Monday, July 14, 2014

Create Make Learn... Rock!

I'm back from spending the morning at the Create Make Learn educational technology conference, which is taking place all this week in Downtown Burlington. There will be events at Champlain College, as well as Burlington's new makerspace, Generator.

The conference includes all kinds of ed tech workshops so that attending teachers, there were about 45 present, can try out 3D printing, computer assisted design (CAD), app design, software, circuits, and other maker and innovation goodies firsthand. Armed with this knowledge and experience, teachers can go back to their classrooms later this summer and ignite sparks in their students, creating a whole new generation of innovators and problem solvers.

Each day of the conference will start with an IGNITE talk, a brief keynote to set the tone of the day's work and give participants a focus, point of departure, or something to ponder. I was fortunate enough, thanks to the work of my fifth (now sixth) grade student Sierra, to be a part of the conference's kick-off IGNITE talk this morning. What an honor! You might remember Sierra's story from this blog post last week.

Unfortunately, Sierra fell ill with an ear infection over the weekend, so I was on my own for the IGNITE talk. Thankfully, we did still have Lucie de la Bruere, the conference organizer, and Jeremy Simon (who you also met in last week's blog post) via a Google Hangout (GHO), to carry forward with Sierra's tale of personalized learning within the context of our spring Science Fair. Here is the GHO for you to watch; it's about 32 minutes long and includes me, Lucie, and Jeremy talking about our partnership:

The image below is one that I showed during the GHO, just in case you can't see it on the screen. I showed it to participants to make sure they all know exactly what happens when students embark on a personal learning project like Sierra's: they become prepared to be 21st century citizens, employees, colleagues, collaborators, and thinkers.

What we're working towards with personalized learning
Image:Sandra K. Intrieri (@ski626), 7/6/14, 3:00 PMRT@vbrunow31

My take-away message was that teachers are now, more than ever, facilitators of this very engaging learning. It's messy and loud and sometimes doesn't look like it's "meeting the standard," but the reality is that it is opening doors for students of all ages and developmental and physical abilities, not to mention learning interests and personal passions. Indeed, the times that my class was 100% tuned in was when we were building cars out of recycling materials, doing research and writing about important issues, grappling with challenges that interested us, and of course, talking about and discovering each other's learning journeys.

One of the things that was most inspiring about today was being at the Generator space and knowing that this incredible resource is but a 45 minute bus ride from our school. I took a bunch of pictures so that my teaching partner Kelly and I could try to recreate some of the set-ups and build a better shopping list as we flesh out the fledgling makerspaces in our classrooms. Here is a Slidely of the Generator space all decked out for Create Make Learn (#cml14):

Create Make Learn 2014 by Slidely Photo Gallery

Lastly for today is that our story attracted the attention of reporter Alex Apple from WCAX, Vermont's CBS affiliate. Alex stopped by Generator to meet and talk with me and was then headed over to Sierra's house to check in with her and mom Lianne. I will post a link to Alex's story once it airs on the news tonight at 6pm.

My teaching partner Kelly snapped this picture of Alex and I trying out the 
Cyborg Beast model 3D printed prosthetic hand outside of Generator.

Here is the finished news story, as it aired tonight. Thanks again to Alex Apple from WCAX!

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Finally, I'll remind you that all of this creativity and ingenuity can continue with your contribution to our latest Donors Choose project. As you can see, the results of students who are supported in their innovative endeavors are not only measurable, but the enthusiasm for inquiry is contagious, too!

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