Thanks for checking out information related to my 2019 MACUL Conference workshop.
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I recently attended a excellent workshop from Alyssa Marcangelo on integrating Google Expeditions and Google Earth within the classroom. These were tools I was familiar with but thought that they never really found their place within K-12 education, as many of Google Earth’s features are now baked into Google Maps, and low-resolution, static pictures were just not that compelling within Google Expeditions. Yet I took this opportunity to take the time to really consider curricular connections where they might fit in. In a first attempt to provide a context to homeroom teachers for using these tools, I turned to a Fourth Grade Social Studies unit that has students using the Design Thinking process to tackle U.S. regional issues. I thought it might be a good fit to give students a birds-eye view of some of these problems during the Empathize/Understand phase.
Tech Town hosted a workshop from MIT’s Solve team yesterday evening. I attended only due to a chance meeting with Paul Riser, Jr. when I was accompanying teachers looking at Tech Town as a potential field trip site. It turned out to be a snowy evening to trundle downtown, but I’m glad I went as I think Solve presents an interesting approach to tackling social issues.
Before beginning the Masters of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program at Michigan State University (MSU), I had a sense of what my interests in informal education were, but little idea on how to move forward. I had spent over five years as a museum outreach educator, but felt my mental wheels spinning a bit as I tried to break out of familiar ways of thinking. After spending just over a year working on my masters degree, the path has become clearer, not just due to guidance from my instructors, but by taking inspiration from the amazing work that my fellow classmates have exposed me to. My attitudes towards the use of technology in the museum or classroom has also changed by taking a more grounded view in connecting the use of tools to pedagogy and content being taught. As I reflect on my experience, I find that the largest changes in how I work to provide compelling experiences to learners of all ages has taken place in three key areas: maker education, transdisciplinary learning, and computational thinking.
Summer provides a natural opportunity to reflect and regroup for many educators. Within a museum, the time is often filled with camps, teacher workshops, and special public events, but time must still be set aside for planning. Over the next couple months, I will be transitioning to a new position at work as well as finishing my Master’s degree, so considering the future is particularly relevant at the moment. In order to continue to grow personally and professionally, my current learning goals include gaining experience in hobbyist programming, learning more about how non-profits are managed, and finding new ways to engage the public within a museum.
These goals are chosen based on the idea that I want to continue to do well in a museum environment, but may also wish to explore my own interests in another non-profit setting where much of my experience will transfer over. Of particular interest to me is how to engage a wide variety of ages in learning new technologies, including developing programming and computational thinking skills. I also want these goals to be achievable in the next year and have concrete end products that show evidence of growth.
During a recent session of our Art and Science Teacher Workshops, I engaged in action research by implementing and reflecting on a lesson on the use of computers for creative means, namely creating visual art. The participants explored the work of Sol LeWitt, who created instruction based works intended to be carried out in a variety of contexts. Brain Pickings has provided an overview that shows how various artists have approached this idea. LeWitt’s instructions can be implemented using traditional technology, but in this lesson I chose to use two newer tools, Scratch and Processing, to introduce how computers can be tools of creative expression through programming and play.
Grade level: K-12 Teachers
Common Core Math (for students – not standards for the workshop)
7.G.2 Draw (freehand, with ruler and protractor, and with technology) geometric shapes with given conditions. Focus on constructing triangles from three measures of angles or sides, noticing when the conditions determine a unique triangle, more than one triangle, or no triangle.
National Core Art Standards (for teachers/students)
CR.1.1.8 Generate ideas, goals, and solutions for original media artworks through application of focused creative processes, such as divergent thinking and experimenting.
CSTA Computer Science Standards (for teachers/students)
L1:6.CT.1 Understand and use the basic steps in algorithmic problem-solving (e.g., problem statement and exploration, examination of sample instances, design, implementation, and testing).
L1:6.CT.6 Understand connections between computer science and other fields.
A video produced to demonstrate differences in teaching approaches when presenting to large and small groups in a museum education setting.
Just over a year ago, I applied to Michigan State University (MSU) to begin the Masters of Arts in Education Technology (MAET) program. This process forced me to consider my goals not only for the degree but in my profession. I had spent the last three years coordinating an outreach program for northern Michigan schools that used an integrated approach to teaching art and science. I chose to attend MSU in large part because of its rich history in exploring transdisciplinary learning and its relationship to developing creativity skills in K-12 students, which closely matched what I was trying to achieve through our programs, so many of my goals related to further developing an understanding of these topics.