Friday, April 26, 2019

New Podcast Episode: Talking Creativity with Jaime Casap (@JCasap) #MakerEd

I'm so happy I was able to sit down with Jaime Casap and talk about Creativity and its value inside and outside of the world of education. As Google's Educational Evangelist, he shares what he sees in education and has decided to share more of insights on a new YouTube channel.

Here is the episode that can also be found on all of your favorite podcasting stations.

Here is an episode of Jaime's new YouTube channel. 

Thanks for listening and feel free to reach out if you have any suggestions for guests on the show. 

Hugs and High Fives, 


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Deconstruction Lab #MakerEd

Deconstruction Lab

I had the chance to work with my friend and colleague Michael Medvinsky on a fun project with elementary school students. We had a Deconstruction Lab! We had lots of old computer monitors, printers, and projectors that would normally be tossed or recycled, but Mike's idea to let students take them apart and see what's inside is a way better way to use the old tech before it is thrown out.

We used the Fabrication Lab and brought out different sizes of screwdrivers for the students to use. We had some wire clippers  and pliers as well. We emphasized the different between deconstruction and demolition. The students were all on board and excited to see if they could take apart different pieces of technology.

The wonder and excitement of the room over the course of an hour and half was amazing. Students helping one another unscrew things, borrowing and sharing tools, excited statements and new things discovered, and so much more. Students were above and beyond excited to take these things apart. The students wanted to take home motherboards to show their parents. They were able to take apart screens and printers without much damage at all. It was very impressive at how precise they could be.

At the end, which brought sad faces to all of them, students asked if they could take some of the untouched old tech home to deconstruct there. One said, "I really want to have something to do over the Summer." What a wonderful way to engage students in technology and spark some interest in what is going on underneath the hood of many of the tools they see and use every day. Check out some of the picture taken during the deconstruction lab.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Getting the most out of video with @BoClips

If you use video clips in your classroom and spend tons of time weeding out ads and looking for just the right content, them you need to check out Boclips for Teachers. Here is an infographic that breaks down video use in the classroom.

Finding good educational content can be very tough and, sometimes, very, very expensive. What I love about Boclips for Teachers is that it is curated by teachers. You know you are going to be looking at videos that are used by other teachers in the same content area. This is a great way to vet the content you are going to share with your students.

Another awesome aspect of Boclips for Teachers is that it is ad free! There have been too many times that an ad or a preview for a next video has popped up on the screen and I scramble back to my desk to shut it off because it is not what my kids need to see. Without ads, you can easily show videos without the random ad popping up.

I am also a fan of the way that teachers can curate their own content by saving videos to teacher collections. I was able to quickly search for videos on photosynthesis and save it in a collection I labeled Science. As a teacher, being able to curate all of the videos you want to use in class in nicely organized collections is a huge time saver. Too many times, we have all spent time trying to search for that video from last year that was on YouTube and it cannot be found.

The content is not just random videos uploaded on the Internet. These videos come from amazing, and most importantly, trusted resources. You will find videos from more than 120 content partners, including Visual Learning Systems, Intelecom Learning, and Crash Course, and many more amazing institutions. All of this great content can be searched from one page with a simple keyword. Boclips for Teachers takes the stress out of searching for videos to share with students.

More and more video is being created every single day and that means it is only harder for teachers to find the best content for their classroom. It would be great if teachers lived in a world where they were given all of the time they needed to plan their classes and look for the best content, but that is not the case. It is important for teachers to find tools that allow them to cut down on plan time and spend more time engaging with students and their own content. The more time teachers have to spend directly with students or focusing on student achievement, the better school will be for everyone.

Right now, there is a great deal. If you sign up before June 30th and you will get access to Boclips for Teachers and it's curated content for 1 year for free!

Friday, April 12, 2019

New Podcast Episode featuring @JuddWinick on @Anchor #MakerEd

Hello Internet!

I'm excited to share a great conversation I had with HILO creator Judd Winick. In this episode, we talked about creativity from an art perspective and how we can support that in the classroom. Judd shares stories from his childhood that really showed the power of supporting children in their creative endeavors.

Check out this episode and all of my other episodes on various podcasting places around the Internet. My home base for my podcast is The Maker Mentality and it is hosted on  

Friday, April 5, 2019

Exploring STEM with @MyStemKits and @Robo3D

I'm always on the lookout for programs that can help support teachers interested in expanding their work in STEM, but are not sure where to start. It is tough to find the right balance of a program or tool that is easy to use and understand and then implement with students in a seamless fashion. When Braydon Moreno reached out to me to let me know that Robo3D had acquired My Stem Kits and were bringing the companies together to support teachers, I was very interested.

Braydon sent me a Robo3D to explore and then I was given access to My Stem Kits to see what they had to offer. I have to say, right out of the box, the Robo E3 is phenomenal. Here are some of the specs that are worth noting,

This is a wonderful print size and resolution for a printer. An average school doesn't need more than this. While there are other 3D printers that are larger and much more expensive, schools are paying for something they do not need. At $999, the Robo E3 is all the printer a classroom will need. 

Some other nice aspects of the printer is that it offers Cloud printing. You set up the printer to be connected to wifi and you can send to the printer from anywhere in the school. It is a nice feature to have so a computer does not need to be tethered to the printer at all times. The printer is fully enclosed and has a HEPA filter built in. Depending on the type of filament you are using, Robo E3 can use over 20 different kinds, it is nice to have the filter to grab any fumes or particles that might be created while printing. The E3 also has a heated bed that allows for easy print job removals. It has an auto calibration feature and the print head is removable. These are amazing features to have at great price point. The print jobs themselves look amazing as well. 

This is a Ballista that a student printed and will assemble. This came from a great lesson on My Stem Kits that explored force in Physics. The print is very solid and perfect for the student to assemble and see what the Ballista can do. The student still needs to assemble it, but when he does, I will be tweeting it out using the hashtag #Robo3D.

This takes me to My Stem Kits and I have to say, this is a nice program filled with wonderful lessons that can help any teacher new to the world of 3D printing. Here is a short video that explains what is. 

This paid platform is a full of wonderful resources that cover K12 curriculum. Here is a quick screenshot of the first page of projects and lessons. 

There are literally hundreds of different lessons and projects that students and teachers can use. The year long subscription is a great way to explore the different aspects of 3D printing by using wonderfully curated content that can be tweaked to fit any learning environment. 

Overall, this is a two punch knockout of an amazing system. Reach out for a quote on getting My Stem Kits and the E3 bundled together for a reduced price. That is a great deal! Click here for more details. 

Robo and My Stem Kits provided me with a demo for the purpose of this review, but that doesn't make it any less awesome. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Can we please retire the word tomboy? #EdChat

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard parents and seen some tweets on the Internets referring to girls or themselves as Tomboys and it is bugging me. When people use this term, they are clearly saying that the things a girl like to do are actually boy things and they are different because they like those things. The term has been around for hundreds of years and it has been used as a way to make sense of the fact that there were girls or women that wanted to do things like, wear pants, exercise, play sports, or be more than just barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. It was to make it clear that the actions these ladies were partaking in were, in fact, boy things. Calling a girl a tomboy was to make it known those were boy things and being a tomboy was something a girl would eventually grow out of in time. 

In 2019, we should really be moving away from classifying young girls as being tomboys because we do not need to reinforce archaic views of what a girl should be doing with their time. We have a serious gap in gender when it comes to STEAM fields and part of that has to do with the notion that science is a boy thing. A term like tomboy supports such crazy notions. Just because a girl likes to get dirty, look at bugs, or run around and noisy, does not make them a tomboy. It makes them a kid.

As educators, it is important to make sure that our kids have a diverse collection of books to choose from that show women in a wide variety of roles. Show all children that women can do anything they want. Need specific titles, check out Pernille RippMatthew WinnerColby Sharp, or Donalyn Miller for a ton of book recommendations for all types of students. Their twitter feeds are littered with amazing book titles for all ages. As teachers, we need to add the term tomboy to our list of retired words. 

Using the word tomboy might seem like an innocent, little thing, but it’s the little, innocent things that need to go if we hope to make real, big, and lasting change.