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

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.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 4: What Makes a Good Project? and Teaching

There is so much great stuff in this week's chapters. What project(s) do your students do that they talk about when you run into them at the grocery store or mall years later? What do you think of the matra "Less Us, More Them"? What is your biggest concern about moving to a making and tinkering classroom? For next week, read chapters 6 and 7, "Making Today" and "The Game Changers."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Free Kindle Version of Invent to Learn

Do you know someone who would like to join the book club, but doesn't have a copy of Invent to Learn? Today is their lucky day. In honor of  the birthdays of Thomas Edison, Jules Verne, and and Charles Darwin, today only you can download the Kindle version of Invent to Learn for free. Check out this site for details.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Special Announcement -- Webinar with Invent to Learn Author Sylvia Libow Martinez

Tomorrow is your chance to learn with Sylvia Martinez, author of Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, which has been referred to as "the bible of the Maker Movement in schools." 

Atomic Learning is hosting a free webinar and they'll be chatting with Sylvia about her passion for learning through the Maker Movement: what it is, what it looks like in action, and how it impacts student learning. Details and registration information can be found here.

Invent to Learn Week 3: Learning and Thinking About Thinking

There were a few quotes in chapters 2 and 3 that really jumped out at me. First in chapter 2:
The reason for all this structure is not that it benefits the learner. In reality, it benefits the teacher-as-manager and the administrators in the system. The structure makes it easier for one teacher to teach a one-size-fits-all curriculum to large numbers of same age students. None of the constraints of school are for the benefit of learning - they create a more manageable, homogeneous, efficient platform for teaching a predetermined bit of content.
Chapter 3 discusses thinking about thinking. I found the section interesting when the authors talk about the rigidity of the scientific method: learning the steps, learning the definitions of the scientific method vocabulary words. Then they go on to say that "This is not science. Science is about wonder and risk and imagination, not checklists or vocabulary memorization." And chapter 3 ends with, "The deepest problem for us is not technology, nor teaching, nor school bureaucracies -- it's the limits of our own thinking." What are your thoughts on the idea that we (the adults) should get out of our comfort zones, lessen the rigidity of the educational system or how we teach, and give our kids the freedom to be creative, to tinker, to create? Do you feel comfortable doing this? What other thoughts do you have about chapters 2 and 3?

For next week, let's read chapter 4, "What Makes a Good Project?" and chapter 5, "Teaching." Happy reading!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 2: The History of Making

This chapter was jam-packed with wonderful information. What did you learn about the history of the maker movement? As you were reading this chapter, were you reminded of any making or tinkering that you did in your own K-12 education? For next week read chapters 2 and 3, "Learning" and "Thinking About Thinking."