Archive for June, 2017

So, I’ve been thinking about summer reading. I’ve also been thinking about my Arduino skills, or lack of Arduino skills.

Learning more and doing some significant practice has been on my to-do list for several years at this point. I keep trying to get back to it, but never really get anywhere. I admit I have never really gone all in. Every time I decide to give it another go, I get overwhelmed by how must there is to know and how much I don’t know. This is probably because I decide to look around the interwebs rather than just getting going. Then, I see all the advanced this and that, get confused by various system and components and run away. I’m not proud.

Time for another strategy. No more looking at all the complex things I could do in several years. Time to start small and just start. As luck would have it, my STEAM department chairperson gave each department member this for our “summer reading.”

There’s a lot of potential for me to be overwhelmed here. However, there is a small project I have in mind that would be a very reasonable start. The small, realistic plan is not my strong suit. I’m really going to try though. I know from working with students that sometimes a kit with a set project is a great way to start. This is not that kind of kit, but I think I can find some simple projects to try. I seriously will feel so proud if I can make some progress here. I took a three-session class at The Hacktory, but the class started too far along for me. I needed a step zero class that gave me some lingo and some basic circuitry review. Things just went too fast for me. My stepgrandmother who spoke many languages used to swear that the way to learn a language in school was to take first-year French, Spanish, whatever three times rather than moving on to the next year. I think that is where I am with Arduidos, at least that’s where I hope I am. I have tried an intro class, read an intro book, and now I have another opportunity. Maybe this will be my third time’s a charm.

My first project is a light and photograph idea that’s been sitting on my work shelf, waiting. I have photos of faces with good freckles. I poked holes in the images at the freckles and have a simple string of Chibitronics lights in the same pattern underneath the freckles. I plan to code the lights to blink the name of the person in morse code in response to sound or light and dark. I can write the blinking code. I started that already. It’s not hard, just tedious. Next step is setting up a test circuit that includes the sensor. That’s harder for me.

Monday is a new week.

CCO Public domain image

So, I’ve been thinking about my own support of students of color, colleagues of color, and a curriculum of color in my school.

I hope that I am an obvious and effective ally and advocate for all of the above. However, as a white woman who is married to a white man and who lives in a fairly white neighborhood, I know I am missing a lot. My regular adventures outside my neighborhood are not enough. My conversations with colleagues are not enough. The books that I have managed to put in my courses are not enough. The articles that I read are not enough.

I read something by a journalist (whose name I cannot remember or I would attribute) who said that he or she at some point decided to be deliberate about having gender balance in his or her sources or quoted experts. Once making that conscious decision, it turned out not to be that hard, surprise, to find women experts; it just took paying attention and not being lazy.I think I can take this example to heart. It’s not hard to expand the voices I notice. There’s been talk about how Twitter is dead or at least passé. Personally, as an educator, I still find it immensely valuable. And, it is another way for me to expand my circle of things I notice. So, I have been very deliberately adding many more voices of color to my twitter feed. My “home”

There’s been talk about how Twitter is dead or at least passé. Personally, as an educator, I still find it immensely valuable. And, it is another way for me to expand the voices in my circle. So, I have been very deliberately adding many more voices of color to my twitter feed. My “home” tweetdeck column is changing for the better, and it’s leading me to other resources.

It’s not an end, but it’s another step in the right direction.

 

This goat has read my post and is wondering if I am crazy.
CCO public domain image.

So, I’ve been thinking about my summer reading. I’m actually kind of obsessing about it. I can’t wait to get started. I already wrote about my literature plan and have started reading two of the books on my list.

I also have a professional learning reading plan.

Top on my list are a few of the Hacking Learning books, in particular, Hacking Assessment by Starr Sackstein and Hacking Project Based Learning by Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy. I am a big fan of Star Sackstein via Twitter. And, I went to Ross and Erin’s session about PBL at EduCon in January and was really impressed with their honesty about their progress in understanding and implementing PBL.

This is the summer that I will finish several education reads, including several books that I recommend to people all the time, but may not have quite finished. I’ll admit to Mindstorms by Seymour Papert and Invent to Learn by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager being on the list. A few others I am keeping to myself.

I’m also going to brush up on my Understanding by Design background and have already collected a bunch of online resources.

My other big topics are going to be pretty much anything that comes out of Project Zero (especially in relation to Global Education and Global Competencies) and Interdisciplinary curriculum readings.

Finally, I have a lot of reading and learning to do in relation to the class I am teaching next year which is an interdisciplinary course about ‘the fantastics’ (fantastic creatures and fantastic places). I’ve got a growing LiveBinder of resources and book list and a lot of books to read.

Oh, and I have a bunch of edtech things to investigate; I get behind during the school year and have to go through all the bookmarks and OneTab (I love this tool) collections once I have time to review. Currently, I’m thinking a lot about things like Flipgrid, Hypothes.is, and HyperDocs. This may or may not be the summer that I make respectable progress with Arduido and/or soft circuitry beyond the basics.

I can totally do all that, right?