On July 9th, educators and makers of all ages joined together to explore expressive electronics for Hack Your Notebook Day. With 17 participating sites across the country and over 340 participants in schools, museums and libraries experienced first-hand how using creative prompts, artistic practices and applied STEM concepts in a social setting can produce deep engagement and real learning. We spent the day at San Francisco Public Library, hosted by Teen Center Manager, Cathy Cormier and were joined remotely by Jie Qi of the MIT Media Lab and Chibitronics, Paul Oh of the National Writing Project and Melissa Techman of Abermarle County Libraries.
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On Wednesday, June 25th, we spent three hours with the Tech Matters group from the Denver Writing Project at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. These are K-16 teachers who are interested in learning how to best use technology to support and enhance classroom instruction. Educational technology tools and platforms can have very rapid life cycles, and trying to stay on top of all these changes can be daunting when added on top of a full teaching load, parent-guardian communication, lesson planning, grading, and so on. By working together, professional learning communities such as Tech Matters make it easier for teachers to share information. This summer, the group’s convening focused on issues of social justice and connectivity.
Last week, David Cole of CV2 and I went to Denver, CO to hack notebooks with the second cohort of Intersections and the Denver Writing Project’s Tech Matters group. Then on Saturday, we ran a workshop with The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. This week, we’ll be looking at these different groups and reflecting on what we learned working with these different constituencies.
Intersections is a National Science Foundation-sponsored project lead by the National Writing Project (NWP) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) that supports the collaboration of formal and informal educators to develop learning experiences for youth that connect science and literacy. Five teams of classroom teachers and museum educators from across the country gathered for the week to explore topics including design thinking, the very real power of informal science education, scientific narrative and argumentation and education experiences as game design. NEXMAP is all about working on the edge of unexpected or non-traditional ideas, spaces and media, so we felt right at home.
We had a great time at the Digital Media and Learning (DML) conference in Boston last week. DML, supported by the MacArthur Foundation, has been convening researchers, educators, educational technology industry professionals, and other stakeholders around issues of engaging youth in and out school to become digital media creators, active in civic matters, and lifelong learners. NEXMAP and CV2 presented Saturday afternoon with Jie Qi of the MIT Media Lab, Natalie Freed, and Paul Oh of the National Writing Project (NWP) on our 21st Century Notebooking initiative. We led workshop participants through an activity of storytelling through paper circuitry.
We’ve had some success making simple circuits, parallel circuits, and incorporating simple mechanical switches into our paper circuitry prototypes, so it’s time to up our game. Working with Natalie Freed, a friend and colleague of Jie’s, I learned how to use some simple tools and components to program a microcontroller that lets me control the LEDs in my circuit. In this post, I share a quick overview of the project.
In the past few years, the Maker Movement and DIY enthusiasts have become an increasingly visible and vocal segment of the informal education community. The Internet has made it easier than ever to share resources, display projects, and form communities of interest. Classroom teachers are paying attention: a growing number of educators across grade level and subject matter expertise are seeking creative, hands-on learning experiences for their students to help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Click here to continue reading.