School year 2014-2015 came with so many opportunities for growth as a STEAM teacher. This was a year to iterate and redesign the work in my class so that students are able to be habits of minds practicioners.
Looking back at year 2014-2015, I was continuing from a newly design room which by the end of the 2013-2014 year almost has a process flow to it. Students know where to go when they had certain tasks to do whether it be working on a laptop, collaborating with other peers, storing projects, accessing building equipment, sharing out a product. With a redesigned space, comes redesigned procedures and guideline of how the room function that need to be explicit for students.
Redesigned Website for Efficient Blended Learning
I love Moodle. Moodle enables for flexilibity in blended learning environments and having your own “rented” server and domain name makes it so much easier for students to access information. I found a bootstrapped theme so that the Moodle site, teamaringo.org, is up to date at least in looks and in features. The Moodle site is an extension to the classroom where students are able to do work at any space and time given accessiblity to a computer. Students were given a digital bin to access digital prototyping material and a bin for students to submit their work given an explicit deadline. More work is needed for more explicit instructions to do certain tasks on the moodle website. There is a need for student to keep track of where they are at in a process and need for students to access feedback in the most accessible way which was challenge in moodle since there are more than one places to access feedback.
I experimented with digital portfolio. Unfortunately once students leave my class, I have to delete their username along with their work and portfolio at the end of the day. So how do I make sure my students have access to their wonderful work after completion of my class. I will be experimenting with Mahara, a portfolio web app, that will be connected to teamaringo.org. Student will have a chance the construct their portfolio and learning blog on Mahara and even after they leave my class, they portfolio stays on my teamaringo.org server until I decide to cancel my server (at the end of my teaching career that is). I might be explore GoogleSites or Blogger so that student can carry their portfolio under their own google user name.
STEAM:Coding: Emphasis on Game Development
According to the ARCS Model of Motivation, relevance in what students do is important. When I think of relevance, I think about how do I connect what students like to computer programming and how do I connect the coding class to the real world processes. At the core of my class is Design Thinking, where student discover, explore, design, prototype, share, and evaluate what they have learned. Making games is a relevant task has design thinking components to it. Next year, I will be making the coding class focused on a year long game development course.
Changes I will make is giving the opportunity for students to asses what they know through an online quiz and for student to have opportunties to
Below is a video of my Master’s Thesis Work on why I will be emphasizing Game Develop for my Coding Class.
Scratch has been Scratched Off
Scratch is a wonderful program that provides students an environment to learning programming. Though the program itself came with a number of bugs that made the process of programming a little frustrating if the program become complicated. Knowing me, I’m always looking for the next best thing. I am currently learning App Inventor so that students are able to make apps for their android based phones. I emphasized in my STEAM:Coding class, instead of playing games, you can be making a game and making a profit once your get really good at it. App Inventor allows students to do the same thing. Like GameMaker, Scratch, and Alice, a lot of the work has been done in terms of the low level programming so all students have to do it tell the device what to do in a language that we all know without struggling with syntax based language.
This can transition easily to Lego Mindstorm Robotic as you can wirelessly connect your Android Device with a LegoMindstorm Kit. More on that once I play around with that thought.
STEAM:Theater will be for TheaterWork Only
This was also my first year teaching technical theater to my students. The experience of learning technical theater was pretty underwhelming until the 2nd semester when we had to revamp the theater from the lights, the sound, and the curtains. Roles weren’t assigned until 2nd semester and so the question is, “What did I do first semester?” At the time, I was trying to figure that out while dealing with some classroom management issues. It’s interesting that if you vision of the classroom is vague and foggy, classroom management falters, engagement falters, student purpose falter. This is one of those forgiveness year to figure out what the purpose of theater class is. I am now currently backwards planning so that I can list out every single experience a overall technical theater person would experience. This is current in the work which you can explore in the Behind the Scene category.
STEAM:Spark will be focused on College and Career Readiness
I entered in the SPARK program not knowing what to expect. I always gave myself a forgiveness year to figure what the heck I was suppose to do in this class. There were a lot of support from Iram Jabbar, the SPARK coordinator to the curriculum they gave us, made my STEAM:Spark life manageable. But the vision of this program was under-developed. I knew it had to do with college and career readiness but how would it look like and what were my weekly routines. The STEAM that I will be teaching are not your traditional creme of the crop student. They are the creme of the crops in their own way. My challenge is figure what they are good at the personalize the learning experience for them. Relationship build will be key as I start the new year as this SPARK class is part of the vision of closing the racial, class, and equity gap but provide students of low SES, first generation student, and student’s of color and opportunity to explore a field that they want to pursue. The SPARK curriculum is key, though the instructions are very teacher directed so I need to adapt the instructions given to me to give students an experience. That’s my challenge this coming school year.