Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Discovering Passions

Today we took delivery of some gadgets for our little classroom MakerSpace. So far we have received a Raspberry Pi and a Makey Makey. Last week I showed short videos that demonstrated how each of the gadgets worked. Needless to say, the kids were excited to get their hands on them. We divided into three groups during class: one to explore the Makey Makey, one to explore the Raspberry Pi and one to explore the Google Cardboard viewfinders that we received last week. The learning was awesome!

Caleb and Trevor had some experience with the Raspberry Pi and want to use it for their 20% Time project, creating a video game app. Derrick also had some experience with the Raspberry Pi and so those three boys took charge of leading the group exploration of that technology. Meanwhile, Ian, Linsey, Taylor, Dylan and Andrew were busy working with the Makey Makey. In the hallway, Nicole, Hannah, Alexa, Steph and a few others were exploring the capabilities of the Google Cardboard.

This class period was the kind of learning we love to see. The kids were animated and fearless. They tried, failed and tried again. They saw each device as a puzzle to solve. They shared ideas, debated, experimented and finally solved some of the immediate problems like what apparatus is necessary for each device and how to properly hook up the boards. The Google Cardboard group was busy discovering an entire YouTube section devoted to Google Cardboard environments. Such cool stuff.

We hope that exposure and access to these devices will expand kids' thinking and help them come up with a 20% Time idea that will interest them for a long, long time. Already, Andrew wants to come in before school to rearrange the room so that we have a proper space for the Raspberry Pi station and Trevor and Caleb are working with our tech specialist to get the Raspberry Pi ready with all of the necessary peripherals. They have taken responsibility to create their own learning and learning space. Isn't this what we say we want? It sure is!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Podcast: Ideas and EdCamp

In this episode, we talk about idea generation, the kids' thoughts about the originality of their ideas, our very first student edcamp and our upcoming presentations and professional development dates. Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes to get every episode and follow us on Twitter @dayankee and @melissahellwig4

Monday, October 12, 2015

EdCamp Harmony - That's a Wrap!

This morning, our student edcamp, EdCamp Harmony, took place. We planned this out pretty well last week, recruiting and encouraging students to conduct learning sessions and getting the schedule ready for today. To see more of the preparation, click this link. Late last week, one of our colleagues, Vinnie Raimondo (@coachraimondo), asked if his kids could also be involved. What? That was awesome! We shared our planning with him so he could present it to his kids and also shared the Google Hangout invitation with him so that his kids could also watch Hadley Ferguson (@hadleyjf), the executive director of the Edcamp Foundation, welcome the kids to the world of edcamps.

Hadley kicked things off beautifully. She talked to the kids about the edcamp movement, why it started and why people want to learn from each other. She also congratulated them on their own quest to learn from each other. After answering a few questions, she wished us well and we were on to our morning of learning.

Kids moved seamlessly to their first session. We had some great session choices and they were all well-attended.

Of course, the topics kids want to teach and learn about are a bit different from the topics that we present in class on a daily basis but that is what makes this learning so relevant. Not one student said, "Oh, I don't want to go to any of the sessions. They don't look very good." All of the kids were excited to go to some sessions and some were torn between two or more sessions at each time slot. Noah taught how to make a YouTube channel, Bryce taught some finer points of drawing while Emma taught kids about an App Store app that helps kids draw on an iPad or iPhone. RJ taught some kids about football and Mason had a session on HTML coding. Celia and Linsey held two sessions on how to use our 3D Printer and Colin showed kids how to work the 3D Doodle Pen. There were plenty of other sessions as well and the kids seemed very excited about this morning of learning. 

As Melissa, Vinnie and I roamed the rooms, we saw highly engaged students having fun with their learning. The kids were in those sessions because they wanted to be there, not because they had to be there. In the coming days, we will survey the kids to see what their thoughts were. In talking to the kids immediately after the sessions, it was clear that we would be repeating this event in the near future. The kids are hungry for this type of learning and sharing. Finally, some kids were given the platform to show others what really makes them tick. Here are some photos of our student edcamp.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Bad Idea Factory

We are off and running with 20% Time!  We introduced the "Bad Idea Factory" today and this is the best start so far!  I probably say this every year but I do feel like this was an AWESOME start.  I am so re-energized when we begin this journey every year, breaking down the wall (perception) of the idea generation process. The idea generation process is gross and messy..........but we have to throw all ideas out on the table and weed through the good, the bad and the ugly to narrow down to the best ideas.  Good ideas come from bad ideas!!!!!

Podcast - The Bad Idea Factory

In this episode, we talk about the Bad Idea Factory, brainstorming 20% Time project ideas and our experience at the MOREnet technology conference. Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter: Don (@dayankee) and Melissa (@melissahellwig4).

Friday, October 2, 2015

Podcast - Kickoff Day and Edcamp Harmony

In this episode, we talk about Kickoff Day, the day of the year that we introduce the concept of 20% Time and what the program will look like this year. We also talk about Edcamp Harmony, our first student edcamp. Follow us on iTunes (search Harmonized Learning) and follow us on Twitter, Don (@dayankee) and Melissa (@melissahellwig4).