Monday, October 19, 2015

Learning Opportunities #GAFESummit

 Two days of focus about the purpose of technology supporting pedagogy and thinking skills. It was a gathering of a shift towards the applications of thinking skills rather than just tools. Summit Schedule

 The Keynote speakers Jaime Casap and Kevin Brookhouser had me reflect about the importance of learning as a society of partnership with our students and community.

  • The future of education as a model of thinking about learning.
  • Giving the power for students to become problem solvers.
  • Focusing on students' innovation and iteration of learning without an end point.
  • Preparing students for the future through global learning.
  • Building the passion for learning through innovation for the transformation of the future that never stops.
  • The school becoming a model of partnership with parents and the community.
  • Persevering with the mindset and breaking free from the functional fixedness.
  • Students would endorse real world problems and there are no bad ideas.
  • Students to be risk takers, problem solvers and design to create ideas with a passion.
  • Students share knowledge for making a change and celebrating risk taking.
  • Celebrating learning through many stages.

  • Students realizing the importance of passion when learning.
It was great to see so many colleagues from across Ontario and Canada and meeting new ones from the United States. 

It is always a great opportunity to be among so many educators, learners and leaders sharing the passion of risk taking to take back and apply with our students.

Learning is always a shift of risk taking. On Saturday with my colleague Patricia Fiorino we presented Learning By Doing documenting the process of the makers mindset with Kindergarten and Grade 6.

Thank you for the participants who took time to stay for the last session and go over time sharing students' learning. The presentation was about analyzing and thinking using a variety of tools.

If we need our students to have the desire to learn then we need to provide them with time and support to pursue innovation, passion and interest in learning. What skills and talents will we allow to emerge from our students?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Creativity and Students' Thinking!

How do you get students to think for themselves?

As I continue to explore integrative thinking strategies through problem solving, the students are continuously reapplying thinking strategies while learning new ones.

The Grade 6 team and the students are pursuing Free The Children campaigns of We Scare Hunger and We create Change.

The students have incorporated Scratch to describe their commitments to the 4 campaigns. From the Imagination Foundation, we signed up to incorporate Caine's Arcade games with our passion and empathy project to science.  Our #cardbaordchallenge will take place on the week of 19th to the 23rd, due to the Thanksgiving long weekend. We will be holding a day for the school and another day for the neighborhood community.

As mentioned in the previous blog on provoking students' drive to be passionate innovators and introducing them to tools to think not to do the thinking for them. The focus is on integrative thinking and  NPDL competencies that are character, collaboration and creativity. We are reflecting on some of the dimensions in each competency and relating it to the integrative thinking strategies.

Starting with online unique and creative products from young students, we co-constructed the criteria of what is creativity as described in former post.

This blog post focuses on how students examine two designs and combine designs to come up with one. We are combining the individually designed cardboard games and combining both creative ideas to come up with one game.

We began by experimental thinking strategies by exploring the value of a creative and unique idea and the logic with two creative products competing models.

I presented the students with this image of both cups models that we are already familiar with.

This video details the process

During the process students reapplied and reinforced the thinking strategy of  open ended conversations. The purpose of this process was to apply the thinking into action:
  • To identify two different ideas or creative products
  • To define the benefits of each product
  • To analyze the possibilities of combining these models  
  • To apply the benefits of both models
  • To create an new product combining both models 
Each student has already designed on Google drawing their own vision of their arcade game based on the concept of circuits and switches that they have been exploring in science. Before the students applied the thinking integrative process of combining their own individual game in one, We further shared possibilities of circuits and switches, pressure switch, pull switch and open and closed switches using copper tape, and conductive thread.

Before the students sat together to apply open ended conversation, we focused on these possibilities:

  • Making connections between the 2 options
  • The points of tension between the conversations
  • How could one game be created from 2 ideas?
  • The benefits of the 2 games to generate one game.

These Drawing are examples of combining both ideas to create one game

This week students will continue to create the prototype of the combined ideas that was generated benefitting both. They will reflect and transfer the knowledge of problem solving and understanding of the application of the knowledge to a structure/game.

The students will also reflect on this transformation of integrative thinking and monitor their progress by focusing on the dimension of the competencies of collaboration, creativity and character from NPDL.

This shared ownership will be transformed into action by also inviting an export an electrical engineer for feedback.

As I continue learning with my students I also need to focus on: 

  • How do I develop a mindset of thinking that suits  the specific task and the stages of learning? 
  • Which skills sets or competencies and tools that help develop the thinking process? 
  • Am I giving students opportunities to translate their thinking into actions? 
  • How do students become divergent thinkers through the curriculum?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

So What Is Creativity?

I am still pushing my thinking forward when students are in the role of designers. As educators we read a lot, we connect online and face to face. I need to learn and move forward with my students' thinking and their ability to decipher the process through them than just through what I know. I needed to question more and listen more as well as reflect with them. My students are my partners in moving my learning forward!

As we continue to unpack the process of the skills through daily applications of learning tasks, We consolidate and reflect for determining next steps about what is making through: coding, 3D printing, robotics, designing, of course including concepts from science, the arts and math when designing. This blog will reflect on our present learning process.

As I embark on this journey with my former students.  This is important, when we are unpacking strategies we are not only referring to the present, we are also reflecting on last year's experiences. We are connecting what we are already know and unpacking the thinking.

The students already highlighted that creativity:

  • Is designing with tools like craft materials and tech tools
  • It takes perseverance and growth mindset (Grit)
  • Imagination
  • Suggestions
  • Causes
  • Brainstorming and using strategies with colleagues for unpacking ideas
  • It is critical thinking as problem solving
  • Ideas
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Repeat, improve and retry
The students are excited about printing objects with the 3D printer this year. We are beginning to reflect on the causes and passion projects for the use of the printer and how can we be empathetic with the tools and make a change to someone else not just for ourselves?

All Grade 6 students will participate with the cardboard challenge and will apply the concept of circuits to their games and coding, also fundraising for Play For Change for Free The children.

I have shared with the students the following image to reflect about the process and the journey of the process. 

We reviewed some examples from last year about empathy and creativity as well as some new ones:

Ipad Keyguard shared by Nancy Khalil

This is our second week at unpacking the process of creativity with empathy. We are starting our passion project with our school community. From our resource teachers for our special needs students, one class is designing sequenced puzzle pieces that could be reused and the other class is designing sequenced numbers grooved puzzles. Of course the students began with their own visual and continue to apply communication skills, solving problem strategies including mathematics with the prototype and designing on Tinkercad for 3D printing. 

The key to guiding our learning is our daily consolidations of unpacking the thinking process, reflecting on misconceptions, new learning and determining our next steps. 

New learning guiding questions: : 
  • Am I capable of finding or suggesting a solution? This was a huge learning with opposing ideas and finding a solution
  • How am I building on to existing solution?
  • How am I  applying creative thinking strategies?
  • How am I taking the responsibility or my part of the project?
  • How am I dealing with opposing views?
  • How might I ...?
  • Am I applying open ended conversation in order to  understand my colleague's suggestion? 
  • How are we gathering our ideas?

These are the reflective questions that we are presently focusing on to be explicit with our thinking towards our creative thinking process and building experiences for our learning.  

As we continue to explore and reflect many circumstances are occurring throughout our process. This is a critical shift in educators' learning in combining projects with skills, concrete procedural knowledge and having students to think for themselves. 

This is not a tidy process or a lesson plan, it is a transformation of learning and understanding. How are we giving the opportunity for our students to be creative problem solvers? How are we encouraging students to think critically about ideas and situations?

The following example of designing with a purpose for Kindergarten students to record themselves without having to touch the laptop.