Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Maker Playground and a Maker Must Resource

Today I spent the day at MSU at their EdTech Conference, and I led a session called The Maker Playground. I have done versions of it at each conference since CUE Rockstar Camp, when I presented The STEAM Playground with the awesome Tammy Lind from Wisconsin. It is one of my favorite sessions to lead, even though it requires to my car to be packed and longer to set-up before and clean-up afterwards. (However, I'm usually pretty lucky to have helpful educators aid in the clean-up mission!) Click here for maker resources.

I received 5 Ozobots this fall, and they have been a hit each time I have brought them out to present, as well as a hit with students!  They have such a wide-variety of applications and can engage learners of all ages! 

 Another robot that is easy to use for all learners is the Ollie!  Angela loved taking Ollie for stroll in the hallway!

Origami was a hit at this conference.  From folding trihexaflexagons to educators challenging themselves with more complex designs, paper making completed by several attendees.  

Some of the other activities included, playing with SumBlox, a newer educational tool to teach number sense!  (Of which I will have to reserve some time to create a separate blog post they are AWESOME!)  We also played with Little Bits and Paper Roller Coasters
The best thing is the conversations that occur while participants are playing!  When I have makerspace time in my classroom, I also enjoy listening to the conversations.  It's nice when we are allowed time to play, connect, and learn! 

Speaking of giving kids time to play, connect, and learn, I am approaching a crazy week in my classroom, as we are building Explorer Coasters! Each student has been researching an explorer for the last 2 weeks.  They created a written report, and now they are going to build a paper roller coaster that represents the life of their explorer.  I am a bit nervous because it will require patience and perseverance, but I am hopeful it will also be EPIC! Stay tuned to by Twitter feed for progress on the project! 

The day ended with a dinner out with some awesome ITG ladies! 
Our fab keynote Sarah, Jen, Amanda, Mary, and I had a great dinner out in Lansing! 

Now for the Maker/Teacher Must Have Resource... NAEIR

I am not sure how I stumbled upon this resource...but I did, and I am hooked.  It is a wonderful site that has products that have been donated by companies, and then non-profits and teachers can purchase them for a price FAR, FAR below the store cost. I was curious when I first put my order in, as it seemed too good to be true, but my shipment came...and I got a lot of awesome things for a super cheap price. I am most excited about the 36 Stomp Rockets I got for $9!  As a teacher, you do have to register and be approved, which can take a bit, but then you are free to shop! There is something for everyone in their catalog!  From tools to craft items and adhesives to office supplies, NAEIR is a wonderful resource for classrooms and makerspaces everywhere! 

Overall it was an AWESOME day of learning!  Great job MSU! Special thanks to Mary Wever (@WeverWorld) who was one of the lead organizers of this conference, as she is the Director of the Master's Educational Technology Certificate Program at MSU.  The entire team of MSU interns, directors, and staff were great hosts!  Thank-you Tech Smith for the yummy coffee and breakfast! 
Also...a special shout out to the wonderful food at Shaw kids have it great these days with dorm food! 

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