Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March is for Making #28 - Student making solves problems in Alzheimer community

In their book  Maker Centered Learning ( Clapp, Ross, Ryan, & Tishman (2017), “Maker-Centered Learning.”), the authors  spend quite a bit of time examining the primary and secondary benefits of Making in School.  One of the primary benefits of making in our school is that it is the perfect vehicle for developing student agency and building characters.

Student agency can come from making something that is meaningful to them personally,    but when they get involved in opportunities to make things that are meaningful to others in their community, they move from Making Stuff to Making Community.  

In his class, Make IT  101,  Michael  Fricano II from Iolani Schools provides his students an amazing opportunity to MAKE Community

Students designed a product that would help solve a problem that the patients and facility workers of a local Alzheimer's Center faced on a daily basis.

The projects included a texture ball to help calm the patients and provide entertainment;

a language communication box that served as sort of like a connect 4 board where patients could drop in communication cards with pictures and word translations for things they wanted, this was to help with those patients that spoke other primary languages (japanese & korean) which made it difficult for the nurses to communicate with them;

and the third project was a light box that also was meant to help calm and reduce stress and anxiety.

These student project touched my heart so much, I just had to share it as inspiration during March is for Making series.

Monday, March 27, 2017

March is for Making #27 - Interactive Posters and Galleries

Today's inspiration comes to us from Rutland City Public Schools.Our guest bloggers, Patricia Aigner, Director of Technology. models for us how to create curricular connections and  deeper learning experience with one of everyone's favorite maker tools - Makey Makey.
Guest blog post by Patricia Aigner
Director of Technology, Rutland City Public Schools

Interactive Posters and Galleries
Have you ever visited a museum and interacted with a display?  It may have been a diorama, wall map or image.  You pressed a trigger and the combined music, voices and imagery created a story for you that helped you process the information using all your senses.
What started as a challenge from my colleagues has turned into a great project for students and teachers.   Lucie de La Bruere had introduced me to the makey-makey and scratch through an online course.  I was immediately excited and stormed the lunchroom for an afternoon with a makey-makey banana piano.  I encouraged students to play.

All 800 students loved it, but administrators were unimpressed (although it was one of the quietest lunches they had experienced in years).  I was informed that until I made a curriculum connection I was wasting our time. I accepted the feedback, started brainstorming and inspiration struck.
I decided to create my first project about the Women’s Rights Movement.  I researched and located images from the time period at the National Archives.  I then printed the images on cardstock and stenciled them with conductive paint to create a touch point for each sound. https://www.bareconductive.com/
In scratch I recorded my voice with a short narrative about each of the images and the history behind them.   I connected a makey-makey to my chromebook running the scratch project.  Then I attached an alligator clip to each of the stenciled areas of my images.   Here is a quick product video I made that day using my phone.

I presented the idea to our social studies department.  Two RMS teachers decided it was a good fit for their Renaissance Unit.  Each middle school student conducted research and created an interactive poster about an important Renaissance figure.   

Suddenly the room was filled with an “art gallery” of important figures from that time period.  Each poster had text, images and student narrative courtesy of scratch and a makey-makey.  You can learn more about the experience when RMS teachers present the project at Dynamic Landscapes 2017.

This was good, but I was scouting for something that did not need a chromebook!  I had played around with a SparkFun MP3 Player Shield and had success.  That was the inspiration for my next project.
I wanted to create a beautiful project that could stand alone and was easily reproduced by students.   I was inspired by images from a series by American’s for the Arts and contacted them for permission to reproduce.   I then designed a graphic about Louis Armstrong using the images and Microsoft Publisher.  To get the poster scale I wanted, I printed it on our large plotter printer in color.   
I stenciled notes in conductive paint onto the poster and ran copper tape to a Bare Touch Board. I added Louis Armstrong music and voice to a micro SD card that can be inserted into the board.  https://www.bareconductive.com/shop/touch-board/

In the image below, each of the conductive paint notes triggered a different electrode and played a sound.  I started with a small speaker, but quickly realized that I needed something more powerful.  
A battery is wired to the back.  Here is my first attempt.

The demo poster was well-received. RHS students are currently creating an interactive stand-alone poster for the upcoming Global Issues Network Conference.  We recycled the Interactive Art poster shown above in order to create something new.  And that is the best part of these projects.  The bits and pieces can be used year after year to create new and inspiring ways to communicate through a mash-up of technology, paper and electronics.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

March is for Making #26 - Making a Statement about Human Rights with Paper Circuits

Today’s March is for Making inspiration brings us to The Crossett Brook Makerspace-- an amazing space that was thoughtfully designed around the following tenets!

I recently had the opportunity to work Crossett Brook  Maker/ Educator/ Librarian  Jennifer Hill, Tech Coordinator Lynn Pollock and Tarrant Coordinator Life LeGeros to design a maker centered activity that would introduce the teachers and students at Crossett Brook school to ways that their makerspace could be integrated into curricular and project based learning.

Our challenge was to create an experience that would help teachers consider the makerspace as an option for instructional design around the curricular topics they are responsible for.

After some preliminary planning with teachers by Life and Jennifer,  we came up with the idea of using Paper Circuits to introduce new materials and skills to students in connection with their current topic of study - Human Rights!  

The students arrived in the makerspace prepared to make a statement about one of the human rights they studies in the form of an illuminated card/poster.

Due to some thoughtful planning pre-teaching by teachers,  and preparation of materials,  we were successful in introducing paper circuits to over 100 students  who used their new skill to express their understanding of human rights!

Check out some of the creative ways students found to MAKE a statement around Human  Rights!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March is for Making #25 Taking Apart and Remixing in the TBES Makerspace

During today’s March is for Making blog post we get to check out Makers in Action at Thatcher Brook Elementary School - in Waterbury, Vermont.

Thatcher Brook provides many opportunities for students to interact with STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics) including a fantastic art program,  Project Lead the Way, and now makerspace in the computer lab with  a mobile maker cart that contains coding and circuit bins.

The kids  who come to the computer lab section of the makerspace  have had a great time with hacking different electronics and toys and creating new things with them.

They have been taking apart all types of things including Keurigs, sewing machines, phones, remotes, laptops, video cameras, VCRs, toys, and creating something new with them.  The kids have been learning about circuits through using motors and batteries and LED light

The Thatcher Brook School Makerspace concept design started at the Create Make Learn Summer Institute.  Teachers attending the Institute participate in hands on workshops that help them build their own maker skills, explore possibilities for making, and create a custom kit for a center for creating and making back in their school.

After attending Create Make Learn Institute in 2015,  art teacher MK Monley came back   with a team of educators to experience makings first hands in hopes of adding a makerspace to the rich options that the school was providing for students to engage with h STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics).  Not only were students creating with technology in MK’s art program, they also had opportunities to to code and learn about engineering in Project Lead the Way.

During the Create Make Learn Summer Institute,  educators  MK Monley, Lynn Pollock, Brenda Ververis, and Heather Morehouse started to plan and envision additional opportunities for students to become makers.

Their  plan was to transform one section of the school’s computer lab into an area for making and to add a mobile cart that contained tools and resources for making.  They carefully considered how various resources would best meet their needs as they selected which tools to include in the  custom maker kit from Create Make Learn.   After some initial planning at the institute, they knew they wanted to engage their staff and students in the design of the space and purpose.

By early October, the Makerspace had its own space as part of the computer lab and a mobile cart was equipped with coding robots and circuits bins.

Students and educators drop into use the makerspace before and after school, during recess, and during choice time.  The mobile maker bins are signed out by teachers to use in their classroom.  The Coding bin with robots is one of the favorites.  It allows students to extend the coding unit they have completed from Project Lead the Way. Teachers have also started to create centers for making in their own classrooms.

Their  next goal  is to add more tools that would allow students to drill holes, hammer nails, and further extend their maker projects.

Friday, March 24, 2017

March is for Making #24 - 3D printed models and research of Vermont historical buildings

March was a busy month of making across Vermont schools as students from around the state were researching historic buildings in their community and creating 3D print models of those building.

This morning… a  large floor map of Vermont was laid out on the floor of Judd Hall at Vermont Technical College in Randolph.  By 8:00 AM  students and teachers  from Vermont schools started to arrive to share the 3D printed  models of historic buildings that they had created as part of their historical research.  

This Architectural Olympiad  known known as 3D Vermont is a competition that was designed as a collaborative effort across state agencies where school teams identify a historic building, take measurements, and research the origins and history of the building.  They create a multimedia presentation to share their research to a group of judges.   

Students then use their 3D modeling skills to create a replica of the building to scale.

The project originated in Mike Hathorns classroom at Hartford High School where he and his students created online 3D models and placed them on Google Earth. The advent of 3D printing lead Mike to re-envision the project in a way that would engage more schools and students.  

The annual event (3D Vermont) is an amazing celebration of student work and a chance for students to present what they know to an authentic audience.

Kudo’s to all the teams who participated!
Congratulations to the following teams who won this year's competition.

High School Division

#1 Rutland HS
#2 Windsor HS

Middle School Division

#1 Rutland MS
#2 Williston MS

People’s Choice.. Mater Christi School
After a few challenges navigating today's snowy road conditions #EMMAneedsBetterTires I turned around and attended virtually via everyone's photos and tweets!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March is for Making #23 - Teaching for Artistic Behavior

Making when Teaching for Artistic Behavior at Waits River Valley School

I love seeing how making happens in schools all over Vermont and beyond.   At Waits River Valley School,  MAKING is a perfect fit for April Hallock's art studio where she teaches for artistic behavior (TAB). Her young artists experience not only have choice for their own project, but they also support each others' learning and making.

As today's guest blogger, April Hallock shows and tells us what this looks like.

Guest blog post by April Hallock, Art Studio Facilitator & Visual Arts Tea


Greetings from the makers at the Waits River Valley School Art Studio! From building structures with wood in the wood center to figuring out how a Makey Makey works, makers from kindergarten through eighth grade are busy generating ideas, experimenting with a variety of media, prototyping, and completing marvelous works of art based on their own personal investigations and curiosities.

I teach for artistic behavior (TAB) and most of the time, our young artists experience having full choice to create their own projects. When students arrive for their class, I give a brief demo of a process, introduce a concept, or feature an artist from art history. Our makers may then choose to try the demonstrated process, express their reaction to the concept, or replicate art created by a famous artist or art movement. Many children enter the art studio with plans they have developed outside of the art studio or they bring art to work on that they have started in their own studios at home. Students may choose from centers which include (but are not limited to): Drawing, Painting, Collage, Sculpture, Printmaking, Mask-making, and Clay. Today, during the second grade class, one student lead half of the class in a pop-up puppet-making extravaganza! Luckily, I had plenty of socks that had been donated for just this purpose. When teaching for artistic behavior, I feel as though I have to be ready for practically anything!

When I attended the Create Make Learn Institute last summer, I met Jill Dawson, a remarkable lady who changed my understanding and appreciation for all things that light up and blink. Check out her blog: here.  So, last trimester, I facilitated an elective designed for the middle school which focused primarily on circuitry, coding, and integrating these areas within the realm of art. Makers in sixth through eighth grade learned how to make simple and parallel circuits using Chibitronics tutorials. Projects included lighting up the mouths and eyes of student-designed characters in both 2d and 3d works of art. Wearable electronics included several bracelets and even a pair of LED earrings. We played with Makey Makeys, explored snap circuits, and completed an Hour of Code.

During this third trimester, the music teacher, librarian, and I have prepared electives for the scholars in middle school based on Shakespeare’s comedy: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students will be able to choose whether they would like to focus the trimester on acting, set-costume-and-lighting design, and the musical aspects of the show. Our performance will be presented in the woods (we have 40 acres to choose from!) so students who choose to work in the art studio may be carpenters building outdoor seating (with money from the CLiF grant), sewing lots and lots of fairy wings with twinkly lights, making props, constructing Bottom’s head, preparing the set, running the lights, etc.

So, this is how making in my school works. It’s crazy-busy for me but I love it and the kids love it, too. When I changed from a discipline-based art teacher (where I developed all of the projects for the kids) to a TAB teacher, it was scary because I felt like I was giving up a lot of my control. I did (and still do) soooooo much research on how to facilitate an art studio with children as the center, children as the makers, and I’m still learning. For the most part, students know what the expectations are in the art studio and for the most part, wonderfully amazing magic occurs every day in the art studio!

I have known in my heart that TAB and a makerspace environment is what is good for children; it is empowering for them because they can fail and it’s ok because they have time to learn from their mistakes and can begin to learn to perseverance. With persistence, a willingness to take risks, and a desire to learn, one can do anything. But one needs to practice these behaviors in order to gain confidence in this design thinking process. I am SO VERY LUCKY to be able to offer kids an opportunity to create and make and learn.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March is for Making #22- Learning about the Brain through Gamification and Making

The students at Center for Technology, Essex are gearing up for their Game Design Unit.   “A good game designer understand how the brain works to engage the players in ways that makes the game fun - and sometimes addicting!” explains their teacher, Caty Wolfe, as they began studying the brain.

But Caty  ran into a problem -- her students were still struggling to understand how the brain actually works.

"So, what is a teacher to do when her students have been reviewing the parts of the brain at multiple intervals, had many opportunities to apply their learning, and still can’t remember?  Gamify it! " 

And what better way to do this  than create their own “Operations”  type game about the brain using a Makey Makey.   Now that’s what I call problem-solving by both the teacher and the students.

Today’s guest blogger,  Caty Wolfe,  shares how she and her students using making to better understand how the brain work. Caty Wolfe is also a creative maker educator who will be bringing her talents to the teachers at the Create Make Learn Summer Institute. Perhaps some of you will be learning with her this summer!

Guest blog post
by Caty Wolfe, Pre Tech Teacher at Center for Technology, Essex

In the PreTech program at the Center for Technology, Essex, we have developed a backwards unit about gamifying learning all the while gamifying the learning we are gamifying.  You’ll see what we mean.

Students in PreTech2:IDEA (IT, Digital Media, Engineering, & Art) have elected to spend their sophomore year learning in a technical career focused integrated program.  One of the career paths we study is Game Design.  With that as our focus, students earn English credit by writing directions and gamifying a concept, science credit through the study of brain function while having fun, math credit from probability, and art through 3D modeling and board and package design.  The end product is a playable game that teaches content to high school age students so they learn something.

“Gamification is about making something potentially tedious into a game,” says Merriam-Webster.  

So, what is a teacher to do when her students have been reviewing the parts of the brain at multiple intervals, had many opportunities to apply their learning, and still can’t remember?

Gamify it!  

The PreTech students at Center for Technology in Essex are no strangers to Design Thinking Challenges and Engineering Challenges, so they jumped in when given the task of gamifying the parts of the brain.

In small groups they created Operation-style games using a graphic of the brain, MaKey MaKey boards and tin foil, and Scratch to add sound bytes with the name of each part.  

They then created cards that had brain functions on them so the players would have to figure out which part to grab!  

What a hoot!  

And, the best part?  

They have now all aced the anatomy quiz!