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Can MakerSpaces Invent the Future? (Video)

YouTube SpheroExoIt is incredible what kids can do when we believe in them, coach them, and get out of their way! Our students recently participated in a robotics competition that was invented from the ground up by staff and students.  We designed and printed 3D “exoskeletons” that fit over our Sphero robotic droids…and SpheroExo was born.  The rest is history.

Check out the 5 minute video below and prepare to be amazed at what kids can do.

http://tinyurl.com/SpheroExo

We are so proud of our students and all they are creating, engineering, and achieving.  Watch for our students next week as they present SpheroExo to teachers at EdCamp Eau Claire!  Students will be sharing their design process and how they’re inventing the future at #EdCampEC.

I’m not sure that MakerSpaces can actually invent the future, but I’m very confident that cutting-edge tools and a culture conducive to innovation helps.  A relevant and connected pedagogy empowers all kids to create, connect, and dream bigger.

 

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Buzzword or Lifeblood?

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Image Credit: Jason Jenkins

I’ve heard some say that “student voice” is becoming a buzzword in education.  I’m hopeful this is not true.  We can’t let it be true.

Student voice should be the lifeblood of our schools.  Our kids’ needs, aspirations, and voices should be predominant in education; from the boardroom to the classroom.  (The same should be true of professional development!)

EdCampEC will be cranking up the volume and amplifying student voice on April 9th.  Greenwood Elementary (MN) students will be teaching teachers through a hands-on and student-led MakerSpace challenge.

Recently, some of our 3rd graders participated in a BattleDome experience using 3D printed exo-skeletons. The exo-skeletons fit around Sphero robotic droids that teams navigated during the competition.  Engineering and collaboration were interwoven throughout the experience, as students added different offensive and defensive capabilities to their exo-skeletons.  Kids were “making” with a purpose and the entire experience was nothing short of spectacular.

You can read more about the experience HERE…OR you can make the trek to Eau Claire, Wisconsin on April 9th to hear directly from the students involved!  They can tell you about their design process, and how different tools from our school’s Mobile MakerSpace fleet were used to unleash creativity and learning.

Student voice is alive and well!  We couldn’t be prouder of our kids, and we look forward to seeing their leadership and communication skills shine at EdCampEC.

If you have questions before April 9th (or can’t make the trip) don’t hesitate to reach out to the teachers who organized the Sphero-Exo event.

Good Things come in Small Packages

Red cube

It might not look like much, but it is ours. We printed the small red cube on our school’s 3D printer, but that’s really not the important part. What’s important is what’s inside. The cube contains part of our school’s story. You can access it by scanning the QR code inside the cube or by simply watching the video below.

The most amazing thing is that our school’s story will soon become part of a larger narrative. Schools around the planet have the opportunity to print their own 3D cubes and send them to a central location for display. The collaborative work of art will feature cubes of different shapes and sizes from kids all over the world. We hope you’ll consider joining us on this epic adventure. Click HERE for more information on the #ThatsMyCube project.

Our cube may be small, but our students’ voices are not…and their stories matter. Good things come in small packages!
That's my cube

Sharing Your Story in 3D

ThatsMYcube

Click the flyer to participate!

The past several weeks I have been collaborating with an inspiring group of educators from around the country. Our goal is to connect students to one another using art, storytelling, and 3D printers!

We’re inviting students, teachers, and schools everywhere to create a unique cube on their 3D printers. We’ll combine all the cubes we receive into a large, shared work-of-art that represents the heart, soul, creativity, and stories from every person that contributes.

Getting started is easy and we’re developing tools and tutorials so even the most novice 3D printers (like myself) can connect their students to this collaborative global project. Feel free to embellish your 3D printed cube so it represents you…or your classroom. You could even add a QR code linking to a short video about your school.

We’re hoping that the connections that are forged from this project lead to mind-blowing creativity and “possibility thinking” in our students. Be sure to click on the flyer above to learn more. Also, don’t forget to follow the hashtag #ThatsMyCube on Twitter to see how the shared art piece grows over time.

We’re really excited for our students to connect, learn, and share in an innovative manner. Don’t miss this opportunity to share your story with us in 3D!

11 Questions We Need to Ask

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  1. What are the chances that our children would choose school over another preferred activity?
  2. What are the chances a student will always love school? (Not just tolerate it…but literally LOVE it.)
  3. What should we do if a child is not captivated by school now?
  4. What if we gave our kids more opportunities to create and engineer in elementary school?
  5. How might we amplify student voice and foster a deep appreciation for authentic learning that transcends age or grade-level?
  6. Better yet…how can we make learning in school MORE authentic now?
  7. What if school was less about worksheets and filling in bubbles and more about creating and inventing?
  8. What might we have to give up to make school more student-centric, and are we truly willing to take that risk?
  9. Can students learn as much through experimentation and failure as they can through traditional means?
  10. How might we create a more personalized student learning experience where critical thinking and “dreaming big” were the norm?
  11. What would the dinnertime conversation feel like if you were able to ask your child, “What did you invent today and what challenges did you persevere through to make it happen?

The best part about education is that not only do WE get to ask the questions…WE get to answer them because WE are part of the solution! You can be part of a pilot project that is part of the work we are doing at Greenwood Elementary. Teachers are doing some amazing things and truly intent on fostering conditions that support an AMAZING learning experience for kids.

Will you help us usher in a new era of learning that builds upon the tradition of excellence in our district? We refuse to accept a disconnect between “real life” and school. We want our students to have limitless options and access to cutting-edge technology in a safe and supportive environment.

Will you please consider supporting our MakerBot 3D Printer for a new Mobile MakerSpace project on DonorsChoose.org?

If you donate by June 18, 2014 your contribution will receive matching funds. (Use the promo code INSPIRE to have your donation doubled!) If you know of anyone else that may be interested in supporting this project please pass this blog post along.

 

Image Credit: MakerSchmitt.blogspot.com

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