teaching with passion
Kyle Walker, the Digital Teacher Librarian at Kullerstrand Elementary, shares the passion of robotics and coding with his students. This year, with the help of a generous donor, Kyle started the Robotics and Coding club at his school. Every Monday afternoon, students collaborate and work together to engineer a robot that can be coded to perform unique tasks.
Kyle has reached out to various community members to help build career connections between computer science and robotics. The School of Mines Robotics Club made a visit earlier this year and shared their own robotics project and mentored the students. Jason Roadman, an engineer at NREL visited the club and shared some of his own engineering expertise with wind turbines, allowing students to build real world connections.
You’ve probably heard the word thrown around in certain circles. People casually dropping the catchy word, MakerSpace, like it’s no big deal. You smile and nod but don’t really know what they’re talking about. It sounds fun and STEM-like but it sounds a little intimidating.
So what IS all this buzz about a MakerSpace?
A MakerSpace is just what it sounds like...a SPACE to MAKE! Makerspaces provide students with the opportunity to create, learn, invent and make, using a variety of different resources. From Legos to robots, straws to 3D printers, the sky's the limit when it comes to innovation. And even with tight budgets - scrappy DTLs and teachers have found great ways to include some incredible resources.
So you might be wondering, “How does that work in a school?”
Keri Douglas is the DTL at Deane Elementary School located in Lakewood, CO. She got her MakerSpace up and running in the library this year. She’s a rookie, too, so hopefully her journey can inspire you, as you embark down the MakerSpace road.
Genius Hour = Engagement x Learning2
Fourth graders at Van Arsdale participated in Genius Hour, based on Google's 20% time. This is part of a movement to promote self-directed learning, innovation, creativity, and sharing. Students spend time devoted to a topic of their choice. It is more about the process than the product. Fourth grade teacher, Dawn Wiley worked with her DTL, Michelle McHugh, to tie Genius Hour to CAP. "Students were the ones recognizing the cross-curricular connections. They were the ones leading the learning,” remarked Dawn. "I was so impressed with them. Genius Hour brings learning full circle.”
Robots in the classroom?
It’s not an episode of the Jetsons! It’s here in JeffCo! Sphero is rolling into our classrooms.
What is sphero?
Sphero is an app enabled, programmable robot about the size of a baseball. This little robot might be small but it is mighty. Strong enough for you stand on, sturdy enough for you to drop...This little robot in a polycarbonate shell can even go underwater.
Bob Santone, Math teacher at Jefferson Jr/Sr High School, uses his interest in educational technology to help his students apply math in real life. He integrates technology into lessons and projects so that students see, hear and do the math.
Collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking through coding: a showcase of learning across jeffco
a newly released white house initiative
The white house released a new initiative for computer science in January. The initiative, known as "CS (computer science) for All" is designed to empower all students, from kindergarten through high school, to learn computer science and develop the skills they need to thrive in a digital economy. With the rapid shift of technology in our economy, educators and business leaders are recognizing that computer science is a now a basic skill for students to be able to persevere in the work place.