ROBOTICS & DESIGN THINKING WORKSHOPS | CONSILIENCE LEARNING | BANGKOK, THAILAND

Engagement Goal:  Help international school educators in the Bangkok, Thailand region get up to speed with the Micro:bit robotics microcontroller and Design Thinking.

Description:   We spent two days in Bangkok working with a fantastic group of international school educators from as far away as Dubai diving deep into the possibilities for and uses of the Micro:bit robotics microcontroller and Design Thinking in the classroom. For the Micro:bit, we designed the experience leveraging the SMU Maker Education Project’s excellent approach to maker-based instruction, sparking creativity and imagination culminating in a differentiated, hands-on challenge to make “a thing that does a thing.” They learned about and were free to incorporate a range of sensors, motors and servos into their creations. For Design Thinking, we combined a discussion of theory and real-world DT practices with Molly Clare Wilson’s excellent “Design Dash” and, just for fun, some automata thrown in.

Results:  Participants new to these technologies left with increased creative confidence while those who were already familiar with the tools helped others while they pushed themselves to learn and try new, more complex tasks. It was a great two day experience! Thanks, Consilience Learning, for having me!

KEYNOTE & HANDS-ON MAKER WORKSHOPS | WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF INSTRUCTION | MARSHFIELD, WI

Engagement Goal:  Provide a full day of differentiated, engaging and inspirational hands-on learning with a variety of educational technologies.

Description:   We kicked off the day with a hands-on keynote in the style I have been accustomed to lately, described by one client as a “playnote:” a combination of a thought-provoking series of messages, a hands-on activity, and a call to action. After lunch, the attendees chose between eight different stations we’d prepared with differentiated, self-guided activities including technologies like Hummingbird Robotics (Duo and Finch), Dash & Dot, Micro:bit, Raspberry Pi, Parrot Drones, and more.

Results:   This was the most fun I’ve had in a long time, and, thanks to expert organizational support from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the event came off flawlessly. Participants remarked about the energy in the room, the freedom and flexibility to chose what they wanted to learn, and the wide array of technologies we made available (virtually all of it from my own collection of educational technology.) Prizes donated by terrific sponsors (Birdbrain Technologies, Wonder Workshop, Tynker, and Sphero) meant that almost everyone went home with something (besides the knowledge they’d gained) and four lucky folks brought home prizes worth hundreds of dollars each.

TWO DAY DEEP DIVE INTO MAKERSPACE TOOLS & PEDAGOGIES | Pueblo School of the Arts & ScienceS, Fulton Heights | Pueblo, CO

Engagement Goal:  Help prepare staff to open a brand-new K-5 public charter school focused on maker-centered learning.

Description:   We spent two days leading these founding teachers and staff through a series of challenges utilizing state-of-the-art tools and technologies. We wanted to increase their creative confidence, give them a first-hand taste of maker-centered learning, and help them conceptualize how they might adopt the maker mindset in their classrooms.

Results:   PSAS is off to a terrific start this year, by all accounts exceeding every expectation. Their success was recently acknowledged in this article in their local newspaper. Thrilled to have partnered with David Jakes Designs, LLC on this important staff development effort.

THREE-DAY ARDUINO ROBOTICS WORKSHOP | ENGLEWOOD, NJ

Engagement Goal:  Help guide a group of teachers through a series of progressively more difficult challenges involving Arduino-based robots. Workshop was part of the Dwight-Englewood DE360 Summer Connections Program. I co-presented with Trevor Shaw of Genesis Learning.

Description:   Utilizing Genesis Learning's "Make it All" Arduino kit, teachers learned the basics of robotics design, construction and programming including motor/servo control, conditionals, loops, use of sensors, and more.  We utilized Genesis Learning's free and iForge web IDE for Arduino.

Results:   Every team was able to get their robot operational (some with some advanced and unplanned features). This was definitely “hard fun!” I appreciated the opportunity to co-facilitate this experience with Trevor Shaw of Genesis Learning.

G SUITE EDU PD Day | DERBY, KS

Engagement Goal:  Provide a differentiated, meaningful, comprehensive day of G Suite professional development for high school teachers preparing to go 1:1 with Chromebooks.

Description:   I was one of six EduCollaborators trainers tasked with leading workshops for 100+ teachers and staff. Each of us designed and led a hands-on, differentiated two-hour overview of G Suite including Chromebooks followed by an afternoon of hands-on experience with G Suite tools of their choice, working through an interactive self-paced notebook. I focused on Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Keep.

Results:   It was the last day of professional learning before the opening, often a stressful time for teachers as they race to get everything ready for the first day of school. But, these teachers were able to relax, work at their own pace, collaborate and end the day on a high note, ready for the new school year.

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