Students Take the Lead – Spring 2016

Students Take the Lead – Spring 2016 On Wednesday, February 17, students took the lead for the second time this year with student led conferences. In the fall, students shared their goals with parents and teachers. This time, students ran the show from start to finish. Introducing parents and teachers to one another, the students showcased 5 demonstrations chosen from their e-portfolios.  

Drone Review: Syma X5C Explorer

Drone Review: Syma X5C Explorer Upon the recommendation of some of our 7th Grade students, I purchased a drone for $40 that was delivered surprisingly on Easter Sunday. The Syma X5C Explorer is the perfect drone for beginners and those prone to rooftop crashing. I was amazed to discover the nearly indestructible design of this little drone. After bouncing it off the pavement a dozen times, the Syma drone operates just as well as its first flight. Lightweight, inexpensive, and still very precise, the Syma is easy to charge through your computer usb port. The remote control requires 4 AA batteries, and it […]

Drones: Gateway to Learning, Design, and Impact

Drones: Gateway to Learning, Design, and Impact Drones provide a gateway to learning many practical and helpful uses for human-centered problem solving, as well as simple fun and curiosity. Here are a few ideas to consider… Paint Your House Advertise your product/company with a flying drone billboard Ambulance Drone for Medical Emergencies Submarine Periscope Save the lives of African babies with HIV testing Drone Racing is the Sport of the Future Search for Lost Dogs Monitor Marine Reserves and Spot Illegal Fishing Droneport for Africa A Robot That Flies Like A Bird Find the Best Waves for Surfing Safely Avoid […]

Maker Wars: 3D Printer Comes to Life Thanks to Students

Maker Wars: 3D Printer Comes to Life Thanks to Students A few weeks ago, 3 students approached me and asked if they could use our 3D Printer. “Of course!,” I said, not knowing that the printer wasn’t actually working. The students identified the necessary part and purchased it. They repaired the machine and it has been buzzing ever since, cranking out some cool, preliminary calibration products.      How might we encourage our students’ passions and create greater access to maker technology and curriculum?  Resources:  What is the Maker movement and why should you care? Mount Vernon students use 3D […]

Students Want Access

Students Want Access The past couple of mornings, I’ve received several unexpected student visitors to my office. My desk is covered in papers, my nose buried in a laptop while diligently working to accomplish a variety of projects, but thankfully I know when to put all of the ‘important stuff’ on hold. What’s more important than taking the time to listen and talk to a passionate and curious learner? One student came in to show me the BB-8 robot he got for Christmas. He just walked right in, opened up the box, placed the robot on the floor, and showed […]

Drones in Action

Drones in Action In August, we purchased a drone. Our team designed a digital “Drone” badge that faculty members could earn in pre-planning. We unleashed the drone in chapel for all students to be introduced to our newest interactive tech device. In September, we crashed the drone. While Upper School students were learning how to make minor repairs to the drone, we purchased an additional drone. In October, Mr. Roth took small groups of students outside to learn how to pilot the drone and discuss related science and ethical issues. In November, I worked with a small, volunteer group of […]

R & D Stations

R & D Stations Today, the Social Studies Research & Design Team met (as did R & D teams from several other disciplines). Teachers were given 3 choices: Pick something that interests you from last session’s brainstorm (related to the 4 guiding priorities) Work on the 9th Grade Humanities pilot (learning outcomes, ideas, etc.) Teach social studies through interactive tech (drone w/camera) and badges Team members collaborated in small groups and as individuals, sharing out at the end of the session… Humanities: who will teach it? will it just be a combo of lit and history or will it include […]

10 Ways e-Portfolios Increase Learning

10 Ways e-Portfolios Increase Learning In schools, the use of e-portfolios is increasing as a way to enable learning, as well as a means to measure it. See Admissions Revolution (80 colleges and universities move towards use of online portfolios). There are a variety of types and purposes of e-portfolios including workspace, showcase, academic, employment, etc. This post focuses primarily on the blog as student workspace – designed as a tool to accelerate learning at any age, as well as to build capacity for being globally competitive beyond schooling. How might e-portfolios increase learning? 1) Writing – Does the importance of […]

Building Our Learning Measures

Building Our Learning Measures This morning, our monthly vertical team meeting focused on building our capacity with two of our ‘expanded learning measures’ – formative assessment and e-portfolios. Here is the agenda with some data added… Essential Questions What are the limitations of numerical grades as a single measure of learning? How will we develop our understanding of e-portfolios as an effective measure ‘for’ and ‘of’ learning? Desired Outcomes Vertical Teams collaborate to implement formative assessment and e-portfolios. Learning Opportunities In advance, read Edutopia article: 11 Essentials for Excellent Eportfolios Entry Ticket: Upon arrival, write on 3 separate post-it notes… […]

Prepare to Launch

Prepare to Launch I count myself fortunate to be part of an organization that encourages the launching and shipping of ideas, that embraces a ‘fail up’ culture of learning and achievement. This has empowered my colleagues and I to boldly try new ideas. Reflecting on the last few years, I can recall numerous wins and successes as well as a few that I’d love to ‘redo.’ Why do some initiatives go so well while others struggle or fail? What makes the difference? Fail Ups In my first year as a division head, I recall our team was eager to help […]

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