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.
Brief Session Description: Let’s time travel a few decades forward to see what science, technology, engineering, and math will be like, and the prominent role that the arts, design ,and creativity will play in the future. Right now, scientists and engineers are creating a future where biology and engineering mix with computation and computer science. The future holds things like driverless cars, buildings that heal themselves, “radical mycology,” which are plastics that adopt organic properties from mushrooms, clothes that adjust to the weather, robots, Artificial Intelligence, and holodeck-like experiences that will bend the definition of reality. However, this fourth industrial revolution is not some far away abstraction, all of these futuristic visions will depend on the ingenuity and creativity of people who are K-12 students today. We owe it to them to teach them how to make, design, and create using the most modern technology in their STEAM classes today.
What are the implications for K-12 education when subjects are being reinvented every year? Are we content with providing students with science classes that don’t cover any science invented this century? What questions do education leaders need to answer to make sure that the future of STEAM is part of schools starting today.
This Sunday, Feb 24: Episode 3 – Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez. We will be talking about Seymour Papert and Mindstorms. I can tell you that I’m re-reading Mindstorms and it’s as relevant and powerful today as it was when it was written. If you stare hard through Invent to Learn, you will see the imprint of Mindstorms like an X-ray image. (Update: Direct link to the recording)
Sunday, March 3 Episode 4 – Jim Cash, an Ontario Canada educator well-versed in constructionism.
Episode 1 – Carol Sperry. Carole was a teacher in the 80s entranced by the way Logo opened the door for her to teach (and better understand) math. Carol wrote the introduction to the second edition of Mindstorms and was the teacher who told Seymour about her student who said that Logo was “hard fun” – a phrase that has become synonymous with constructionism.
Episode 2 – Brian Silverman and Artemis Papert. Brian was at MIT when Logo was created, and has a hand in designing and programming many of the versions, including Scratch. Artemis is an artist and the daughter of Seymour Papert. Together, they designed and now support Turtle Art, a lovely representation of Logo with Scratch-like blocks.
The interviews are being conducted by Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen, Canadian educators and long-time advocates of constructionism. The sponsoring project is Code To Learn, “…a project funded by the Canadian government’s CanCode initiative, brings you this Mindstorms book club. Code To Learn is based heavily in the work of Seymour Papert and provides the latest version of the all-Canadian MicroWorlds JR and MicroWorlds EX at no cost to all Canadians. These come in French & English and there is even a version of MicroWorlds JR in the Ojibwe language (with others to come)!”
February 12, 2019 (in honor of Engineers Week), I’ll be the guest on a fun, informal webinar with the Makey Makey team! The Makey Makey is one of my favorite tools for physical computing. It’s versatile, easy to use, and you’ll never run out of ideas!
Engineers Week is near and dear to my heart. I have an electrical engineering degree and worked for a decade in aerospace. While I don’t work as an engineer these days, I still see the world through that lens, where challenges are just invitations to invent the future! The E in STEAM is often overlooked, or worse, misunderstood as something that only “some kids” can do. We will be talking about how STEAM can happen for ALL students in real classrooms, makerspaces, and libraries!
Here’s a short interview I did with the EduTechGuys at FETC 2019 about new opportunities, tools, and resources in STEM and STEAM for K-12 schools. New fabrication devices, new micro controllers, bio-hacking, and more are making it ever more important to refresh STEM curriculum!
We are excited to announce that a newly revised and expanded edition of Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom has just been released.
It’s been five years since Gary Stager and I published the first edition of Invent to Learn. In that time, schools around the world have embraced making, makerspaces, and more authentic STEM/STEAM experiences for all children. It’s been fun to be a part of this worldwide phenomenon!
The brand new second edition includes a lot of new material reflecting how much has changed in a few short years. There are many new microcontrollers to choose from, and many more that are better for school use. The fabrication chapter has been updated to reflect how the design process has been streamlined by hardware and software progress. There is an entirely new section on laser cutters and CNC machines.
Programming options have expanded as well with software appropriate for students as young as four years old. Finally, there are some fantastic and accessible environments for programming microcontrollers. When we published the first edition, we were positive that a good block-based programming language for Arduino was just around the corner. Although new software environments emerged, they lacked the polish and stability required to make a difference in classrooms. Now things are different.
The additions and updates to the book go beyond mentions of new technology and fixing broken URLs. There are new examples from educators around the world who have embraced making in their classrooms. There is more context provided for the connections between project-based learning and making. We attempt to be clearer about the real reason that making matters—not to build a special room or purchase equipment, but to make schools a better place for ALL students and teachers to learn.
The second edition is now available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle on the Amazon website and other online retailers. For volume sales, using a PO, or international sales, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently I was a plenary speaker at the Global HR Forum in Seoul, South Korea. This conference attracted a combination of educators from K-20, press, Human Resource managers, government and policy makers, students, and corporate types mostly from South Korea, but a few from around the world. It made for some interesting conversations about the changing nature of work, and how education is or isn’t changing to meet those needs.
Our plenary session was on “Maker Education for Tomorrow” and featured Sherry Lassiter, President & CEO, The Fab Foundation, San Ko, CEO of A-TEAM Ventures, and me, moderated by Inae Kang Professor, The Graduate School of Education, Kyung Hee University. We each got 20 minutes to make our case for how making can make and is making education more relevant and more closely connected to the jobs that really exist today, and will only increase in the future. Then we had the luxury to have a conversation and answer audience questions for another 30 minutes. All of this was being simultaneously translated into English and Korean as needed. It was quite extraordinary. I wish more conferences used a similar format, it gave us all a chance to build on the commonalities of what we were saying, plus expand on the points that the audience was most interested in.
Dr. Kang provided expert moderation, helped provide context, and brought some of her lovely graduate students who had some great comments as well! One of audience questions came from a middle school student who was representing a large group of young people who were also attending the conference. All stakeholder groups indeed!
I hope to have video to post soon! Stay tuned…