In May 2014 I volunteered to design and lead a short Project Based Learning (PBL) experience for students at a school located in Asheville, North Carolina. Details about the project are HERE. That project was briefly featured on WLOS, a local ABC news affiliate TV station. That appearance resulted in my being invited to speak at TEDx Greenville. That speaking appearance resulted in Makey Makey inviting me to join their team as their first VP for Education Initiatives.
When I joined the Makey Makey team in November 2015 I was asked to design a one day Professional Development workshop for K12 educators and then establish "Training Partners" who would then deliver the workshop nationwide.
This work has allowed me to travel throughout the US (and sometimes beyond) to work with a wide variety of inspired educators who train K12 teachers. Details about this program are HERE at the Makey Makey website.
The Makey Makey team (a division of Joy Labz) is small and agile. Everyone on the team is smart and motivated. We're all driven to make a positive difference in the world.
High school students design appropriate Assistive Technology solutions for elementary students with physical and cognitive disabilities.
Ten high school students enrolled in a year-long Computer Science course taught by Joe Speier at the Asheville School , a college preparatory school located in West Asheville. These ten students participated in a special project-based Engineering Design class taught by Tom Heck during the month of May 2014.
Working in teams, the Asheville School students designed and and built prototypes of appropriate Assistive Technology solutions for exceptional students enrolled at Hall Fletcher Elementary School (HFE) located in Asheville, NC. The design solutions were intended to help students interact with computer programs (games) in new ways. We worked closely with Kelly Blount and Amy Floyd, the HFE special education teaching team, throughout the project. This project was endorsed by Dr. Gordon Grant, who was the award winning school principal at HFE at the time.
Jason Webb developed a “DIY Assistive Technology project” outlined in detail HERE. Inspiration for this project came from Jason's work.
Lucas Steuber is a colleague of Jason Webb's, and like Jason, is also blazing a trail with DIY Assistive Technology. Lucas was very helpful throughout this project.
The Assistive Technology prototypes we created utilized a versatile computer interface design platform called a Makey Makey which was developed at the MIT Media Lab. The Makey Makey is a $50 invention kit for the 21st century. It turns everyday objects into touchpads allowing for quick prototyping of creative Assistive Technology solutions.
May 1, 2014 -- Class # 1 (90 min.) Asheville School students board a bus and travel to HFE to meet with the teachers and students. The goal for this trip was to build rapport and empathy (step #1 of the Stanford D-School process).
May 2 -- Class # 2 (45 min.) Asheville School students are introduced to the Makey Makey.
May 8 -- Class # 3 (90 min.) Asheville School students select the game they intend to play and begin building prototype.
May 12 -- Class # 4 (45 min.) Asheville School students refine designs and test each other's designs. Prepare for Class #5 (return to HFE).
May 15 -- Class #5 (90 min.) Asheville School students travel to HFE by bus and meet with the students to test their prototypes (see video above).
May 19 -- Class #6 (45 min.) Asheville School students debrief the experience.
Jason Webb's "Instructable" on DIY Assistive Technology HERE
On March 20, 2014 Asheville Makers led a "Learn To Solder" event at the West Asheville Library.
It was the first free and open to the public learn how to solder event ever held in Asheville and it was a huge success.
We had students age 8 to 80 learning how to solder a blinking "robot badge" found at the Maker Shed.
Because of generous donations from area businesses, this event was free! Big thank you goes out to Efficiency Lab and On Haywood.
Thank you to all of our great soldering teachers. Without you this would not have been the great event it was.
Avi Silverman and Tom Heck of Asheville Makers recently met with representatives of the Asheville City - Buncombe County Library System who are very excited about the Maker Movement. We'll be partnering to lead more free and open to the public events!
Read an article about this amazing school in The AtlanticCLICK HERE
Here's the 2 minute highlight video:
The workshop starts with a discussion comparing Engineering and Science. We then discuss the Engineering Design Process and compare it to the Scientific Method. Then we discuss friction and determine if it is good or bad. This leads to a discussion about hovercrafts, friction, and "lift". Then we start building mini hovercrafts out of old CDs and balloons.
We then discuss the difference between "lift" and "thrust" -- both are critical for hovercraft locomotion. Students experiment with a balloon as it provides thrust.
With an understanding of lift and thrust it's time to ride the big hovercraft powered by a leaf blower.
At the end of the day I led a 60 minute workshop for the teaching staff on "How To Teach Leadership in the Engineering Classroom". This is a fun, experiential workshop that got the teachers talking about leadership and teamwork in their classroom. I led activities found in the IATF Team Building Games Archive found inside the IATF Members Only Area.
Big thanks to Mr. Hamilton Parks of A.J. Whittenberg School of Engineering who made this day possible.
Today's math curriculum is teaching students to expect -- and excel at -- paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them. At TEDxNYED, Dan Meyer shows classroom-tested math exercises that prompt students to stop and think.