Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Testing out our new Makerspace!

For the past month, I have been secretly working to transform the library into a space to play and create.  I f you look into the back room, you will notice that shelves have disappeared and a green screen studio has been added. You may have also noticed the boxes of gadgets that are regularly delivered to the library.  It is now time for the big reveal!  Beginning January 5, come into the library during lunch and play around in our new Makerspace.

What is a Makerspace?

A Makerspace is simply a place to play, explore, create, and experiment.  Are you interested in learning how to make a green screen movie?  We have a space for you.  Do you want to learn more about robotics?  Give Sphero a test run.  Do you love building things?  Try out our new K'nex sets.  As the year progresses, we will continue to add more things for you to try.

Today fifth graders had a chance to be the first to try our new space.  Here they are in action.

Controlling Sphero, our new robotic toy
Making green screen videos
Learning how to code  

Making music with Makey Makey    

Building with K'nex
Making a K'nex bridge
Are you interested in learning more about the items in our Makerspace?  Come into the library after break and test them out for yourself.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Packers and Patriots Fans Unite for One Huddle

Today Integrated Technology students participated in a very fun Mystery Skype.  After guessing one another's respective locations, each school took time to share some information about their state's NFL team.  On our end we shared information about the Green Bay Packers, including the team's history, record, and famous players. 

Once our Mystery Skype revealed that we were speaking with students from Foxborough, MA, we discovered that they were New England Patriots fans.  This Skype was set-up as part of their One Huddle program.  One Huddle was designed to connect young Patriots fans with students living near where the Patriots' opposing teams play.  This gives students an opportunity to learn more about different US regions and the NFL teams in that area.  Despite the fact that football fans can be very passionate about their teams, through our conversation today, we learned that we actually have much in common.  (Our teams even currently have the same record right now!) 

Thanks to Mrs. Clements' fourth graders for doing such a great job today!  We are hoping for a potential Packers-Patriots Superbowl match-up so that we have the chance to meet with one another again.

Learning About a Career in Computer Programming

I am so excited about Skype in the Classroom's Hour of Code speaker series!  They have put together an excellent group of talented technology professionals who are willing to speak with classrooms to share their experiences and advice for students dreaming of a related career.  Yesterday, fifth graders in Integrated Technology listened to our special guest speaker, Sanjay Raghani, Software Development Engineer at Skype, share his advice for success in a computer programming career.  His biggest advice? Work hard in your math and science classes, and find any opportunity that you can to reinforce your skills.  He suggested that students join school math and science competitions and robotics teams.  He also explained the tasks that he must complete everyday at his job and shared some of the skills that were essential to success in his career.  The students were especially entertained when he gave them a problem to solve: what if a money broke into the room where the server that hosts their school district's website is housed?  Students had to share some different solutions that would help solve this problem.  He stressed that at his job this is how his team needs to think; they need to always figure out multiple solutions to a problem before they even happen to be prepared for any situation that may occur.

At the end of the presentation, students had a chance to ask their questions.  They were curious about college classes that prepared him, whether or not he liked using computers and electronics when he was younger (He did!), and what were some of his job perks (no set schedule!).  Before we said goodbye, we posed for a group photo.

Thanks to Sanjay Raghani for a great learning opportunity.  Thanks also to Skype in the Classroom for putting together such a great group of speakers.