Essential question: How can 3D printing change the way we think about education?

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This is a cool topic!! But honestly, I don’t really understand it, because I have never really seen it. The following video by Armand Valdes gives a good explanation on what it is and how it has and can be used.

3-D printing in school is not a bad idea. Leapfrog 3D Printers are an affordable and useful tool for schools that can be incorporated into several subjects. I can see it being used in science, math, and even literacy. The authors of On a mission to help schools uncover the benefits of 3D printing for teaching state it can be used for:

  • Capturing interest of students
  • Stimulating interaction during class
  • Creating tangible aids
  • Hands on learning through 3D models

Linda Federico-O’Murchu (2014) has the same views with some drawbacks. She states that beyond the elementary classroom 3D printers are creating body parts, useful items, and even food. On the down side it is also being used to create weapons, and the international implications of copy right infringement are on the bubble.

However in the classroom, I see a use for the tool, and it might not be directly in the classroom but in the school. A 3D printer can ignite the imagination of students by creating the object they man not be able to hold and feel (Airwolf 3D, 2013). Engineering students can draw and use CAD designs to create something on a computer, but until a mold was designed, and the product was produced, the student could not see if it was a relevant idea or not. Now they can print it, work out the bugs, and create a prototype without a third party to wait on. High school students can now print samples of their work to include in an application to universities for engineering degrees. Science students can print 3D molecular models and fine art students can 3D print real life examples of their designs (2013).

3D models can teach students about production techniques and cost effective models for use in the real world.

On the elementary side, I can see this being more valuable in science and creation. If you have a maker space and you need a specific gear or part to make something work and it is not available, you can print it. For science projects, students can print the necessary items for a robot that may not be purchasable on the market yet. But in the long run, the printer could be used for thought provoking uses and spatial reasoning capabilities.   There are students that do not understand the working of a small machine, how gears work in conjunction to size and shape, and a printer could be used to blow that model up so they can see the why of the operation.

In the report by Linda Frederico-O’Murchu she makes a lot of pros and cons for the use of 3D printers, but I feel the pros outweigh the cons by a landslide. No matter what the invention, there will always be a seedy side to it. Crooks and thieves will always try to manipulate the good for bad, and that is just the society we live in. The benefits of 3D printing are still in its infancy as far as I am concerned. The printers will no doubt be a thing of the future and not a fad. As prices fall and units become more affordable, the use in the classroom will grow. A student that can print the bones of an animal will no longer need to kill that animal for experiments. A student that can print a robot base for a rover will no longer have to find materials, and build something that may or may not work.

We know that 3D printers will never be able to create precious metals from plastic and that it will not replace all production in the world. However, in the classroom I think it might be the difference between knowing and understanding what something is and how it works.

Resources:

Airwolf 3D (2013, February 27). 3D PRINTERS IN THE CLASSROOM: 7 REASONS WHY EVERY SCHOOL SHOULD HAVE A 3D PRINTER. (Web log comment). Retrieved from http://airwolf3d.com/2013/02/27/school-3d-printers-in-the-classroom/

Federico-O’Murchu, L. (2014, May 11). How 3-D printing will radically change the world. TechEdge. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/id/101638702

Leapfrog 3D printers (2015). Retrieved from http://www.lpfrg.com/education

Valdes, A. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx0Z6LplaMU

Reflection Week 6

This has been a wild week. I have read a lot of good blogs, and everyone seemed to have been focused on the same material. We all had about the same pros and cons for coding. I like the idea of coding, but in reality, where do you put it in a classroom? I like a lot of things we have discussed, again, where does it fit. I do not see coding being important for younger kids where others say it is. I don’t see coding being equivalent to a foreign language or as important as that. They are not the same and should not be confused with each other.

I agree that coding would increase creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and logic. I also agree that kids need to be kids when they are young. Computer science is a fast growing employment opportunity, but so is the medical field. Comments were made that if we don’t teach it, kids will be laypersons. I thought that was a little far fetched, since we all know that those jobs are going to exist, and someone is going to have to do them.

Computer programing and coding are not for everyone, and that’s ok. To make it an optional program should be a choice our children have in school. I think they should be able to try everything, but in reality it is not possible. The biggest factor here is who is to say they are qualified to teach it? I’m not, that’s for sure. To me that’s ok too. I would like to learn the basic to use in a robotics class, but to teach coding, that’s not for me. There are people that study those things and they should be the ones to teach it as a class, not as a 30 minute extra thing in school.

Me using thirty minutes of class time to let four people play with code would be a distraction for the other twenty-five people in class. This has been a great learning experience for me, and I have gained a lot from the blogs that I read. Our future is in technology. We just have to remember that there will be those that use it, and those that build and fix it. But that will not be our entire society.

Essential question: What are the compelling arguments both for and against computer coding in schools?

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‘This damn ??,’ – ‘So that’s computer language,’

When I hear the term coding I think of creating video games. Apparently I am behind the times. There are thousands of articles on coding in the classroom and to try to make sense of them is overwhelming. There is a lot of debate on whether coding should be added to the curriculum, and I agree with almost all that I have read good and bad.

In Jose Vilson blog, he states that coding opens doors. However he gives no real proof that it does anything good for the classroom. In a blog written by Beverly Amico she says that technology should assume a role in education but at the right stage in a child’s life. Becky Button a seventh grade teacher says it is the greatest thing that she has ever done and whished she did it earlier. John Dvorak, a columnist for PC Magazine says this is a scam, we need to teach basic life skills first.

All of these people make valid points. Wendy Zamora wrote an article called Why Coding Should Be Taught in Elementary Education (April 2014). She believes that there will be a 22% increase in computer related employment by the year 2020 (2014). She goes on to say that coding will be a valuable career tool in the future, and that the language of computers fires off neurons and opens up new pathways for learning (2014). She believes that coding is the new language that will replace foreign language in the schools. She goes on to say that teaching coding at schools represents transforming a generation of students from passive consumers of technology to active creators (2014).

Jeff Atwood Wrote an article called Please Don’t Learn to Code (May, 2012). In the article he cites Mayor Bloomburg of New York stating he wanted to learn how to code (2012). Atwood makes the point that coding will not make him a better mayor. It will not enhance his skills to run a city, and it will not do anything for the taxpayers (2012). Atwood goes on to say that reading, writing, and math will serve the populous more if they graduate high school with the basic skills to get a job or go to college. He does say that understanding what it is a good idea, but we need to learn how to do research and to communicate effectively with other humans first.

Mitch Resnick’s ted talk is a strong advocate for coding using his Scratch program, but in reality the hard work has been done, and to use the program all you have to do is connect widgets to make a computer do something. For me I don’t see that as coding, I see it as designing something with a program that has already been created. For me to be a believer I need to see how it is practical in the learning process. The following video by Chris Betcher is one of the best I have seen on how to use Scratch, and how to teach kids to use it in the classroom.

He explains how it is a problem-solving tool for students. Yes I am still at “this is a game”, but I can see how it may be beneficial to a classroom.

All in all I can see it being a tool for problem solving, but when I have ten year olds that can not spell “because” I can’t see this being a tool I need right now. When ten year olds cannot do basic math (addition and subtraction) it is hard to sell a principal on using time in class to play with a computer. All of these authors have made a good argument for both using and not using code in the classroom. For me, this is something I would like to look into but it is not something that I am dying to use in the classroom.

References:

Amico, Beverly. (2014, May 12). The Opinion Pages: Other Skills Should Take Priority Ovber Coding. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/05/12/teaching-code-in-the-classroom/other-skills-should-take-priority-over-coding

Atwood, Jeff. (2012, May 15). Coding Horror: Please Don’t Learn to Code. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://blog.codinghorror.com/please-dont-learn-to-code/

Betcher, C. (Producer). (2013, March 9). Teaching Kids To Code. Video Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qwbVGUeW2w

Button, Becky. (2014, may 12). The Opinion Pages: Kids Can Code, No Problem. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/05/12/teaching-code-in-the-classroom/kids-can-code-no-problem

Dvorak, John C. (2014, May 12). The Opinion Pages: Teaching Coding to Kids Is a Scam. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/05/12/teaching-code-in-the-classroom/teaching-coding-to-kids-is-a-scam

Resnick, Mitch. (2012, November) TED Talk. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/mitch_resnick_let_s_teach_kids_to_code?language=en

Vilson, Jose. (2014, November 4). The Opinion Pages: Coding Opens Doors. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/05/12/teaching-code-in-the-classroom/coding-opens-doors

Zamora, Wendy. (2014, April 1). Techspiration: Why Coding Should Be Taught in Elementary School [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://techblog.evan-moor.com/2014/04/01/coding-taught-elementary-school/

Reflection WK 5

This was a fun week. I love to imagine things, and the thought of using my imagination to create a product that could possible be real, that’s cool. I read a lot of good articles this week and everyone had great ideas.

I really like the idea about the hologram, there could be so many uses for a product like that. I can see it in art, science, social studies, math, reading, even writing. I would change the concept of videos to a real interactive platform for learning. The whole teaching calculator to help student see the error in math would be a great tool for use at home when the parents cant help. Memory goggles, come on what a concept. I never would have thought up something so cool! The benefits are huge, and not only for children but adults with brain injuries.

I received a lot of feedback on my product that I hadn’t thought of. Use it to check in and out of class, store all of the info on it or have it back up to the cloud daily. These just add to the science of thought. We all have great imaginations, if we only had the resources to act on them, our world would be so different.

This week really taught me how I so want my kids to win in life. I would do anything to make their life easier, and so would everyone else in this class. I think its great that we all still can dream of a place that is better than what we have now, and try to come up with ideas to make it a reality. This was a great week!!

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Essential Question: Design an object that could be classified as belonging to “The Internet of Things” and describe how it could contribute to your classroom.

First off lets talk about the Internet of things. I never heard of the term “The Internet of Things”.   I just realized I had it here at home. My TV knows what I want to watch, Netflix gives me suggestions on movies and shows, and even remembers where I stopped something so it can restart there, but wait, thats my TV, laptop, phone, and pad. I had no idea this had a name. Now you are telling me I can get a fridge that will make a grocery list for me, really? I bet it will not be able to print it; my laptop has a hard time printing to crappy HP products. My printer was supposed to order ink when it was low, well that’s not so smart but hay there’s always one in the family right? So as I thought about it, my dogs have more technology than I do, watch this video…

Focus now!! So the Internet of things is real and it’s growing. Daniel Burrus of Wired said People don’t think big enough when they talk about the Internet of things (2014). We say cars get info from the navigation system; he says look bigger, think sensors. What if the car could talk to the city streets, choose routs based on traffic flow, changing lights to optimize flow, no timers. Roads can talk to cars based on conditions. Think on the bigger scale, cars like BMW which can drive themselves, cars that will stop for you, cars that can think like a person. Burrus says we are not just talking about machines talking to machines, its sensors, things that can learn, can think and make decisions.

I also liked Max Meyers article, Can the Internet of Things make education more student focused (2014). The wearable smart band (a little too deep for me) is a great concept, but that technology is interacting with a desk that is a computer, totally futuristic stuff, but totally cool. The part I don’t buy into is the fewer responsibilities part. I think with that kind of technology, the responsibilities would be greater. You would have to be able to monitor the actions of students online, all of them at once. Looking at the heart rates of thirty kids would make mine go up, who is monitoring that? I have worked with teachers that have over thirty years experience, none ever talked about heart rate monitoring. But I can see the benefits of the technology, if not in a today world, in one very near.

FW: Thinking has a YouTube video on how the Internet of Things Will Change the World. The video is a lot like the thinking of Daniel Burrus, it is the bigger picture, it is sensors that control things.

So my idea for the classroom is a student id card with a barcode that has all the information of the student, and all the applications and programs used on computers and notebooks.

So imagine this, you have computer time, but its only 15 minutes a kid. The student has to go to the computer, log on, find the school district website, log into that, go to the student section, log in again, then go to the correct server farm to find the program needed. Well five minutes have passed, now they have ten left to complete the assignment. This is a reality in my school this is how it works.

Imagine that all the computers had a barcode reader. The student has fifteen minutes, he scans his card, and all the applications and programs load up on the desktop. It has been thirty seconds, now they have fourteen minutes to work on the computer. But wait there’s more!!! This works at every computer and tablet. The card never has top change; we just need to change the data when we need to change the programs. Everything would be in one place for the students. They could find everything on all devices. Electronic portfolios would be at their fingers. All papers would be written on a computer in a word processing format.

As a teacher I would be able to look at the computer screen using my laptop or pad and see what the students are doing. All of their actions would be recorded in a chip in the card so it could be downloaded and viewed if they were using the hardware inappropriately. They could take the technology home, research and have the data saved on the card like a thumb drive. The card would have its own anti virus software to protect school property. The students could share material between home and school with ease, all in one place, a small card the size of a credit card.

The beauty of the card is that it will follow the student through high school, their portfolio would be on the card, all they have to do is scan it, their homework could be sent electronically through the card like email. Test scores would be sent back to them with the data from the rest of the class, the average, mean, top and bottom score. It would give them a real-time look at how they are performing in class compared to the rest, what they need to study, and how they can improve. Parents could also scan the card at home, and see what the student has been doing, see test scores, the current grade, and immediately get feedback through email on how to help little Johnny do better.

For me this is a huge jump in technology. My school would rocket into the 1990’s with technology if we could do half of what I think is cool. So far I have read a couple blogs with some great ideas, there are some great minds in this class!!

Reference:

Burrus, D. (2014). The Internet Of Things Is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes. Wired. Retreved from http://www.wired.com/2014/11/the-internet-of-things-bigger/

Kobie, N. (2015). What is the Internet of Things? The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/06/what-is-the-internet-of-things-google

Meyers, M. (2014). Can the Internet of Things make education more student-focused? Government-2020.Dupress.com retrieved from http://government-2020.dupress.com/can-internet-things-make-education-student-focused/

Reflection Week 4

I read a lot of great blogs this week. Everyone seemed to be on the same page, construction with imagination equals ideas. There were a lot of great videos and ideas posted that all said lets build something. I wanted to build something for the love of god!! I remember when we used to use dominoes and hot wheels to set up elaborate things that really did nothing, but it was the accomplishment and the knowing that we could.

I also found some apps for the Ipad for those that have that technology and not the space. There are two apps for builders, one is The Amazing Alex, you have to complete a task by building a contraption using scissors, balloons, balls, books, all kinds of stuff that when started it is a chain reaction to get to a goal. I played all the free ones, there were nine I think, and it got progressively harder. The other one is called Tinker Box. You build your own creations. This is the same concept as a makers space only electronically, not physically. Like I said if the space is not available, maybe the app is.

This whole week was a great learning experience for me. I am glad this was a topic, because it is something that maybe not now, but in the near future I can have at my school.  I have a lot of ideas swimming in my head, I just need the time to see if they can become real.

Essential question: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this pedagogy to students?

I think the method behind a maker space is open up the thought process of students. The concept is brilliant. Think about it, a room of stuff…..lots of stuff…. And you tell kids, this is what I want you to make, and I don’t care how you do it. Use what ever you can find, or make and bring your own stuff along as well.

When I was in high school I walked into my geology class on the first day, there was a pile of tinker toys, string, paperclips, rubber bands, and pieces of paper. The teacher had written on the board be right back. For fifteen minutes we waited. Some of us started to play with the stuff on the table making whatever came to mind, some people just sat there, and some kept saying to leave it alone, there were no instructions. It was fun and exciting to see something come out of nothing. My lab partner and I built a car that you wound up a rubber band and it spun an axel. When the teacher came in we didn’t hear him, along with about half the class because we were playing. He walked around and talked to us about what we made, why we decided on that and so on. He then said ok, if you built something raise your hand. We thought we were in trouble. It was the opposite, he said these students would probably do something in life that requires them to think on their own, and use their hands. We took the stuff apart, and learned about rocks. As it turns out, all of us that built something were the only ones to find rocks, cut them apart to see what was on the inside, and polish rocks. That was 1985, I should have been a geologist!

With that being said, I can see this is not really something new. That teacher had an idea, he wanted to see; one, what would people do, and two, what did they do with it. His belief was we need to look deeper into what we study to really understand, and sometimes we have to make things to get that done. In What’s the Maker Movement and Why should I Care, Tracy Rudzitis said “Her experiences constantly remind her that children are capable of powerful ideas.” (2014). Gary Stager said that for too long schools have undervalued learning with one’s hands (2014). Its true, we have lost focus of what our kids can do. We have spent so much time focused on test scores, and less on using the brain to build something. But in reality the building is the beginning. Kids can build things, yes, but how about adding in a written description of the building project, having them describe the project on paper is actually a skill that is required, steps in a process, this is as important as the building itself. What about math facts to solve a problem with the build? Holly cow I like this more and more.

In the following video, Marc Teusch talks about the importance of the maker movement and the philosiph of learning while doing at a TED conference.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ruo904vtQ8w

In Edutopia, Jennifer Cooper really explains the Maker Space, she describes it as not being solely a science lab, or computer lab, or woodshop, or even an art room. She explains how it incorporates all of those features in one room. I can see that it is really not that hard to set up, I bet you could start a room from some simple thrift shop stops, and all the old stuff that we throwaway all the time. I can see this being something that could be set-up at my school if all the teachers got together and came up with ideas of what they wanted to accomplish in the year. Make something that has a purpose and a function. How cool would that be. This is using the imagination and still utilizing math, reading, and writing. I believe this is a tool that should be available, should be used and should be simple to use. There is enough information, (more than I even knew existed) to start a program at a school on a no string budget.

This is something that will open the minds of our kids, open the imagination (something that is slowly slipping away) and have them create, just create. It can be shared, blogged about, photographed, written about, we can hit standards, we can teach them to teach themselves. I bet it would get rid of the ditto’s and the boring lectures that they sit through now.

Resources:

Cooper, J. (September 30, 2013). Designing a School Makerspace. Edutopia. Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/designing-a-school-makerspace-jennifer-cooper

Stager, G. (2014). Whats the Maker Movement and Why Should I Care. Administr@tor Magazine, Winter 2014. Retreived from http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3758336

Reflection WK 3

Cherie made a great point on the flipped classroom, She seen the positives with parental involvement, and the pitfalls of the kids that just don’t want to do it. It is a lot of work to have a good flipped classroom, to have parents on board, the hurdle of access to technology.

Everyone seems to be talking about how we are learning from others and seeing new ways of doing things. I am grateful to listen to these new ideas and have an idea of how to try something new. Scott said it takes a lot of commitment to flip a classroom, and he is so right, and he also said they do not have to be Internet based, but it helps a lot. With the use of the Internet students and parents can be on the same page with learning, and it could help build a bond between the classroom and family. We will see, I think everything is worth a try; if you have the ability, and the resources why not try it.

I am glad we have the ability to listen and learn from each other and get new ideas for learning.

Week 2 Reflection

There was a lot of talk on this one. I agree with some of the posts I read, open learning would be a great tool for teacher PD, refresher material for students, new topic discussions. But in reality, a lot of that is for an older group, not my kids. I can see how it would benefit those that have no access, but for us, when universities already are picky on what they will and will not take as credit, and the actual income that they would lose, I don’t see it as a new and increasing trend anytime soon.

I see its benefits, and I see how it can be used, but I don’t see it as a new way of teaching in the future.As I said before, I see open learning as a great tool for expansion of knowledge, idea generation and collaboration, but not as a solid learning environment. I want to see the day when all children have the ability to use a device to log onto the Internet and communicate with other students around the world and create great things. I would love to see a society where all education was free, even higher learning, but that would come at a cost to our economy, and I don’t think people would be willing to sacrifice for it to be a reality.