Monday, February 24, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 5: Making Today and The Game Changers

This week we read chapters 6 and 7 in Invent to Learn. Chapter 6 helps us dip our toes in this new/old idea, sharing lots of ideas of no- or low-tech ways of making. What about the boy who created a video game out of boxes? What amazing creativity! After reading chapter 7, who else wants a 3D printer...or a robot? Chapter 7 discussed fabrication, physical computing, and programming. Do you have ideas on how you can use any of these things in your classroom? What kind of ideas do you have for a student project?

Note: Indiana has a statewide grant from SketchUp Pro, giving all Indiana public schools free access to the pro product. If you are interested in utilizing SketchUp Pro, please contact your school or district technology support person or your school industrial technology or graphic design teacher and see if your school is already using SketchUp Pro. If they are interested in more information about the grant, have them contact Meri Carnahan at carnahan@doe.in.gov.

For next week, we'll read chapter 8, "Stuff," and chapter 9, "Shaping and Learning." We're now halfway through the book. Make sure you're keeping up on your reading and commenting on each week's post if you would like to receive PGPs for participating in the book club.

8 comments:

  1. We have a 3D printer at school, which I just recently found out about... Last week during Genius Hour, one of my students designed a figure that she wanted to create in pages. I spoke with Allison Holland about using the 3D printer and SketchUP. I didn't realize until reading this chapter, the amazing products that can be created using the printer. Next Monday, I am going to assist the student in designing the figure in Sketch UP and then the printer. After reading the chapter, I can also see how once the students get hooked on it- it might be easy to simply fabricate the same "keychain." I'm excited to try the printer myself, as I haven't had the opportunity. I am wondering if there are some grants out there, in which I could apply for one to use in my classroom. This was definitely a technical chapter- one of which I think will be helpful once I get started.

    Looking forward to the next two chapters.

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  2. Since I don't have a classroom of my own, these chapters will most likely manifest themselves as I work with students who stay for after school care in our buildings and for my own children. I plan to learn by working with my own kids this summer, and I hope to bring a lot more experience to back to school with me next Fall. My kids love Legos, so I think I may start there. Another revelation is that I could actually make use of a 3D printer. We have one at our high school, but I never really thought of it as a tool someone with my skills could use. I'm fortunate to have access to it! I have high hopes that these "grass roots" efforts will broaden our collective vision as what can be done for and with students with minimal investment (at least to start :)!

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  3. I usually have students create a board game from one of our senior English stories just to shake this up a bit for them. After these chapters I am planning to broaden this project. I am going to give the students a chance to choose the selection that they want as a theme for the game (like the themed Monopoly in the stores now) and form a team to create this game. Due to time limits I plan on having them parody a simpler game (such as Life or Chutes and Ladders). Then I am thinking that the game could be tested on a younger group in English 7 or in a study hall. The class could provide feedback and then the seniors would have to show improvement in the game during a revision.

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  4. We too have a 3-D printer that I would like to investigate. I had my first "Tinkering and Technology" club last night after school. What fun. We investigated bridges on various websites and apps. I then challenged teams to make a bridge with 4 sheets of paper and the same bridge span to see whose held the most weight. I just turned them loose. Very interesting conversations and strategies. Next week we will build bridges our of drinking straws. The students were very engaged and loved the competition.

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  5. Our school has a 3D printer and to be honest before reading this chapter I was a bit scared of it! However as I dive more and more into eLearning, I understand it is okay not to know everything and with eLearning you can't know everything. I can't wait to facilitate an activity with kids and implement the use of the 3D printer. So much knowledge and creativity can be gained from this. .

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  6. My choir classes just finished writing and performing their own songs. Can you imagine if they used conductive paint/foil to draw a piano on paper and then actually play it? I have no idea how to do this, but needless to say I'm intrigued. I guess I'll have to check out Leah Buechley's TED Talk "How to Sketch with Electronics". So much to learn...

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  7. I know the students are more attentive when I let them have a part in creating the learning environment. I may not have a 3-D printer in my department, but we do create 3-D projects. Last week on television I saw a 3-D printer making cookies and it took me back a many years to the cookie gun. It reminded me that you do not have to have a lot of money or high technology to have an inventive/explorative classroom. I had to laugh when later I read in the book that projects of cardboard were regaining popularity. My Advanced Child Development Class that picked quite a variety of projects to make for a child over 25% are making something from cardboard. I had critiqued ideas they had Googled and found on Pinterest;
    I thought ok, but they won’t pick that. As I looked at the ideas I reflected on the statement a child may have more fun with the box it came in than the actual toy. Never did I dream so many of them would pick one of those projects. I am sucking up my bias and reflecting on the things our architect son would make as a child from trash. I also recall the cardboard chair that would hold a person of 300-350 pounds he designed in an undergraduate Architect Class. The chair was made of pure cardboard with no glue, fasteners, etc. I just hope their child projects are as successful. Most have open their 1:1 computers following some suggested steps and adapting it to their needs or style. One senior female is making a large game and instead of painting it, she spent quite a bit on fabric to cover it. She has nieces and nephews and I can see them loving the fabric.

    When some feel that Family and Consumer Sciences are not important and begin pulling them from their curriculum, this book encourages me. Also, just a few days ago I heard the respected owner of our local radio station say if he could go back to high school he would take more Home Economics (Family and Consumer Science) classes and gain more of the practical skills needed in his everyday life. He is in his late 40’s and was talking about the things he was forced to memorize and how he has never used many of them. He indicated how useful the skills gained from few hands-on Home Ec. classes have been and wished he had taken more of those classes. As my 8th graders were creating projects from their leftover scrap fabric, I mentioned this to my class of both males sand females. I told them they should be proud of the abilities they are establishing. As they selected their machine embroidery designs and the colors, I have been trying not to say hurry up. I am trying to remember what this book is saying about building creativity. I am remembering the quote from Alan Kay, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

    When teaching teenagers one does need to step out of authoritarian role and become more of a mentor or advisor. Even as a grandparent, I catch myself saying do it this way and then I backpedal to allow them to form a little more creativity. I have thought a lot about Stager’s Hypothesis – “A Good Prompt is Worth a Thousand Words.”

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  8. I will admit reading this chapter is definitely out of my comfort zone. I'm an English teacher, and we read and write, , , , , most of what I have students make is creating a piece of writing. However, I also thought about how far I have come the past two to five years in the area of computers. We ditched our old PC's when my school became a 1:1 school two years ago. Not many of our teachers felt "ready" to use the MacBook Air laptops when they were handed out two summers ago. However, most of us would never want to go back to our old ways of doing things now. I know I still have so much to learn, but I am proud how far our teachers have come in a very short amount of time. I have only scratched the surface of what my students can do on their laptops. Each month I try to add or learn something new to make sure I keep advancing. My students learned to do podcasts this year; next year, I'd like students to make You Tube book trailers. The 3-D printers just seem unbelievable!

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