Making Creative Spaces at our school

 

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We want to develop a center for innovation at St. Anthony school.

Every day more is written about makerspaces and the benefits these centers offer students.  We have experimented with Makey Makey kits and littleBits in the past, but now we want to take a more comprehensive approach.

Our idea is to create a center for innovation in our school for the use of our students and the wider community.  The components of this center are certainly up for discussion, but the important idea is to create a space for creativity and innovation in our school and a concept that can be shared with other schools in the years to come.

The most important part of this process is to have great partners.  Right now we are working with a small brainstorming group that includes Luc Lalande, the director of the Entrepreneurship Hub at the University of Ottawa, Tracy Crowe, assistant director of teacher education at the University of Ottawa, Marlaina Loveys of Blockheads and Allison Burnett from Algonquin College.

We also have a great partner in St. Peter High School.  I met  Rick Alexanderson at the Makerfaire a few weeks ago and we hope to partner with program this year.  As a partner with the St Peter High School  – http://www.petertherobot.com – initiative, we will be able to get training for our students and teachers.   We will also be able to get some robots from this innovative program!

This is a terrific group to work with!

So…where do we start?

First, we need student teachers who are interested in developing this project.  We are hoping that some of this year’s student teachers will be willing to volunteer at our school this year.  Hopefully, they will also get placements at our school.

Then, we need an event!  We are thinking of planning a ‘maker week’ at St. Anthony.  Each day, our students would be exposed to another component of a makerspace – a 3-D printer – lent to us by Luc Lalande, a lego day with Blockheads, possibly a Caine’s Arcade contest (building with cardboard) and other activities and demonstrations.

The idea is to introduce something new every day in order to spark interest and new ideas amongst the students, staff and the University of Ottawa students.

From there,  the students and staff will work together to build  our own makerspace or innovation center.  At this point, we would certainly need financial support to purchase the component parts.

The rest of the year would be devoted to learning how our students can benefit from this creative space.  This will be new learning for all of us.  It will call on the creativity and innovation  of our students, partners and staff .

The result will be an innovation center for the St. Anthony community.  Even better, we hope to come up with a model that can be transferred to other schools in the years to come.

Let the making begin!creativity-396268_1280

 

Learning about robots and the Ottawa Makerfaire

I had the best day – I have never seen so much innovation and cool stuff in one place – ever.

Carleton Autonomous Robotics Learning Centre

 

This was  a pretty amazing opportunity for all of us.  I met Rick Alexanderson – a teacher in our school board – today at the Ottawa Maker Faire – a truly wonderful event that is on again tomorrow (Sunday). I sat on a panel with him and the more I heard from him the more I stopped talking – this is a guy you really need to listen to.  This is a guy who has been around and has seen lots of stuff.  When you meet people like that, it is best to keep quiet and just listen – you might learn a few things.

He is affiliated with Carleton University and they are willing to hold an instruction session for teachers and students who are interested in developing a maker culture at your school.  Rick has found his own partners, he is not waiting for others to catch up – he is making change and offering this to us.

From what I understand, you can register for workshops they he puts on with the university.  After your day,  you and your students return to the school and teach them what you just have learned.  Everyone ends up with a robot – how cool is that!

Rick Alexanderson is the future of education – and educational entrepreneur who is offering the rest of us a chance to learn some amazing stuff.

I could have listened to him all day!

Our informal networks and PLNs are truly our life blood.  There will never again be a good reason to wait for change to come to you – you need to go to the change!

Find a way to start a makerspace.  Get your teachers and students creating – this is what true education has always been about!

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do you want to make this in your class?

Technology SAMR Model for Administrators Part 3: File Management – my response

 

 

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Thanks Josh – another great way to discuss the SAMR model.  Where are we when it comes to file management and SAMR?

If you don’t already have one, you need a way to manage your files so you can retrieve them quickly.  I don’t really think it matters which ones you use, but you can consider Diigo, Pearltrees, Dropbox, Google Drive Livebinders or something that allows you to keep things organized.

Right now, I store all articles I want to keep on Livebinders.  I like this system – it is simple – all you need to do is set up categories and then each new article becomes a tab under the selected category.

Diigo is also great – you can set it up  so that every tweet you send out is automatically stored in Diigo.  Like Livebinders, you can set up categories.  You can also set up groups and share your articles with your group.  Both services allow you to tweet out the article you just stored.

I can’t imagine working without Google Drive.  All my files were moved on to Drive last year – I keep nothing on my hard drive.  Drive allows me to collaborate with staff and other administrators. Just to be careful, I have backed up my files to Dropbox too.

We set up all meeting agendas on Drive and share editing privileges with all staff members.  People can then go in and add items that need to be discussed by the group.  Drive is especially great for meetings – you can start keeping a live record of the proceedings as the meeting progresses.

So, where do I find myself on the SAMR model?

Substitution

  • Attach a document to an email.
  • Save a document to a flash drive.
  • Save a document to a school computer.

Augmentation

  • Upload to Dropbox.
  • Upload to Google Drive.

Modification

  • Share folders and files on Google Drive.
  • Share folders and files on Dropbox.
  • Upload data and use Google Analytics to analyze school information.

Redefined

  • Using Google Drive, allow others to edit, comment on, and share your documents.
  • Administrators share data and converse digitally for articulation meetings.

I have no idea what an articulation meeting is so I will start there.  Big hint – always look at the redefined category in Josh’s articles.  I checked out Nearpod after one of his posts and ended up having a great teleconference with the Nearpod people.  I would love to get this service in my school!

 

Final point – Josh is bang on when he says that administrators need to lead by example.  One of the reasons i do this is to encourage staff to try some of these tools and techniques out.  This is certainly one of our jobs as administrators!

So, lots of challenges here – where will you put yourself on SAMR when it comes to file management?

 

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