Our book publishing company, Constructing Modern Knowledge Press is having a Black Friday sale! From Black Friday( November 29, 2019) to Cyber Monday (December 2, 2019) all our Kindle books will be available for $1.99!
2020 Florida Workshops Feb 10, 2020 Fort Lauderdale, FL
Feb 12, 2020 Jacksonville, FL
Join me and Gary Stager as we host one-day workshops on coding, making, and physical computing in Florida.
This workshop will focus on the amazing opportunities for students to code and make across the curriculum using new micro-controllers like the BBC micro:bit. Even better, every participant will go home with a micro:bit of their very own!
In this brief Q&A, Martinez shared insights on the key emerging trends in schools, thoughts on technologies like AR and AI, and classroom practices that are working best to leverage this tech. Read on for an introduction to some of the ideas you can expect to explore in her webinar and FETC session.
The recent advances in the area of physical computing make it something that can be introduced into classrooms in every grade level and subject area. Physical computing is the intersection of the digital world and the physical world. It incorporates things like robotics, but goes much further to include all kinds of things like wearable technology, understanding sensors, collecting and interpreting real world data, and more. Students who are interested in any subject, not just STEM subjects, can investigate physical computing projects that support their interests. New microcontrollers like the BBC micro:bit, combined with new easier to use software make building computer-enhanced inventions easier and more affordable than ever.
Allowing students to invent and be creative with technology does not mean that we favor technology above all other means of expression. We are simply adding tools to the creativity toolbox. If we believe, for example, that puppet shows are good (and they are), why shouldn’t the puppets have eyes that light up, or sensors that trigger sound effects, or have an AI module embedded in them? These opportunities invite all kinds of students to express themselves and make meaning in the world.
For technologies like AR, AI, adaptive computing, robotics,and other emerging tech, what is the key to making them relevant in education? In other words, how do we make sure they are enhancing learning instead of distracting from it?
New technology innovations will be adopted in one of two very different ways by schools. In some schools these innovations will be used to deliver old lessons with new bells and whistles. However, if new technologies possess educational “nutritional value,” it is incumbent upon us to find ways to use the new gizmos to expand what students can do. Using AI in a Scratch program you write, or building your own AR or VR simulation is enhancing learning. Using AI or VR to deliver a lesson, grade a quiz, or make a virtual frog pop out of a textbook is not.
The challenge is for schools to keep offering students real and relevant experiences and not fall back into ingrained habits. The focus needs to be on what students do, not what we do to students. Educators who have embraced technology can say “yes, and” to new things that are entrancing schools while keeping the focus on student-centered constructive creativity.
What is one classroom practice you’ve observed that is working especially well to leverage emerging trends for the benefit of students?
Using students as tech leaders and mentors has enormous benefits in classrooms. One of the issues that educators face when introducing emerging technology into the classroom is the simple fact that there is a lot to learn, and it seems that technology changes so fast that there is never enough time! This may lead to procrastination hoping that someday it will all settle down and there will be time to figure it all out before introducing it to students. Unfortunately that day may never come.
Teaching students to become mentors for peers or near-peers offers tremendous benefits to all involved. Mentoring is a tried and true practice that helps both the mentors and the mentees. Students who are mentors learn confidence and become leaders in their schools. Teachers benefit from not having to be experts in everything, handing off responsibility to students. This also walks the talk of student empowerment and encourages the idea that invention and creativity come from everywhere and everyone in the school community.
You often hear people talk about how technology is so “engaging” for kids. But that misses the point. It’s not the technology that’s engaging, it’s the opportunity to use technology to create something that is valued by the community and by yourself. Yes, a new device can be entertaining for a while, but when the novelty value wears off, what are you left with?
Engagement is not a goal, it’s an outcome of students (or anyone) doing meaningful work. Meaningful to themselves AND to the community they are in. Meaningful because someone trusted them to do something good and they shouldered the responsibility. Trust engenders trust in yourself and in others. Joining as a citizen of a community, whether that community is a classroom or a virtual tribe, where you belong, and your voice is valued and encouraged. True citizenship is a two-way street, not a list of rules and punishments.
Engagement is not something you DO to kids or you GIVE kids, it’s the outcome of this cycle of experiences.
I sat down with JD Pirtle for a chat about making in education. First, we discussed the origin and current state of the maker movement in schools. We talked through a variety of pedagogical issues educators face when teaching with technology, including approaches to three of the biggest: time, space, and assessment.
El movimiento maker llegó para quedarse, de la mano de una tribu cada vez más amplia de personas convencidas de que la mejor manera de aprender es hacer (y, si es posible, desarmar y volver a armar). Para integrar conocimiento y acción, tienen magníficos aliados: los fablabs, la informática física y la programación.
Los recursos son infinitos y están casi al alcance de la mano: de hacer títeres con medias, lana y botones a programar robots futboleros; de reutilizar materiales descartados a crear diseños propios para fabricar objetos 3D; de armar figuras con papel y cinta adhesiva a editar podcasts o videos.
Este libro, pionero en español, es una guía completa para que educadores formales e informales lleven la creación y el construccionismo a las aulas, desde el jardín de infantes hasta la escuela secundaria. Con cálida sabiduría, Sylvia Libow Martínez y Gary Stager reúnen las ideas pedagógicas con la práctica, incluyendo los secretos y las dificultades: trabajar por proyectos, elegir y conseguir los materiales y tutoriales más convenientes, motivar a los chicos y hasta persuadir a la administración de la escuela.
En Inventar para aprender se alinean la teoría, la práctica y las herramientas para transmitir a los niños la sensación poderosa de que el mundo es un lugar en construcción. Y para acompañarlos a entrar en él como sus protagonistas: creando.
I’m very proud of the latest publication from Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, The Art of Digital Fabrication: STEAM Projects for the Makerspace and Art Studio by Erin E. Riley. This is an absolutely gorgeous book of projects using 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, CNC machines, and other tools found most often in school makerspaces. These are exceptionally inventive, beautiful, and thoughtful projects, brought to life with photos of student work and clear explanations of the steps and stages of how these projects unfold in the classroom, makerspace, or studio.
The book will be available in paperback and hardcover on May 6, 2019, but you can pre-order it now at Amazon and other online retailers. If you pre-order, you can have it in your hands on May 6!
Erin has created a unique book that offers a vision of STEAM that embraces Art as a primary motivation, with design as the guiding vision. Every project offers multiple understandings across all STEAM disciplines. This viewpoint creates avenues for teachers to understand how digital fabrication tools can be an opportunity for students to express themselves and find meaning in the world. It creates pathways for modern mathematics to emerge as concrete manifestations of precision and beauty. And it allows engineering to be fully expressed as the desire of humankind to make ideas become real.
It was a wonderful learning opportunity for me to edit this book. Erin is an amazing teacher, constantly adding and inventing new projects with her students, and then making them better. Her documentation is superb, and her explanations of the choices she makes as a teacher and designer are thoughtful and deeply enriching. And she is an artist, she hand designed every page of this book with loving care and attention to detail.
Erin organized the book by artistic process, rather than by tool. Processes like drawing, patterning, casting, prototyping, making 3D objects, and more are each explored with a variety of tools. This creates a treasure chest of inspiration and a relatable way for art teachers to see digital fabrication as an expansion of artistic vision. It opens a whole new way of thinking when you realize that drawing with a machine is similar to drawing with the hand, with the added benefit of being able to precisely draw with a laser, with a pen attached to a vinyl cutter, with code, light, or even with 3D filament. She also wrote an introduction explaining important concepts in graphic design and software, what students learn from digital fabrication, and making the case for STEAM in modern education.
For the past few months I’ve been carrying a dog-eared, marked-up copy of the work-in-progress proof of this book to various conferences and workshops, showing it to educators. The reaction has been extraordinary—people actually tried to convince me to sell them the unfinished proofs! But now the wait is over, it’s done and we can share it with the world. Check it out, you will not be disapointed.
Recently, I was a guest on the No Such Thing podcast hosted by Marc Lesser. Marc is Chief Learning Officer of MOUSE, a national youth development non-profit.
MOUSE designs computer science and STEM curriculum and engages students through the Design League and maker events.
MOUSE does similar work to Generation YES, where I was the president for over a decade. Both organizations support students as learners and leaders in their schools and communities. It was great to talk to Marc about my background in engineering, the 2nd Edition of Invent To Learn, how schools can be a glorious explosion of interesting things, and the (hopefully) lasting impact of Maker Education.
Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Second Edition) will be published in simplified Chinese, the language of mainland China. The publisher is Tsinghua University Press Limited (清华大学出版社有限公司), a respected publisher of education, technology, and culture books with deep experience in books and electronic resources from around the world. We look forward to sharing the publication date soon.