Essential Connections of STEM, PBL, and Tech Integration… What Would Dewey Think?

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Welcome to a post where I bring together three of my favorite areas of educational transformation. As I deliver workshops across the country I am reminded of how much we need to prepare STEM educators with regards to process of delivery. After all, STEM (or STEAM) is so much more than content. How can Project Based Learning and technology integration work to create a process for STEM? It is so important in education to remember that it is not the final product, but the journey, that allows for the learning to take place. First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always,  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your new school year needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

Essential Connections of STEM, PBL, and Tech Integration… What Would Dewey Think?      Michael Gorman at (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.” – John Dewey

It has been exciting to work in both the STEM, PBL, and technology integration field. In fact, I have an opportunity to provide professional development across the country involving all three. As a long-time advocate of STEM education, technology integration, and more recently Project Based Learning (PBL), I can’t help but see how these three concepts really do complement one another. These initiatives  take on three important roles to make a wonderful classroom learning environment for students. STEM (or STEAM) includes those all important content standards that have often been taught isolated from each other.  PBL provides an important process and pedagogy that allows for the integrated delivery of this content. Technology integration acts as the conductor, glue, and amplifier allowing for increased productivity and learning opportunities.  Both STEM and PBL depend on a student need to know and inquiry, which allows for higher level learning. Technology integration provides tools to drive  this process. Additionally, they all facilitate and promote important 21st century competencies.  STEM includes the integration of the curricular areas of Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering. This integration allows for connections and an authenticity that is essential to both PBL and STEM.  Technology  provides the necessary conduit to the real world, breaking down the walls of the classroom and creating a real-world blended learning environment.

Best practice behind the disciplines of STEM are changing. The Common Core State Standards, and other state high quality standards (that have opted out of CCSS), place a strong emphasis on scientific literacy involving student writing about process. These standards also demand that students understand concepts in depth while making relationships to real world applications. It is no longer acceptable to just find the answer to a math equation. Students must be able to apply their math skills to the real world.  The Next Generation Science Standards promote the kind of application found in engineering and technology, demanding formulation of a problem that is solved by design thinking. These standards state, “Strengthening the engineering aspects of the Next Generation Science Standards will clarify for students the relevance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (the four STEM fields) to everyday life.”

PBL, with its emphasis on authenticity, connections, inquiry, and process, is able to provide these disciplines a necessary pedagogy.  It allows students to own their learning while promoting the inquiry of science, resourcefulness of technology, design principles found in engineering, and application of math. Integrating the subjects encourages student innovation, promotes authentic learning, and allows students to see connections with their community and between content areas. It’s true; PBL can be the delivery method as well as the connector of separate content areas. While it is optimal to blend classes together, it is entirely possible to provide a STEM environment through teacher awareness of outside discipline areas and collaboration with other educators on school schedule.

I began with technology integration at the start of my career integrating the use of scientific recording equipment, cameras, compasses, and archaeology tools to teach content area skills in the outdoor environment back in the 70’s. I tell this story because it is important to remember that tools are the foundation for technology integration. Today there are so many additional tools that can be used.  It wasn’t until the advent of the Apple II that I started using a computer in the classroom, and at that point I discovered another amazing tool. Today’s computing devices provide both an opportunity for students to learn and inquire, as well as to produce, publish, and connect to the real world. It is the technology integration that provides the ability to amplify the content of STEM and the process of PBL. Through this amplification our students become engaged and can enter a flow, allowing for authentic and exciting learning opportunities. While the computer is important, one must think beyond the device!  Imagine what John Dewey would do with all of the technological possibilities of today!

As I reflect on my STEM practice, I am aware of the integral way PBL facilitates student learning. One of my favorite STEM projects involves a spin-off of a Rube Goldberg study. Sixth graders work in collaborative teams to design a system utilizing necessary scientific elements, while incorporating detailed constraints. They learn significant science content relating to systems and simple machines, and math content involving measurement and scale. Student teams communicate, debate, and tinker using the process of revision and reflection.  Design thinking is evident as students carefully plan using programs such as SketchUp to put thoughts on paper, and later transfer their ideas to a real working model. Technology is incorporated which includes hammers, glue guns, and, of course, the computer to produce engineering designs, learn content, and connect with the real world.  Excitement swells as they  test their contraptions with mentor engineers on that last day but, more importantly, engagement and learning are evident through the entire process.

I often use the program West Point Bridge Design to promote mathematics and physics skills with seventh grade students. Working in collaborative contractor teams, students uncover the STEM content area in order to design a computer simulated bridge. They answer the Driving Question, “How can we build a working bridge at the lowest cost possible?” Through a formative learning process students experience the rigorous math and physics found in engineering while practicing 21st century competencies.

In another STEM project that incorporates a national competition called Future City, eighth grade students use science and math to design a future city using the popular simulation SIM City. They later transform their creation by designing a model of a city built using mathematical scale. Engineer mentors provide the important guidance and public audience that leads to real world connections.

The connection between STEM, PBL, and technology integration  can be further seen through an examination of PBL’s Eight Essential Elements that are promoted by BIE, the BUCK Institute for Education. I also encourage you to browse the projects at BIE. When you find a project that encompasses multiple STEM subject areas, you may have found your next STEM opportunity. Also, look for future posts that include some PBL and STEM ideas.

The famous educator John Dewey said, “Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.” This practice is at the very center of PBL and STEM. As we look at the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core State Standards for math and literacy, and the other high quality standards adopted by states outside of the CCSS,  it is clear that PBL, STEM, and technology integration are a natural and essential connection.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL,Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Get ready for more information on STEM resources as part of this series, and also an examination of differences between Project Based, Problem Based, Inquiry Based, Challenge Based, and … Design Based Learning. But first, take time to sign up and follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). –  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. It is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill!

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Back To School 2014…10 Amazing 21st Century Lessons From An Almost Analog Native

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Thanks for joining me as I share my back-to-school post. While I do not have my usual listing of resource links… I believe I have something that will make you smile and remind you why you are an educator. I hope you enjoy this story and its ten timeless educational lessons. This post is a reminder that teaching truly is an amazing art. Let’s all keep up the wonderful painting and please pass these lessons on to others.  Please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way through out the school year …So Sign Up Now and please take a moment to share and retweet this article. Your effort is appreciated… Please enjoy! – Mike

Booking Info – Before reading the article please take some time to think about your new school year needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer was booked and my 2014/15 calendar is beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates, since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

Back To School 2014…10 Amazing 21st Century  Lessons From An Almost Analog Native

It was a normal first day back to school. The building was still quiet and still. I could sense there was an air of extreme excitement and anticipation in the air. I sat at my desk and pondered the reality of a new year wondering about the new faces I would greet.  I already knew that all too soon I would be waving good bye to another group I had come to know so well. It is amazing what the short period of a school year brings to both educators and students.  Suddenly awakened from what was either my deep reflection or possibly a type of relaxing nap that only the whisperings of being another year older can bring, a panicked voice was heard at my classroom door.

He was a brand new teacher dressed as one who just might enlighten the downtown business club, yet he stood with the glazed eyes of a student still waiting for that moment of enlightenment. I had seen it all before, perhaps even in the reflection of a distant mirror over thirty-four years ago. He was summoning me to his room, not that I regarded it as his… at least not yet. You see, I had great respect for the educator who had been a part of the four walls that this soon to be teacher was leading me to. As he led me through the doorway of his new headquarters for dissemination of information I couldn’t help but notice a peculiar feeling of past warmth that was missing. It was a indescribable void, covering a large aura which had been in place for nearly fifty years.

As he motioned for me to look at the archaic blackboard behind the new, still packaged, and not yet plugged in interactive whiteboard I couldn’t help but smile. There, still written with chalk that  had the smell of fresh dust, were the words “A Message from an Analog Native”.  Then I heard the young teacher’s voice asking how he might  get rid of the words. He pleaded that, after all, he saw no button to push to dissolve the print. I smiled and walked to the board and picked up the eraser. I cleverly planned to display to this obviously digital native, one of this school’s first such inductees, the magic of an eraser. I even had my strategy for providing a professional development moment on the use of chalk. After all, improper use of chalk can lead to an annoying screech that will send most students diving under their desks. As I held up the eraser I walked to the board and began to perform the ancient teacher ritual of erasing a black… not green,board. Amazingly, it did not work out the way I had planned. As I observed the pupils of this brand new teacher’e eyes grow large, I turned to the board and took a step back in awe. Not only were the words not disappearing… but new words were beginning to appear underneath. It was now quite obvious that we were both extremely engaged in the lesson that was about to begin. I have recorded for you the amazing script that came before my eyes that very day.

A Message from an (almost) Analog Native

Welcome to your new classroom. I am sure you are going to explain and teach in a way that I might never understand. You see, I come from a day of filmstrip projectors that beeped, ditto paper that left my fingers blue and the students enjoying the scent, bells that really did ring out a mechanical melody, 16 millimeter films that, if in color, amazed the kids. In fact, if these films were shown backwards it provided bonus entertainment. In recent years I have heard words that are so strange to me. These words include foreign terms such as twitter, blog, wiki, Skype, web 2.0, clickers, and interactive whiteboards. I have heard all this talk about 21st century skills and I am not even sure if I can tell you what they are. So there you have it. I am not one of those digital natives, nor am I a digital immigrant! I may not even be an analog native or immigrant. So, even though I do not know all the new terms, I thought that I might give you a list of ten items I feel just might ensure success no matter what century it is.

The Ten Timeless Lessons From an Almost Analog Native

  1.  You come to school to serve your students…. put them at the center of their learning. Find great books, integrate fascinating projects, and include engaging resources.  As you do this, always remember that students must be at the center of their learning.
  2.  As you teach you will come upon some amazing tools…. use them to amplify real learning. My very first full sized erasable blackboard was wonderful and I was amazed by the pull down map. I remember the very first time I used colored chalk and our very first classroom set of encyclopedias. Imagine having almost all the knowledge of the world in your classroom. Please remember that tools are only as effective as those who use them. You will be introduced to amazing new tools. Make sure these tools become the servants and not the masters of your teaching.
  3. Realize that every student is truly gifted and it is your job is to find that special gift and make the student aware of it. Each gift is different and will ultimately lead that student to an interest and vocation that they find great pleasure in while contributing to society. They may even come back some day and thank you for revealing that gift to them.
  4. Learning does not just happen in the classroom so open your students to the world by introducing them to experts, authors, cultures, and multiple disciplines. Teach them to become lifetime learners who will embrace learning beyond the classroom and beyond their school experience. It seems this world is ever changing and, in order to keep up with things, they may need to someday be their own teacher.
  5. Allow your students the experience of searching for success allowing multiple attempts, occasional failure, and eventual triumph. Learning does not always need to be graded, but must always be guided. Remember, it is not always the destination, but in most instances… the journey. Allow your students those journeys with multiple opportunities and outcomes.
  6. Encourage cooperation, teamwork, and healthy competition as yo teach your students that the thoughts and contributions of many can be so much more powerful than just the contribution of one. Emphasize true discussion and listening, and allow for discourse. The ability to work, plan, and play together has been, and always will be, an important skill.
  7. Promote thinking that is outside what many might consider the box allowing your students to have their own ideas, play with possibilities, and invent what doesn’t exist. Not everything in life can come from your textbook. Remember, what we believe as facts today could change in twenty-five to fifty years. It seems that information probably doubles every hundred years. I suppose that might even speed up a bit as time goes on.
  8. All of us learn best by doing so allow your students to not just hear it or read about it but provide them with real life experiences and allow then to do it. Guide them as they are doing so they are learning relevant content and gaining new skills. Give them some say in what they are doing.
  9. Remember your humanness and always have a sense of humor and be yourself. Remember that teaching is a people business. Enjoy the laughter, the stories, the victories, the accomplishment, and the small (but really big) moments that can only happen in a real live classroom. Some say that someday robots or some kind of two way wireless radio will take over education. I truly think this will never happen because teachers will always show that the human element is essential. A smile from a real person sure beats that of a  robot or a distant person on a wireless radio covered in distant sounds of static.
  10. Always remember that you teach children… not subjects such as science, history, arithmetic, ciphering, citizenship, reading, English, and shop. You see, it is the teaching of children that convinced me to get into this amazing business… and it is the reason that most great teachers have a hard time giving up a classroom like this.

Please take good care of this classroom. It never was mine, only one that I was allowed not just to educate children in, but so much more. It was a classroom in which I was allowed to perpetuate a culture of learning for almost fifty years. You see, not all of these ideas were mine. I found them on an old slate lying in a back closet when I first entered this room. I was so happy I had a pencil in hand, because no faster had I made my copy than the words on the slate disappeared. I think I may have made a few changes. I know I will have a chance in my retirement to read about some of these new tools and even learn about these 21st century skills. It will probably give me a chance think about what I might have done to make learning in my classroom even better. When I find out… I might even send you a message. Until then, please take care of this old classroom and, more importantly, take even more care with those children who will enter tomorrow and thereafter. I know you will perpetuate the culture of learning that has permeated these four walls for more years than even those I taught.

You know… there wasn’t much to say. I looked at the new kid who seemed even more ready to teach. His eyes appeared already a few years older. As we both stood there we saw the old blackboard magically erase and turn a clean dark shade of black. I picked up the eraser that I had dropped during this unusual encounter and handed it over to the new guy. He opened the closet door and threw it in. I heard a gentle thump as it landed on something that may have been a slate. Together, we both unpacked and plugged in his new interactive whiteboard. He carefully positioned it so he could still see a portion of that old blackboard from his desk. We both knew why. As I walked out of the room that day I couldn’t help but think about the history that just might occur in that old classroom in the next fifty years. But, I had plans to make and students to get ready for as I was incorporating many of those new 21st century skills I had been reading about all summer. I was so excited about providing so many new opportunities for my students. After all, this is a new era for new techniques and strategies.

Thanks for joining me on this wonderful journey of 21st century (and even before that) learning. Join me in future weeks as together we continue to explore several more posts devoted to the Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, technology integration, web resources, PBL,  digital literacy, and the common core.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also remember to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. Keep up the amazing work,  have a great week, and a enjoy this wonderful brand new school year. Welcome to the Future! – Mike Gorman

Booking Info – Before reading the article please take some time to think about your new school year needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer was booked and my 2014/15 calendar is beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates, since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

 

 

 

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Maker Space In Education Series… Making It With Raspberry Pi

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Welcome back and I sure hope you enjoyed the last post including   20 Reasons for Maker Space in Education,  10 Sites To Help You Start Making In The Classroom10 More Sites….Making With Technology  and   In this post I highlight an important  tool that can promote computing and Making in the classroom. I encourage you to send me information and resources you think help with this idea, as I am also Making time to learn.  First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always,  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your new school year needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer is fully booked but it is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

Maker Space In Education Series…  Making It With Raspberry Pi and Adriono – Michael Gorman (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

In the last three posts I have included information that allows for you to get Making in education. I have also emphasized that with Making in the classroom there needs to be an integration with curriculum standards along with those important 21st century skills. That integration really is possible, it just requires some creativity and thinking outside the box. In this post I wish to examine a tool that can get your students Making computational devices. This is a perfect addition to the STEM classroom and could also fit in other areas.

I first remember computer kits when the personal computer age first took off. In fact, a few of you just might remember the Timex Sinclair Computer Kit. In 1982 it sold for $99 and had 2K of memory, used Sinclar Basic, and had a speed of 3.25 MHz. It was in direct competition with the Commodore Vic-20 which would later produce the Commodore 64. It is now 32 years later and there are some amazing opportunities for your students to Tinker with computers. Let me introduce you to Raspberry Pi, it is an awesome tool that can be much more then dessert!

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that can plug into your TV and an existing keyboard. It is a amazing computer which can be used in electronics projects. It can also perform many of the things that a  desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. In fact, it can also play high-definition video. It is an amazing tool for students and allows them to learn how computers work, how to manipulate the electronic world around them, and how to program. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a registered educational charity (registration number 1129409) based in the UK. The Foundation’s goal is to advance the education of adults and children, particularly in the field of computers, computer science and related subjects. Kits start at under $40 and provide a great opportunity for learning. Check out the links below to learn more about how you can start Making with Raspberry Pi.

As you can see, computers have come a long way since 1982. The power and capabilities of the credit card sized Raspberry Pi are remarkable when compared to the room size computers of the past. Best of all, we can put this power and possibilities in the classroom. This invites opportunity that goes beyond what any classroom of even ten years ago may have had. It might be a perfect solution to get your students learning and Making.

I hope you found this information is something you can use in your school and share with other educators.  As always , I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy Making! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Get ready for more links and resources that promote 21st century education in future posts. Get ready for a new series  that will help you make connections between PBL, STEM and Technology Integration… first make some time to sign up and follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). –  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer is fully booked but it is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

 

 

 

 

 

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Maker Space In Education Series… 10 More Sites….Making With Technology

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Welcome back and I sure hope you enjoyed the last article of  20 Reasons for Maker Space in Education and also 10 Sites To Help You Start Making In The Classroom.  In this post I highlight 10 additional sites that can promote making with an emphasis on some tech tools. I encourage you to send me information and resources you think help with this idea, as I am also Making time to learn.  First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always,  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your new school year needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer is fully booked but it is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

Maker Space In Education Series… 10 More Sites….Making With Technology – Michael Gorman (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

In the last post I emphasized practical and doable.I suggested finding an idea from a kit or project that might fit a curricular area of study.  In this way teachers have the opportunity to bring Making Ideas into their classroom with out having to have a whole area devoted to a Maker Space. As this happens it is important that students have the opportunity to see curricular connections to the real world.

In this post, I invite you to look for that one Maker Possibility that will allow your students to make as they learn, while incorporating some sort of technology. As you incorporate technology it is important to be sure that the technology does not become the reason… but instead a conduit for engaged learning of the standards. You may even wish to have students practice the 21st century skills, while you assess.

Take some time and enjoy some of the links I have included below to get some ideas. It is important to look and decide how a certain project or idea just might help students connect. I have included resources that are free along with some that do come with a cost. As you investigate and discover you will open a world of unique, engaging, and exciting possibilities. STEM teachers may wish to take some extra time… so many of these links work in the STEM classroom.. Once again, it is important to think outside the box and Make some great learning happen!

Makey Makey – OK… it is not free but is also pretty amazing at less then fifty dollars a kit. Take a moment to explore this  invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touch-pads and combine them with the internet. It’s really is a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in-between. It comes ready to use out of the box with everything you see above: MaKey MaKey, Alligator Clips, USB Cable. Four student can work with one kit. Make sure you look at the project possibilities on the website. It is here that you just might see curricular connections

High Low Tech – This site from MIT Media Lab really does have some tech for everyone. HLT’s work integrates high and low technological materials, processes, and cultures. Their primary aim is to engage diverse audiences in designing and building their own technologies. It is their belief that the future of technology will be largely determined by end-users who will design, build, and hack their own devices. Furthermore, their goal is to inspire, shape, support, and study these communities. Take a look at these projects that explore the intersection of computation, physical materials, manufacturing processes, traditional crafts, and design

Squishy Circuits – What kids don’t want to Make something with play dough… now add circuits and they have an even greater Making opportunity. Squishy circuits are a project from the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas.  The goal of the project is to design tools and activities which allow kids of all ages to create circuits and explore electronics using play dough. Be sure to check out the Ted Talk, White House Maker Faire, and the Ready to Use Kits. As with any circuit activity… read any precautions.

Tinkercad –  Are you excited about 3D creating and printing? Explore Tinkercad, an easy-to-use tool for creating digital designs that are ready to be 3D printed into physical objects. Users are guided through the 3D design process through ‘Lessons’, which teach the basics before moving on to more complex modeling techniques. Tinkercad is a free tool from Autodesk, joining the 123D family of products in helping students, makers, and individuals from all walks of life to design and make the things they imagine. Be sure to watch videos and try the tutorials!

Scratch – This is a wonderful tool to support computational thinking. With Scratch, students can program their own interactive stories, games, and animations. Better yet, they can share their creations with others in the online community. Best of all,  it is free from MIT! Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. These certainly are essential skills for life in the 21st century. As in all sites designed to share… besure to read the Terms of Use and Privacy.

Picoboards – This under fifty dollar tool allows students to create interactions with various sensors. It compliments the free Scratch programming language by allowing students to easily create simple interactive programs based on the input from sensors. The PicoBoard incorporates a light sensor, sound sensor, a button and a slider, as well as 4 additional inputs that can sense electrical resistance via included cables. Click here for ordering information.

Thingiverse – Are you or your students into 3D printing. Then take a moment and  browse the world’s largest 3D design community for discovering, printing, and sharing 3D models. You and your students can join over 130,000 community members in downloading, sharing, and remixing 3D designs. As in all sites designed to share… be sure to read the Terms of Use and Privacy.

SparkFun – The Education Department at SparkFun  uses electronics as a creative medium and hands-on learning tool, with products and curriculum designed to develop foundational skills.  It allows students to explore the world of electronics while increasing the investment and ownership in education. Most of all it plants the seeds of inventorship in today’s youth.

LittleBits – Discover this organization that believes it is important to create the next generation of problem-solvers in the very near future. The time is now to create the pipe cleaner and the craft stick of the 21st century.  LittleBits products are designed to break down the boundaries between the things we consume and the things we make. Most important LittleBits encourages all students  to be an inventor. Be sure to look at some of the tutorials and lessons found on the site.

Drawdio – Take a moment and imagine that your students could draw musical instruments on normal paper with any pencil (cheap circuit thumb-tacked on) and then play them with your finger. The Drawdio circuit-craft can take everyday objects and make them into musical instruments whether they be paintbrushes, macaroni, trees, a person, even the kitchen sink. Make one… or buy the kit.

Adafruit – You will want to explore this site and learn about all the different electronic items that can be built. It is amazing to just see all the possibilities. There maybe one that just might work for you. As you explore you might just come upon an idea for the Making!

I am sure you might have found some possible ideas to bring a little technology and Making into your student learning. While many of these items do carry some type of cost, it is important to remember that students can work in groups.There maybe funding possibilities in your school. There are also programs such as Donors Choose which just might help you out. I really do hope that your students will be next in line to learn while Making? Take some time to discover more about it, and be sure to consider and plan for those important safety rules that are many times specified at each site. You should also make up your own and enforce with students. I am sure you can see that allowing kids to be Makers promotes so many aspects of what 21st century learning and technology is all about. At the same time, be sure to Make time for Making that allows students to connect with important standards. This is where your creativity comes to play!  I really do hope that some of the ideas in this series Makes your school year plan… and of course the plans of those you share with… still waiting for the Making!

I hope you found this information is something you can use in your school and share with other educators.  As always , I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy Making! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Get ready for more links and resources on this series covering the Maker Movement in K12 Education and also a collection on the connections between PBL, STEM and Technology Integration… first make some time to sign up and follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). –  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer is fully booked but it is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

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Maker Space In Education Series… 10 Sites To Start Making In The Classroom

makers2

 

Welcome back and I sure hope you enjoyed the last article of  20 Reasons for Maker Space in Education.  I hope you enjoy this post as I highlight 10 sites to possible help you to get Making in the classroom… even if in the smallest way! I encourage you to send me information and resources you think help with this idea, as I am also Making time to learn.  First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always,  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your new school year needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer is fully booked but it is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

Maker Space In Education Series… 10 Sites To Start Making In The Classroom – Michael Gorman (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Whle an ultimate goal might be a school Maker Space, a single teacher may wish to consider a starting place that is practical and doable. I suggest finding on idea for a kit or project that might fit a curricular area of study. While the 21st century skills of Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration are important and essential, it is also desirable to connect with significant content found in the existing curriculum. In this way students can practice and be assessed on the 4 C’s while also learning that important content. In other words, let’s get kids doing and making while they become competent with content. In this way students have the opportunity to see application and connections to the real world.

I invite you to look for that one Maker Possibility that will allow your students to make while they learn. In this manner you do not need a whole workshop. Instead, all you need is just the materials for Making curricular connections using the project. It might be a Maker Kit to enhance learning a standard.  While this is a small step and does not totally allow for the wide open possibility thinking that Making can offer, it could get some Making started and allow for some more encompassing steps in the future. It is important to have students think outside the box and have them create ways for their Makings to be different from one another. While there could be some directions, this starting kit could just be objects without directions and just a problem to solve.

A great starting place might be to look at some of the links I have included below to get some ideas. It is important to look and decide how a certain project just might help students connect. As this begins in your classroom, your students will learn about possibilities, developing some Maker interests, and be introduced to some tools that just might spark some interest in further Making. It might be this type of beginning that brings a Maker Space to your classroom, school, or community. Please take a look at some of the websites below and see if you might just Make something out of it… even if it is just a small beginning.

Makezine – This might be a great place to start. I recommend checking out the projects area just to begin to get some ideas. While many of the projects are prescribed you may wish to find some ways to open up ideas for thinking outside the box and providing for innovation. Explore the different areas including science, electronics, art, and design. How might something you discover allow your students to Make something that will connect to learning?

Instructables – Here you will find ideas to make so many things that could Make a great connection to learning. When first opening the program give the Search Engine a try. Put in some keywords of some possible learning ideas. It might be planets, insects, civil war, or nutrition. You can even filter the results using multiple categories’.  Give it a try… you will be amazed at what you find and what your students might Make!

The Exploritorium Tinkering Studio – Tinkering is at the very heart of formative learning, allowing for iterations that encourage revision and reflection.  Kids develop an understanding of how to learn from failure and setbacks in order to experience eventual success. The Tinkering Studio is primarily an R&D laboratory on the floor of the Exploratorium, but whenever possible they try to share their projects, activities, and developing ideas following an “open source” model. Learn how you too can enjoy their activities in your classroom while allowing your kids to Tinker and Make!

The Exploritorium Tinkerer Collection – Speaking of Tinkering you may wish to introduce your students to some amazing Tinkerers and the occupations that surround them. Perhaps this could be part of a Makers Unit of Study that focuses on College and Career Readiness and 21st Century Skills. It might be fun to see what your students can Make of it!

DIY – Do It Yourself is a  platform for students to discover skills and share what they make and do with each other and the global community. You can explore skill-based learning and introduce collaboration into your classroom – during homeroom, Genius Hour, after school, and even regular classes. Discover ways to blend the DIY Skills platform into the core curriculum, or let students explore new subjects while practicing skills and Making.

How To Smile – This is an amazing collecting of some of the best educational materials, learning activities, tools, and services. They are all designed especially for those who teach school-aged kids in activity based settings. This site is sponsored by a group of science museums dedicated to bringing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) out of the academic cloister and into the wider world. This is a great place to Make STEM happen!

HowToons – Take a moment an see what happens when you take a comic book artist, an inventor, and a toy designer and have them work together.  It seems you end up with HowToons, a place of engaging content that teaches kids how to build things, combining instructions with storytelling.  You will discover that Howtoons has a foundation of science and engineering education, inspiring creativity through art and imagination. Take a look at the library and get set to Make!

Science Toy Maker – This really is a site for people who like to roll up their sleeves and make science toys and projects. As the author states, “You won’t find slick, well-designed web pages here–more like the digital equivalent of a messy workshop. If you tinker around, though, you’ll find good stuff.” Science toy maker is a resource for inspired kids and their teachers to really Make something out of it!

Global Cardboard Challenge – This is a project from the Imagination Foundation inspired from Caine’s Arcade. It is a great way to inspire kids with mostly cardboard. It is amazing and exciting to see cardboard innovation at its finest. In fact, how might your students think outside the box and Make!

Maker Camp – Here is an opportunity for students to join other young inventors and artists from around the world on Google+ to make awesome projects, go on epic virtual “field trips,” and meet the world’s coolest makers. You will find that Maker Camp inspires kids ages 13-18 to embrace their inner maker, get their hands dirty, fix some things, break some things, and have a lot of fun doing it. Everything is archived so all lessons and projects will be available at Maker Camp even after the summer so you and your students can Make all year long.

I started this post out with dreams and imagination of what can be in your classroom. You may not have that Maker Space, but all you need a a small start. Perhaps your students are next in line to learn for Making? Take some time to learn more about it, and be sure to consider and plan for those important safety rules that are many times specified at each site. You should also make up your own and enforce with students. I invite you to continue to follow this series as I learn and share more about the Maker Movement and education. I have some technology based Maker links coming your way in a future post. Until then, I am sure you can see that allowing kids to be Makers promotes so many aspects of what 21st century learning and technology is all about. I really do hope this Makes your week… and of course those weeks still waiting for the Making!

I hope you found this information is something you can use in your school and share with other educators.  As always , I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy Making! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Get ready for more links and resources on this series covering the Maker Movement in K12 Education and also a collection on the connections between PBL, STEM and Technology Integration… first make some time to sign up and follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). –  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer is fully booked but it is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

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Maker Space In Education Series… 20 Reasons Your Students Should Be Making

maker1

It’s  still summer time in the States and I couldn’t help but think of the idea of play, and that of course made me think of Maker Space. I have long  encourage Making in the classroom. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that this idea is now a movement and one that I suggest all 21st century educators Make some room for. I hope you enjoy this series and I encourage you to send me information and resources, as I am also Making time to learn.  First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always,  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your new school year needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer is fully booked but it is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

Maker Space In Education Series… 20 Reasons Your Students Should Be Making – Michael Gorman (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Take a moment to contemplate what it would be like if every school had a Maker Space and it was part of the school curriculum. You may wish to dream of the possibilities for essential 21st century skill development and significant content skill alignment. Think about the aura of engagement, flow, grit, perseverance, problem solving, revision, reflection, and satisfaction in that amazing space. Contemplate parents asking the question, “What did you make in school today?” Now sit back and imagine the answer, and further conversations it would bring!

As you are probably already aware, there is a growing Maker Movement across the nation. In fact, you can see Maker Spaces finding room to serve the surging Maker population in both small and large towns alike. I know there is one in my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I looked in on another while conducting a PBL workshop deep in the southwest…  in Tucson, Arizona. On a recent visit to the PBS Network Studios to work with Digital Innovators I saw a large Makers Space on the first floor of the Arlington, Virginia building.

The idea behind the Makers Movement includes allowing people to imagine, envision, create, innovate, play, formatively learn, experiment, collaborate, share, and most of all dream of possibilities. The idea of making is really not a new concept. In fact,the art of making is at the root and mixed into to the very fabric of our culture. I believe that the amazing innovation we have seen in this country is due to a Maker mentality. We have long been a culture set on dreaming up possibilities, and then taking the action to make it happen. The initial growth of technology has somewhat taken some of our creativity and produced  consumption based thinking. We are now past the initial way of thinking, and the Makers movement allows people to finally use the technology to create and make.

It is encouraging to see that Education Maker Spaces are making space in numerous schools including elementary, middle, and high school. This was evident at the 2014 ISTE Convention in Atlanta with over 16,000 attendees and space for Maker vendors, Maker presentations, Maker playgrounds, and Maker possibilities. After all, childhood has long been a time that allows young minds to play and make. It is important to understand that allowing kids to be Makers opens the doors to personalized and authentic learning. Let me share a list that I feel are positive qualities that schools can Make as take away ideas from the Makers Movement.

  • Allow for student intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning
  • Support students in a natural connection toward the facilitation of the 4 C’s
  • Engage students in significant content by allowing for connections to curriculum
  • Immerse students in experiences that promote the idea of flow
  • Provide students opportunities that allow then to fail in order to succeed
  • Emphasize to students and teachers the importance of process over outcome
  • Amplify or introduce to students the components of a school STEM disciplines
  • Provide for student opportunities to enhance Project, Problem, Design, Inquiry, and Challenge Based Learning
  • Promote student literacy through writing, reflecting, and journal writing while Making in specific subject areas
  • Engage students in relevance and connections through a authentic learning experience
  • Promote service student learning by identify and inventing solutions to local and world problems
  • Allow students to see the importance and value of the arts
  • Allow students to be a part of partnerships between school, home, and community
  • Create opportunities for students to be producers of content and products
  • Facilitate to students the idea of entrepreneurship through innovation
  • Provide students an opportunity to connect with college and career opportunities
  • Allow for student mentorship between students and also between community and students
  • Give students the opportunity to learn through kinesetic opportunities
  • Introduce students to the iterative process for problem solving
  • Support student inquiry by relaying the importance of good questions and continued questioning

I started this post out with dreams and imagination of what can be. Some schools are already making it happen. Perhaps your school and students are next? It might just begin with some Maker time in your own classroom… or even after school. It really is time  for you  to… Make it happen. If you already are… please share with me via email. I would like to highlight what you are doing.

I invite you to continue to follow this series as I learn and share more about the Maker Movement and education. I have already started to collect some amazing links to share in this series. I am sure you can see that allowing kids to be Makers promotes so many aspects of what 21st century learning and technology is all about. I really do hope this Makes your week… and of course those weeks still waiting to be Made!

I hope you found this information is something you can use in your school and share with other educators.  As always , I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy Making! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Get ready for more links and resources on this series covering the Maker Movement in K12 Education and also a collection on the connections between PBL, STEM and Technology Integration… first make some time to sign up and follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). –  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer is fully booked but it is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

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Part 5: Forty…Now Fifty…Educational Websites To Put In Your Toolkit

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It’s summer time and you really didn’t think I would stop at 4o sites… especially when I can make it one half of a hundred!  I have really enjoyed sharing these websites I feel should be in every teacher’s toolbox! I have now have fifty… maybe more someday (Chapter 2?). This is post number five… remember I am picking these from thousands.  It is my way of saying happy summer!   First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always,  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your new school year needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My summer is fully booked but it is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

 Part 5: Forty… Now Fifty… Educational Websites To Put In Your Toolkit

Get ready for a series on Maker Movement in K12 Education… first make some time to sign up and follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). –  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

EasyBib

  • Generate free MLA citations
  • Autocite or Manual Entry to learn process
  • Citation Guides assist in locating information  from various types of source
  • Fee based  services remove ads or generate APA, Chicago and others

PrintFriendly

  • Generate printouts of web pages without ads and navigational clutter
  • Easily add the Bookmarklet to your browser
  • Add the Button to your webpage
  • Print, email, or save PDF file

Curriculet

  • Enables teachers to deliver customized, Common Core aligned learning and digitally
  • Create and share their curriculum and lesson materials
  • Embed a layer of questions, quizzes, and rich media annotations into any reading assignment
  • Track mastery of literacy skills and Common Core standards in real-time

EdPuzzle

  • Use only what you need from any video.  Search for videos from Youtube, Khan Academy, LearnZillion, Crash Course, etc.
  • Insert audio notes or record over a video with your voice
  • Add questions along the video to give your students immediate feedback and track their understanding.
  • You can also upload your own videos to EDpuzzle and make them perfect for your class.

Quizlet

  • Tailor Quizlet study sessions to your students’ different learning styles and goals
  • Millions of students use Quizlet at home, to study everything from languages to science to history
  • Generate self-grading practice quizzes or print handouts for your students
  • Liven up your classroom with study games that your students will love to play

Geddit

  • Know how every student is doing at any moment… A free app that works on any web-enabled device in the 1:1 classroom
  • Students give instant feedback about their understanding in private and in real-time
  • Check for evidence of understanding with multiple choice or short answer responses
  • Student driven: Differentiation made easy while students learn skills of metacognition

Citelighter

  • 21st Century Critical Thinking Platform
  • Bringing research, organization, and writing to one place
  • Highlight and save from anywhere … Export to a file or send via email
  • Bibliography in APA or MLA

Research Ready

  • Evaluate a website for research
  • Use critical thinking skills to examine a site
  • Online form with evaluation questions
  • Email finished form of evaluated website

ProConIt

  • Allow for students to look at the opposite views of a subject
  • Created polls and forums
  • Encourage discussion
  • Get feedback

Paper Rater

  • Formative tool for evaluating writing
  • Checks writing, spelling, vocabulary, composition, structure
  • Gives a report style feedback with even a grade
  • Differentiates on different styles of writing

Thank you for joining me and if you have an idea website I should include… please let me know. It might be part of what follows after these 50 in a future series! Remember that many of these are Web 2.0 tools so be sure to check their Terms of Use, Privacy, and your own district AUP.  I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and to share with other educators.  As always , I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL,Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Get ready for a series on Maker Movement in K12 Education… first make some time to sign up and follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). –  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. It is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill!

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