Another great two days with over 3100 students from SW Mi Schools at the Kzoo Growlers STEM Day on May 29th and June 5th. Students were able to learn about STEM resources and jobs during a two hour morning session involving many stellar Kzoo organizations. One of those organizations included our REMC 12W team (Thanks Lacey, Keith, & Jeremie for being there with me!). We featured our Dash robots, Makey Makey, Keva Plank challenges, ZOOB Buildz, and building our Block Busters Tower. Students were then whisked away to watch the Growlers - It was a win!
Students from Hackett Catholic Prep's App Development class were chosen for the Student Technology Showcase at the Capitol. The theme of their presentation was Storytelling with Bloxels. In class, students discussed the elements of a good game. Students decided engaging games are built around well told stories with player choice. "Because of the generous support of REMC12W, we were able to check out the Bloxels kit from TinkerZoo," stated Lorri Batsie, Media Specialist and Instructional Technologist at Hackett.
From the KRESA Instructional Technology Team (Lacey, Jeremie, Keith, & Tina) to you and your family. Take some time to learn something fun and play outside!
Great updates are happening in the world of classroom technology Meeting teacher and student needs is a focus that the three title mentioned companies are excelling towards. Here are some of their latest moves:
What brings together forty+ educators from the greater Kalamazoo area during the summer? TinkerZoo, of course! During this one day camp, the TinkerZoo team (with some help from Anne Thorp, Gayle Underwood, Matt McCullough, and Josh Nichols) provided 5 different sessions on how to integrate cool technology in the classroom. This year's sessions included Breakout EDU, Virtual Reality, STEAM (littleBits, Makey Makey, and Keva Planks), and Robots. Our guest speaker, Josh Nichols, presented on CrossBraining, an innovative approach to student reflection and connection of literacy and STEAM.
During the afternoon, attendees had time to take a deep dive into one session of their choice. In an effort to create an artifact to use in their classroom, educators considered standards aligned to the different activities and subject integration. They also had the support of an expert and other educators while they were working.
REMC12W provided some awesome giveaways which were selected from the wheel of fate. 10 lucky winners received Breakout Boxes, 5 winners received a set of Google Cardboards, and one exceptionally fortunate person won a GoPro! (Thanks again to Josh!) Throughout the day, we hosted a GooseChase, which is an online scavenger hunt. GooseChase is an easy way to document an event through pictures. Below are some of our attendees submissions. Thanks to everyone who came to TinkerZoo 2017!
The Kalamazoo Growlers hosted two pre-game STEM Education events this spring organized by Kalamazoo RESA's Education for Employment team. Middle school students from southwest Michigan explored different STEM-centered booths from Stryker, AirZoo, Consumers Energy, and area high school robotics teams, to name a few. Representing REMC12W/SWMiTech, Tina Tribu, Jeremie Coplin, Keith Tramper, and Lorri Batsie demonstrated and guided student exploration of the following fun tech tools:
Dash Robot--drive a robot through a maze
Makey Makey--play a banana piano or play-doh Tetris using Scratch coding
Osmo Coding--create a code using physical blocks and an interactive iPad game
Osmo Newton--draw and manipulate objects to solve physics puzzles
Blockbuster Tumble Blocks--analyze which block to pull so as not to make the tower fall
Keva Block Brain Builders--convert 2D images into 3D structures
A young lady approached the Osmo Newton game, and after a try decided she was unable to complete the challenge. She seemed insecure, and when I suggested she try again, she initially resisted. On her second try, she beat the level! Prompted to say, “I am awesome,” she muttered the reaction somewhat unwillingly--but with a big grin on her face.
STEM activities, which we offer through our professional development, TinkerZoo tools, and coaching (check out our website for more info), open the door for students to grow in their confidence, even if at first they don’t succeed. Many of the lessons we teach and coach require several iterations before accomplishment. Iteration is a word for “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Educators should be encouraging this growth mindset in their students. There are few things as satisfying for a teacher and student than that breakthrough moment when a student who has been working diligently toward a goal finally reaches it.
Look at the faces on these kids in the pictures. Engagement, growth, achievement.
Thanks to KRESA EFE and Stryker for the opportunity to serve SW Michigan kids at this awesome event!
And congratulations to the Growlers on their two wins!
My colleague, Matt McCullough, posted a great resource on his blog about using fidget spinners educationally. As the spin of this school year winds down, I wanted to share one more lesson idea related to fidget spinners.
If you’re lucky enough to own some littleBits, here is a fun activity for your students: instructions to build a littleBits fidget spinner!
This year I had the opportunity to work with Dayna Cantu, Anthony DeRosa, and Delton Kellogg Middle School students in a makeshift makerspace. Basically, it was an unused classroom with some flexible seating, some cardboard boxes, and lots of old textbooks. We have cranked out some awesome stuff in there this year, including social studies and ELA digital storytelling. Some examples are coding Ollie to represent an immigration journey, adapting fairy tales and Tuck Everlasting to be told through Dash the Robot’s perspective, complete with cardboard settings, and storytelling with Bloxels.
Our littleBits fidget spinner was one of my favorites because the girls had to adapt the directions to work with the kit that Mrs. Cantu owned. They had to replace the input and output bits with others in the existing kit. I was proud of them for problem solving. Their spinner was constructed from cardboard. Then, they went into the hallway and created a whole video of the creation, which totally appealed to my current obsession with CrossBraining (in fact, Mr. DeRosa’s kids actually used GoPros during their littleBits lesson, which was a mechanical arm that threw ping-pong balls at each other).
To check out more fun ideas from Delton Kellogg, follow @lbatsie8, @avd111, @mrscantu5, or #dkschools.
“I liked getting to explore and learn new things. I really enjoyed Makerspace and really enjoyed getting to create things.”
“I loved all the creative people and their willingness to share their ideas. Of course, the tech part was a blast!”
“Having time to play with all the ideas you find helpful! Also, getting all the resources to take home with you, which were added to by all the participants!”
A new kind of conference.
No presenters. No agendas. Just playing.
Explore the things you've never had time to explore.
The PLAYDATE hosted at KRESA on May 5th provided statewide educators an opportunity to choose edtech topics they wanted to explore. Given a chance to offer suggestions for sessions, attendees then chose from eleven different options throughout the day. Sessions included BreakoutEdu, Makerspace, G-Suite, Blended Learning, Digital Books, Digital Creations, Digital Storytelling, LMS, Coding, Sketchnotes, and SeeSaw.
A facilitator guides learning, but everything is hands-on. Participants share their learning in resource guides and during a finale idea slam.
Check out some of the awesome creations from our PLAYDATE below and at #playdatemi and find more info on the PLAYDATE website.
Thanks to Anthony Buza, Kellie DeLosSantos, Joe Rommel, and REMC for their help in bringing PLAYDATE to Kalamazoo!
Thanks to Pete Poggione and the staff at Mattawan for taking on our iOS and Apple repairs for the last couple of years. We are sorry to see this service has ended.
SWMiTech & REMC 12W resumed service with Rapid Repair for all iOS and Apple devices.
Rapid Repair has quoted the following (SWMiTech/REMC Consortium Pricing) which includes VIP rush service and all device repairs extend to staff, friends, and family if needed.
Earth Day Network ~ Building the Environmental Movement, Global Teach-Ins and info on March for Science.
Meet the Greens ~ A site for kids about looking after the planet.
Maggie's Earth Adventures ~ A plethora of activities, teacher resources and books for grades 1 -7.
Plan it Green ~ Games and puzzles that highlight our World.
Scientific American ~ March for Science Set for Earth Day, happenings you should know.
NASA Earth as Art ~ iPad app that celebrates Earth's aesthetic beauty in patters, shapes and more.
Earth Day Carol ~ iPad app that explores the Plastic Bottle Scrooge.
iNaturalist ~ iPad app tied to writing, record what you see in nature and learn about the natural world.
WWF Together ~ iPad app that brings you closer to amazing and endangered species.
GoodGuide ~ iPad app that allows you to scan product for safety, healthy and being green.