Tuesday, May 22, 2012

STEM Challenge Update...

Last Night the STEM Challenge youth winners were recognized. I got to go down because...

 (yes I wanted to shout that with excitement)
Picture Courtesy of Princeton Patch (Greta Cyuler)

 I had the best time watching 5 young women stand tall and demonstrate they can learn to program and create great games!!! The two games that placed were:  Animal Inequalities and Math Racing Mania.  They were 5 of 28 students recognized for hard work (and the only girls!).  I don't think they or I stopped smiling all night long.  It was a magical experience to see them standing tall explaining their games and how it was the first time they programmed.

Many thanks to the STEM Challenge sponsors: AMD, ESA, E Line Media, PBS Kids and CPB, Microsoft X-Box 360, Joan Ganz Cooney Center  plus the outreach sponsors. These places worked hard to plan, organize, and judge these 3700 games.  I had a wonderful time talking to all of the parents of the winners, the winning students, and all of the people who made it happen.  Thanks Brian and Diane!!!  They aren't officially announcing until 10 am this morning, since the adult winners event is today.  But keep watching the STEM Challenge website, there should be an amazing video from the 28 winners, that made me proud to teach these incredible young women.

Thank you ladies for making an amazing night that will not soon be forgotten, and thanks Greta for getting the one picture of all of us and driving down to DC to write about us!

I will update this and post pictures as soon as I am awake... We all drove back last night.. 6am came around too early this morning...

Monday, May 21, 2012

STEM Conference

Last Thursday through Saturday I attended the NSTA STEM conference.  I got lots of good ideas and had many interesting conversations.  I enjoyed meeting people on twitter.  Many of us tweeted our thoughts when we could.  (AC Convention center really needs to improve the WiFi).  One big idea was that with STEM one should be building both innovation and creativity.  The more we talked about this and how to help student build creativity, the more I realized how this needs to be done.  We need to allow our students to take risks and build the risk taking into our programs.  We need to find ways that the students can step outside their boxes to show creativity is not just in Arts, but can be in Science and Math as well.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ted does it again....

I love TED. Most educators do. I was super excited when flipping through the channels I saw TED on the Science channel. That was the first experience for my family to sit and watch TED videos. Then  edTED appeared on the web. This is amazing website. There are currently 63 TED talks on the site with quick quiz to answer as you go along and some think deeper questions as well. These are great thought provoking questions based on the videos seen.

The great part is by signing up you can create your own pages similarly from any youtube video.  This is an easy way to create the whole package of video, questions (both multiple choice and short answer) for the classroom.  The layout of the page is great and very user friendly.  I plan on using this in my classes.  I  have flipped my first video here.

While this is great there are some issues:
Once published you can not go back and edit argh. That's tough come on ted, make the ability to edit again.

And the student activity part:
The confusing part though is seeing the student's activity on it.  It says that I will be able to see the activity but further reading it appears that students need to have an account.  This is somewhat of an issue because of the need to control accounts and what personal information students are sending out there, especially with Middle School ages.  I hope ted finds away that teachers can create and manage student accounts.  For now I will have my students use my flipped videos without signing in. This drastically limits the open ended questions, as they won't be able to save therefore I can't view.  Hopefully soon this will be fixed!