Can you spare about 5 minutes to fill out a survey? At the end of March, I started hosting webinars again but this time I am venturing out on my own. I need your support and attendance and invite everyone to join me when I host them! Right now it is once a month but that may increase to every two weeks or include pre-recorded sessions depending on my teaching and speaking schedule. I am also finishing my second book so I want to make sure that the webinars I conduct are of great interest to the educational audience out there. I created a survey and would for you to take a few minutes to complete the survey embedded below. There are only a few questions so it should not take too long to complete.
Many educators have their own interpretation of what a makerspace area is and what a makered project is. No one dislikes it more than when they are told their interpretation of an educational program or initiative is not a ‘correct’ interpretation.
A Makered Project – To Be or Not to Be – That is the Question!
For instance, many educators do not consider digital projects like audio or video projects as makered projects. I definitely disagree with this notion as the definition of a makered project is one where students create, explore, and learn content by MAKING something new out of a variety of materials, techniques or strategies. When students make digital products like a video, there is a progression of tasks that can include, but not limited to, storyboarding, writing a script, using a green screen, editing, voice overs, etc. The final result is a tangible product that students MADE thus making it a makered project in my opinion.
On March 30th, I conducted a webinar titled, “Makered/Makerspaces Coming to a Computer Near You!” and shared many resources and ideas on creating a makerspace classroom with makered projects similar to those shown below. I promised to share more pictures and ideas so I picked a few and listed them below. There are hundreds to choose from and this topic is of great interest to a large number of educators. I highly encourage you to check out Cari Young’s makered/makerspace Pinterest page. She has a huge collection of examples. If you scroll down to March 30th on my blog you can view the slides, Livebinder, and recording of the session.
The above project images are considered ‘makered’ projects from a variety of sources. If you search for the hashtag #makered on Twitter you will find tons of examples, ideas, and resources for supplies for makered projects. You will be amazed at the awesome, intricate and complex projects that students are making. It is so exciting to see students engaged in learning activities and projects that the students enjoy, find interesting and meaningful, and teach to several of the CCSS/state standards.
Test Prep for CCSS and State Standards
When pressed and asked, “How does this prepared them for testing?” or “When are you going to teach test prep skills?”, the higher order thinking and critical thinking skills exhibited in makered projects is the best type of test prep in my opinion that students can experience. When you teach at a rigorous and complex level, students rise to the occasion and their performance rises as well. Give it a try and watch the faces of your students light up while completing a makered project on circuits instead of completing a worksheet or looking up vocabulary words about circuits. Nothing beats the real thing in action!
What are your thoughts on makered projects and makerspaces?
The insurance company, USAA, was recently given approval by the FAA to use drones to check up on people who have filed insurance claims with USAA. They are testing a program where the drones would fly into major disaster areas and help process insurance claims faster. The drones can safely fly over disaster areas and areas that humans can’t access easily. This is an effort to help victims receive their insurance claim payment quicker so they can start on repairs or relocate depending upon the type of natural disaster that has occurred.
I know a few educators who are using drones in the classroom or are having their students build and fly the drones created in class. This is the future of education. I have doing a great deal of research on makered and makerspaces and am anxious to see how educators will be using drones as part of their makered curriculum. There is huge potential when using drones to discover math and science concepts by creating, making, building, flying and landing the drones from an app on a cell phone or some type of remote device.
The fact that USAA is using them and Amazon is also testing the use of drones for the delivery of packages opens the doors for educators to design some fantastic, futuristic learning activities. What do you think? Are drones going to be commonplace in the classroom?
ARLINGTON, VA and NEW YORK, NY, April 6, 2015 – The PBS KIDS digital series OH NOAH!(pbskids.org/noah) is expanding its offerings with new animated videos and games that introduce Spanish in an entertaining way. Launching on April 30 – a day to honor and celebrate children known as “El Día de los Niños” – new OH NOAH! content will include an immersive language learning game, “Lost and Found,” and a new 11-minute video, “Making a Splash.” In addition, starting on April 30 all OH NOAH! content will be accessible on mobile and tablet devices via pbskids.org/noah.
“Many parents are looking for tools to help their kids learn a second language, and research shows that developing a second language at a young age can have significant cognitive benefits; PBS KIDS is excited to offer families new content from OH NOAH! to help meet this need,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Media, PBS. “Digital properties like OH NOAH! are among PBS KIDS’ many resources that further our commitment to helping children learn and grow through curriculum-based media across platforms.”
Geared to kids ages 4-7, OH NOAH! features the comic misadventures of Noah, a young boy staying with his grandmother in a community where almost no one else speaks English. As he tries to learn Spanish and makes new friends, misunderstandings land him in wacky predicaments, but he always manages to rebound and cheerfully learn from his mistakes. Since its launch in spring 2011, OH NOAH! has attracted a strong and growing audience online and introduced new Latino lead characters to children’s media. Emmy Award-nominated OH NOAH! is produced by THIRTEEN for WNET, New York’s flagship public media provider, and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
“OH NOAH! provides children and their parents with a delightful variety of ways to learn Spanish together with Noah, who is a charming and funny role model,” says Sandra Sheppard, Executive Producer and Director of Children’s and Educational Media, WNET. “He’s joined on his adventures by his pet mouse—and fan favorite—Pequeño and an expanded cast of characters, including his new best friend Nell.”
WNET is partnering with a variety of organizations to extend the reach of OH NOAH!. Through a new partnership, the national steward organization for “El Día de los Niños,” the National Latino Children’s Institute, will help leverage OH NOAH! content in key communities across the country at events on April 30. And, as part of a partnership with the National Council of La Raza, OH NOAH! will participate in NCLR’s Annual Conference and National Latino Family Expo in Kansas City July 11-14.
According to the Center for Applied Linguistics, benefits of early language learning include improving a child’s understanding of his or her native language, having a positive effect on intellectual growth, enriching and enhancing a child’s mental development and promoting more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language and a better ear for listening.
“The educational foundation of OH NOAH! is based on the idea that kids learn language best in context,” says Mariana Swick, bilingual education advisor for OH NOAH!. “Children’s identification with Noah and his mishaps provide motivation – the most important factor for success in learning a new language.”
As the Latino population has increased significantly in the U.S., so has interest in teaching children Spanish. That interest extends to Latino families themselves. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, nearly 65% of U.S. Latinos speak only English at home or speak it very well, and 95% say it is important for their children to know Spanish, too.
New content launching April 30 on pbskids.org/noah will include:
- “Making a Splash,” a new 11-minute video: On a sweltering day, Brisa invites Noah and Nell to go swimming. Noah is hesitant because he can’t swim. With Nell’s encouragement, Noah decides to get swimming lessons, but because of a misunderstanding, Noah ends up performing tricks with a waterskiing team instead. After the ski team agrees to give him swimming lessons, Noah declares “¡Puedo nadar!” triumphantly.
- An interactive “Games in Video” version of the “Making a Splash” video that includes embedded language-learning mini-games.
- New short videos, including an extended version of the music video “Puedo nadar!” (“I can swim!”) and a highlight reel of Pequeño’s funniest moments from the series.
- “Lost and Found,” a new immersive language-learning game: Players join Noah and Nell on an interactive scavenger hunt. Players seek help from friends and neighbors to decipher Spanish words and locate missing objects, and encounter a series of fun mini-games along the way.
- OH NOAH! is now mobile-friendly and accessible through smartphones and tablets.
Educational resources related to the new video and games will be available for students and educators on PBS LearningMedia. In addition, a new printable family activity guide and other activities designed for use by parents and caregivers with their children will be available on the OH NOAH! and PBS Parents websites. The OH NOAH! website (pbskids.org/noah) offers thirteen three-minute videos with an embedded “Match It” game that helps children learn vocabulary, as well as five other learning games. OH NOAH! videos are also accessible on the free PBS KIDS Video App, which is available on a variety of mobile devices and on platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast.
As a result of participating and using the resources of the OH NOAH! website, interest in teaching in Spanish increased as well as the skills of the students. Below is a YouTube video about the program.
I apologize for the technical difficulties yesterday and appreciate everyone taking time to attend or inquire about the recording. Stay tuned for future webinars!
I started a new venture today – hosting webinars on my own! Below is the slideshare and Livebinder of resources shared in the webinar today. Additional pictures of Makered projects and Makerspace areas will be added to this website this week. The MP4 of the webinar will be added soon so you can watch the recording at your leisure.
Click here to open this binder in a new window.
Are you doing enough to reach your students? What if there was a way to give your students the enthusiasm about learning by allowing them to produce something tangible while using the conceptual learning tools we teach everyday. This is where “MakerED”/ “MakerSpaces” comes in.
You don’t have to be a technology expert to rejuvenate and excite your students – you just have to believe that they can succeed, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity to see how it’s done. Mark your calendars and join me next Monday!
Join the webinar at the following URLs: http://bit.ly/kcwebinar
I was reading a blog post written by Miguel Guhlin where he posed a question to some technology coach/authors similar to: “Is it necessary to have the word ‘technology’ or ‘digital’ in front of the word ‘coach’?” In my opinion it is absolutely, completely necessary to avoid watering down the position per se and the position becoming a catch-all or substitute when someone is needed to assist with a classroom full of students. Without the technology or digital, the position/role/title becomes insignificant and technology is not the focus.
Technology or Digital before Coach
I was a campus instructional technologist (CIT) in several school districts and the campus and instruction were always put before technology. I was pulled to watch classes, substitute or teach writing or math to those that didn’t pass the state tests the first time around (certain grade levels have had three tries in the state of Texas depending on which test they took) because their regular teacher was weak or new and inexperienced at teaching at the level needed for the students to pass the state tests. I became a fourth grade writing teacher or fifth grade math specialist for several hours and NONE of that time was used for or with technology to help the students even though my technology duties were pushed aside. I didn’t mind helping but I really believe technology was not the focus; testing was and at any cost.
Technology was not viewed as the significant portion of my position and because I had a successful testing track record, experience at those grade levels that were tested and a national board certified teacher, and although true, I certainly was able to stand in and pick up the slack or model how to teach multiplying fractions effectively. Since technology or digital was not first in the title, it was not a significant factor of the position. I wasn’t the only one used in a role that had nothing to do with technology teaching, modeling or planning and I believe it had to do with technology or digital not being the first and foremost focus of the position.
What is your Opinion
In my opinion a true technology specialist or coach focuses on planning, modeling or teaching technology first, everything else second. With technology or digital first, people know the focus of the position is technology and not substitute or the person that is assigned to pick up the slack for weaker or inexperienced teachers.
What is your opinion? I would love to engage in a professional dialog regarding this issue. Feel free to leave a comment below, on Twitter or Facebook. Does ‘technology’ or ‘digital’ have to come before the word coach in a person’s title for technology to be and stay the focus?
Recently, a new island was formed near Tonga after a volcano exploded and created the new island when the lava cooled. This would be great information to share with students, encourage educators they can recreate themselves or form a team related to one another metaphorically speaking. There are some fantastic pictures related to the formation of the new island at this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/12/new-island-tonga_n_6855562.html.
Great pictures with lots of ways to share and explore with students of all ages!
Are you interested in having your students participate in a global reading activity on March 4, 2015? Join the many classrooms and offices around the world for “World Read Aloud Day”! Each year on the first Wednesday in March the classrooms, offices, parents, students, etc. participate in World Read Aloud Day by reading aloud to someone or to themselves. It is an exciting venture and the World Read Aloud Day is just one of the projects found at Litworld.org.
World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their futures: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their stories.
World Read Aloud Day allows members of our year-round programs to invite more people into their literacy community and brings LitWorld’s messages to the rest of the world. World Read Aloud Day is now celebrated by over one million people in more than 80 countries and reaches over 31 million people online. The growth of our movement can be attributed in large part to our network of partner organizations and “WRADvocates” – a group of reading advocates and supporters taking action in their communities and on social media.
For more information about World Read Aloud Day and activities to participate in on March 4th, visit http://www.litworld.org/wrad/. Mark your calendars and join the fun!