Thursday, December 8, 2011

Project Update: Colleen Parenteau - The Electric Blanket

Colleen and I have embarked on a great adventure in Grade 3 Science - The Electric Blanket. As two crafty women who perhaps wish we taught Home Ec. (OK...*I* wish I taught Home Ec.), it's always fun to bring a little "needle and thread" time to Shore kids. So, during their unit on Electricity, we are incorporating e-textiles to help students understand how a circuit physically works. E-textiles are a new way of combining traditional craft materials like fabric and yarn with modern materials such as conductive thread and Lilypad circuit boards. The end results are interactive objects that can react to their environment and various inputs.

Anyway...Colleen, with a little needle threading help from me, is having her third graders create a quilt that uses e-textile materials. The end result will be a map of Massachusetts where each child has designed a square with a picture of something relating to nature and/or renewable energy that might exist in that part of the state. Each child will figure out how to incorporate a small LED light into their design so his or her square lights up when you "flip the switch". They will use conductive thread and sewable electronics to make this happen. The kids have been really excited to dig into the fabric box and are looking forward to sew with conductive thread. 

UPDATE (2/1/12): The blanket is done. See the finished product and learn about our successes and "do differents."

See the photos below to view our progress so far.

The quilt top before being cut into squares.

Cutting the top.
Time to cut the squares.
Organizing the squares by class section. Very helpful!
Finding the perfect fabric.
Design consultation.
Hive of activity.

Some finished squares. No LED's yet.

Our sample with a lit LED.
Our visitor from Briarwood helps thread needles.
We've learned it really helps to have a bunch of
pre-threaded needles ready for the kids. 

Project Update: Sue Smith

Copyright-free image found with Google's advanced search!
I've been working with Sue this week on a movie for the MLK, Jr. Dinner in January. Her 5th graders have been researching Dr. King and putting together a timeline of important facts. Meanwhile, Sue is finding copyright-free images of Dr. King on the web using an Advanced Search feature in Google. She's also downloading movie clips from Discovery Education of Martin Luther King's speeches. Together, Sue and I are using iMovie to put this together and adding voiceovers from the kids. Well, really Sue is putting it together with a few tips from me.

There have been a few glitches along the way, par for the course I suppose, but it's been a little frustrating. For some reason, we couldn't import the movie clips she downloaded from Discovery into iMovie without using QuickTime Pro to convert them to an .m4v file first. The bright side is that Sue started working on this project well ahead of time. She's almost done and now she can really relax over winter break without this project hanging over her head. Yay, Sue! Even better is that now she has some experience using the new iMovie before her students start the Mystic movie project in March. We'll post the final movie on MyShore after the event is over, though if you go to the MLK, Jr. Dinner in January, you'll see it then.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tech Tuesday

I love putting together The Tech Tuesday Newsletter. All week, the Tech Team shoots emails back and forth with wild abandon sharing links, tips, and ideas. Some (most) get labeled "TT" in Shorgle Mail so I can go back and find those gems when compliling a story list for the week. As I check out my Twitter stream and Google Reader blog feeds, I save interesting nuggets in Diigo, tagging them "TT" as well. I love using my PLN to find resources to share with you all every week and Tech Tuesday gives me the venue for spewing those in an organized way. I also love all the various web 2.0 and iOS ways I can save information. Here's a few.

Similar to, but more powerful than Delicious, Diigo not only allows you to tag and save bookmarks that you can access from any web browser, but make notations directly on a website that can be shared with other viewers of the website. You can create a distribution list that you can save websites too. Subscribers will receive an email letting them know that a new resource has been saved to the list. Great for departments who read and share a lot. You can install browser buttons/bookmarklets and an app/extension for Chrome to make tagging and sharing a breeze!

I don't use this as much as Jill B. does. No one could! However, I use this organization tool to store all sorts of things that my little brain just can't/won't/doesn't want to remember. An application. A website. An app for your smartphone or tablet...Evernote stores notes, websites, audio recordings, and other digital ephemera that is hard to find a home for. For example, this weekend I stored the make and model number of my kitchen sink and the log of a phone call I had with Kohler. I also stored a recipe and a sweater pattern. In addition, I emailed my Evernote account a few articles from amazing app on my iPad (see below).You can make separate notebooks for different types of information and also tag notes to easily find as well. Notebooks can also be made public and/or shared with various people to collaborate. See Jill B. for a full-on emersion.

When Jill B. first came across this app for the iPad, I was like...oh great...another RSS/social media stream aggregator. It was free, so of course I installed it. In about 3 days, it became the MOST USED APP on my iPad. It is my perfect newspaper. Choose sections you are interested in from their list. Customize it by pulling in your Twitter stream and Google Reader feeds or type in a keyword like "education" or "Red Sox". After reading a story,  rate it thumbs up or down to get more targeted content! Additionally, you can share an interesting story in several ways: Twitter, Facebook, email, Evernote, and more. This app is always open on my iPad.

That's all for now. I hope you like reading Tech Tuesday. We'd love your feedback how we can make it better!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ready or not.....

...Here school comes! It is so different having teachers back on campus this week. The energy level is up and the buzz is LOUD! People are rested and excited to start the year with new ideas to try. The Tech Team is psyched to see so many people trying a blog or twitter account for the first time. Check out the blog roll at the right to see Shore teachers with blogs. If you don't see your name here, post a link to your blog in the comments and I'll add it!

Don't forget to set up a one-on-one regular meeting with me (or other TT member) to help you achieve your tech goals! It's a great way to make sure you are trying new things and refining what you already do. Send me an email to get on my calendar. Spots are filling up!

Welcome back.