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True Learner Empowerment

Drone 3D

We recently had a couple remote controls from our educational drones drop to the ground resulting in broken joysticks.  Accidents happen and we completely understand this, but thanks to our amazing staff and students this is not the end of the story.

An elementary student was empowered to help engineer a new joystick using our school’s 3D printer.  She worked with Mr. Hinnenkamp to create a tiny joystick sleeve that fit over the broken drone remote controls using a design program called Tinkercad.  Everything works as good as new now, and our students had the opportunity to experience authentic innovation and learner empowerment.

This is precisely why we feel it is critical to put students in the center of their learning (even if it means things get messy or broken every once in a while).  Kids have the capacity to innovate, engineer, think critically, and solve a myriad of real problems; they don’t require worksheets to do so!  All students deserve the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology in a safe and supportive learning environment.  If the first time students have the opportunity to innovate and invent using real-world tools is high school or college, then we will have failed them.

This is more than a story about drones or a 3D printer.  I took the opportunity to speak with the student that helped repair her drone remote control.  The pride she exuded when she explained to me how she had fixed something that was accidentally broken was unmistakable.  There was a humble confidence that I had not seen before.  As we finished chatting I asked her how this experience made her feel and her response literally choked me up…I nearly cried.  Suffice it to say, the opportunity she was given to fix her drone remote meant the world to her.  And THAT means the world to me.

Thank you, teachers.  Thank you for truly empowering our students.  I honestly LOVE how our entire team empowers students and supports our kids in learning skills they will need to thrive today and excel tomorrow.

Drone Controls

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NEW Podcast: #30SecondTake

30 Second Take Title

Podcast Format

Each week we’ll feature two guest hosts that participate in a digital duel. The podcast focuses on pedagogy, innovation, and educational technology. Our purpose is to engage practitioners in a FUN and interactive experience comprised of dialogue and reflection around a single guiding question.  The show is uptempo and fast-paced. If you blink you just might miss it, but that’s by design. Here’s why…

Creativity is often cultivated by constraints. The time restrictions of the podcast require succinct communication, and participants will certainly need to be creative to share their “take” in 30 seconds or less. After all, if you can’t explain something to somebody in 30 seconds or less you may not understand the issue as well as you think!

Viewers are asked to vote for the most compelling response each week, and add any comments/questions on Twitter using the hashtag #30SecondTake.

Voting

The best part about the podcast is that viewers have a voice in who will host the following week.  After watching the podcast you can vote on Twitter via the #30SecondTake hashtag. The guest host that receives the most votes will remain on the show to defend the title the following week. Your comments and questions are also appreciated and will serve as a catalyst for deeper reflection for us all.

Guest Host Info.

Hosts are asked to film their “30 Second Take” in front of a green-screen (could be green construction paper, green fabric, green paint, etc.) in a well lit room without background shadows. I will communicate the show topic (guiding question) a few days in advance.  Be sure to speak loudly and do not exceed 30 seconds when sharing your “take.” Please send a close-up photograph of yourself as well. Guest hosts can submit their 30 second video “takes” and photographs via e-mail or DropBox at brad.gustafson@wayzata.k12.mn.us Guest hosts will receive a digital badge for display on their blogs or personal websites.

 

Episode I

Duel Pics

Click image to view Episode I.

Guiding Question: What is the Role of Technology in Education

@611Spartan received 63% of the votes

@GustafsonBrad received 22% of the votes

Viewers voted “tie” with 12% of the votes

The Robot received 2% of the votes

Top Tweets on #30SecondTake

(DM me your school address & I’ll mail a TouchCast stylus/pen and card.)

 

A Surprising Twist on an Educational Staple

Mill City 1Students love field trips. They love the change of pace as well as the chance to visit places they might not otherwise get to see in person.

Educators love providing students enriching experiences, and we’re also cautious to purposefully plan the excursions so there are no surprises.  However, there is one surprise that will have everyone on a field trip engaged and talking about the curriculum…

I recently went on a “date night” to the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (The museum is also a place our school has taken our 5th graders in the past.)  The date started out great…and things really got exciting when I began listening to another principal as we brainstormed all the ways Augmented Reality could be used on future field trips with students.  By-the-way, Augmented Reality is a technology used to add supplemental digital layers of content to virtually anything.

Gold Medal Flour Sign

The view from the observation deck at the top of an old grain elevator was breath-taking…I felt as if I could reach out and grab the Gold Medal Flour sign that towered above the boulevard.  As we took in the rich history of the museum, I began recording video greetings with information and questions for students. I even integrated some of my own childhood memories into the recorded messages as they pertained to the exhibits.  After I got home I linked the video messages to photographs I took at the museum using the Aurasma app.

Dough Boy

The next time our students go to the Mill City Museum for a field trip they can experience a surprise from their principal!  I’m even more excited to see the types of Augmented Reality content or scavenger hunts that our students could create on a field trip!  With the technology and support we’re providing them they could document their learning in new and innovative ways.

Green Final Final sign

How have you used educational technology to meaningfully enhance the student learning experience? I’d love to hear your comments!

The photographs I took above now serve as AR triggers. 

Use the Aurasma app and follow the Greenwood Elementary channel to view.

Double-click each photo to enlarge it; then let Aurasma do the rest!

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