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Tag Archives: Technology

Surprising things happen when Digital Natives get their hands on old-school cameras

Here’s a batch of pictures taken by my students yesterday. Cameras may seem ‘old school’ but there’s always an interest in the basics of aperture, lighting, and perspective. In my Ed-Tech class, 5th and 6th graders can’t seem to have enough of this, as the results show.

An accidental homage to Silicon Valley?


Digital City?

Two very different perspectives of a robotic arm

There are much more! Who knows what ideas they will come back with after Spring Break?

 

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Technology lessons – No books required!

Sometimes you don’t need text books to learn a skill.I don’t usually advise young people to skip university, but I know of many folks who have learned incredible skills, never having stepped into a classroom for the past 20 years. One friend fixes BMWs as a hobby (sometimes has about 10 in his driveway). Another runs a mid-sized marketing communications agency, but has built and operates an eco-resort. The former never went to engineering school. The latter never took a class in architectural design or management.

And my point is, we often hone our skills in our garages, and our basements.These are our ‘labs.’ No one gives us a certificate for these long hours of professional development.

Here’s a related example: Children learning about science and tech on a farm. Think of it as a STEM lab in Nebraska.

Cows. BMWs. Conservation. Plenty of knowledge out there, not found in books and lectures.

 

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It’s a kite. It’s a tethered bird. Could it be a drone?

I love how this guy is disrupting the idea of what we think of a drone, to re-frame it as a kite.

A kite that takes pictures, that is.

Funny how we box ourselves in by classifying things the way they originally emerged as. Is a cell phone today really a phone? Ore more recently, with the idea of a supersized ‘commuter drone’, is a drone a light aircraft that may or may not need to be autonomous? But apart from the boxing ourselves in, the need to be creative is often stymied by those who are reluctant to make mistakes.

Sergei Lupashin, in the video below spoke at an Education technology conference last year about this. His point being we need to get young people to feel comfortable with making  a lot of mistakes! That is how we could make breakthroughs

 

If you haven’t seen the Chinese-made single passenger drone, here’s how they position it – learning from their mistakes. Um crashes!

 

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in STEM, Technology

 

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So kids aren’t playing with rubber bands and string anymore?

True story: Recently I took a small group of students to visit a lab, and while breaking for lunch on some garden benches, they began climbing the trees nearby. They were getting a bit noisy when a lady walking by stopped and looked up into the branches. I thought I would get asked to get them to ‘behave’. But the lady smiled and said loudly to others passing by, “Look! look! children are playing on trees again!”

It took me a few seconds to figure out what she was really saying – that having seen so many kids today plugged into screens, it’s thrilling to see them having fun scampering up trees. (Side note: this was outside a Mars Space lab in Tempe, Arizona, and we were on a field trip to see a whole lot of technology!)

Drawing from : 7th period: Feed a Fish Wikispaces page Click on image to visit this class project page

I keep this in mind when I introduce students to new technologies. Last week, I began a lesson on animation, and as subject matter, I returned to the ‘Rube Goldberg Machine.’ We don’t always need screens for this. (Unless we need to check out the many Rube Goldberg contests like this.). How could we turn students into makers, and innovators, problem-solvers and scientific thinkers?

A Rube Goldberg Machine (or ‘contraption‘) teaches us a lot about levers, gravity, kinetic energy, and chain reactions among other things – such as precision, iterative design, and learning from failure. All it takes is some lengths of wood, string, paper cups, shoe boxes, old clothes hangers, marbles and/or ping-pong balls, rubber bands and cardboard tubes.

I like to get them to ‘design’ their machine first, and see what they come up with – then set them on a building mission! We could use a drawing app, but paper and pencil work just fine!

Image on right – One of the manyprojects from a 7th grade class – found here

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2016 in Ed-Tech, Education, STEM, Technology

 

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Pros and Cons for Technology in the Classroom

Your child probably goes to school with a device in her backpack with more processing power than the rocket that took men to the moon, and this child wants to be… an astronaut?

You’ve forgotten how to log into your son’s school website to download his missed homework, but… he’s found a way to ‘jailbreak’ your cell phone?

Yes, teaching and learning is changing!

My July technology column was about tech in the classroom, which somewhat coincided with my talking to teachers in Sri Lanka about technology and STEM. Indeed, there are still those who want limited screens – parents of hi-tech execs, of all people. And those who think otherwise. Which side are you on?

 

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Social media minus geek-speak and PowerPoint

I head to the IABC International conference in New York that starts next week. Two things I can expect: To meet a lot of folk interested in social media, and to see see a lot of PowerPoint slides 🙂

But what has left an indelible mark on me is a series of videos created by Lee and Sachi LeFever and his wife at CommonCraft. This one, particularly on social media in plain English.

If you’re interested, CommonCraft says they offer licensed versions to ‘educators and influencers.’

As someone who writes about this stuff, attempting to demystify technology and clear the fog that hovers over technology, I think this work is pure genius.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2008 in Best Practices, IABC, Social Media

 

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Collaboration necessary but tough

Thanks (no thanks, really) to complex technology, organizations struggle with collaboration – still.

ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business talks about the challenges businesses face with collaborative technologies. Robert Sommer talks of the ‘tower of babble’ problems we still face.

Watch video here.

 
 

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