Technologies Amplifies and Changes the Way We Create

Is it “technologies amplifies our ideas and changes the way we create”? Or is it the other way around or both in tandem?

Last week our district came together for Pro-D. Aptly named “District Day”, it’s a day dedicated to learning and exploring together – meeting and connecting with friends and colleagues from other schools. Certainly it’s a day of “connectedness” where the buzz of excitement is palpable, exploration and new ideas are plentiful and teachers sharing their passions are the norm. While I must admit that this is an exhausting day but one of the most extremely worthwhile days ever! I always come away rejuvenated and filled with possibilities. It’s a sparkly time.

maker centersWhat do the concepts of social emotional (perseverance, resilience, self regulation), curiosity, exploration and problem solving have in common? They are all intricately woven in the fabric of  Applied Design, Skills and Technology. At the 6/7 level, we invited lead teachers on the Thursday to experience Coding Quest. At the K-5 level, ADST is meant to be included in the regular curriculum. Inspired by Ian Landy (principal in Shuswap district) who presented at the CUEBC conference, we put together a number of centers focused on developing the mindset skills in ADST. The twist? – incorporating the core competencies of Personal Awareness, Communication and Critical Thinking. Just to give you a flavour, some of the centers were:

  • Elenco Snap Circuits (electronics from basics to multi-levels)
  • Keva planks (understand the dynamics of physics and architectural design)
  • littleBits (snap together parts to code)
  • LittleCodr (unplugged activity of developing specific logic and communication)
  • Makey Makey (create something to do something awesome)
  • Sphero and Ollies (code robots to do what you want them to do)
  • Coding apps on ipads (from simple to advanced – Crossy Roads, Lightbot, Cargobot, ScratchJr, GarageBand)
  • Pixel Art (post-it notes create an image – bitmap style)

Why centers? We wanted multiple entry points to include something for everyone (a success story waiting to unfold). Each center is designed for active engagement in both the building/making aspect, as well as revealing self regulation, perseverance, resilience… (Personal Awareness Competency). Reflection during and afterwards is key to explicitly connect the maker mindset and language of the competencies (critical thinking, communication, personal awareness) in “I can…” statements.
We’ll be posting a full list with instructions for all the centers so schools might consider using this approach to experience ADST.

Connecting Voice

Today Kevin via #CLMOOC’s daily connect asked us to consider adding a recording. It was from an older session where podcasting was the goal. The result was there were not many takers. He posed it again this year and offered vocaroo as a quick way to record. I started thinking as it resonated with the idea of “voice” and “choice”. Why weren’t there takers? Certainly it couldn’t have been the tool as there can be no simpler online tool. I wonder if it goes deeper. I’m reminded of an activity I did with students – no matter the age the results upon hearing their voices was always laughter or in some cases, absolute horror. It was how their voices sounded that was affecting them. Singers are taught to listen to themselves and others. But we aren’t, so listening to ourselves is a new experience. It’s something to take into consideration when we ask our students to record themselves reading a passage or practicing a speech. We may want to connect the term “voice” as an instrument, with the ability to adjust with practice how it sounds. If I stuck with this analogy, then the content we speak are the musical scores leaping off pages.

So to dive in, here’s my #DailyConnect. I use Online-Voice-Recorder, which gives a cleaner recording and offers a bit of extras and  just as simple to use. (On ipad, we use VoiceRecordPro.)

onlinevoicerecorder

Add Layers to Images to Create New

Have you hunted high and low for the perfect image to use? Besides trying to photograph the image there are many options with varying levels of complexity that can be taken. I lean towards simple, yet with a small bit of complexity.next

 

My last post, “Intro to #CLMOOC” used a bunch of images in a collage and
accented with thumbtacks (to create a more defined area for additional information to pop. I used picmonkey.com (an online image editor) Collage and Overlays.

In Collage view, import your images. I decided on using an Andy Warhol effect (done by first individually editing the original image of paths with a variety of EFFECTS).

overlay_cropped

When you select EDIT COLLAGE, you return to the original picmonkey view. Select Overlay for choices. Since I preferred my own thumbtack image, I chose OWN. (Be aware that you need to use png files so they can be layered without showing any of those white box areas you normally would get using a jpg file.

 

 

The final image looks like this, which can be downloaded.path_4square_ed

However, while this may be fairly simple, I prefer to add a few more skills without making it onerous. This doesn’t even require access to the internet. Rather than looking for png graphics, why not make them yourself? Then you can be really flexible especially if the images are of simple shapes, like a thumbtack.

This process uses paint.NET (a simpler version of photoshop), which can be downloaded for free and MS Word. (AAAhh, I can foresee these images in powerpoints or a host of other venues…)
Click here for the instructions. We’ve done this with elementary students and they’ve been really successful.