Dear Tech-y

As a part of the support we provide to the Laurence parents as a school, I started a new blog series called “Dear Tech-y”. Parents can ask questions anonymously and get answers.

In the first Dear Tech-y installment, a parent asked,

“Dear Tech-y,

We hear a lot about how bad screen time is, but in doing so are we overlooking the benefits of coding, internet research, and content creation? (I’m talking about supervised screen time, of course.) What if the next Zuckerberg is being discouraged from developing because we’re restricting learning that involves a screen?

Anonymous Parent”

Read my response on the Laurence School website.

Industrial Designers Visit Laurence for the STEAM Elective Kickoff

At Laurence, we have one elective class during trimester three for almost all students in grades 3-5 — The STEAM Elective!

Last year, we designed a solar car challenge, where students learned how to design a car from two fantastic designers, Michael DiTullo and Jonathan Ward of ICON 4×4 Cars. Then, over the course of 7 classes, students interviewed another student and designed a solar car based on the brainstorming that took place with their partner. The final class culminated in students showing off their cars and exchanging what they built with their partner.

Read about the exciting afternoon of the STEAM Elective Kickoff, where students drew alongside the designers and saw an ICON car first hand. It was amazing!

Read Michael DiTullo’s reflection on the day.

I’m at Laurence School!

I took a hiatus from writing because I accepted a position at Laurence School as their Director of Technology in the summer of 2017.

There was lots of good work to do, which kept me busy. Now that things are settling down, I’m writing more for them and will be sharing some of the great initiatives that we’re working on, including:

  • Digital Citizenship for students, teachers, and parents
  • Computer Science curriculum for K-6 students
  • STEAM elective for students in grades 3-6

Glad to be back! Stay tuned…

Grade 3 Social Studies + Laser Cutting

Grade 3 students created their own state seals of California using their own imagery at the end of their social studies unit.

Seals were designed in Keynote using clip art, exported as a .jpg, and laser cut out of 1/4″ birch wood.

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Grade 1 Community PBL Unit

By picketts@hamlin.org

There is so much I love about this unit. It has happened each year I have been at Hamlin, but as it is exemplary student-centered learning in action – it’s as different every year as the students who make the learning happen.

This year Rachel Davis did an incredible job in documenting the work and reflections of the Grade 1 students and their teachers, enjoy –

Thanks to all the teachers that came together and designed this learning experience!

Source:: Liz Beck – Hamlin Ed Tech Blog

ATLIS Conference Panel – Makerspaces Beyond the Hype

I was lucky enough to be asked to speak on a panel at this year’s ATLIS conference focusing on Makerspaces with the amazing Dr. Ashley Cross, Director of Technology, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School, Tatyana Griffin Director of Educational Technology & xLab (MakerSpace) Coordinator, The College Preparatory School, Leigh Northrup Dean of Innovation and Technology, Cannon School, moderated by Sarah Rolle, Director of Technology, Elizabeth Morrow School.

The goal was to discuss how our makerspaces have evolved, how we integrate them programmatically, tips and trips, as well as philosophical questions around project-based learning. Considering we had 45 minutes, we covered a lot of ground!

Check out these cool resources that Sarah compiled from the group as a take-away from our talk.

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Engineering – Landmark Exploration

An integrator’s job is to meet with teachers to discuss their curriculum goals and brainstorm ways to make projects more fun and interactive through the use of technology/making.

In Grade 2, students learn about San Francisco landmarks, so we thought it would be interesting for students to build the Golden Gate Bridge in teams. We wanted the project to integrate both engineering and technology. Each group constructed their bridges using materials, such as cardboard, paper, tape. Once the main building phase was completed we challenged each group to integrate basic circuits into their sculpture using conductive thread, tape, LEDs, and coin batteries.

Group work also addresses other classroom goals, such as developing listening skills, learning how to work well with others, practicing advocating for yourself and your ideas while staying open-minded to what others have to contribute, and being flexible.

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