E-Wearables Camp at Green Mountain Performing Arts July 2016

August 17, 2016

This post has been a long time in the making because it was the first in a series of Maker experiences this summer.  I’m still not at the blogging expertise level that allows a blogger to just crank out a post as soon as there is something to write about. No. WordPress is still something with which I wrestle.

struggle is real

Not to be too dramatic about it, but putting together the YouTube videos and managing those links and getting them in the right places continues taking me more time than it should.  To be managable, I need a better workflow.

But here it is.  When I was first invited to put together a week-long Maker experience at Green Mountain Performing Arts, I didn’t know that “camp” was different than the type of camps I went to as a kid.  I imagined a big camp with lots of programs running all at once.  I thought I would have a group of campers that would come to be from their previous workshop, spend some time with my workshop, and then move on to their next workshop.  That was not how it really works.

shrugs

As it turned out, my offering would be the entire camp experience for the participants for their day. There were no camp counselors or anything. We met in a performing arts center that was empty during the hours of camp.  Ballet and Hip Hop classes took place in the evenings. We set up shop in the lobby, with plenty of space for our needs, and had access to the dance studios when we needed it. It was air conditioned.

woot

Going through all my materials to pack separately for the workshops turned out to be impractical.  I just piled all my stuff in the car.  When I got there the building was empty and I thought maybe I was on the wrong day in the wrong place.  It turned out that I was only early.  The Director arrived and unlocked the door.  I carried in my stuff. The lobby had tables and lots of space to hold my stuff.  This was going to be great.

whoa

Instead of working outdoors with heat and bugs, we had a nice contained space.  I had time to unpack and prepare before the campers arrived.  As their parents/caregivers started bringing them in, I had my Digital LED Belt out. (I had made at Constructing Modern Knowledge . It was turned on to show the lights blinking in an amazing array of colors and beats.) This is video I made using Snapchat at the conference where I made the belt:

 

Campers included four wonderful children ranging in age from six through eleven. Skip ahead to Monday Day One to see video of our first day.  We tinkered with Snap Circuits.  Then Wiggle Bots.  We use Snapchat video creation tool, but we did not post our snaps on that platform.  We saved to camera roll and added to YouTube clips.  We also made some green screen videos.

popcorn

What follows is a look at some of the material/equipment that I had with me.  You can slip over it now and come back to it later if you are interested.  Just go down to “Monday – Day One.”

Here are some things that can be done with Teachergeek WiggleBots :

 

 

 

 

 

Here is another product from the same company: Teachergeek bugs

We made them later in the week.

 

 

Here’s the camp experience:

Monday – Day One

We were getting acquainted.  The first day of anything is a “get acquainted” day.  We began with some Snap Circuits, some Wiggle Bots and some Snapchat.  We later got to some green screen video and some different kinds of tinkering.  When parents/caregivers came to pick up their kids, we realized that in four hours no one had eaten a snack. Incredible.  I simply forgot to bring a snack. And those who brought a snack never asked if they could eat it.  We were so absorbed in creation. We may have a been a bit nervous.  I can go all day without eating, but I try to eat before I  realize that I’ve lost my pep.

onempty

 

 

Tuesday – Day Two

I began the afternoon with a Periscope broadcast before the children arrived:

(Note: Periscope is a live stream broadcast.  People in my circle were commenting through text on the screen and I was responding.  Once the video is saved to the cameral roll, those text comments are no longer visible.)

 

We made ScribbleBots using a mixture of TeacherGeek materials and materials that I bring to MakerFaires such as ScribbleBots and JitterBugs.  We made more green screen videos and Snapchat clips, too.  Notice how the markers were ingeniusly used in ways that had nothing to do with scribbling! That was cool.

yodawg

I love seeing the first child on the greenscreen in rapt attention as he figured out how the sample green screen background worked.  It was fascinating to watch as he learned. The other children chose their own backgrounds from Pixabay.  This site offers free clips that do not require citations of the source.  By the way, our green screen is simply a plastic shower curtain liner. It’s not perfect, but it works.

Here is a video that I produced with help from RETN about making JitterBugs a few years back:

Here is a video of Bubber, which was a favorite of one of the participant during the latter part of the week:

Wednesday Day Three

I began the day once again with a Periscope broadcast to show both the belt (worn as a necklace for ease of view) and the masks we were going to make that day:

 

We starting making what are often called e-textiles.  Here is a link to my first blog post on e-textiles.  We filmed using Snapchat as usual, and we incorporated use of the LittleBits.  We continued using the Wiggle Bot materials in ways they were not intended for. That’s what tinkering is all about!

team awesome

We also starting using the soldering iron.  We were trying to repair on of my MaKey Makeys.  See below for a video showing what a MaKay Makey is.  We continued making greenscreen videos.  It’s great watching the same boy as before beginning to really interact with the background.  It’s a sample that is provided by the app, DoInk.  Later in the week, he starts chosing his own backgrounds.

clap

 

 

Thursday – Day Four

I didn’t have time for a Periscope broadcast on Thursday.  I was preparing for some new things we would be doing. We were making something more complicated and following directions as opposed to free-style tinkering.  As usual, we used Snapchat to film ourselves.  By the way, I was still trying to repair the MaKey Makey that needed some soldering.  No luck.

Oh no

We began working on the Teachergeek bugs . See above for videos from the company.

At first we were using the soldering iron to soften the plastic so that we could bend it. It worked just fine.  The next day, when we tried to use it for soldering, we had difficulty.  But we only got part way through the project on Thursday.  You will see that we made more green screen videos and used Snapchat to film each other.

This was the day when we once again attempted to film in a collaborative manner.  The children started finding costumes (mostly hats and masks) and props (mostly candycane canes that they used as swords), and worked to try to agree on the backgrounds.  It was not easy!  We had moved into the dance studio by this time. Some of them were a little camera shy at times. Some of them were very interested in physical comedy and less interested in story or plot.

interesting

There was no doubt that a lot of fun was had by all:

 

Friday – Day Five

The video I put together below, as with most of the videos I edited in the past week, does not show events in the order in which they occured.  The boy who was singing using all the different Snapchat lenses was probably recording himself while I was recording someone else doing something else.  Sometimes I would get to a certain point and realize that a certain child had not had a chance to play with the lenses so I would hand them my ipod and tell suggest they go play with it.

Meanwhile, we were doing more than green screen video production.  It wasn’t filmed.  The participant were doing all kinds of tinkering, but I was using that time to help others choose the backgrounds for their green screen video.  Or, I was sitting with a group facilitating their plans for the video.  In some cases, the plans were abandonned in favor of improvisation, as you’ll see.

what it is

 

 

One thing I did not get any video for was the time we spent on the MaKey Makey.  But here is a video that shoes what the MaKey Makey is all about:

 

We had a great week.  I was tired by the end.  Mostly, I was elated by all the fun.  But the driving (I live over an hour away) and the loading and unloading of materials/equipment took their toll.  I had no time to rest or reflect but Saturday was the Rutland MiniMakerFaire at which I was to facilitate my interactive booth.  I simply weeded out anything not needed at the faire and left it on one side of the garage to sort through later.  The rest went back in the car.  After a good night of sleep, I was off to Rutland.

Later, after yet another conference (Maker Places Conference in Burlington, Vermont) I was able to take some time to reflect on the week.  There will be a post on that.

i'm on it

What are your experiences with tinkering?

How do you feel in front of a video camera?

 

 

 

 

 

 

CreateMakeLearn 2016 #cml16 #passthescopeEDU

This year CreateMakeLearn was a spur of the moment experience, much like the first year that I went.  This time, though, I knew about it in advance.  My plan, however, had been to do another week of Maker Camp (tentative name).  When there wasn’t enough enrollment, and Lucie wrote to ask if I was interested in attending in order to document and post on social media, it was an easy

yes.

The idea — later to be dismissed as overreach — was to attend as a participant who also happened to be documenting the event. wait what?

Yeah, I knew that was a stretch.  Somehow, though, I managed to bring all my Maker gear with me in my Prius and unload it into the Generator makerspace in Burlington, Vermont.

what a day

It was a two hour drive each way five days in a row.  I barely had time to eat. The first day, I don’t think I ate until I got home.  On the last day, I was walking around filming with the camera in one hand and stuff my face with a sandwich in the other.  Garbanzo beans were falling out of the sandwich and onto the floor. *walks right over them*

lets do lunch.png

I scaled down on my plans pretty early on.  I continued to live-stream via Periscope, post to Instagram, use Snapchat to produce little video clips that I later uploaded to Google-Plus and Twitter, etc.  (No one at CreateMakeLearn used Snapchat for anything but personal stuff.)  Most of my time was spent uploading and downloading from one platform to another, writing captions, editing in YouTube, etc.

what it is

So the Making simply did not get off the ground.  I still created and learned, but didn’t really make anything tangible.  It was an excellent opportunity to practice using Instagram, which I’d only used on occasion.  It was a great opportunity to try out my iRig microphone with my iPad on Periscope to filter out ambient noise.  Of course, that meant that the mic had to be right up to someone’s mouth to hear anything.  Kevin Jarret, Maker Extraordinaire and all around Great Guy, was a good enough sport to play along and let me broadcast/record a few minutes of his talk.  So were a few of the participants, but most of the sound consisted of my own narration.

what's your point

Here is a preview that I did while awaiting the group’s return after their morning up the hiss at Champlain College.

 

Here is a preview of the entire Generator makerspace:

 

After they ate lunch and walked down the hill, we started the first workshops.

Here’s Monday afternoon with Leah Joly and Kevin Jarrett on the MaKey MaKey, a device invented at the MIT Media Lab. First, see the MaKey MaKey

makmak

Flashback to two years ago:

I had just purchased my iPad and MacBookAir, having been on Windows for decades. Didn’t know how to operate any of it except to get past the passcode and press play on the camera.  That was basically the extent of my knowledge of iOS and Mac operating systems.

Yikes

And now I’m doing this with Snapchat:

It was a fun day. Drove home, Monday night, then turned around and drove back Tuesday morning.  Only I went to RETN for a workshop I had attended a few years ago that had inspired me to buy an iPad and the rest is history.  Regional Educational Television Network runs workshops for teachers so that they can incorporate video production into the curriculum.  It was a great refresher for me since I had been so overwhelmed when I went through it the first time.

Here’s the part on audio:

Here’s the part on video:

 

And then we took some pictures to get a feel for how the light affects them.  The assignment was to take selfies all around in different degrees of light with different angles.

Click here for storify of Instagram

Here we are wrapping up for the morning on Tuesday:

 

We had lunch over at RETN and then back to Generator for the afternoon.

Lucie delaBrue gave a workshop on Raspberry Pi and Kevin Jarrett with Shannon Walters gave a workshop on Toy Hacking.

I had to stop to deal with the tripod issue.  I’m sharing the whole process here!  Did I ever get the picture on the correct orientation?

NOOOOOO

It was another great day at Create Make Learn!

Drove home, then back two hours again.

Wednesday morning:

???

On Wednesday afternoon we went to UVM Physics Department.

First we had a great discussion about the confluence of Making and Engineering.  We were hosted by                 , Physics Professor, and joined by the Education Coordinator at the ECHO Leahy Aquarium down on the waterfront.

After a visit to an older lab (above), we went down the Glass shop where test tubes and other equipment is made by the resident glass blower:

We were given a bunch of stuff by the Physics Department because their building was being torn down and they were moving into the new building being built. Grabbed a bunch of little trinkets.

Drove two hours home, slept, then back in theThursday morning for Cardboard Teck.  This was one of the highlights for me.

clap

 

Was that not fantastic? Okay, well you need to see how they turned out:

 

I didn’t do any video recording on Thursday afternoon.  Instead, I did some curation.  Using Storify, I collected the still photos I had been sharing on Instagram.  I also updated the Google Plus page.

 

I went home Thursday night and returned Friday.  I was late getting out the door and rolled into town late, pretty well exhausted.  I had an appointment to have my hair cut and highlighted, so did not get the ECHO Leahy Acquarium until the afternoon:

Before leaving the museum, I had some fun with Snapchat:

 

What an amazing week!  I was exhausted! And Saturday was the Rutland MiniMakerFaire, which I also Periscoped. But you’ll have to wait for my next post for that..

take it easy

Do you have a routine for documenting as your are learning?

Is it difficult to do both?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 21, 2016 #PassthescopeEDU What’s New? Creative Mojo.

 

After Constructive Modern Knowledge Conference (my last post), my task was to play “passthescopeEDU” with a network of educators who are exploring social media to amplify our voices. This means a five to ten minute live-streamed video post that we take turns with all day, once per month.

Periscope is our app, hence the name #passthescopeEDU. We’ve been experimenting with it for about a year and are now using it more. It allows us to read an audience including our selves and those who happen to follow us and anyone else who happens to jump on board. Each month, we work on expanding our reach a bit more and developing our skill with the medium.

you can do it

The theme in July was about our “creative mojo” and whatever was “new” in our worlds.

i'm on it

There was a lot on my plate, and the impulse was to make sure I covered it all. That’s what being a classroom teacher does to us as presenters.  We feel that we need to cover it all.

sobusy

While I did make a list to have nearby, I made it a point not to look at it.  (I made it until the last moment.)  Instead, I worked on having an interesting introduction and a graphic that would look at least a tiny bit polished.  I have not been trying to make a huge impression, by any means.

anything for you

It’s more that our network is developing some consistency and attempting to keep some momentum.  For me, I need to be myself.  I can’t make myself into something I’m not. This effort is to enhance what I have, not to alter my image.

IMG_0361

So I used the Digital LED Belt to begin the broadcast, and worked out a way to use the tripod so that I could step back.  It was a little awkward when I had to remove the iphone from the tripod and carry it with me to the deck where I planned to sit.  Also, I realized that I had planned to use my laptop to display the Canva image I had made. This was not a good idea.  I should have had it on my iPad and held it up to the camera on the phone.

Imoverit

I showed the view from the deck as a segue into sitting at the table, and I managed to cover most of what I intended.  It was great to have an audience to interact with. This is the power of Periscope.  Unfortunately, when I download the recording, the comments from the audience do not download with it.  So the recording, which I then uploaded to YouTube, shows me interacting with an invisible audience.  Now that Periscope is maintaining the broadcasts, I can also link directly to Periscope TV.

Enjoy the show:

popcorn

 

 

What’s new with you?

How’s your creative mojo?

(Nearly Complete) Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016 (Text Only) #cmk16

Trinket Challenge at Constructing Modern Knowledge

Monday, July 11, 2016

Constructing Modern Knowledge is the “unconference” that considers teachers capable of mastering difficult knowledge and skills.  Or, as Gary Stager says, “We don’t treat you like idiots.” Straight talk. Instead of learning how to use the Googles, educators attending #cmk16 learn in an atmosphere imbued with cutting edge technology where the hood is lifted.  Educators are allowed to get as deep as they can in the workings of electronic platforms and their components.

We spent the day working on Trinket, getting it to blink, double blink, triple blink, work a servo motor, and more. Here is a thread of my snaps: https://youtu.be/cAhesLmpVEM

We worked alone and together. We went out for lunch in area sandwich spots and the park in bunches.  We gathered at the end to reflect upon what the experience of learning meant to us individually, and heard what the faculty thought about the experiences we were having.

Gary Stager, who tells us what he really thinks to a fault and beyond, gave us some historical perspective about learning breadboarding and coding.  He had a teacher, Mr. Jones, who taught him as a kid.  He learning computer programming in MUCH more depth than “Hour of Code.” Here are a few snaps of him threaded together: https://youtu.be/YJU8GpyfBRs

And now the second day is getting started.  I’ve listened to the opening remarks, introcution of faculty, explation of the structure – and lack thereof – and the choosing of projects.  Here is a snap thread from that:  https://youtu.be/im94yyRB5HU

Click here to see  the photos of the ideas that were offered on flickr.

Now I have work to do, so, if you’ll excuse me…..

  • What are you creating today?

 

Flexibly choosing first project to start

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Last year at Constructing Modern Knowledge , an “un-conference,” was my first.  I was a noob. And that was fine.  I experienced the whole catastrophe that comes from having been schooled for life to do what I’m told and being an educator for 20 years being expected to design learning experiences for others in which they will never wonder what is expected of them or what why we’re doing what we’re doing.  Administrators are supposed to be able to walk through a classroom and see posted on your wall “learning intentions” that are cross referenced to Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and the Vermont Framework for Learning.  And it has to align with Grade Level Expectations and Quality Expectations.

We decide here what we want to do based on curiosity — both intellectual and creative — and passion, which sounds great until it hits you suddenly. And the choices are practically unlimited.  You meet people, mostly educators, who are likewise both stoked and intimidated.  You jump in and go through all the stages of excitement, panic, overload, accomplishment, failure, frustration, and lots of other emotions and states of being.

This year I didn’t want to be in a group.  Not because I don’t like people. In part because I do like people.  A lot.  I would like to be silly and learn about their dogs and kids and jobs and make sure they feel included in every decision and happy with all the outcomes.  I decided shortly before coming here that I would go solo so that I could focus.  I could stay home, but it’s not the same.  Here there is a powerful surge of energy that comes from people on missions. People normally focused on young people in their charge and presently given permission to focus on their own learning.

I brought with me some projects which I prepared for by collecting items and reading up.  I have every intention of documenting my work with everything from pictures to video to blog posts and more.

My first project didn’t work out because I had purchased the wrong part by mistake.  I tried a work-around and it was going to be more complicated than I wanted to deal with so I chose a different project.  I quickly realized that I had not purchased enough of the parts and doubted that I could find the exact parts I needed here. https://youtu.be/R9pSlQy5F1M

There is a ton of stuff made available here at the institute, but I just decided to go with a project for which I know I have everything: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adafruit/5387932657

https://flic.kr/p/9hgnPj

I started by making sure I really have everything I need.  I threaded together some snaps of the parts as well as a preview of the tutorial online at Adafruit.

This project will involve soldering which I’m not really great at.  I’ve barely done it.  I’ve also welded, but under close supervision.  (Won’t need to do any welding this week….)

Here’s a preview of what I’ll be doing tomorrow: https://youtu.be/pL2F_i-R7B8

Tonight, we are going to a Brazilian Steak House just as we did last year.  I was on a meat-free phase last year. So I ate bread and salad. I was meat-free all winter, but have fallen off that phase lately.  So I’ll be indulging.  🐂🐃🐄

  • Have you made any wearable electronics?
  • Does any of it interest you?

Making Up My Mind at #cmk16 and Carla Rinaldi Illuminates Us

Wednesday, July 13, 2014

Tuesday, the first day of #cmk16 proper, was not as productive as I hoped, but I accept it.  I am ready to proceed.  My mind is ready. My plan for documentation is ready. I’m beginning now.

Click here for an Adafruit tutorial for what I’m making.

And here is the preview I put together Tuesday: https://youtu.be/pL2F_i-R7B8

The process of choosing a project to start with took me on a few goose chases related to my own poor planning. But I’m prepared for this project so I’m good to go.

Reflection time was helpful to me since I’m working solo and yet don’t wish to be isolated. We went out to Gauchos Brazillian Steak House, the tradition at CMK, where I managed to sit with people I hadn’t yet met.  The conversation was fabulous because we all had some commonality of interests and experiences which was made even more amazing given all the differences in our backgrounds, positions, and passions.  We talked about woodworking, programming, all kinds of things, with an enthusiasm rarely found in a team meeting at school. Collaboration at dinner can be so much easier than during the work day.

So that was Tuesday, the halfway point in the CMK journey. Then came Wednesday, which was the day for the keynote speaker.  Carla Rinaldi gave a riveting presentation. She had some slides, but the way she spoke was the highlight.

It was a moving presentation that I will carry with me moving forward.

In my next post, I will pick up where Carla’s Rinaldi’s talk left off.

  • What do you think about Carla’s ideas?
  • What do you know about Reggio Emilia?
  • Is there anything about it that strikes a chord?

Digital LED Belt, Soldering at #cmk16 and MIT Media Lab

Wednesday, July 13, 2014

My last post ended with Carla Rinaldi’s presentation at #cmk16.  Link to it here.

Then I got to work on my Digital LED Belt. The link to the Adafruit tutorial is here.

My previous SnapStory overview of the project was in an earlier post.

Here is Part One of a SnapStory of my Wednesday work: https://youtu.be/WrRhK5MDerw

During this clip I solder pins to a board. I also attach the board to the LED strip. Both these steps were done incorrectly. So this clip shows where I make two critical errors which come back to haunt me later.  They are:

  • My soldering job is inadequate to the point where it renders the board completely inoperable. I just didn’t get it right. Plain and simple.  Later, Karen will notice this after we have done some trouble shooting.  It ends up being easily corrected.  But it marks an important juncture in my learning journey.
  • The directionality of the current through the belt is backwards. The coding instructs the board what to send into the belt to make the LED’s do what they are coded to do.  There is a direction through which they must go.  They must enter through the ends marked CI and DI.  Those I’s stand for inputs.  I was able to see the C’s and D’s, but the print was so small that I didn’t notice the I’s.  Likewise, on the other end of the belt, it says CO and DO.  I saw the C’s and D’s but not the O’s.  I simply didn’t realize that I was on the wrong end of the belt.  Fortunately, this is something pretty easily fixed.  Ben helped me realize the error and I fixed it myself.  I write more about this at the end of the week.

Here is Part Two of Wednesday’s work: https://youtu.be/eNm8IlXul_I

What I’m doing in this clip is downloading the code to make the belt light up in the pattern that has been designed for it.  Eventually, my plan is to alter the lighting pattern and combine it with other components such as sensors (accelerometer or light or sound).  During this clip, I first make sure I have the latest Arduino IDE for TeensyDuino.  Then I try to get the code for the belt from Adafruit’s GitHub.  Since the IDE is open source, my operating system (Mac) wants to make sure that I don’t download something unsafe.  So I have to unlock it to allow me to download it.

After briefly reflecting as a large group on our work for the day, we left for MIT Media Lab in the afternoon in a bus.

Here is a replica of MIT Media given by the LEGO foundation in honor of their 30th anniversay of collaboration: (pic)

The first thing Mitch Resnick did was show us a video. https://vimeo.com/143858250

This gave us some context about the collaboration and how it evolved. (Tweets from the evening)

  • How do you feel about the Computational Revolution?
  • Have you noticed the signs of its approach, of its accelleration?
  • How will schools adjust?

That Digital LED Belt, Though    #cmk16

Thursday, July 14, 2014

Last night at MIT Media Lab in Boston was phenomenal.

Here’s the video.

And then this morning it was time to get back to working on the Digital LED Belt that was documented in my last post.

Here is the geeked out learning in all its Snapchat glory:

Here’s Part One: https://youtu.be/nwLvtyrBaX8

This clip shows me removing the solder from the board using something referred to as a “solder sucker.”  It wasn’t difficult.  The short circuit is removed and we move on. Once Karen and I get the computer able to sense the board, we are able to have the computer lead us to the list of boards that are available in the Arduino IDE. We settle that part of the project.  We get the blink.  Getting a blink is a good sign!

Here’s Part Two: https://youtu.be/bCLhBfyU02s

 

The clip shows me removing the solder from the board using something referred to as a “solder sucker.”  It wasn’t difficult.  . I simply heated up the solder on the pins so that I could vacuum it into a syringe. The short circuit is removed and we move on. When I brought it back, we had a big win. A light lit up.  This felt empowering!

The feeling of independence made the successes sweeter.  The feeling of independence made the struggles lonelier.  The atmosphere at CMK is supportive in a way that energizes without overloading.  If you feel overloaded, it’s because you haven’t yet learned that you don’t have to be. If you feel jazzed up, you can do a happy dance without self-consciousness.  If you feel overwhelmed, you can reach out and everyone will know what you’re going through. You are not alone.

Then we encounter another problem.  We don’t discover the solution (or the exact problem) right away.  We get to it the following day.  (By “we” I’m referring to Ben and me.) During this clip, Karen gets the blink of the board, but we don’t get the belt to light up. Karen gets strategic with the multimeter.  We want to rule out some connection issues before moving on.  But the multimeter wouldn’t work.  I wasn’t sure if there were batteries in it.  When I checked, they turned out to be there.  Assuming they were dead, I took them out and replaced them.  Still didn’t work.  I ended up putting the old ones back in and it worked.  Surely, there is a logical explanation for that! They must have been situated in such a way that the connection would not hold.  No problem. It’s working, and that’s what matters.

But then it was time to regroup. I’ve done some file management, some reflection, some blogging, and I’m ready to get back to work.

My big takeaway is the power of nearby support.  At home, when I run into difficulty, the experience is rarely empowering.  It takes such a heavy lift to figure out where to turn.  My wheels spin.  I second guess myself.  I get distracted.  But with support available, and with people all around who are going through similar trials, I can persevere without losing the passion.

  • What situations drain your enthusiasm?
  • Why is it that one experience of struggle can bring you down when another can power you up?

 

What Learning Is / What Documentation Is              #cmk16

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My previous post was about my learning experience connecting an Atmega32u4 breakoutboard to the Arduino IDE and to an LED belt. With assistance.

The posts this week are all from Constructing Modern Knowledge Un-Conference in Manchester, NH, with Gary Stager, Sylvia Martinez, and the rest of the amazing intellectuals they run with.

After a long morning of learning, documented in the above post, I joined the large group for a panel discussion conducted among Carla Rinaldi, Gary Stager, and Edith Ackerman. The purpose was to have an opportunity, promised each year of CMK, to have conversations. Conferences in which speakers fly in and are ushered to the podium in a hermetically sealed packet only to be ushered out to the airport with barely a handshake or a selfie are not the CMK experience. Speakers spend the week with us.  They are by our sides engaging with us.  They accompany us to the dinner at Gauchos, they join us on our trip to MIT Media Lab, and they participate with our projects.  We learn next to them.  They learn next to us.

(Tweets from the panel removed from post)

To have our un-conference leaders sharing their thoughts and questions with each other in a collegial manner is not as easy on your attention as being presented to. We are not being entertained or having our preconceived notions validated.  We don’t come to CMK for the opportunity to hear from our heroes on the speaker circuit. CMK is not an elitest gathering, but it is an intellectual experience.  It is not a Disney movie.  Not being a cinema goer, the closest picture I can compare CMK to is The Matrix.

Okay, it’s nothing like the Matrix, but it is closer to The Matrix than to any Disney movie I’ve ever seen.  The point being, you cannot be entertained by CMK without allowing yourself to dig deep into the learning process, deep enough to be affected by the ideas you are asked to consider.  It’s all-consuming which is part of why it’s called “hard fun.”

I love it. It taxes me. It gives me the boost that I need. It reminds me that professional development is not about “learning to use the Google,” to quote Gary. “Making kids behave” is also not on the agenda here.  This is a circus atmosphere.  When you are on the flying trapeze, precision is needed. When you create something that has never been made, you are flyer through the air without a net.

CMK is a juggling act.  We are thinking, creating, wondering, proecessing, communicating, inventing, questioning, demonstrating, documenting, and, sometimes, tweeting. Here are some

Finally, later in the evening, a tweet came across linking to an Edutopia post about “Assessment in Making:”

Here’s the link. My disappointment with it are the questions it offers.  The questions are offered as a framework for exploring “assessment in making” and they disappoint:

“1. Does maker education raise test scores?”

imho:   This question should not be asked about making. If you are asking this question about making, you are expecting to enhance learning experiences through the exact lens that has been degrading learning experiences for so long.

  1. What is a maker curriculum, and how might we align it with standards?

imho:   This question should not be asked about making.  To design a curriculum around making is a worthy quest. To have the chief goal the alignment “standards” (which ones?) is, once again, expecting to enhance learning experiences through the exact lens that has been degrading learning experiences for so long. It’s not the standards themselves that degrade learning, it’s the relentless pursuit of proving them reached that has degraded the learning environments we find outselves in.

But that’s none of my business.

  1. How can I assess making?

imho:   Assessment of making is a worthy endeavor when it focuses on the right things. When it has the learner as the center, assessment can look at what the learner cares about. It can assess what the learner thinks and feels about the making.

It is at this point in the post that the authors bring up “Assessing 21st-Century Skills” and “Digital Portfolios,” including some examples.  Check them out.

For the record, I understand that the authors of the post, Stephanie Chang and Chad Ratliff, are constrained by the conversation in which we are all immersed: test scores and standards. My beef with the post is that I believe changing the conversation is just as important as the quest for assessment of making. I do, however, understand the need we all have to stay in the conversation.

Here is the video embedded in the post:  https://youtu.be/_MDOB5-ocQc

My final comment on the Edutopia post is its emphasis, commonly placed upon the maker movement, on reaching the disengaged learners. My wish would be an emphasis on preventing disengagement in the first place. Making should not be defended as a prescription for students who have failed to thrive without it.  Let’s promote making as a way to enhance the learning environments all students are in.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

  • How do you document maker experiences?
  • How do you assess making?

Last Day at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016             #cmk16

July 20, 2016 (Written about Friday, July 15, 2015)

I have finally finished replacing the videos lost to earlier posts, and I’m ready to complete my final post about Constructing Modern Knowledge.

A previous post about the institute, #cmk16, left off with my Digital LED Belt project in progress Thursday morning. (Between then and now, I posted about a panel discussion held at CMK Thursday afternoon.)

After the panel discussion on Thursday, we had a brief reflection. Lots of my fellow Un-Conference participants at CMK went back to the work area on Thursday evening.  Not me. I grabbed a garlic/mushroom pizza and collapsed in my hotel room to edit video and catch up on the day’s events in the world at large.

We all got right to work Friday morning and it was exceptionally productive.

Tracy (and then Ben) helped me discover the solutions to problems I was having uploading the code to make the belt light up like this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adafruit/5387932657

My videos (below) show the experiemental process of figuring out that the problems stemmed from issues:

  • in the soldering
  • in the directionality
  • in the order in which I would hit one button and then the other

There are five video clips.

The first shows Ben leading me to understand the coding issue.

https://youtu.be/8KsJG4Bzezs

This style of learning — wherein the learner independently makes things, tinkers, takes chances, runs experiments, and seeks help when truly stuck — requires  more than a growth mindset.  One must be able to communicate without overwhelming, have trust, be patient, be proactive, listen, make decisions, maintain momentum, and get out of one’s own way.

These abilities fall into the category sometimes referred to as “soft skills.” Adding to the complexity, theses soft skills are being applied en masse. Without all of them functioning, a blow-out is likely. (Fortunately, nothing like that happened at CMK.)

In practice, these soft skills are required of the “teachers” as well. If a teacher is overbearing or aloof, the system fails.  Collaboration between individuals in a working group or in a class would add to the complexity of instructional dynamics.  A room full of high-maintenance individuals and a cranky teacher can throw a monkey wrench into the learning process.  If you were to add to that a fire drill, a health problem, a wifi loss, or some type of stress from outside the learning environment, things could break down altogether — even when all parties have good soft skills on board. I was lucky. (We all were.)

The second video clip shows me fixing my original soldering job.

https://youtu.be/8KsJG4Bzezs

Having soldered several times in the past, I came to CMK will some  decent soldering skills. They were not strong, but they were there.  I had received instruction, but had not truly had the motivation to want something to function for me.  In other words, I had lacked the passion that a special project can bring.  So I had soldered and simply seen the results of my work. There was no sense of accomplishment.

This time, I was able to internalize the direct correlation between quality of soldering work to outcome of project.

That soldering iron is gonna get that connection right!

The third video shows Ben taking my newly repaired soldering and getting the belt to light up correctly. He showed me how the code needs to be uploaded in exact timing with the pushing of the reset button.  Also, the video shows me attaching the power supply by soldering a diode to connect two wires (one positive and one negative) in the correct direction:

https://youtu.be/I_B2EnqbMR0

One of the recurring themes in my learning this week is that directionality is important. Early on, I had failed to take into account the fact that the LED’s would need to be powered and programmed from a specific direction.  The print on the LED strip was so small — and buried under thick plastic — that I did not make out the “I” for Input and the “O” for output.  It says DI and CI on one end and DO and CO on the other end. I only saw the C’s and D’s. Each end had looked the same to me, with each end having a C and a D.  I didn’t question it. That error made it necessary for me to redo the the connection, but that was “okay” for several reasons. Yes, it put me behind schedule.  But when it was time to solder the diode, I understood that I had to LOOK for the correct direction, and that I had to maintain it. It’s a lesson I won’t have to learn again. Next time, I will look for the end that is input and the end that is output. No one will have to remind me.  I own it.

The fourth clip shows me finishing up the soldering and then coating it with rubber tubing that is shrunk with heat from the iron:

https://youtu.be/mlXDH1gvh4o

Take away:

It’s important to turn on the switch when you want something to work.

Likewise, knowing that I am prone to absent mindedly neglect such wisdom, I can compensate for this by taking extra precautions such as deciding to BOTH turn off the switch AND remove the batteries when it’s time to solder.

The fifth clip shows the finishing touches, including the dramatic end when the belt lights up with all the code working.  I think the chocolate helped.

https://youtu.be/cODNt5CbtnA

By the time that I had to connect the power supply to the board, I had developed two drives within me — working in tandem:

One drive was toward precision.  Of course I always want to be precise.  But, this time, I really, really, really wanted to make sure that I hit the nail on the head. And I did.

The other drive was to study the inner workings of the project. I didn’t just want to get it working so that I could be done with it.  I wanted to master it. I wanted to be the agent of my destiny. Ego? Probably. But in a good way, I think. I was feeling more and more control over the outcome of the project and it felt good. The sense of control came from a combination of knowledge and confidence.

And I did get it right. I’m not gonna lie: it’s an awesome feeling.

My colleagues, too, made some amazing things.  It was an honor to be among them.

Next is a video of most all of the other projects at CMK:

https://youtu.be/y0rawNYEH1k

Give it up for the people who persevered to create.

Finally, here is a video from the closing session in which we reflected with the faculty on the experiences we had. And Neil Diamond Kareoke.

https://youtu.be/b6e87tWuOaM

To Gary Stager, Sylvia Martinez, and all the good people of Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016: Thank you.

  • Have you ever been to an “un-conference”?
  • Which professional gatherings have inspired you to continue the work into the future?

Last Day at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016 #cmk16

July 20, 2016 (Written about Friday, July 15, 2016)

I have finally finished replacing the videos lost to earlier posts, and I’m ready to complete my final post about Constructing Modern Knowledge.

A previous post about the institute, #cmk16, left off with my Digital LED Belt project in progress Thursday morning. (Between then and now, I posted about a panel discussion held at CMK Thursday afternoon.)

After the panel discussion on Thursday, we had a brief reflection. Lots of my fellow Un-Conference participants at CMK went back to the work area on Thursday evening.  Not me. I grabbed a garlic/mushroom pizza and collapsed in my hotel room to edit video and catch up on the day’s events in the world at large.

can't sleep

We all got right to work Friday morning and it was exceptionally productive.

Tracy (and then Ben) helped me discover the solutions to problems I was having uploading the code to make the belt light up like this:

led strip

My videos (below) show the experiemental process of figuring out that the problems stemmed from issues:

  • in the soldering
  • in the directionality
  • in the order in which I would hit one button and then the other

There are five video clips.

The first shows Ben leading me to understand the coding issue.

This style of learning — wherein the learner independently makes things, tinkers, takes chances, runs experiments, and seeks help when truly stuck — requires  more than a growth mindset.  One must be able to communicate without overwhelming, have trust, be patient, be proactive, listen, make decisions, maintain momentum, and get out of one’s own way.

These abilities fall into the category sometimes referred to as “soft skills.” Adding to the complexity, theses soft skills are being applied en masse. Without all of them functioning, a blow-out is likely. (Fortunately, nothing like that happened at CMK.)

In practice, these soft skills are required of the “teachers” as well. If a teacher is overbearing or aloof, the system fails.  Collaboration between individuals in a working group or in a class would add to the complexity of instructional dynamics.  A room full of high-maintenance individuals and a cranky teacher can throw a monkey wrench into the learning process.  If you were to add to that a fire drill, a health problem, a wifi loss, or some type of stress from outside the learning environment, things could break down altogether — even when all parties have good soft skills on board. I was lucky. (We all were.)

Stay Golden.png

The second video clip shows me fixing my original soldering job.

Having soldered several times in the past, I came to CMK will some  decent soldering skills. They were not strong, but they were there.  I had received instruction, but had not truly had the motivation to want something to function for me.  In other words, I had lacked the passion that a special project can bring.  So I had soldered and seen the results of my work and been like:

meh

This time, I was able to internalize the direct correlation between quality of soldering work to outcome of project. It’s like

brace yourself.png

That soldering iron is gonna get that connection right!

all in.png

The third video shows Ben taking my newly repaired soldering and getting the belt to light up correctly. He showed me how the code needs to be uploaded in exact timing with the pushing of the reset button.  Also, the video shows me attaching the power supply by soldering a diode to connect two wires (one positive and one negative) in the correct direction:

One of the recurring themes in my learning this week is that directionality is important. Early on, I had failed to take account of the fact that the LED’s would need to be powered and programmed from a specific direction.  The print on the LED strip was so small — and buried under thick plastic — that I did not make out the “I” for Input and the “O” for output.  They had looked the same to me.  I didn’t question it. That make it necessary for me to redo the the connection, but that was

OK.png

for several reasons. Yes, it put me behind schedule.  But when it was time to solder the diode, I understood that I had to LOOK for the correct direction and maintain it. It’s a lesson I won’t have to learn again.

Th fourth clip shows me finishing up the soldering and then coating it with rubber tubing that is shrunk with heat from the iron:

Take away:

It’s important to turn on the switch when you want something to work.

duh.png

Likewise, knowing that I am prone to absent mindedly neglect such wisdom, I can compensate for this by taking extra precautions such as deciding to both turn off the switch AND remove the batteries when it’s time to solder.

The fifth clip shows the finishing touches, including the dramatic end when the belt lights up with all the code working.  I think the chocolate helped.

By the time that I had to connect the power supply to the board, I had developed two internal drives working in tandem:

One drive was toward precision.  Of course I always want to be precise.  But, this time, I really, really, really wanted to make sure that I hit the nail on the head. And I did.

The other drive was to study the inner workings of the project. I didn’t just want to get it working so that I could be done with it.  I wanted to master it. I wanted to be the agent of my destiny. Ego? Probably. But in a good way. I was feeling more and more control over the outcome of the project and it felt good. The sense of control came from a combination of knowledge and confidence.

you can do it.png

And I did.

killin' it.png

I’m not gonna lie: it’s an awesome feeling.

 

My colleagues, too, made some amazing things.

It was an honor to be among them.

blessed

Next is a video of most all of the other projects at CMK:

Give it up for the people who persevered to create:

clap

Finally, here is a video from the closing session in which we reflected with the faculty on the experiences we had. And Neil Diamond Kareoke. It was

lit:

 

keep it hundred

To Gary Stager, Sylvia Martinez, and all the good people of Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016:

respect

Have you ever been to an un-conference?

Which professional gatherings have inspired you to continue the work into the future?

 

What Learning Is / What Documentation Is #cmk16

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My previous post was about my learning experience at #cmk16 connecting an Atmega32u4 breakoutboard to the Arduino IDE and to an LED belt. With assistance.

The posts this week are all from Constructing Modern Knowledge Un-Conference in Manchester, NH, with Gary Stager, Sylvia Martinez, and the rest of the amazing intellectuals they run with.

After a long morning of learning, documented in the above post, I joined the large group for a panel discussion conducted among Carla Rinaldi, Gary Stager, and Edith Ackerman. The purpose was to have an opportunity, promised each year of CMK, to have conversations. Conferences in which speakers fly in and are ushered to the podium in a hermetically sealed packet only to be ushered out to the airport with barely a handshake or a selfie are not the CMK experience. Speakers spend the week with us.  They are by our sides engaging with us.  They accompany us to the dinner at Gauchos, they join us on our trip to MIT Media Lab, and they participate with our projects.  We learn next to them.  They learn next to us.

why

To have our un-conference leaders sharing their thoughts and questions with each other in a collegial manner is not as easy on your attention as being presented to. We are not being entertained or having our preconceived notions validated.  We don’t come to CMK for the opportunity to hear from our heroes on the speaker circuit. CMK is not an elitest gathering, but it is an intellectual experience.  It is not a Disney movie.  Not being a cinema goer, the closest picture I can compare CMK to is The Matrix.

lololol

Okay, it’s nothing like the Matrix, but it is closer to The Matrix than to any Disney movie I’ve ever seen.  The point being, you cannot be entertained by CMK without allowing yourself to dig deep into the learning process, deep enough to be affected by the ideas you are asked to consider.  It’s all-consuming which is part of why it’s called “hard fun.”

I love it. It taxes me. It gives me the boost that I need. It reminds me that professional development is not about “learning to use the Google,” to quote Gary. “Making kids behave” is also not on the agenda here.  This is a circus atmosphere.  When you are on the flying trapeze, precision is needed. When you create something that has never been made, you are flyer through the air without a net.

sobusy

CMK is a juggling act.  We are thinking, creating, wondering, proecessing, communicating, inventing, questioning, demonstrating, documenting, and, sometimes, tweeting. Here are some:

 

 

Piaget refers to the start of symbolic function. Not only reading/writing but playing what if games, make believe, suspend disbelief

 

We can be inspired by children. The drama and beauty of learning. The complexity. Carla Rinaldi

We can be inspired by children. The drama and beauty of learning. The complexity. Carla Rinaldi

We can be inspired by children. The drama and beauty of learning. The complexity. Carla Rinaldi

Edith Ackerman discusses what keeps the fire burning for the learners preventing extinguishment of the drive.
Creative debugging?

The art of leaping from debugging mode to the playful mode and back again. Edith Ackerman finds this so precious about Reggio Emilia.

Gary Stager shares what he finds that *making* adds to child development. Enhanced expressiveness. precision.

Ability to create real things, (modified) allowing complexity to be accessible. I would add caring.

What is a project? Carla Rinaldi is asked. It makes visible the learning processes of the child, for one.

A project is for sharing not only the what but the how and the why. From Carla Rinaldi of Reggio Emilia.

 

Finally, later in the evening, a tweet came across linking to an Edutopia post about “Assessment in Making:”

Here’s the link. My disappointment with it are the questions it offers.  The questions are offered as a framework for exploring “assessment in making” and they disappoint:

“1. Does maker education raise test scores?”

imho:   This question should not be asked about making. If you are asking this question about making, you are expecting to enhance learning experiences through the exact lens that has been degrading learning experiences for so long.

I can't even

2. What is a maker curriculum, and how might we align it with standards?

imho:   This question should not be asked about making.  To design a curriculum around making is a worthy quest. To have the chief goal the alignment “standards” (which ones?) is, once again, expecting to enhance learning experiences through the exact lens that has been degrading learning experiences for so long. It’s not the standards themselves that degrade learning, it’s the relentless pursuit of proving them reached that has degraded the learning environments we find outselves in.

drinking tea

But that’s none of my business.

3. How can I assess making?

imho:   Assessment of making is a worthy endeavor when it focuses on the right things. When it has the learner as the center, assessment can look at what the learner cares about. It can assess what the learner thinks about the making.

It is at this point in the post that the author brings up “Assessing 21st-Century Skills” and “Digital Portfolios,” including some examples.  Check them out.

For the record, I understand that the authors of the post, Stephanie Chang and Chad Ratliff, are constrained by the conversation in which we are all immersed: test scores and standards. My beef with the post is that I believe changing the conversation is just as important as the quest for assessment of making. I do, however, understand the need we all have to stay in the conversation.

Here is the video embedded in the post:

My final comment on the Edutopia post is its emphasis, commonly placed upong the maker movement, on reaching the disengaged learners. My wish would be an emphasis on preventing disengagement in the first place. Making should not be defended as a prescription for students who have failed to thrive without it.  Let’s promote making as a way to enhance the learning environments all students are in.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

many thanks.png

How do you document maker experiences?

How do you assess making?

 

That Digital LED Belt, Though #cmk16

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Last night, #cmk16 went to MIT Media Lab in Boston was phenomenal.

Photo Jul 14, 1 22 26 PMPhoto Jul 14, 1 22 29 PMPhoto Jul 14, 1 22 32 PM

 

Photo Jul 14, 1 22 36 PMPhoto Jul 14, 1 22 51 PMPhoto Jul 14, 1 50 47 PM

Here’s the video:

And then this morning it was time to get back to working on the Digital LED Belt that was documented in my last post.

Photo Jul 14, 1 23 02 PM.pngrise and shine

Here is the geeked out learning in all its Snapchat glory:

You see here that I begin the work on my own. I’m following directions and doing something that I actually already know how to do.  Things seem to be going well, until they stop going well.  I’m uncompressing, renaming, copying to specific folders, restarting the software and so one.  But something isn’t working.  What luck!  If everything worked, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn so much.

What happened was that the board I’m using, the AtMega32U4 was not listed in the dropdown menu.  Karen helped me out.  She has a deep understanding of how to work all the user interface aspects of Arduino.  Still, we reached an impasse.  Even though we saw what we wanted, we couldn’t get the computer to sense the board.  Toward the end, after much study and trial and error, Karen looks at my soldering work.  Uh.  Oh.

This is where my poor soldering comes back to haunt me.  And leads me to the next step of the journey.

 

The clip below shows me removing the solder from the board using something referred to as a “solder sucker.”  It wasn’t difficult. I simply heated up the solder on the pins so that I could vacuum it into a syringe. The short circuit is removed and we move on. When I brought it back, we had a big win. A light lit up.  This felt empowering!

The feeling of independence made the successes sweeter.  The feeling of independence made the struggles lonelier.  The atmosphere at CMK is supportive in a way that energizes without overloading.  If you feel overloaded, it’s because you haven’t yet learned that you don’t have to be. If you feel jazzed up, you can do a happy dance without self-consciousness.  If you feel overwhelmed, you can reach out and everyone will know what you’re going through. You are not alone.

Then we encounter another problem.  We don’t discover the solution (or the exact problem) right away.  We get to it the following day.  (By “we” I’m referring to Ben and me.) During this clip, Karen gets the blink of the board, but we don’t get the belt to light up. Karen gets strategic with the multimeter.  We want to rule out some connection issues before moving on.  But the multimeter wouldn’t work.  I wasn’t sure if there were batteries in it.  When I checked, they turned out to be there.  Assuming they were dead, I took them out and replaced them.  Still didn’t work.  I ended up putting the old ones back in and it worked.  Surely, there is a logical explanation for that! They must have been situated in such a way that the connection would not hold.  No problem. It’s working, and that’s what matters.

Photo Jul 14, 1 23 47 PMPhoto Jul 14, 1 24 04 PMPhoto Jul 14, 1 24 10 PM

 

Photo Jul 14, 1 24 35 PMPhoto Jul 14, 1 24 43 PMPhoto Jul 14, 1 24 48 PM

But then it was time to regroup. I’ve done some file management, some reflection, some blogging, and I’m ready to get back to work.

My big takeaway is the power of nearby support.  At home, when I run into difficulty, the experience is rarely empowering.  It takes such a heavy lift to figure out where to turn.  My wheels spin.  I second guess myself.  I get distracted.  But with support available, and with people all around who are going through similar trials, I can persevere without losing the passion.

onempty imgood.png

What situations drain your enthusiasm?

Why is it that one experience of struggle can bring you down when another can power you up?

I don't know

But

thinking

Digital LED Belt, Soldering, MIT Media Lab #cmk16

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My last post ended with Carla Rinaldi’s presentation at #cmk16. Link to it here.

Photo Jul 13, 10 49 53 AM.jpg

Then I got to work on my Digital LED Belt. The link to the Adafruit tutorial is here.

My previous SnapStory overview of the project was in an earlier post.

Here is Part One of a SnapStory of my Wednesday work:

During this clip I solder pins to a board. I also attach the board to the LED strip. Both these steps were done incorrectly. So this clip shows where I make two critical errors which come back to haunt me later.  They are:

  • My soldering job is inadequate to the point where it renders the board completely inoperable. I just didn’t get it right. Plain and simple.  Later, Karen will notice this after we have done some trouble shooting.  It ends up being easily corrected.  But it marks an important juncture in my learning journey.
  • The directionality of the current through the belt is backwards. The coding instructs the board what to send into the belt to make the LED’s do what they are coded to do.  There is a direction through which they must go.  They must enter through the ends marked CI and DI.  Those I’s stand for inputs.  I was able to see the C’s and D’s, but the print was so small that I didn’t notice the I’s.  Likewise, on the other end of the belt, it says CO and DO.  I saw the C’s and D’s but not the O’s.  I simply didn’t realize that I was on the wrong end of the belt.  Fortunately, this is something pretty easily fixed.  Ben helped me realize the error and I fixed it myself.  I write more about this at the end of the week.

Here is a link to Adafruit’s description of the LED belt at which you can see it and read the clear, bold instruction to check the directionality (which I did not read).

Here is Part Two of Wednesday’s work:

What I’m doing in this clip is downloading the code to make the belt light up in the pattern that has been designed for it.  Eventually, my plan is to alter the lighting pattern and combine it with other components such as sensors (accelerometer or light or sound).  During this clip, I first make sure I have the latest Arduino IDE for TeensyDuino.  Then I try to get the code for the belt from Adafruit’s GitHub.  Since the IDE is open source, my operating system (Mac) wants to make sure that I don’t download something unsafe.  So I have to unlock it to allow me to download it.

After briefly reflecting as a large group on our work for the day, we left for MIT Media Lab in the afternoon in a bus.  It was lit:

mit_28269474806_o.jpg

Here is a replica of MIT Media given by the LEGO foundation in honor of their 30th anniversay of collaboration:

mit_28269477146_o

The first thing Mitch Resnick did was show us a video.

 

This gave us some context about the collaboration and how it evolved.

Mitch Resnick speaking about the type of experimental engagement and creative play that inspired Seymour Papert and LEGO 30 years ago

Teach coding like teaching writing. Allow learner to be a storyteller. Don’t start with spelling & grammar

Smaller number of ScratchX blocks simplifying experimentation of interest area. Lower floor, wider walls.

Wow. MIT accepts a Maker Portfolio as part of Admissions process.

Kinder has not generally been about play and engagement. Mine was quite rigid. We didn’t play. We obeyed.

Lifelong kindergarten great as long as the model isn’t the compliant model that I remember.

We get cupcakes and then Dr. Wolfram. MIT Media Lab.

Dr. Stephen Wolfram speaking to us at MIT Media Lab about Mathematica.

Computation Thinking is definite enough to communicate to computer. Mathematical Thinking allows communication of concepts to people

Showing us WolframAlpha Pro. You can get step by step solution in you want.

For every field today, x, there will be a field evolved from it called “computational X”.
Stephen Wolfram

Computational thinking should be inserted into various subjects in school. Different from programming, which is lower level. Wolfram

 

 

It seems appropriate to end this post with the explosion of someone’s head.

mind blown

How do you feel about the Computational Revolution?

Have you noticed the signs of its approach, of its accelleration?

How will schools adjust?

 

 

Making Up My Mind at #cmk16 and Carla Rinaldi Illuminates Us

Wednesday, July 12, 2016

Yesterday was the first day of #cmk16 proper. It was not as productive as I hoped, but I accept it.  I am ready to proceed.  My mind is ready. My plan for documentation is ready. I’m beginning now.

like a boss

 

Click here for an Adafruit tutorial for what I’m making.

And here is the preview I put together Tuesday:

The process of choosing a project to start with took me on a few goose chases related to my own poor planning. But I’m prepared for this project so I’m good to go.

Reflection time was helpful to me since I’m working solo and yet don’t wish to be isolated. We went out to Gauchos Brazillian Steak House, the tradition at CMK, where I managed to sit with people I hadn’t yet met.  The conversation was fabulous because we all had some commonality of interests and experiences which was made even more amazing given all the differences in our backgrounds, positions, and passions.  We talked about woodworking, programming, all kinds of things, with an enthusiasm rarely found in a team meeting at school. Collaboration at dinner can be so much easier than during the work day.

So that was Tuesday, the halfway point in the CMK journey. Then came Wednesday, which was the day for the keynote speaker.  Carla Rinaldi gave a riveting presentation. She had some slides, but the way she spoke was the highlight.

Here are some tweets from the event:

Participation and cooperation are values that are integral to the community in Reggio Emilia. School was built by people after war.

At Reggio Emilia school, culture is both transmitted and renewed. It’s a system within a wider system.

A child is bearer of rights and potentials. A child is to be trusted. Never to be betrayed. They never betray us. Reggio Emilia

Teachers are part of learning dynamic at Reggio. Participants in learning process. Leave traces.

Learning in relationship with others as a group is central to Reggio Emilia.  Child raises village as much as village raises child.

Best learners must be the teachers.

Reggiochildrenfoundation.org  has seven on Scientific Committee.

Listening to list of what a child cannot do is vastly different approach than listening to the 100 languages of children learning.

Teachers have choices when listening to children learn: enlarging the questions, offering complexity, offering connections.

Children are researchers making theories, hypotheses, doing science. Don’t betray them.

Reggio Emilia chooses continuity in child’s school life, as a research of meaning, of beauty ( not aesthetic ) as a connector.

Having a qualility of caring in relationship is a child’s right. Reggio Emilia via Carla Rinaldi

Dialogue between children and nature: children use various materials in scientific research about it, including digital means.

Carla Rinaldi thanks the teachers of Reggio Emilia who are allowing the children to learn in this way.
Standing ovation.

It was a moving presentation that I will carry with me moving forward.

In my next post, I will pick up where Carla’s Rinaldi’s talk left off.

What do you think about Carla’s ideas?

What do you know about Reggio Emilia?

Is there anything about it that strikes a chord?