This is 'Iolani School

This is 'Iolani School

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Teach Tech Play: Australia Educators Are Doing It Right

I recently returned from Melbourne, Australia and the Teach Tech Play Conference. Started a few years ago, "TeachTechPlay is a professional learning community inspiring learning through empowerment and connection." The conference is billed as, "two days of conversation, inspiration and practical strategies to enhance the teaching and learning in your classroom or school."

The conference was that and so much more. Over the course of the two days, there were 3 great keynote speakers, numerous sessions to attend and an ending student keynote. I met a lot of talented educators and returned home with my head full of things to try and a renewed excitement for the remaining days of school. Here are a couple of the highlights for me:

Keynote speakers...
Kasey Bell: "Learning happens in the messiness."
Emily MacLean: "Courageous change is a mindset."
Tom Barrett: "We should be students of innovation."

Sessions attended...
3D Paint and Mixed Reality with Windows 10 with Trent Ray
     This is a great tool to work with and Trent did a wonderful job explaining it and get us started. Since we use Apples in here at 'Iolani, I hope they have a similar program. If not, I'm gonna have to get a few Windows computers.

Creativity across the curriculum areas: Stop-Motion with Cathy Hunt
     I have never tried stop-motion video before but I am hooked. My mind started swimming with ways to use this with all grade levels. The session was well run, we were engaged and I didn't want the session to end. Cathy is an amazing teacher.

Drone Coding with Ben Lannen
     Another thing I have never used is a drone. Sure I've tried my hand at Sphero and Dash & Dot but never a flying drone. Ben started by telling us how he uses drones in his class and then he got us flying. Math, cooperative learning, directionality, problem-solving, science...all happened as we tried to get this little drone to fly where we wanted. His class must be a whirl-wind of learning.

Playing with littleBits with James Colbert
     I have used littleBits a lot, but James brought some of the new sets that I had never played with. It reminded me how much fun it is to tinker with circuits. It was also great to talk to him about how they run the makerspace in his school. I love to pick the brain of talented educators like James.

Girls can do anything with Becky Glenton
     The things Becky's students are doing are wonderful...I really like the digital reporters who do a quick video review of the week. She also shared some resources like "Sum Blocks" and the "GeoFrog" app. She also told a story about the importance of going through a struggle, based on what happens to a caterpillar when it turns into a butterfly. I gotta find that book and read it to my students.

I also had the privilege to be at TeachTechPlay Conference as a presenter. I ran two sessions, one called "Intro to Maker Education" which was in a 50 minute slot. This session focused on the philosophy and rational behind maker education. The second was "All Things Maker Ed" which was a 2hour "deeper dive" into not only the why, but the how we "do" maker education at 'Iolani school.

The conference ended with some of the students from the host school (Ivanhoe Grammar) presenting apps they are designing to help students unplug from their digital devices. What a talented group of young people.

Lastly, thanks to Eleni, Steve and Corey. They did a great job in making the TeachTechPlay Conference happen...while at the same time being full-time teachers. I hope to return to TTP and would encourage any teacher wanting to bring innovation to their classroom to make your way "down under" for this event in the future.

And you don't have to wait till the 2019 conference to get in on TeachTechPlay, check out with their monthly webshow and blog. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

6th Grade Medieval Faire Projects-Final Version

Here are some of the student projects for the Medieval Faire. Most of them were made in the Lab, and finished in either the art room or at home.


Signs and display boxes


Games and signs

Medieval surgical instrument


  Weapons and armor

What's Been Going On In The Lab?

We have been busy in the Lab the past few months. This time of year brings a lot of projects...imagining, planning, making and improving. From third grade mini-society to sixth grade medieval faire and all the individual projects that take shape here, this is a quick recap of some of the things that were created.

Our religion teacher wanted to find away to remind her students how God see them. She found this mirror and wanted to put words in each section. She came to the Lab, learned how to use the vinyl cutter and this is what she made.

Sixth grade science again made catapults as part of the grade level unit that studies the medieval times. Here are some of the cut outs they designed and created on the laser cutter.

Speaking of studying the medieval times, our sixth graders also designed and made things for their medieval faire. Check out the next posting for some pictures of the finished products some of our student made.

After-school circuit class learned to create circuits using breadboards...before they get to design and create their own PCBs.

After-school making class had a lot of free making time, but they also got to create game controllers for Scratch games, using MakeyMakeys.

This second grader 3D printed a penguin during recess time. It took her 3 sessions to design it on Tinkercad but it was all worth the wait when it became "real".

We finished up the 3D printing for our fifth grade language arts students who were making articles and objects that they designed to go along with the underwater society from the book, "The Neptune Project." For more about this, look back at the blog post, "Fifth Graers 3D Design and Print for Language Arts Class"Fifth Graders 3D Design and Print".

Third grade creates a Mini-Society every Spring and this year they wanted to make money boxes. So after a few lessons on using Inkscape, they each designed their own box. It was laser cut out of cardboard and they put it together. They also designed business signs that were laser cut on wood.

A couple students used the Lab to create things they were going to sell at their business. Book makes made on the laser cutter.

Stickers made with the vinyl cutter. Along with the designing and creating, we talked economic concepts like supply and demand, price point, profit margin, etc.

We also finished up the first graders project of creating a mirror and window to use as they look for self-reflection and to reflect on new experiences the children are seeing for the first time. More about this project can be found in the post, "First Grade Language Arts and the Laser Cutter".

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

'Iolani students created a mural based on the Ala Wai watershed

Our FabLab/MakerSpace got involved with this project. After the 1st graders made their drawings, the lab traced them and used the laser cutter to cut them out. The 4th graders traced their own drawings and then we cut them out as well.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

FETC 2018 Reflections

"For nearly 40 years, the Future of Education Technology Conference has gathered the most dynamic and creative education professional from around the world for an intensive, highly collaborative exploration of new technologies, best practices and pressing issues. It's impact has been felt by thousands of districts, schools, educators, and ultimately students...FETC is the nations largest independent education technology event focused on leveraging technology to drive preK-12 student success...attended by nearly 10,000 professionals from across the US and around the works."

From January 23-26 the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) 2018 took place in Florida. The conference has five program tracks and each track offers sessions, workshops, and numerous learning opportunities. There are also several keynotes during the week as well as an amazing exhibition floor with vendors from all over.

The opening keynote was Sir Ken Robinson. I have had the pleasure of hearing him speak a number of times over the past few years and I always come away excited to be an educator. "The aims of education: To enable students to understand the world around them and the talents within them so that they can become fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens."

Doing the job I do, I was drawn to workshops and sessions that dealt with maker and STEM education. There were two great sessions that I quickly want to mention. Sylvia Martinez did a hands-on session on "STEAM you can wear". This is an area of making I want to start to incorporate more in our Lab here at 'Iolani. Another session that covered a topic that is on my radar was "Arduino 101" by Kris Swanson. He introduced us to Adafruit's Circuit Playground and now I am hooked.

Not only did I attended FETC, but I had the honor of representing 'Iolani School in three different presentations. I lead one session on "How to use a laser cutter: With innovative projects from different grade levels." This session showcased some of the curriculum projects that our students do, using the laser cutter. I also took part in two different poster sessions, "A Case Study: So You Want to Have a Makerspace?" and "10 Lessons Learned While Working Together: Curriculum, STEM and a Makerspace."

FETC was a great four days of learning, sharing, and networking, and I'm thankful to 'Iolani for allowing me to attend and represent our students and teachers.

Fifth Graders 3D Design and Print For Language Arts Class

Our 5th grade language arts teacher has the students reading "The Neptune Project" by Polly Holyoke. Here's an excerpt from the book... "Nere feels more at home swimming with the dolphins her mother studies then she does hanging out with her classmates. Nere has never understood why she feels some much more comfortable and confident in the water then on land, but everything falls into place when Nere learns that she is one of a group of kids who - unbeknownst to them - has been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of "The Neptune Project" will be able to build a better future under the sea, safe from the barren country's famine, wars and harsh laws."

In the first session in the Lab, students were introduced to Tinkercad, an online CAD program by Autodesk. After a brief introduction, the students set off to play with the program on their iPads. They were encourage to continue to play at home since the program is web-based, they could have access to their project from any device.

The next session, we began the design process. First we asked questions like: what do things that go underwater look like? Why do they look like that? How big can our 3D print be? What is the time line we are working with? We stared off by looking at pictures of underwater structures (submersibles, underwater research stations, etc.) What were some similarities? Why were they shaped that way? This led to a discussion of pressure and how the shape of a structure reacts to that pressure. Next they started to imagine what they wanted to make...some drew designs on their iPad while other used pencil an paper. Some student started their own research on underwater structures. Even though they were working individually, there was a good amount of sharing of ideas and questions for their peers. Once they had some ideas, they picked one, and started designing on Tinkercad. Student were told by their LA teacher they would be evaluated on three criteria: The thought they put into their design, the creativity of their design and the effort put into the design (from beginning planning stages to completion).

In the third and fourth session we totally geared to be work sessions. Tinkercad was up and running and as soon as their design was created, we would sit down, evaluate it's "printability" and if no improvements were needed, we would head to the 3D printers and start creating.

We currently have five printers in our Lab. Three Printrbot Simple Metals (that are 4 years old) and two brand new AnyCubic i3 Mega.

Here are some of the first prints our 5th graders created.