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My other computer costs $35

Last week, I was lucky to participate in Picademy at the Ann Arbor District Library and am now a Raspberry Pi certified educator! This was an amazing experience to connect with a cohort of like minded educators from all around the globe and learn physical computing. Our instructors were stellar! Raspberry Pi used to be intimidating to me but thanks to them, now I can see its many affordances. Raspberry Pi has a variety of educational resources. I am excited to start integrating this in my school district and share it with the rest of my technology integration team, administrators, teachers and most of all, the students! I encourage you to try it.

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One of the most powerful activities we did was learn how to transition from coding in Scratch to Python. I loved the way this activity was scaffolded and it was a great way to transition from block coding to text language. I want to do this activity with students so that they can make connections between the two. That feeling of hooking the Raspberry Pi up for the first time and making a light illuminate is incredible! To make it light up again in a different way made me feel extra accomplished.

We explored many different components and projects over the course of two days. I learned how to use the camera, button, motion sensor, motor, sense hat, Sonic Pi and servo motor. I was able to make several iterations of a photo booth, a ferris wheel, pixel emoji art, scrolling messages, and music. We also played around with orientation, humidity and temperature.

My favorite project was The Beethoven Project. I worked with a small group to make an automatic page turner for sheet music. As we started to brainstorm, we realized that this invention could also work as an assistive technology for individuals who have a limited range of motion, too. By the press of a button, the page turns. We would want our next iteration to be able to flip the same page in reverse and be able to flip multiple pages. This was my favorite project because we did not use the servo motor in any previous activities and we figured out how to use it.  I wrote the code for this project and learning the code for servo motors was not easy. I was proud of myself for making the Raspberry Pi do what we wanted it to! This activity was different because we weren’t writing a predetermined code and altering it. Our code was new, unique and I wrote it!  Check out tweets from The Beethoven Project team below.

 

 

Thing-a-ma-jig, thing-a-ma-bob, thingmy, ThingLink!

ThingLink is a great tool to use to spice up presentations, lesson materials, handouts, you name it.  It allows you to annotate video, images, and 360/VR content to make them interactive.  Things that you can link to (ba-dum-ching!) could be maps, text, other images and videos, links, and audio.  After a thinglink is created, it allows you to view statistics on engagement with your particular thinglink.  Images are free and the video and 360/VR are features of the paid versions.  These are a great way to share thinking and learning that is happening in your classroom.  To push your thinking, I’d like to challenge you to think about how you could make a tool like this work for you in your context.

Here are a few examples of ThingLinks I made…

My journey of global opportunities.

I created this ThingLink to show the amount of information you can gather from 140 characters.

This is a ThingLink I made when I presented on AR at MACUL with Mary Wever.

 

 

Makawalu: A 5th Grade Capstone Project

What I witnessed today was amazing.  The fifth graders at my school presented their Makawalu Project to younger peers.  It was set up as a live museum and students dressed up based on their research project.  From my understanding, they tied in Native Hawaiian, Native American, and European views into their projects and shared how they connect.  I give kudos to Karyl AhHee and Corrina Kay for planning such an amazing learning experience for our students. Not only was the topic and content of the project fun and engaging, but they covered so many learning goals.  The presentation of all the projects was magnificent.  I could tell the students worked really hard on their projects because each and every one of them were dense and overflowing with information. Students had great interaction and activities planned for their peers to engage with their presentations.  It was definitely not a “sit and get” ordeal.  Every student shared knowledge in their own unique ways.  Seeing them present to their younger peers made me proud for some reason. I can’t really explain why, but that is how I felt.  Watching their interaction and leadership was incredible.  I was blown away.

The nerd in me just needs to tell you all about things I was totally geeking out about and super excited to see.  As a technology teacher and maker, I was overwhelmed with the creativity I saw. There was a variety of high tech and low tech.  I saw homemade costumes, posters designed with great aesthetics and piled with information, business cards, green screen videos, QR codes, augmented reality, puzzles, building with blocks, word searches, lassos, musicians, dancers, food, homemade props, Sphero, artwork, drawing, acting, arts and crafts, trivia games, interactive maps, and the list goes on.  The variety was unreal.  All stakeholders were engaged and immersed in a rich learning environment.  Bravo papa ‘elima!

Reflecting on a Great Year of Learning

Usually, I reflect on my year and write a note to myself in my Evernote or on my Facebook.  As I started to reflect on my year, I realized a lot has happened for me in the education world and I just had to write a blogpost.  This is also probably the reason I haven’t been blogging as much as I would have liked because I’ve been super busy (aren’t we all?).  I am so thankful for my own education and the opportunities I have to educate children.  I learned a lot in 2015.  Here’s what happened…

  • I got to share my music skills with the 1st grader in their music class with Cindy Debus.  I played my clarinet, my saxophone, and shared my Spartan Marching Band experience with them.
  • We skyped with schools in Tahiti, Mexico, California, Big Island and Michigan (of course)
  • I met Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair when she visited our campus in February and was able to reconnect with her when she came back in October.  She even wanted to quote me on a story I shared of my sister and I playing “manual instant messaging” growing up (we wrote notes to each other on the same piece of paper).
  • I got to meet Angela Maiers when she visited our campus in March
  • Reshan Richards skyped with one of our 5th Grade classes in March and I got to meet him when he visited our campus in person in September
  • I co-presented at Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning Conference (MACUL) with Mary Wever on Augmented Reality
  • I presented on Making and Coding at Hawai’i Island TechEd Collaboration Conference (HITC) (and I connected Kamehameha Schools with Brad Waid & Drew Minock and they came to Hawai’i!)
  • I got to meet Kandance Logan when she came to campus for Responsive Classroom workshops
  • I presented on Making and Coding at the Kamehameha Schools EdTech Conference in Honolulu (and I connected Kamehameha Schools with Mary Wever and she came to Hawai’i!)
  • Mary and I went to listen to Daniel Pink speak at Punahou School and we got to meet him
  • I learned about Lego Stop Motion from Shane Asselstine at the Kamehameha Schools EdTech Conference and connected with him later in the year to become trained in Code.org and Minecraft
  • I started the #EdChatHI Voxer group with Karen Corbell
  • I helped plan and presented at the Global Resources in Education and Technology Conference (GREAT) in Galway, Ireland
  • I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Michigan State University in Galway, Ireland
  • I got to play clarinet and bass clarinet in the orchestra for West Side Story at Kamehameha Schools
  • We got to learn with SEVERAL different new technology tools: Sphero, Dash, Ozobots, Google Classroom, Minecraft EDU, Makerbot, 3Doodler, Little Bits, Snap Circuits, Squishy Circuits, Paper Circuits, Makey Makeys, etc.
  • We participated in the Doodle 4 Google contest
  • The KS Makers program more than doubled in size! We even had visitors from some DOE schools to check out our model for our makerspace so they can begin to launch programs at their schools.
  • I participated in the IMUA challenge at work and learned about wellness
  • One of our 5th Grade classes did a project on #TheGreatListen
  • I helped lead a coding workshop with Carmen Richardson at our campus
  • I get to experience my second Founder’s day at Kamehameha Schools.  This is a VERY cool day to be a part of and I am looking forward to Friday.  What a privilege it is to work for Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi.

I’m sure I missed plenty of things that have happened over the past year but these are the ones that stuck with me.  Man, do I feel blessed.  2015, you were so good to me.  Here’s to a new year full of even more learning!

IMUA Challenge

I am very fortunate to work for Kamehameha Schools.  The staff, resources, facilities, support, and benefits are definitely not to be taken for granted.  I am very thankful for all the opportunities for growth professionally and personally.  We benefit from an amazing wellness program here.  I can take yoga classes twice a week, workout with a trainer in the high school aerobics room 5 days a week, swim in the pool before or after school, run or bike on campus, and get monthly wellness newsletters ALL FOR FREE.  The fact that they encourage and support wellness here is amazing.

Just recently, I joined the IMUA challenge.  I am on a team with 3 other coworkers at the elementary school.  The challenge is not only campus wide, but district wide.  All 3 campuses are participating in the challenge.  It is a choice, but why wouldn’t I take advantage of this amazing resource?!  So far I’ve learned that wellness isn’t just the physical.  Wellness encompasses exercise, nutrition, mental and spiritual wellbeing.  It’s been great motivation working with my teammates but also working with other teams on our campus.

At first I was terrified to go workout with Matt, the trainer at the high school because this was something new to me.  Though, I’ve been enjoying the Tabata workouts and I can feel change in my body.  It’s fun and short and I think it will only help me grow as a triathlete.  I’ve also learned about nutrition.  It’s nothing new to me because my mom has taught me a lot about nutrition but hearing it again has helped remind me of how I should be nourishing my body.

Just before I joined the challenge, I also was exploring new hashtags to learn from on Twitter for Connected Educators Month.  This was also a part of a challenge at my school (#kshcem15).  Isn’t the culture here awesome?!  Anyways, I discovered #HealthyEd.  You should check it out too.

I am thankful for the IMUA Challenge.

Global Read Aloud & Epic!

Hi all,

If you haven’t heard of Global Read Aloud I highly recommend looking into it.  It is a way to get kids enthusiastic about reading and they can connect with peers around the world.  There is a lot of flexibility with this project.  Stuff like this makes me miss being a grade level teacher! http://theglobalreadaloud.com/

Wanted to share Epic! with you today, too.  I know Carmen mentioned it in the technology notes she sent out already but just wanted to elaborate on it.  The kindergarten students have already been reading some books on Epic! from my account.  Audio is available for the stories or the kids can read without audio.  There are several different categories you can filter the books by as well.  I learned about this tool this summer when I was finishing my master’s.    https://www.getepic.com/app/

#TTTuesdays

My Voxer Story

Voxer has been a very useful tool for me both personally and professionally.  I first started using Voxer to communicate while I was studying in Ireland last summer.  I was able to communicate with family and friends back in Michigan.  Voxer was a free app and it worked when I connected to wifi.  I did not purchase a phone and data plan while I was abroad so this was perfect.  The nice thing about it was that I didn’t need to set up a time to Skype or do a Google Hangout.  I could leave messages and listen to messages on my own time.  A vox had so much more meaning than a text because I could actually hear the person’s voice and the messages were much longer.

My mentor teacher, Mary Wever, still continues to mentor me to this day through Voxer.  When I was in Ireland, it was great to be able to contact her for advice with coursework and job interviews.  Even though I am in Hawaii now, I still am able to talk to her on a regular basis.

I’ve been able to join several educational chats like Edumatch, #satchat, #MichEd, Instructional Coaches, Drive Book Study, Beyond the Bake Sale Book Study, #AfterISTE, and Collaborative Inquiry.  Actively listening to these discussions and contributing to the conversation have let me connect with passionate educators all over the globe.  I enjoy being able to hear their voices and say much more than I could in 140 characters or less on Twitter.  Voxer even has attachment capabilities to send photos, text, and now videos.  My PLN has expanded and I love being able to bounce ideas off of other educators who share the same passions.  At my district level, I started a Kumu2Kumu chat with my Kamehameha Schools counterparts on Kapalama and Maui campuses. To extend the #EdChatHI Twitter chat, Karen Corbell and I have decided to co-moderate an #EdChatHI Voxer group.

It is nice for personal use as well.  I love to get messages from family and friends around the world when I wake up in the morning.  Voxer has also helped me cope with moving from Michigan to Hawaii.  I think I would be much more homesick if I was not active on Voxer.

I connected with Heather Gauck on Voxer through the #MichEd chat and she noticed that I was working in Hawaii.  Come to find out, her sister, Karen Corbell, works here too.  So, Karen and I were able to connect.  I met Heather face to face when I was back in the mitten presenting at MACUL.  Then I met Karen face to face when I got back to Hawaii and even got her to present at my school’s tech slam, HITC.  Now, we talk often and started the #EdChatHI Voxer group!  I think that this group with help Hawaiian educators stay connected across islands.

I have ideas of ways that I could use Voxer with my students.  I would like to use it to connect with other students around the world that we may not be able to set up a Google Hangout or Skype with due to time differences.  I wonder too if it would be beneficial for those students who are auditory learners.  I also think it could be beneficial to implement the use of Voxer on a district, campus, or school level.

Last night, I had the opportunity to participate in my first Google Hangout On Air. Linda Lindsey, from Maui, let Karen and I join her on her Google Rocks! Hawaii show. Feel free to watch.  I apologize now for the coqui frogs background noise!

A quick reflection on my first live GHO recording: I think I could use Hangouts as a way to teach waiting your turn to talk, listening skills, and in discussion lessons.

Building a Program

The school year has been underway for almost a month now and I’m getting ready to start my maker club meetings.  Last year, I was able to start a maker club at my school known as the KS Makers.  This club consisted of 24 fourth and fifth graders at my school.  We went on field trips, participated in our school’s Hoʻolauleʻa, and had a Maker Faire at the end of the year.  Maker club was brand new for my school. I wanted to get us more involved in the maker movement.  My goal was to provide a space where kids can be creative and innovative driven by their own inquiry.  My first group of makers and I made many memories in the time we spent together.

This year, I was overwhelmed with the response to joining maker club.  I had the same parameters that I had last year.  Sign up was on first come first serve basis, I would accept 20 kids, and it would be the same cost.  A couple of the girls in the club last year made a commercial for maker club to get students to join for this school year.  I went into the fourth and fifth grade classrooms, showed them the commercial, told them how to sign up, and answered any questions they had.  They had a two week period to sign up.  That night, after school my mind was blown. Over 40 kids had signed up before I went to bed.  The next morning, I was up to 50 kids.  That is more than half of the kids I even offer maker club to!  50 out of 96 students wanted in.

Holy moly, what was I going to do? I couldn’t cut more people than I accepted.  I couldn’t tell a kid that they can’t learn. My mind immediately starting thinking of ways to make this work.  There’s no way I could fit that many makers in my tiny classroom, let alone manage that many kids making all on my own.  Could I have meetings twice a week with different groups each day?  Personally and realistically, I don’t have the time to do that.  Could I get a co-teacher to help me out?  Could I do something before school? During recess? Could I integrate it any more than I already have into my technology curriculum?  The questions went on and on.  My head was spinning.  I was shocked with the response and interest.  This was a beautiful disaster.  What a GREAT problem to have!  So now what?

I met with my administrators when I got to school the next day and we began brainstorming solutions.  They were completely supportive of my program and agreed that I could not turn away students.  We had several ideas of how to tackle this.  We settled on splitting it into two groups of students.  I will see one group the first half of the year and I will see the other group the second half of the year.  Both groups will participate in the end of the year Maker Faire and they will both have access to resources all year long.  Already, I’ve had so much feedback from parents and students.  They are so pleased that everyone who signed up got in and that they will all get that creative, innovative, opportunity to extend their learning.  I must say, I am super excited to start making this school year and to see what the kids come up with.  I am proud of this program I’ve built, my KS Makers. I MUA!

Turning the Page

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -Winnie the Pooh

I am blessed to be a part of the MAET (Master’s in Educational Technology) family. So many people have influenced my learning up to this point and its been such an amazing journey. Tomorrow is graduation day. I had no idea that I would be feeling all the emotions that I am feeling now.  Though this chapter is ending and I am turning the page in this book we call life, I will be forever touched by the MAET family.

This program’s rigor has pushed me beyond what I thought I could ever do. The challenges have helped me evolve into a better educator and individual. I feel that this program has equipped me with the mindsets, tools, and skills I need to be a successful technology integrator in the making. This year especially, I’ve learned the importance of making educational decisions that can be backed up by research. I think this will help me better education for my students.

Upon finishing my first year in the program, I was given the opportunity to broaden my horizons and fulfill a teaching goal of mine. I’ve always wanted to teach somewhere new, out of state or overseas, to gain new experience that I could bring back to Michigan. I interviewed for an educational technology position at Kamehameha Schools Hawaii and was offered the job. I feel that this was directly connected to everything I learned my first year studying in the MAET program. Michigan State University has definitely opened up the gates to global opportunities for me.

I’ve always had the philosophy that learning never stops but I never truly understood what it meant to have a growth mindset until I was immersed in the MAET program. I feel comfortable modeling failure, learning from your mistakes, sharing my learning process, and am not afraid to try new things. Purpose and intent will influence my use of technology in the classroom. I hope to model that technology should not be used just for the sake of technology. Reconnecting with my creative side has amplified my own vision for possibility. I know that my teaching practice has potential to become much more illuminated.

An overarching theme we had this summer was Spartans Will. I designed this poster on the first day of class and remixed it on the last day of class. If you scan the poster using Daqri, you will be guided through an experience to show what this Spartan Did.  This augmented reality experience displays the multimodal work I’ve done this summer.

VERSION 5

I am walking away from this program with SO much. My explanations in this post don’t even give this experience justice. I am definitely a more thoughtful and reflective individual. Growing as a professional in a digital world is by no means an easy task. My colleagues and professors have been more supportive than I could have ever imagined.

Michigan State University blessed me with the best mentor teacher ever, Mary Wever. Throughout my year student teaching, she shaped me into a confident educator and led me to the MAET program. I looked into the program and new that it was something for me. I also knew other people who had gone through the program and I heard nothing but exceptional things about it.  All my expectations were exceeded. I am so excited knowing what is in store for my friend Deidre Stasiak and everyone who will join MAET in the future.  They have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life” – Amy Poehler