This series of images documents the electricity stage of BOXES. Using paper and tape, learners construct their first circuit for Stage 1: No Brain(er). Continue reading »
This series of images documents the design stage of BOXES. Using paper and tape, learners construct the box that will house their circuits for Stage 1: No Brain(er). Continue reading »
STEAM-inspired, modular middle school curriculum designed to facilitate learning and empower teaching of abstract computational and electrical concepts through the personal fabrication of a physical, computationally-enhanced toolkit using alternative, “soft” materials.
I feel revitalized after some of the key decisions I have recently made based on the feedback I have been receiving and feel very confident in my direction and the scope of my work moving forward. Here is a deliverables list for thesis proposal. I would like to have completed drafts of the following: Anything with a ** will probably just be an unfinished outline/template.
Each stage of the process, i.e. lots o little paper boxes
(DESIGN, ELECTRONICS, TALKING, SENSING, COMPUTATION, NETWORKS)
(0) Outline of Computational Thinking skills
(1) Overview diagram to outline structure + refining stages (adding, dropping, changing names, etc)
(2) Essential Questions/Enduring Understandings
(3) Assessment rubric
(4) Diagram with Standards Alignment
(5) Individual lesson outline**
(6) Step by step documentation of lessons**
(7) Materials overview and list
This summer I took a class with Louisa Campbell in which we worked with a 7th grade science teacher to develop a unit long curriculum around matter and energy through the creation of various electronic projects. It is NYS Standard aligned and offers ample resources to guide the teacher in implementation (there is also a step-by-step guide that I am in the process of unearthing). For our approach to the curriculum framework, our main reference was Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. As with the goal of my thesis, our aim was to make this curriculum modular, thereby allowing the teacher to rearrange, subtract, or even add based on their own discretion and classroom setting.
Here is the lesson plan I mentioned the other day on Squishy Circuits:
Squishy Circuits D3
The most important takeaway from this presentation and critique is nailing down who it is for (teacher or student), where it will be implemented (in school or after school) – these are crucial questions I did not answer in this presentation, and Ryan’s critique made me realize that I needed to return to these as I move forward with my proposal. I believe his specific words were “those are key decisions that you’ll have to make that will have a big impact on what your project is.”
Here’s upshot: Continue reading »
Short Circuit is an afterschool program run by the Institute of Play at Quest to Learn that was piloted in the fall of 2010. It “is an informal hands-on laboratory for participants to explore and discover innovative uses for physical and digital materials, like circuits, conductive inks, LEDs, the latest programming languages, paper, pipe cleaners, iPads, video, audio and websites.” 
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Construction kits are great. Construction kits that have a life span of two or more uses are even better. LEGO is by far and away the most pervasive (of current generations at least), and it is so successful because it allows innumerable recombinations. Lately I have been trying to decide the form of my project as it aligns with my conceptual goals. From here, I would like to classify the possible recombinations of such construction kits into two manifestations: the mini-world and the reconstruction of a object, device, or setting at a real world scale.
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Some Reflections on Designing Construction Kits for Kids 
Mitch Resnick + Brian Silverman
1. Design for Designers
2. Low Floor and Wide Walls
3. Make Powerful Ideas Salient – Not Forced
4. Support Many Paths, Many Styles
5. Make it as Simple as Possible – and Maybe Even Simpler
6. Choose Black Boxes Carefully
7. A Little Bit of Programming Goes a Long Way
8. Give People What They Want – Not What They Ask For
9. Invent Things That You Would Want to Use Yourself
10. Iterate, Iterate – then Iterate Again
1. Mitchel Resnick and Brian Silverman, “Some reflections on designing construction kits for kids” (ACM Press, 2005), 117-122, http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1109556.