PBS has a great show called the Design Squad and with it comes a ton of fabulous challenges at PBSkids.org where users have to save little robotic creatures called Fidgits.
Teaching the design process has found a home at the core of a ton of my teaching in our elementary technology classes. “Fidgits” lets kids design their own fictional robotic creatures or perform a number of challenges to save Fidgits in danger.
How many challenges can you complete?
Although I use a pared-down version of the formal design process, I start in second grade at teaching kids that every challenge requires them to follow the design process.
1) Define the problem
3) Prototype your solution.
5) Repeat the process until it is perfect.
Fidgits is a great exercise for practicing that mindset.
It was a smashing success last Fall and it is coming back for its second year. MACUL presents Google Fest 2016 at the Amway Grand in Grand Rapids on August 9 and 10.Tuesday the 9th will feature a series of specialized “camps” for administrators and users with varying skill levels. Incredible educator and all-around good dude Kyle Pace will keynote the conference portion on Wednesday the 10th.
August 9 & 10, 2016
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
Grand Rapids, MI
One day: $89
Two days: $169
Keynote Speaker: Kyle Pace is an Instructional Technology Specialist and Google for Education Certified Innovator that has worked with K-12 teachers in his current school district to provide instructional technology professional development since 2004. For more information about Kyle, visit googlefest.macul.org.
Join Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins for an all-access pass inside EA SPORTS
Discovery Education, EA SPORTS, and the NFLPA have joined forces to give your middle school students an insider’s view of EA TIBURON (where the magic of Madden NFL is created). Join the EA SPORTS Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers team to see S.T.E.A.M. in action: we’ll meet the animators, producers, engineers, and designers who create some of the world’s coolest games. You’ll even get to see one student experience the motion capture process, with a special surprise result!
Good for athletes and mathletes alike, #MagicOfMaddenVFT is your chance to join Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins as we travel beyond the classroom walls and into the game!
April 14, 1:00 PM EST
Ask the Coach
Don’t forget to submit your students’ questions ahead of time and Kirk Cousins or EA SPORTS may answer them during the live event. Questions can be submitted HERE.
Thanks to everybody who came out to my Movie Making session this morning. I loved the enthusiasm lots of people shared and I was blown away by all of the great tips shared in the slide deck of tips and tricks. Please email, tweet, or text questions or ideas this morning or the post generated.
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Last night I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater Hillsdale College and the kickoff to its “Sports and Character” symposium.
World Series MVP Curt Schilling was the speaker and leadership was his primary theme. Schilling is best remembered for his bloody sock in Game Six of the ALCS in 2004. A lot was made of the courage it took for Schilling to pitch with an ankle tendon sutured in place and that he was a hero to the long suffering Red Sox nation.
“I only did what I thought every one of my teammates would have done,” Schilling stated. “In our world the words ‘hero’, ‘great’, and ‘courage’ have really been diminished.” He also mentioned that he had never been more at ease on the mound and credited a casual conversation with God that eased the nerves and any doubts about the ankle holding up. “That night I had a moment of true faith. Never in my life was I more relaxed and enjoyed playing the game more.”
Most of the night’s talk was a set of stories of both sporting and personal highs and lows. It’s quite evident that Schilling has taken every experience and learned something that has either helped him grow or is something he can share to help others grow as well.
Here are some quotes on a number of topics that give insight into the wit and wisdom of Curt Schilling.
On parents who push their kids too much in sports: “If you make your kid love a sport they will quit the minute you can’t make them love it anymore.”
On the “real world” that the college students will soon face: “Participation medals aren’t the real world.” and “If you leave your house every morning waiting to be patted on the ass for a job well done, it’s not going to happen. That’s because the rest of the world now is too busy waiting to be patted on the ass for a job well done.”
On becoming the first team in Major League history to come back from a three games to none deficit in the 2004 American League Championship Series: “I told my teammates down 0-3 that we don’t have to win the next four games. We don’t have to even win the next game. All we have to do is win the next at-bat and the at-bat after that and we’ll be fine. Just focus at the task at hand.”
What I found most applicable to my career as an educator was the time he spent talking about leadership and accountability.
“Anyone can be a leader but there are so few true leaders.”
“Leaders get paid to produce. Everyone else gets paid to work.”
“You can get a job anywhere but it is really hard to find a place where you are inspired everyday. That’s what real leaders do. They inspire people who are excited to come do what it is they do everyday.”
On lessons in accountability he learned from the failure of his 38 Studios video game company and the $50,000,000 he lost of his own money in the venture.
“When you put your head on your pillow there’s no escaping by making excuses that losing the 50 million was somebody else’s fault…If you want to know what accountability is try having to tell someone their job no longer exists because of your mistakes.”
“4 kids lost $140,000 of scholarships for 140 characters.”
“It’s hard to explain to kids ‘forever’ because the Internet is forever.”
All insightful thoughts. Probably the best thing that Curt Schilling modeled on Sunday night in Hillsdale is that you can be a world famous professional athlete but you still face the same ups and downs and trials that everyone else faces. The key is to learn from each of those trials and grow.
Parents and teachers rejoice! The best safe search engine for our kids is the new Kiddle.co. Not only are search results safe, they are from selected sites and prioritized by readability and depth. Icons are nice and big and image searches won’t return any random inappropriateness. News and video results actually contain quality content that kids can understand and use.
A couple of disclaimers: Kiddle looks like a Google product but IS NOT owned or operated by Google. It runs off of Google’s safe search. Also, it is not completely fool-proof. Some reports of questionable returns have popped up across the web. Thanks to Karen Bosch for sharing this article about that.
Let’s just call Kiddle “the safest search engine yet”. Always, always supervise searching and help kids evaluate the usefulness of search results.
Coding, Maker Space, Video, Photography, Graphic Design, Sound Engineering, and countless other great educational innovations have suffered far too long in the educational prisons of the world. It is time we break them out and truly integrate them into the core curriculum.
Coding is math. Video editing is story telling. Making is practical application of all kinds of “core” skills. They have to move though beyond being viewed as clubs, fun Friday activities, or just stuff hippies do to avoid integrating fully into society.
The education establishment has this terrible tendency to bottle up and lock away approaches to teaching and learning that don’t look like something it experienced in the classroom twenty years ago or worse isn’t obviously a part of subject areas measured by state assessments.
My former district took away specials like gym and art and made them test prep time. Recess was all but eliminated for more reading instruction. So much for educating the whole child.
This has to stop.
We can lament this all we want and nothing will change or we can begin to focus on the pedagogy and develop sound ways that coding builds success in the algebra classroom and that iMovie Book Trailers build excitement for reading and a demonstration of literacy. That is how we break down the prison walls that are keeping great innovation on the fringes of education and not at its core.
Here is a Google Slides deck to guide your students through the evaluation of credible sources. To use it, simply access the slides here and then ask students to make a copy under file.
There seems to be some controversy out there about the value of Wikipedia. The way I approach it and explain it to students on that slide is that needs to be used with other credible sources but typically it can be very valuable. Taking a look at the history of changes in the Charge of the Light Brigade is a true eye opener as to all of the work the nerds who write these articles really put into accuracy and detail. I guarantee whoever wrote the Encyclopedia Britannica’s article on the Charge of the Light Brigade did not do this much work.
The rest of the slides are pretty self-explanatory and we have a lot of fun with sites highlighting the plight of the Pacific Tree Octopus and whale watching on the Great Lakes.