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.
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)!”
While at FETC I had a pleasure of sitting down for a short interview with The EduTech Guys. Their motto is, “Come for the tech, stay for the talk.” The EduTechGuys are Jeff Madlock and David Henderson, who host an ongoing podcast plus go to conferences doing live coverage!
It was a ton of fun and I hope to join them for more episodes.
At ISTE 2014, Ginger Lewman and I recorded a podcast hosted by Don Wettrick called InnovatED – Tomorrow’s Education Innovations Today, on the BAM Radio Network.
We talked about the connection between project-based learning and the Maker Movement, best practices, and potential pitfalls. Plus had a ton of fun! Take a listen 😉
The Maker Movement:The Promise and Pitfalls
Sylvia Martinez is co-author of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering the Classroom, a book that has been called the “bible of the maker movement for classrooms”. She speaks and writes around the world to advocate for authentic learning using real world design principles, modern technology, and hands-on experiences. Ginger Lewman, @GingerLewman, works at ESSDACK, a nonprofit educational service center. She is a Keynoter & Consultant; Google Certified Teacher; Silo Killer; Co-Creator Life Practice PBL and a teacher of Project Based Learning.
I had the privilege of joining a conversation with the great Howard Rheingold last week in a HOMAGO Google hangout. HOMAGO stands for “Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out” which was the theme (and title) of Mimi Ito’s amazing book about digital youth learning culture. Our scheduled topic was “Arduino for Educators” but we really didn’t stick to one topic!
I was recently a guest on the online podcast show EdGamer with Zack and Gerry, part of the EdReach network. We had a great back and forth on all sorts of issues, ranging from Khan Academy to the gamification of education, and how constructivism looks in the real world.
A snip from my blog post on KA that gave Zack the idea for the title of the podcast.…This is the Monday… Someday problem – the fact that even if a teacher changes everything in their classroom, nothing else in the system will change. How can one argue for a long term (Someday) overhaul of math curriculum, pedagogy and assessment when you know even if it does change, it’s going to be long time from now, and you have kids coming in on Monday who need to pass a test on Friday that will depend on them memorizing a bunch of facts and skills? What good does it do to fight when the system not only doesn’t care, but will slap you down for it.
Unfortunately, Khan Academy is a simplistic “what do I do on Monday” solution that is being hyped as a Someday solution. If you have a long-term vision that in any way aligns with more open-ended, more constructivist learning, Khan Academy is not a step on that path. It’s a “more us, more us” solution.
You can’t expect an instructionist solution like Khan Academy to pair with, or even more implausibly, eventually turn into a constructivist solution.
Social Media and Peer Learning: From Mediated Pedagogy to Peeragogy
Discover how giving students more responsibility in shaping their own curriculum can lead to more active participation.
This was a really interesting experience. The panel, moderator, and main speaker Howard Rheingold all convened in a Google Hangout. The Google Hangout is very good for groups and it was easy to have a very natural conversation. There was also a livestream and a moderated chat so that questions were coming in from the virtual audience.
Even though Howard Rheingold opened the session talking about college-age leaners, I connected with many of his thoughts about how to create open-ended classrooms where the students co-create the learning. In my experience in K-12, it’s very similar as you figure out how to be a learner and/or a teacher in these kinds of situations.
I’ll write more later to expand on some of the points made in this webinar, but for now, I hope you enjoy watching the recorded video!
If you have teachers who need help, why not let students create tutorials for them? Students have an authentic project, and teachers get help with the exact hardware or software, not some generic tutorial. This is a win-win for everyone involved.
And think about this – if you are teaching a technology applications class, or asking students to pass technology literacy standards, why not have the projects the students do actually do some good? Why not have student projects that have an authentic purpose – helping teachers (or peers, or the community, for that matter).
One of the most important parts of project-based learning is having a sense of who your audience is – and the audience for student work does not have to be one harried technology teacher.
These can be useful additions to any school’s suite of tech support tools, plus, create a climate of student ownership. Brett says, “They did a series of five this year – they’re now training next year’s group to continue! Teachers love them.”
I think it came out pretty well – listen and you’ll hear all kinds of ideas about “The Digital Classroom” from me and others including Helen Otway, Chris Rogers, Alan November, Andy Penman, and Michelle Selinger. I especially liked opening the show by talking about how technology is not dehumanizing us as it’s often depicted. Rather technology allows a greater sense of community with people around the world, and how this can now include young people in an unprecedented way.
Involving students as partners and co-learners in the educational process, rather than as consumers—or worse, as “objects”—is not a new concept but it is certainly gaining currency in the 21st century. With information exploding, teachers can no longer hope to know everything about their subject. With changes in student lifestyles, fewer and fewer of them are content to be passive participants in the classroom.
GenYES is remarkable in how it brings student voice into the learning conversation. In this episode, Sylvia Martinez, President of GenYES, describes the project’s original program for bringing students and teachers together to co-plan technology-infused lessons as well as a newer program, TechYES, which offers a unique project-based learning approach to certifying middle school students as technologically literate.
Yup, that’s me, in a podcast recorded with Michael Simkins of the Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership (TICAL). It’s the “go to” place for California school administrators who want to understand how to integrate technology in their schools. TICAL offers resources and networking opportunities both online and in person.