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Showing posts from January, 2016

Start with SAMR ... Not the Tools

Andrew Shauver, an instructional technologist here in Michigan like myself, recently published a blogpost entitled 'The Truth About Instructional Tech.'  It was timed perfectly for my own learning.  The gist of the post is that we must acknowledge that technology tools alone do not solve many classroom issues.  They are not a magic bullet.

I'm not looking to diminish the role of an instructional technology coach like myself, or the tools we help others use - I've got four kids, I need the job.  What I am trying to say, and I believe I'm echoing Andrew's thoughts, is that we must have a solid understanding of what we want the technology to do, and understanding the learning goal we expect it to satisfy, before we implement.  Or better yet, before purchase.

I agree with him when he writes "The poor classroom manager isn't going to become a better classroom manager simply because they use Class Dojo."  I believe that most technology tools are able t…

Getting Started with 3D Printing: Part 2

Congratulations! At this point you have joined the realm of 3D printing and are trying to get started with your machine.  Welcome to the experiment phase!

When getting started with your machine, be prepared to have more failures than successes when you begin.  Think of it like learning how to ride a bike.  You have the machine, in theory it should function, but it is a fine-tuned piece of equipment that you will learn tricks to operating.  While learning the tendencies of your printer you will have many prints that will not work out correctly.  Ask anyone who has been printing for a while and they will have many stories of epic fails, and likely will have a few examples of failed prints around for you to see.

My goal with this post is to share with you a couple of tricks and tips that I have learned the hard way so that you may hopefully learn from my mistakes and save yourself some filament.

Tip #1: Start by printing lots of flat or box shaped items.

When you get started, the first th…

Coding with Sphero

'Hour of Code' was celebrated around the world the week of December 7 - 13, 2015.  Hopefully your school participated in this event.  We were out using the class set of Spheros, purchased through a 2014 grant from Honor Credit Union, to help bring coding to life.

Working primarily with fourth and fifth graders we had a set of ten Spheros we paired with a district set of ten iPads.  We made sure the SPRK app was installed and arranged the students into teams of three.  Before coming to the school I had created some mazes on cardboard that was approximately four feet by four feet square.  These mazes ranged from easy to more challenging.

First we provided a brief overview of the functions needed to code Sphero using the SPRK app.  Specifically we took time to really show the 'roll' action and how to set duration, speed, and direction.  Following this it was up to the students to solve the maze - or create a self-driving car - or dock the ship - or whatever other metaphor…