Week 7 Blog

There are two clear ways that 3D printing will impact education.  The first way the education will be changed is that it will transfer much more from visual and auditory methods of learning into much more kinesthetic learning.  College students in design/marketing classes previously only had enough time throughout the course to design a product, but now with 3D printing, the are able to design, create, market and sell their products all in the course of one semester (Lipson & Kurman, 2013).  3D printers allow students to make/design things and see the results immediately.  There is no longer any wait time between design and creation.  Students will be able to access tangible materials and designs as soon as they are done being created.  This allows students to be able to experience their education in a hands-on way like never before.  The following graphic shows so many different ways that students can use 3D printing and shows so many ways that the products of 3D printing can make learning much more interactive and hands-on.


Another way students are being impacted by 3D printing is that the impressive abilities of the printers are captivating students.  Teachers across many different demographics are noticing their students being engaged by 3D printing and completely interested and absorbed by them.  Bas Baeten, a Dutch teacher in the testimonial video posted by Leapfrog 3D printing, explains that this technology is the future, and because of that he thinks students should have access to it in school.  He also remarks on how interested his students are, he never has to remind them to pay attention while working with the 3D printer, because they already are!  Another teacher used a 3D printer to print out different kinds of cookies for a group of 2nd graders and she saw that students who were normally not interested in technology or math were very interested when the 3D printer was being used.  This technology is attracting students of all ages and those who previously did not show too much interest in technology.  Hopefully the use of 3D printers in schools will help encourage students to pursue technology and computer science in school so they can help absorb the abundance of technological careers that will come up in the future.

Infographic: http://3dprintingsystems.com/education/

Lipson, H., & Kurman, M. (2013, June 9). Two Ways 3D Printing is Revolutionizing the Classroom | Big Think. Retrieved June 30, 2015, from http://bigthink.com/in-their-own-words/two-ways-3d-printing-is-revolutionizing-the-classroom

Reflection Week 6

This week we learned about coding!  I had limited knowledge of what coding was before this week.  I knew it was about computers and I knew it was about creating programs on the computer.  I also thought it had something to do with binary coding, where you type series of 0 and 1 to talk to the computer.  My background knowledge wasn’t too far off, but it wasn’t exactly right either.  Turns out that you can code using terms and methods other than binary code, and you can use coding to do fun things like creating games and cards!

Rachel posted a really great definition of coding, that coding is basically telling a computer what to do!  Im glad that I stumbled across her blog this week and found that definition, because it is a quick and clear way to explain coding.

I really enjoyed the Ted Talk video by Mitch Resnick.  He explained coding and its benefits really well, and his program Scratch seems so great.  That is somethings that I could really use in my classroom.  It seems easy (relatively speaking) and fun!

Unfortunately I missed the twitter chat this week, but I was able to go back and read over the conversation that took place seemed really interesting, and I was able to get a lot of insight from others in the class sharing their thoughts and opinions.

Week 6 Blog

Some proponents of the coding movement in schools made a few key points that really resonated with me.  Just like with many other technological components, coding encourages students to work together and learn collaboration skills, as explained by Mitch Resnick in the TED Talk video.  In addition to collaboration, a news story by a Minnesota news station reported that while using coding in local schools, the teachers were able to see that their students were learning and developing logic and critical thinking.  In this video it was also clear that students were proud of their work and engaged and excited to share their learning.  Now many different subjects use games to interest students in learning, but by creating their own games, students are engaged and using their brains in much deeper ways than they would be by just playing a game to learn.

The Minnesota news station also reported that teaching young student to code now will encourage them to pursue more computer science and technology classes as they get older in high school and also hopefully college. Apparently less than 3% of college graduates earn a computer science degree, yet as technology becomes more prevalent computer scientists will be in high demand (Zamora, 2014).  Interesting student in computer science while they are you will encourage them to pursue these kinds of careers.

Learning to code is like learning a second language, and as it has been proven before, the earlier children learn a new language the easier they can pick it up and have more success assimilating it into their knowledge set (Harrell, 2015).  Some schools want coding to be more than just an elective, and want it to count as foreign language credits.  If the class help students meet graduation requirements it may be a higher incentive for them to take it, rather than just as general elective credits (Zamora, 2014).

Programs like Scratch, presented in Resnick’s Ted Talk video seem like really relevant and practical tools for teachers and students to use in school.  However the biggest challenge of mandating code use, even in a use friendly program like Scratch, is ensuring that teachers are appropriately trained and that schools have the resources necessary, such as enough functioning computers, internet and time in the schedule for coding.  Allowing that a school had good internet and enough good computers, the only way I can really imagine mandatory coding in school working is if students do it for an hour or so each week, just like an art or music class.  This would be a great way to expose student to coding without it taking over the school’s agenda.  Coding, and most technological platforms are not a part of the state standards, and therefore it is challenging to ask teachers to take too much time away from regular instruction to do something that is not a part of the standards, yet is mandatory…it doesn’t make sense.

Also, honestly, just on a personal note, I think making something ‘mandatory’ is a great way to take the fun and uniqueness out of it, and to discourage kids to explore it on their own.  I know when I was a student, just hear the word mandatory, even if it was in conjunction with something I liked, made me disinterested.  I think schools and experts should encourage, expose and provide opportunities for teachers and students to sue coding during the school day, but I do not think they should make it mandatory.

Harrell, M. (2015, March 15). Add Coding to Your Elementary Curriculum. . . Right Now. Retrieved June 23, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/add-coding-elementary-curriculum-now-matt-harrell

Minnesota News Report:http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/12/08/elementary-curriculum-emphasizing-computer-coding/

Ted Talk Video: http://www.ted.com/talks/mitch_resnick_let_s_teach_kids_to_code?language=en#t-134744

Zamora, W. (2014, April 1). Why Coding Should Be Taught in Elementary School. Retrieved June 23, 2015, from http://techblog.evan-moor.com/2014/04/01/coding-taught-elementary-school/

Week 5 Reflection

This time last week I had never heard of the term the Internet of Things before.  Now that I understand what the IoT is, I realize that it’s been all around me, and I do use some of these things in my every day life.  One example of an item I use ever day that I wasn’t aware was a part of the IoT is my phone.  It has an internet browser, texting, and numerous apps.  I use it for almost everything, I even use twitter and word press apps for this class sometimes!  Even five years ago, smartphones were not as prevalent as they are today, and are owned by millions.  The IoT is everywhere, whether we realize it or not.

This week my fiancee an I were shopping for a new TV.  Our budget was modest, and I insisted because he had a playstation we could connect to the TV, that we didn’t need a smartTV and that a regular HD TV would be enough for us.  After doing research and visiting multiple stores, it turns out that pretty much all TVs not are smartTVs!  All the models we looked at were smart, even the cheaper and smaller models.  So just as smartphones are now just phones, it seems that the same thing is happening with TVs!

Taking the time to think of a IoT device that I thought would be useful in the classroom was a really interesting exercise.  I don’t consider myself to be a very creative or imaginative person, so the opportunity to try to invent something all on my own was very interesting!  I also thought it was very interesting to see the range of devices that others came up with.  Some people create devices that would help students out in their learning, such as a digital and connected planner, while others came up with more enriching devices like the 2D-3D Hologram creator.  After this week, I have begun to make connections between the different topics we have been discussing each week.  I found that some of the devices, like the hologram maker would be a great too for students to have in a makerspace!

Lastly, I am really enjoying the twitter chats we have been having each week.  I like the flexibility and fluidity of the conversation.  I feel comfortable asking questions about things people bring up and I like how we are able to side track a little bit sometimes to expand on someone’s thinking or answer a question, and then we go right back on topic.  It’s all working out so well I feel and is helping me feel connected with all my classmates.

Week 5 Blog

Like all the previous essential questions we have had, I had no idea what the Internet of Things (IoT) was before I began researching it.  After reading articles about it, discussing it with my fiancee who is also a teacher, and much more tech savvy than I, and seeming some relatable examples, I now understand what it means.  The IoT to me is best summed up by a line in the youtube video “Education and the Internet of Things” by Cisco.  In this video they explain that one of the pillars of the IoT is “Things,” and that the IoT “gives a voice to things.”  This means to me that, normal devices, mechanics or appliances that we have previously not been able to communicate with are now accessible for digital communication and interaction.  Max Meyers explains in the article “Can the Internet of Things Make Education More Student Focused?” that over the past century the educational experience has largely remained unchanged.  When I think about his statement, in terms of how connected the regular world and how unconnected classrooms-teachers-students are connected digitally, I have to agree.  Apart from direct computer use, and the occasional iPad my students have had very little digital exposure.

One piece of IoT technology that I think would benefit teachers and students would to be able to have communicative desks.  The way I envision this includes the following.  The teacher would assign a students to a certain desk in the classroom.  The student name would be logged and registered into the desk.  A small  touch screen, (5x8ish) would be displayed at the top of the students desk.  Programmed into this screen would be the daily schedule for students to follow along with and links for students to click on to access assignments and other necessary resources the teacher provides.  Now, I am a bit of an old fashioned teacher, and I still like to write my lesson plans out by hand, but with this device, a teacher would write her lesson plans digitally, and would just be able to send the student friendly version to her student desks straight from her computer.  In addition to providing students with a direct access planner and daily guide, the desks, since they are assigned to students would also be able to take daily attendance.  A student might sign into their desk each morning, and if the desk hasn’t been signed in to by the time school school starts, a message is sent to the school secretary to inform her of absences.  When the desk logs an absence, it also automatically sends the daily plan, resources and assignments to the students’ email address.  Not only will this help students while in school, but it would also eliminate the often time consuming process of catching students up on what they missed while they were gone.  Students would be able to receive the information they missed, the day they missed it, and their ability to stay on track with the class is assisted as much as possible.

Nothing like this device really exists now, that I know of at least.  But I do feel like the idea is not too far fetched.  If it, or something like it were to become available in the near future I think the lives of students and teachers would be improved. Nicole Kobie reminds us that once there was a uniqueness to smartphones, and were called as such to differentiate between regular phones and smartphones, but now that really is an unused term, even with iPhones, android phones, etc, we usually just called them phones now, sans smart, because their use is so prevalent and so familiar to most of us.  We can never tell what the future will hold and maybe in 20 years, there will be smart desks, that we just call regular desks!

Kobie, N. (2015, May 6). What is the internet of things? Retrieved June 16, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/06/what-is-the-internet-of-things-google

Meyers, M. (2014, December 3). Can the Internet of Things make education more student-focused? – Government 2020. Retrieved June 16, 2015, from http://government-2020.dupress.com/can-internet-things-make-education-student-focused/

Reflection Week 4

This week the topic was makerspaces.  Before doing my research for this week’s essential question, I had no idea what a makerspace was.  Based on my understanding of what a makerspace is and its applications for students and learning, I sure have learned a lot!  This week I really appreciated the feedback I received from my peers on my blog.  Within a day of writing my blog, I had three comments posted!  I was pretty excited to see that my peers were reading and thinking about and responding to my ideas.  Most of the time, when I get comments on my blog I read them, think about them and reflect on them.  In the past I didn’t usually respond to comments though.  However, after seeing other respond back and forth on comments and seeing other bloggers respond to comments I have left, I have realized that the comments section is just another opportunity for us to engage in conversation.  So this week I did respond to each person who commented on my blog, and I hope they took the time to read my responses and think about them!

On the twitter chat this week I was able to share my ideas about how to use makerspaces in the classroom, and I was also able to learn from the suggestions that others made.  I was able to learn about the different kinds of technologies that can be incorporated into the makerspaces, particularly 3D printers.  Before last week I had done some reading about 3D printers but I still found myself very confused about them, but after the tangent conversation we had in the twitter chat about them, I feel like a lot of my confusion cleared up!

So far I am really excited about all of the different ideas we have talked about in class so far.  Since I am currently in the job market, I am really excited that I am learning all these new and current technological trends, so that I can use this knowledge to impress some potential bosses, and I’m already imagining how I would want to apply these techniques to the classroom I don’t even have yet!

Week 4 Blog Post

What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space?  What are its benefits to students?

Maker Spaces do not a have universal design or definition. Essentially, what they are are places where the tools and space to create or make things are available.  Additionally they are places where people can work together, collaborate and share ideas and knowledge (Eudcause, 2013).  The pedagogy behind the use of maker spaces is fairly vague.  Because the construction of a maker spaces is so flexible, its application in classrooms will vary widely.  One clear connection the Maker Spaces have to pedagogies and movements that are already taking place in schools across the country is with STEM (Catalano, 2013).  The act of making is inherently engineering (the E in STEM) and making will invariably involve some aspects of science and, if the resources are available, technology as well (the S and T of STEM respectively).  Some teachers use Maker Spaces to have students create intentionally designed projects, some that could apply to either standards or expected outcomes of students in other subjects, while some teachers are simply giving students the opportunity to create and use their imaginations to figure out what to make (Krueger, 2014).

Maker Spaces also give students the opportunity to develop and fine tune their technological skills, in a productive way.  Technology becomes more significant with each day that passes and students will surely need dexterous technological skills to be successful in the future.  Maker Spaces allow students to develop these vital skills in a productive and practical way at school, rather than just by playing video games or surfing the internet at home in their free time.  Additionally, while developing fluency with technology, students will also be able to develop communication skills while working with others, critical thinking and problems solving.

While the definition and application of Maker Spaces is harder to nail down, the benefits a Maker Space has for students is much more clear.  First and foremost, Maker Spaces give students a safe place to be creative and use their imagination.  Students also learn to take control and ownership of their own learning, especially if they are given the opportunity to make anything they like (Eudcause, 2013).  It also teachers students to value the process of making something, over the product and teacher them to be creators rather than consumers (Catalano, 2013, Krueger, 2014).  Maker Spaces also give kinesthetic learners direct access to their best method of learning.  And although less important to educational legislators, but definitely important to teachers and their students, students enjoy using the Maker Spaces and making things and have fun doing so.  In the youtube video that showed students from Camelot Elementary School, all the students in the video seemed very engaged and interested in their work, and more so they were proud of what they had created and enjoyed doing it.

Also, just to share, I found this great resource that has Maker Kits available for sale.  I know that when it come to things like this, I always need a guideline or a starting point and this site has some great ideas of kits for kids!  http://www.makershed.com/collections/beginner

7 things you should know about makerspaces. (2013, April 1). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7095.pdf

Catalano, F. (2013, February 12). Want to Start a Makerspace at School? Tips to Get Started. Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/02/12/want-to-start-a-makerspace-at-school-tips-to-get-started/

Krueger, N. (2014, June 21). Create a school makerspace in 3 simple steps. Retrieved June 9, 2015, from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=103&category=ISTE-Connects-blog&article=Create-a-school-makerspace-in-3-simple-steps