://education.minecraft.net/
Here is the presentation which has a lot of interesting information about the history of the project and where it is now:
Microsoft Strand: Todd Beard - Make What's Next - CS for All: Coding In and Out of the Classroom-A big highlight of the day was learning about the Touchdevelop program. This is an intermediate level coding opportunity to fill the gap that occurs when students finish the hour of block code curriculum and are not yet ready for advanced programming. Touch Develop can be used on any device and it is free of cost. Teachers can have control panels and they can assign which modules they want their students to do, or students can work on their own. There are a few different course lengths students can sign up for. Here is the fantastic description:
“Want to teach students how to make amazing things and to have a real impact on their world? You can! The Creative Coding Through Games And Apps (CCGA) curriculum provides everything you need to deliver the course, including teacher prep materials, lesson plans, presentations, student assignments, homework, projects, and tests.”
Freely available on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Chrome Books or Linux.
https://www.touchdevelop.com/ Here is a downloadable manual about the course: https://cp-mlxprod-static.microsoft.com/010162-1002/en-us/downloads/creative%20coding%20through%20games%20and%20apps_about%20the%20course.pdf
Finally, to pull it all together: odd Beard - Making + Coding = A More Inclusive Approach to Computing Education. We all received a BBC micro bit (brand new to the USA, though every student in the UK supposedly received them) and a Circuit Playground Express Base Kit. We used the programming blocks at the Make Code site (part of Microsoft). When you click on the link you will see icons for these two pieces of hardware..., It’s amazing to me that they have on board memory so after you program the actions you want, you download the little program file and drag it onto the drive it’s plugged into (via usb) and then you can make robots, toys, wearable jewelry, etc etc without being tethered to the computer to show off your work. https://makecode.com/ It’s important to note that the micro bit and Circuit Playground Express kit can be programmed by a number programs and the Make Code site is not necessary. If you have a program you like, give it a try! The Make Code site by Microsoft does a great job of organizing progressive educational initiatives, computational thinking being one, which is fantastic. The co presenter to this activity was amazing. I do not want to get her name wrong, so I will update the post with her name
Today I went to Teach Meet ISTE which is an informal gathering of the minds but I got there kind of late! Still I got a lot out of the session I attended. I learned about an camera app called Touch-Retouch, just color that person right out of your picture! The Big Lens app will blur people in your picture for privacy, and the Glaze app will turn your picture into an oil painting via canvas pop.com I was also reminded about http://lmgtfy.com/ when want to reply to questions in a snarky way by sending out a video showing someone how to google their search and then it does the search for them. Geoguessr is a website that allows you to play single or double players in guessing where in the world you are! https://geoguessr.com/. Study blue was demonstrated as a great online flash card game https://www.studyblue.com/. Tinkerplay http://www.123dapp.com/tinkerplay is an app that allows you to design creatures that you can then use as stop motion characters or puppets etc after you print them on a 3d printer and snap them together
I met these two awesome Teacher-Librarians at Teach Meet ISTE- Heide Neltner and Nancy Shwartz! When I left TMISTE, I found all the great ISTE learning networks and I tried to say hello to as many as I could!
While I was walking around visiting the networks, I found some friends along the way and took some pictures with them!
Later on, I headed back out to catch the keynote...a few of us decided to watch it at the blogger's cafe where we also had time to catch up. Me, Jennifer Brower, and Michael Medvinsky chatted for a while and exchanged ideas. We made some collaboration plans for the future! After all of the fun up in the blogger's cafe, we headed down to the poster sessions. I was eager to see Mike Soskil and his distance learning project presentation. Hew was awesome how he gave his presentation!
At the end of the night, my roomie Cathy Jo and I decided to get a light bite to eat. While we were out, we ran into Ginger Lewman and the whole state of Oklahoma!
I was off to an early start. Tina Photakis gave me a wake up call at 6:!5 and I had a number of things to do before Hack Ed began. I walked into HackEd and Steve Hargadon was his cheery self giving out information so that newcomers or those in need of a reminder would understand the order of events for the day. He made a special effort to help people feel included and gave an open invitation to assist anyone needing help finding new connections. Steve is a warm and caring person who consistently provides learning opportunities for educators.
Like many, I like taking pictures at events. People may have different goals or motivations when they take a picture. I take pictures because people are moving about very quickly sometimes and I like to capture a moment in time when I cross paths with someone that I know and love, or someone that I have a nice conversation with and want to make a permanent memory with a photo. The conference photos are a lot of fun because I am using a blue tooth selfie stick...I find that the stick provides a level of fun and interactivity to the picture taking process. I do not really expect other people to care very much about the pictures i take because they may only hold meaning to me but I want you to know that my pictures do mean a lot to me and are not just things I collect for the sake of it.
Today got off to an early start as I was due to be a widget volunteer as a bag stuffer so that all the conference materials could be ready for the awesome attendees! This job is really important and if you are around the Friday before and ISTE starts, please consider being a bag stuffer. This year I was promoted the leadership role of Table Captain and I got the ultimate compliment from someone who said "you are so patient." When I finished writing this post, I realized it was because of the DEN (Discovery Educators Network) that my day was so awesome!!! I have not had time to caption people's names under their pictures but hope to go back and do that tomorrow maybe.
Next, dear sweet Kathy Schrock snuck up on me. Can you imagine, she chose to wander around the bag stuffing area since it was too early to check into a room. This was an interesting choice of places but I am glad she showed up!
Soon after meeting up with Kathy I rounded up a couple of other DEN Stars- Sheila & Robin, so it was necessary to take another picture!
This is the second time I have seen this fellow so I took a picture with the Dean Shareski doppelganger!
When we left for lunch, we found another DEN Star Dacia Penley Jones on 12th street so we took another picture!
After lunch we went to the convention center to get oriented to the space. We have all been here before but the place is soooo big it is really good to get reoriented! We ran into Hall Davidson and Mark J Perlman. Also we found Sheryl Nussbaum and Aussie Tina P. Best of all we saw the amazing, big hearted Kecia Ray and managed to get a quick hug in!
After we finished walking around the convention center, I looped back with Tina and we went to the Reading Terminal market to pick up food items since our hotel as a kitchen. As I was writing this, I found a picture Tina took of me that I did not know about! She also took a nice picture of a young man making us almond butter!
After a full day, I went to my room and took a nap from 430-730 pm! When I woke up, I went around the city hunting for bottled water. I met a disabled woman in the 711 who kept asking how much the orange was and when she heard it was $1.00, she left it so I gave her a $1.00. She said thank you and left with the money but did not buy the fruit. It's ok. Coming back to the hotel, I stumbled on several of my Discovery Educator Network (DEN) family members so it was quite the reunion and of course we had to take a few pictures! These gals are so awesome! I love them!
These guys went out late to dinner because Katie's shuttle was held up but I went back to my room to try and re-charge and get ready for Hack Ed and Mega Mobile Share tomorrow!!!! Because of the DEN, I had an awesome day! Thank you!!! #DENLOVE
Thank you to Vicky Loras for reminding us all with her blog post that it is time to work on the #Support_a_Movement Goal as part of the #30GoalsEdu by our awesome leader @@ShellTerrell https://vickyloras.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/goal-1-2015-support-a-movement-30goalsedu/ --This is my "Support a Movement" Post and I hope I earn my badge! http://www.badgelist.com/30goals As always, thank you Shelly!!!
School Library Maker Movement
I have been working on imagining and creating a future makerspace in the school library in collaboration with my friend and co-worker, Elizabeth Rich, our gifted teacher. Like many educators we believe kids need to tinker and explore, conceptualize and create. We know there are many ways this can be done and there is no right or wrong way to do this. Our vision began by supporting the maker movement in school libraries. Here are some pictures from our progress but we are not yet finished, also we changed the yellow color to orange in the middle of the project because we thought it looked a lot better:
Below, is a great video of an active school library makerspace by Fairfax County Schools! You can click this link or click the image. You will be taken off this web page to view it. http://www.ebmcdn.net/fcps/fcps_video_viewer.php?viewnode=5ab88c9128958
In creating a makerspace in the library, I am supporting the School Library Makerspace Movement, which is part of the larger maker movement which moves us from consumption to creation. Check out this awesome SLJ article about schools with makerspaces!! movement. http://www.slj.com/2015/05/programs/where-the-magic-happens-the-maker-issue/#_
But wait.....For the past few years, I keep talking about the #Choose2Matter Movement by Angela Maiers- @AngelaMaiers ! I believe that people should use their special gifts to make a difference in the world, that is they should #Choose2Matter! I believe in this movement so much that I have no fewer than a dozen pieces of clothing embroidered with either #Choose2Matter or #Youmatter. Anyhow, we are talking about the makerspace right? Well first, please become familiar with the movement by looking at the #Choose2Matter website and/or video below-
I uploaded the #Choose2Matter video to SchoolTube from YouTube since YouTube is blocked for students at my school but I can take it down if it's not ok to do that. :)
So we have now reached a drum roll moment, so can I please have a drum roll?
Because I love community service, and because I value global collaboration projects, and because I am always talking about #Choose2Matter, my friend and partner in crime Elizabeth Rich came to one day and she said "Instead of Makerspace, why don't call it "Maker Difference Space?" OF COURSE!!! This was so obvious (now that she mentioned it). We collaborated with an artist parent to create a personalized wall banner, which went through months of iterations.
So now, our Maker Space has a framework--Our students will create projects that make a difference in the world. The project choices, or rather the "causes" will be largely determined with student input. But, creating projects that impact others in the world is not a new idea. Lots of schools already do things like this. Shannon Miller's Banding Together Project comes to mind which sent student made bracelets to India.There are countless examples of schools doing local and global community service work.
Even though our space was not complete, the students really wanted to do a Maker Difference Project. They came up with the idea of making abacuses for our friend Govinda's brand new school in Nepal. This is a school that many of us have been contributing to over the years, it is the Tripur Kinder Academy, a school for 2 1/2-5 year olds. Our kiddos worked in pairs after having lots of guided practice to show they understood how to thread the beads correctly.
The teamwork, even with kindergarten students was amazing! The kids were SO HAPPY to be CREATING in the LIBRARY!
We were lucky that we had a student heading there with his family as our ambassador but the project was selected before anyone knew he was going. As a matter of fact none of us knew the student had Nepalese roots!
I would have to say that this first Maker Difference project gave me confirmation, that combining the Maker Movement with the Choose2Matter movement was the right decision for our school! Our artist even integrated Choose2Matter into our banner but I do wish it was slightly more prominent, but shhhh don't let my artist hear that! LOL
-This space will not be exclusively defined as a community service project space but that will be a unique feature, The Maker Difference Space will contain traditional raw materials and upcycled donations.However students will also have access to all of the technology related items that are often found and encouraged in maker spaces such as 3D modeling, circuit building, coding for robotics, game design, app development etc. In addition, young children will be encouraged to have open play time to work with age appropriate materials to encourage creativity.
I have felt guided and encouraged by the work of many awesome teacher librarians implementing makerspaces including:
Laura Fleming, author of Worlds of Making: Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for your Schools
Diana Rendina who inspires me every day- http://renovatedlearning.com
Andy Plemmons who tests out the new technology and lets us know how it is! http://expectmiraculous.com/
THANK YOU. #YouMatter!
This is practically the first day of school! The students of Livingstone Kegode's school do not all have their uniforms yet and they are just getting into the routine of attending school but this was such an exciting day! To receive this awesome picture and to see a piece of our hearts all the way in rural Kenya is an amazing experience!!!! If you would like to reach this beautiful class or another one of the HIP Academy classes via Skype, their address is hip.africa!
Our friend Livingstone Kegode opened a school in Western, rural Kenya.The HIP Academy is accepting students from the nearby villages for a global curriculum via SKYPE for education visitors. We have sent them some books and have also donated funds to buy a water tank and install a water supply pipe in addition to that, we also assisted with buying tables and chairs for the students. This poster was created by parent Tracy Fernandez in a long process that she can explain better than me! The images are real students from our school and they signed their names over their images. This will poster will be carried to Kenya by our American friend Mike Soskil who will be going there in on a grant to create a distance learning documentary!
These three 5th grade girls enjoyed learning about TinkerCad, a free 3D modeling program in order to create projects for the Dekalb County School District Tech Fair. They placed 2nd and 3rd in the 5th/6th grade 3D Modeling Category and became very passionate about designing 3D models. Unfortunately, the 3D printer was not working so their models were never printed. This was not part of the Tech Fair requirement though, it was just disappointing. But, they came to learn that all of the the hard work was in learning how to manipulate and transform the the geometric shapes into "real things."
These awesome students were eager to have an audience to share their knowledge. Since the district is investing in 3D printers which will start appearing in all of our school libraries, I invited our Teacher-Librarians to "take a class" with these students as the teachers. The girls planned out the flow of their session, walking through the steps of a logical presentation in their minds. They also inserted questions to engage and learn about
their audience. I do not want to say I was shocked, but I was very pleased at the way each student "played off each other" and added value to the last person's thought as if it were rehearsed. Each young lady was poised and articulate. Also they all knew how to share the space and nobody dominated the allotted time. The festivities had to move to the desktops when the Open GL was not up to date on the laptop connected to the Promethean Board. This problem is become very tiresome as it happens on a lot of our computers and needs to be addressed but to end on a happy note, this day was a highlight in my teaching career!!!! NICE WORK GIRLS!!!!
Chris Rumble, author and artist came to Hawthorne ES to kick off a great day of reading excitement at Hawthorne ES. Chris is very engaging as he uses his musical talents (singing and guitar playing) to engage kids in reading. He loves to use familiar tunes, many of which are oldies that adults love, to the hook learners using fresh and fun lyrics! He also has a strong anti-bullying message which and many messages of encouragement naturally embedded into everything his activities. Chris also revealed his new artistic path. This gift came to him later in life and he showed us expansive and elaborate 3D looking murals that have started to grace the walls of many school libraries. I hope we can someday have a Chris Rumble original in our library. Thank you so much for sharing your many gifts with us today, Chris!