My third grade daughter and I watched Big Hero 6 a lot over the snow days and in today's interview for our district IT videocast, I compared the headset our students use in our media center MakerSpace (photo above) to a similar controller on Hiro in the movie.
It got me thinking about how Big Hero Six is a perfect maker movie to capture our students' imaginations and inspire them to create their own projects in school maker spaces. The boy Hiro and his brother Tadashi are both makers. Sure, the "nerdlab" is pretty futuristic, but watching Hiro invent, have false starts, use a 3D printer and scanner, use a controller, hack existing designs, code, and, above all, decide to love school instead of reject what it has to offer, sends the perfect message to budding makers in schools everywhere.
The movie illustrates maker concepts such as design thinking, critical thinking, growth mindset, positive hacking to create a better world, and above all a maker attitude and ethos.
If you haven't done so yet, consider how to infuse maker ed into your class or school today. Here are 5 easy steps to start a makerspace from scratch in any school
Here is how to introduce a maker-friendly project in your classroom. You can always start with a clip from Big Hero Six to set the stage.
Gizmodo article showing the real life scientific inspiration for the movie
IO9 article about the show's science and artistic inspiration to connnect to your STEM plus arts or STEAM curricula
RELATED POST- Genius Hour lends itself well to schools that have maker spaces: Here is ours called Love of Learning
News and Links of the Week
Latest Piedmont PD News includes info on National Board Certification, Discovery Place's professional development offerings for teachers, new quick PD's on handy efficient tech tricks to save you time and storage space: like the quickest way to upload to Google Docs, how to convert and embed a powerpoint, How to make a QR CODE ,chromebook and computer troubleshooting info, etc
Other Ed News from Around the Web:
Big Philosophical idea of the week:
When you've finished our summer reading book, I've had a crazy amount of tabs open on my computer of things I've been meaning to share this summer. Here they are:
Summer Roundup of Great Links to check out: (volume 1)
The 1st three headings below are ISTE-found links from my fellow PD Facilitator, Nicole Cathey. She attended the international superstar of ed tech conferences, and shared these off the top of her head when I asked her about the most useful takeaways of ISTE:
ISTE 2014 Session Notes:
Attendees at ISTE shared their notes for you and placed links on this google doc. Scroll through it and click on the topics that interest you to read that attendee's session notes! Great way to share!
"21 Things" Sites:
If you go no farther this is a fun site to poke around 21Things for Teachers. They also have a "21 Things" site for administrators and for your students!
An algorythmically adapted personalized learning geared toward test prep site, called adaptive learning from Knewton. The site is connected to microsoft and Pearson. A lot of the info I found while researching is written from a business end (covered by Forbes and the economist) and higher ed stuff like their GMAT review course and there weren't a lot of teacher written reviews that my google was finding but this is an older review of the site as well as grockit-which sounds interesting http://www.hackeducation.com/2011/10/17/big-bucks-for-adaptive-learning-platforms/
Now here are a few links I've been holding that others have shared on Twitter:
Teaching Students to Ask the Right Questions:
I personally think nothing you can teach is more important than this for students' futures: http://rightquestion.org/education/
Another fantastic article about the importance of questioning as an oft-overlooked skill http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/03/why-its-imperative-to-teach-students-how-to-question-as-the-ultimate-survival-skill/
Making and Creating Resources:
Being a maker teacher is about interest in students creating, not just regurgitating. You do NOT need techy skills or enginnering skills yourself, just a mindset to let students create and build and design.
4 Steps to Becoming a Maker Teacher http://gettingsmart.com/2014/05/4-steps-becoming-maker-teacher
7 Tenents of Creative Thinking http://www.edutopia.org/blog/7-tenets-of-creative-thinking-michael-michalko
This weebly site is a great clearinghouse for all things PBL (project based learning) - it takes you from step 1 what is that? as far as you want to go.
If want to learn about PBL for free, you can pick a project you'd like your students to try and a class here at PBL university- some classes are full already but you can still get ideas and learn more about the projects, PBLU
LAST BUT NOT LEAST>>>
Along the lines of Making, Design Thinking is really taking off so here is some info on that in the classroom.
How to Apply Design Thinking in Your Class - Step By Step
I love KQED Mindshift, so here is everything tagged design thinking on that site
On Letting the Learning Be Messy
These two links below speak to the importance of a movement in ed that I am a big fan of: maker movement /genius hour /classroom as laboratory or studo.
Both of these links talk about how important it is to let kids run with their hare-brained schemes.
I am all for teachers whose gift it is to provide security and structure. However, back in the day that was considered the ONLY way to teach. I am certain that what public school's greatest gift to children, especially poor children, can be is NOT militaristic structure but a workshop and dream making space that they do not get at home but rich children (or bohemian artists' children, or the hyper-educated's children) do-or at least their parents ship them off to camp for once a year- if they are not like the moms in these stories who open their homes to chaos with a smile
Upshot for teachers - if you can be patient and let the learning be messy kids can achieve their dreams
Things Teachers Can Change
Sometimes I get bogged down with what's going wrong in the larger ed reform world.
During those times it's helpful to focus on what we have the power to change immediately as we continue to advocate for those changes others need to help us create.
Math teacher Justin Aion started this hashtag on Twitter and I ran with it enthusiastically (there's no other way I run)
Many of the ideas I shared in the #ThingsTeachersCanChange list are directly inspired by YOU-things you've told me, things I've seen you do, things we've discussed together that matter in ed.
If you or your students are feeling demoralized and need a bit of a pick me up, click the image to read the hashtag ideas, and also please add your own ideas! (If you need to make a Twitter account, contact me and I will walk you through it.) These are things you can change right now and you may like them. I'll be out of town on Saturday, but this is my way of helping the cause, using somethign I know how to do
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Lisa Gurthie is the PD facilitator at Piedmont IB Middle School. She specializes in tech and arts integration, interdisciplinary holistic education, and unschooling school to reconnect academia to real life. One day she will modernize her "about" page. She curates this blog for the professional development convenience of the teachers at Piedmont, but the editorial comments are her own.