• Approaching STEM & Maker Education through an Experiential Cycle of Learning

    Providing a framework for maker and STEM activities helps insure that their use is intentional; and that meaningful learning is extracted from these experiences. This framework is based on an experiential learning cycle: front-loading or framing activities, experiencing maker activities and reflecting on them using several forms of technology-enhanced methods. The maker educator becomes proactive in framing the maker experiences and in debriefing them to increase the chances that learning occurs. During this workshop, participants will get to experience this framework through doing a maker and STEM activities that are introduced through framing or frontloading and then followed by a variety of reflection techniques.


    By the end of this workshop, participants will learn and be able to apply:

    • new maker and STEM activities using inexpensive instructional materials that can be brought to one's own educational environments including paper and squishy circuits,
    • methods for frontloading or framing the maker experiences,
    • a collaborative-based engineering activity based on design thinking
    • a process for reflecting on making for the purposes of increasing learning following each make,
    • a variety of technology-based methods or ways for having learners reflect on their maker experiences,
    • More information about this framework can be found through the following articles/interviews:
  • Image Credit: http://www.hfli.org/home/programs/design-thinking

    Empowering Learners to Change Their World with Human-Centered Design Thinking & STEAM Tools

    Design Thinking (in its various forms) is a methodology and a set of tools that provides a lens for looking at the world from a human-centered perspective. As a result, rich opportunities for teaching and learning abound, but, where does one begin as an educator? How does Design Thinking differ from other proven and widely adopted constructs like the engineering design process in the classroom? The answer, in a word, is empathy. Properly embraced, empathy establishes the foundation of truly human-centered design work. Leading school programs world-wide are doing precisely that, with impactful programs that empower students to solve meangingful real-world problems using a variety of STEM technologies. Come to this workshop to learn about Design Thinking models by completing an authentic design challenge and then explore ways that Design Thinking experiences can be amplified with state-of-the-art STEM tools.


    In this workshop, participants will:

    • Complete an authentic, real-world Design Thinking challenge. 
    • Review and explore Design Thinking methodologies and programs at leading schools and institutions worldwide. 
    • Explore the intersection of Design Thinking and STEM learning, considering how each magnifies the other.
  • Codeable Creations: Building STEM & Making Skills with the Circuit Playground

    Scaffolded microcontrollers empower learners of all ages to author artifacts from wearable technology to robotics using common materials and block-based coding. The Circuit Playground Express microcontroller was created with education in mind, having a “low floor” and “high ceiling”, positioning it as one of the best technologies for Making in the classroom available today. Using this technology as a material supports students in creatively and critically problem-solving as they illustrate meaningful connections to curricular content and develop their Maker Mindsets.


    In this workshop, participants will:

    • Create functional prototypes using the Circuit Playground, craft materials, prototyping tools, and recyclables. 
    • See examples of how to integrate Making and microcontrollers into their classroom 
    • Learn how to construct an environment for impactful Making 
    • Be introduced to Maker Learning as a pedagogy for teaching and learning.
  • Image Credit: http://www.hfli.org/home/programs/design-thinking

    Enhancing classroom content with STEM & Robotics

    Educational robotics has emerged as a field which involves students, coding, designing, developing and operating robots, thereby facilitating the development of their understanding and application of various subjects. The rigor and complexity of this approach vary from elementary to graduate programs. Robotics is also used to facilitate teaching and instruction to make learning fun and generate interest of students in STEM courses. With innovative ways of teaching emerging with robotics, it is fast becoming the new R of learning in the new technology-driven world.


    During this hands-on workshop. participants will get an opportunity to experiment with some basic coding through Google’s Made With Code and Code.org; and explore a variety of robots (TBI but hopefully - Ozobots, Sphero, Dash and Dot, Cue) with a focus on using these tools to enhance STEM learning.


    During this workshops, participants will learn:

    • Some of the theory that supports using coding and robotics to enhance STEM learning
    • Basic coding skills used with simple robots
    • Curricular connections and activities using robots
  • Introduction to Physical Computing with Micro:bit

    The Micro:bit is an inexpensive yet highly capable and easy to use microcontroller with multiple educational applications. Developed by the BBC and exploding into schools worldwide, the Micro:bit packs a 5x5 matrix LED, 2 buttons, accelerometer, magnetometer, temperature sensor, and Bluetooth/Radio communications into a tiny package that is powered by either USB or an external battery pack. It is programmable via web-based software and either block- or text-based languages including Javascript and MicroPython (a subset of Python). As a result, Micro:bits are finding their way into a variety of cross-curricular school projects, designed prototypes, simple robotics and more.


    In this workshop, participants will:


    • Experience how easy it is to create simple to relatively complex block- and text-based programs using the device, which can be incorporated into a wide range of STEM projects. 
    • Experiment with and gain understanding of the Micro:bit's wide range of features & functionality. 
    • Program a Micro:bit as part of a creative solution to a provided design challenge.
  • Wearing your Technology: Using Fashion and Circuitry to Electrify your STEM Classroom

    The size and power of technology continuously evolves. The large, lethargic computers of yesteryear have turned into lean, agile devices that can be woven into the fabric of our clothes. Wearable Technology has plans to revolutionize the way we live, work, and play from health-concious watches like the FitBit to connected, commuter jackets like Levi’s Jacquard. This strand will take educators on a journey through the design process to construct wearable devices and see examples of how wearable technology can ignite any classroom.


    In this strand, participants will:

    • Design and make wearable prototypes that use circuits. 
    • Learn about e-textiles and smart materials that transform fabrics and thread into sensors, buttons, and electronic components. 
    • Design and stitch a piece of Wearable Technology.
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