Unfortunately our new space has had a slight set back with the council delaying the start date........we were due to be in on Monday. So robotics and gadgets have gone into classrooms and our huge multitude of making materials have taken up temporary holding places around the school. We cross fingers that work will start soon as the project itself is not a big one.....to all those that are requesting visits I will keep you in the loop re the building progress. You are also more than welcome to come and have a conversation with me, I can still share with you 'how we roll' and share photographs, video and reflections with you.
I'm working on my top '50' picture books for the Makerspace and adding lesson ideas so will have that released for you very soon.
I'm also working on producing a series of multi touch books for students (who have access to iPad) ......you can download all of the free resources here...
During the school holidays I was extremely privileged to be selected to attend the Apple Distinguished Educators Academy in Melbourne as Alumni along with our two new ADE's (Trudi Fausett and Dorothea Collier). New Zealand was extremely well represented with 5 new ADE's for the class of 2017, for a very small country we are certainly at the forefront of utilising Apple Technologies to truly make a difference to our learners.
I was also selected to present a 3 minute showcase and a 75 minute workshop on 'Developing a Maker Space in the Primary School Enivronment'. I'd have to say that the Showcase was one of the most nerve racking things I have ever done. The showcase is run 'game show' style with me needing to walk up on the stage in darkness when the person on the other side of the stage has one minute left to speak, when they finish a spot light goes on (and you can't see all of the masses in the audience which is a bonus!), you have a stopwatch counting down and just 3 minutes to speak with the auditorium lights switching on when your time is up regardless if you have finished or not. Oh, the pressure! I have to be honest, I thought I felt quite confident speaking but when I sat down afterwards I thought we were experiencing an earthquake......only to come to the realisation that my chair was the only thing shaking!
I love it when learners turn up at my door wanting to revisit their creations and make an improvement. We've now learnt that spray paint doesn't stick to electrical cable (old laptop cords etc). This learner added a dark brown cord (where the cable had been) which I think looks stunning against the gold. Mr Jepsen (our Principal) thought she was very talented and loved how she had created something so beautiful out of old nuts and bolts.
30/6/2017 0 Comments
Room 19 (Year 5's and 6's) were absolutely buzzing in the MakerSpace today, truly creative and deep thinkers. Learners created their own unique Whirlygigs (which they will use a Stop Animation App to animate back in class) everything from tiny mythical creatures to a 3 foot jaw chomping great white shark! Several learners went the next step with the Lego WEDO kits today going 'off plan' and designing their own creations that could be coded to complete a set of functions. I particularly like the swing that used a repetitive looped code which the learner related back to the 'I am a Wizard' book learning he had done during his last session with me. One learner also choose to go 'low tech' and create his own Bay Blade style spinner. Two girls chose to create recycled Koru Art, both very different pieces but equally as intricate and detailed. The OSMO Tangram kits were also a hit today with learners having to show real perseverance when the going got tough.
It looks like a wet weekend ahead so the perfect chance to gather ideas, inspiration and resources for the weeks ahead.
I'm presenting a workshop in Melbourne next week on 'Developing a Makerspace in the Primary School Environment - The future belongs to the curious, the ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it and turn it inside out". Crafting my presentation has been a very reflective process.....how to capture it all in 75 minutes (including an 'explore time' with robots too of course). I've submitted to present this workshop at Ulearn this year too so perhaps I'll get the opportunity to share it with a NZ audience too.
This week as well as our 'Antiqued Recycled Art' we've also been exploring OSMO in the Senior school (Tangram - 'hard level' was a hit with Year 5/6's....a challenge they thrived on), making 'how to' videos on using Makey Makey kits to turn everyday objects into a touchpad eg playing music with an apple and a banana, , making 'whirligigs' with at least 4 moving parts, and even constructing 'brains'. Did I mention I LOVE my job!
I watched the 6 o'clock news and had to have a giggle over the 'digital curriculum' piece.....those of us that have been doing it and living it for more years than I can remember are already years ahead of what they're preaching. 40 million dollars to upskill teachers......Money doesn't change attitudes, or set schools and learners up for success, great leaders (who are and who employ transformative educators!) do that. He aha te mea nui o te ao, He Tangata, he tangata, he tangata. If schools aren't teaching with and through digital technologies they're doing their kids a disservice in my opinion. The digital curriculum is definitely a step in the right direction though...
At the very least digital technologies enable students to collaborate, to capture their thinking and their voice and then to share it globally . As educators we should nurture wonderment and awe each and everyday, encouraging students to explore, to problem solve and to tinker both with low tech and high tech.
This gorgeous artwork started off as a boring cardboard box and a pike of 'junk'. I was tagged in on a post on the 'Primary Art Ideas' Facebook page where an NZ Teacher shared her project. I headed to the 'man shed' and collected bits and bobs then put out the call to staff for any donations......in came the buckets of old trampoline springs, spark plugs, old tech gear and loads and loads of nuts and bolts! Pure gold!!!!!! I purchased spray paint (which our local Bunnings had a stash of 'Indian Red' fuoronly $3 a can....the gold and silver was $7) ...I also bought a box of 'linked' screws (I think they are for an electric gun thingy) these were in a bargain bin at Bunnings and were super effective when learners bent and twisted them. I only wished I had more hot glue guns and the space for more learners to have done this station as 20 chose it in the first class! Only a couple of kids spray painted today but they have another session on Tuesday so will do it then. I'll post more pics when they're all finished. Learners were very creative and spent time considering design elements and composition......not making a 'thing' was a challenge for only one student who chose to make a rugby ball and goal posts (it too was very well done!).
The kids loved this book (Beautiful Oops) as much as I did and several classes even clapped when I finished reading! (And they were Year 5's and 6's!) I introduced the concept of 'Miss-Takes' rather than Mistakes and I used the analogy of a film director and the amount of 'takes' they have to get it right......"Right first take....said No Director ever!". I set up 5 challenge stations covering Science, Technology, Art, Maths.....Optical Ilusion Cubes, Construction, I Am (an art and writing station - backgrounds done during this session and writing done next week), Makey Makey and Little Bits. 100 percent engagement and creativity beyond my expectations (love it when that happens). The Little Bits team went the extra mile and designed a 'house' with 3 lights and a fan.....at sharing time I set them the challenge to be real estate agents and 'sell' their house. They did a great job!
We had the Principal and BOT chair drop in for a visit today, the kids just love sharing their learning with others and were delighted to see puzzled faces when they played a piano duet using a banana and a lemon!
I unpacked some new laptops for teachers recently and with my 'Mrs Maker' hat on thought about what we could do with the packaging. I ended up with 2 'frames' and even recycled the black plastic inner. Here's what we did with one half of the box which had a black foam attached liner...the optical illusion cubes were hung with fishing line giving it the illusion that they were suspended in mid air. Some learners chose to stick to the black and white theme while others chose colour - both looked stunning against the black frame.
Tip: Once the cube net template (which I just googled and found a free download and printed out on A3 paper) was designed, learners glued it on to cardboard to strengthen and ensure the shape was structural well defined.
This is was one challenge station of 5 on offer for Year 5's today.
16/6/2017 0 Comments
A busy session in the Makerspace today, the 3rd of our Year 5/6 classes to have explore time learning coding concepts shared in Paul Hamiltons "If I were a Wizard" book. The boys working with the Jimu Robot learnt a lesson on debugging as they found that the person who had built the Robot has put his legs on incorrectly....meaning their code had him ducking and diving instead of moving forward.....great perseverance on their part.
13/6/2017 0 Comments
This week I have Year 5 and 6's in the Makerspace. I've framed their next 2 sessions around creating a 3 minute 'How to' video. They need to introduce their piece of technology and share the basics of it to get their audience 'up and going'. I expect them to be creative and do more than a 'talking head' video. Considering camera angles, sound, music a mix of video and still images and advanced editing is an expectation. What better way to show your understanding of a concept than to teach it to others?
Students had the choice between 10 pieces of technology and 6 apps (interestingly not a single student in the first 2 classes chose any of the apps, it was all about using hands on equipment).
Meccanoid Robot, Sphero, Lego WeDo kits, Makey Makey, Little Bits, EV3, Jimu Robot, Blue Bot, Parrot Drone and Dash were all on offer, with learners working in pairs and no more than 2 pairs on each piece of equipment. Even though we have class sets of some of the Robots, using the same piece of equipment on mass in a classroom space causes havoc with the Bluetooth connections (I have found that more than 5 and your setting yourself up for failure as learners spend more time trying to sort out connections than code or drive their robot).
I used a book by Paul Hamilton "If I were a Wizard' to introduce coding concepts and related the new thinking to our everyday experiences.
On reflection I feel that with this age level my expectations were too high, they would never complete the task in just 2 blocks, in reality they needed more 'exploration' time with the equipment. After speaking with the team leader we need to consider other options e.g. Perhaps front loading with mini sessions using equipment in class or focusing on the equipment in the Makerspace and creating the video back in class. We are going to revisit after the next 2 classes have been through and then will alter the plan to suit in future......I'm expecting students to have a detailed storyboard with their video planning but the actual movie will be completed back in class. I'd love to see some of these videos put together into a multitouch book and perhaps even entered into the MADE Awards.