This is 'Iolani School

This is 'Iolani School

Sunday, July 13, 2014

CMK 14

"Constructing Modern Knowledge" in Manchester, NH was amazing. From July 8-11, over 200 educators met for, "a minds-on institute for educators committed to creativity, collaboration and computing. Participants had the opportunity to engage in intensive computer-rich project development with peers and world-class faculty."

For 4 days, we asked questions, imagined answers, made a plan, created, tested and improved. We did that over and over...sometimes taking steps backwards, other times totally changing what we wanted to do. In the end, we had a creation that did what we wanted it to. We used modern technologies (MakeyMakey, Scratch) as well as simple machines (like ramps, wheels and axles). We were kids again...we were students...we had the freedom to try things, to fail and try again. It was process and project, and it was a great experience.

This was our group and our creation: All 4 of us are from 'Iolani and it was great to work together. We started out thinking about sustainability (which is an important theme at 'Iolani) and how we could create something along that theme. We came up with making a Rube Goldberg machine that, when it sensed that sunlight was bright enough, it would turn off the lights. So we used a Lego Mindstorm light sensor and robotic arm to activate the machine and drop the ball. The Rube Goldberg machine was a series of ramps which dropped the ball on a switch. The switch was made with Legos (using a wheel and axle, lever and fulcrum) which activated a Scratch program via a MakeyMakey switch. The Scratch program showed a "movie" that turned off a light when the sun came out. We also had a visual alarm which was blue when the room was dark but turned red when the sun came out. This was made with a Lillypad board and program. We also used the Lego Mindstorm program to collect data about how many times the sun came out and how long we had the lights on or off.

       Patti, me, Jackie & Mike

The institute also invited some great speakers to motivate and inspire us. Dr. Mitchel Resnick, who, among other things, is the head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. Dr. Edith Ackermann, who is currently a Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Siena, Department of Communication. We also heard from Pete Nelson, the preeminent treehouse designer and star of the hit TV show "Treehouse Masters" on Animal Planet. Our last speaker was Cam Perron, a rising Junior at Tulane University. Cam came into the national spotlight on the show HBO Real Sports, which highlighted his amazing contributions to the Negro Baseball League research and it's players.

I would like to thank Dr. Gary Stager, the founder & host of this amazing event and the wonderful faculty he put together to help us all in this learning experience...I had a great week on so many levels.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Creating the Lab

It’s the beginning of July and the pictures below show what the FabLab looks like. A lot of stuff has been moved out over the past few weeks. Eventually everything will be gone…except for the big box in the middle of the room. That’s a sink and it’s going to be installed along one of the walls. Other work will take place over the summer, including replacing the windows. Once the work is finished, it will be time to move in the equipment and furniture.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Great Workshop

From June 19th -21st I attended the “Design, Do, Discover” workshop at the Castilleja School in Palo Alto, CA. “This two-day workshop is for educators who are passionate about hands-on learning and interested in the practical implementation of these experiences in the classroom or lab setting. In particular, the focus is on integrating digital fabrication, making, and physical computing projects into the daily life of a K-12 school.” 

It was great! After an introduction we were given a brief presentation on the “Maker Movement” and how Castilleja has incorporated it into their curriculum. Next, we went through a process to identify possible problems we had in our classrooms. After that, we got into groups to decide what problem we would tackle. Lastly, we signed up for 4 different workshops where we would work on creating the solution to our identified problem.

This is where things got “hands-on”. Workshops included using 3D printers, laser cutters, and programmable microcontrollers (like MakeyMakey). We attended 2 sessions a day and had “Open Lab Hours” at Castilleja’s Bourn Idea Lab to work on our project. At the final session on Friday, each group presented their creations. 

The workshop was officially over, but there were 2 site visits set up for Saturday morning for those who could attend. We went to the Burke School in San Francisco and the Lighthouse  Charter School in Oakland. Both these schools had new labs for their lower schools which started in the fall of 2013. 

As great as the hands-on workshops were, these visits gave me a ton of ideas to bring back to ‘Iolani as we set-up our Lower School FabLab which will open this Fall. I am excited to be part of ‘Iolani School’s commitment to STEM education, design thinking and the Maker Movement.

Mahalo! to the “Design, Do, Discover” organizing committee: Angi Chau, Jaymes Dec, Diego Fonstad, & Ann Greyson. Next year’s workshop is scheduled to be hosted by Marymount School, New York, NY.