The free exchange of resources and tips was fast and furious at the Mobile MegaShare, an ISTE 2015 preconference, held June 27 in Philadelphia. Organized by the ISTE Mobile Learning Network (MLN), the forum featured 17 stations dedicated to learning around mobile devices, with topics ranging from robotics to flipped classrooms. The rotation format allowed educator attendees to spend 45 minutes at each of four different stations. Here are some of takeaways:
Google Cardboard is an inexpensive means to 3-D viewing. There are free apps available or, better yet, educators may use their own videos. Just think about the possibilities for virtual field trips for your students. A great way to reuse discarded cell phones.
- Cubetto allows children to learn basic programming logic through a tactile programming interface. Kids write real programs for Cubetto, a small robot, using colorful blocks, providing a magical experience that hides all electronics inside a wooden board.
- Kano Computer Kit Priced at about $150, this is a computer that students may build themselves and then use. What a great first step to understanding the world of computing.
- Leap Motion allows the user to interact with a computer with the wave of the hand or lift of a finger. Using the Leap Motion controller makes the space between you and computer 3-dimensional and interactive!
- Osmo (SLJ’s review) is a gaming accessory for iPads that incorporates real world objects into digital play by attaching a reflector and stand. Osmo comes with games, including Tangrams, Newton, Words and Masterpiece.
- Daqri is a website for augmented reality, and one of the best things about it—it’s free.
Re-Designing Learning Spaces with Sally Lindgren and Laura Wood-Fernandez
The Great Prairie Area Education Agency in southeast Iowa has been studying how to redesign the K–12 classroom into a 21st century learning space. They believe that there are three tenets of classroom design:
- The classroom furniture must be mobile and flexible.
- Each collaborative area must have access to a digital display.
- Each collaborative area must have a writeable surface.
This means that there is no teacher desk, no rows of student desks, and no “front of the room.” Classroom tables are designed to look like a jigsaw puzzle so they may be moved and rearranged, as needed.
Science teacher Laura Wood-Fernandez shared how she uses a tablet to control all the digital displays in her classroom at Mount Pleasant Middle School. Her classroom was one of two that were funded through a $50,000 cost-matched STEM Council grant. A video provides more information.
Robots, Coding and Creativity with Laura Briggs and Teresa Grzec
Laura Briggs is teaching kindergarten next year, but calling it “technogarten” instead. Her co-presenter Teresa Grzec is a second grade teacher. Here some of the tools they recommended:
Bee-Bots offers a fun way to introduce coding to the very young. Using directional commands on the robot, students may program it to move over a plastic mat. Laura and Teresa shared how they use Bee-Bots for math and language arts. Educators may create their own poster-sized activity mats for creative thinking and problem solving.
Cubelets are a robots construction system that provides students an opportunity to create simple mobile and reactive Cubelet block robots. A brick adapter is available to combine Cubelets into LEGO creations.
The educators shared how LEGO tools have helped to increase their students’ interest in writing. A couple of their suggestion for managing LEGOS included:
- Keep LEGO StoryStarter (SLJ’s review) sets in a cardboard lid for easy management of the sets.
- Copy the list of pieces so students take over inventory control by checking the list when they complete a project.
A complete listing of all of the session choices, as well as a resource list, is available.
Donna Macdonald is the teacher librarian and technology integrationist at Orchard School in South Burlington, Vermont. Donna is also the president of ISTE’s Librarians Network.You may follow Donna on Twitter at @dsmacdonald or Orchard School at @OrchardVT.