Science and Tech Workshop in Sri Lanka

Just got back from a short trip to Sri Lanka, where I conducted two workshops for teachers.The first was in Maharagama on Dec 15th & 16th. The second workshop was in Kandy on Dec 18th.

Here are some stories about the workshops:

Much thanks to my co-presenters:

  • Dr. Paul Funk – Engineer, US Dept. of Agriculture, New Mexico (Via Skype)
  • Ruben Gameros – Autonomous Collective Systems Laboratory, Arizona State University (Via Skype)
  • Scott Logan – Montessori International School, Mesa, Arizona (Via Skype)
  • Lal Medawattegedera – Lecturer, Open University of Sri Lanka
  • Nalaka Gunewardene – Science writer, author, trustee of the Science and Development Network
  • Nazly Ahmed – Web App Dev at Social Seed Media

Also the two Keynote Speakers:

  • Dr. Ajit Madurapperuma – Dir. Of Information Communication Technology, ICTA
  • Dr. Nalin Samarasinha – Astrophysicist at Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona (Via Skype)

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Hands-On Engneering – Spaghetti Tower Challenge

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Hands-on session on Audio Recording

Scot Logan & Students

Hands-on session on Motors and Electro-magnetism

Scott Logan & students at Montessori International School, teach class – via Skype

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Aaron Fernando facilitates session

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Using audio and video for content creation

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Photography in Science – From SLRs to GoPro

Nazly Ahmed, Social Seed Media explains Depth of Field

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Engineering & Problem Solving – Building a Solar Oven

Paul Funk, US DOA

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Teaching Science Writing

Nalaka Gunewardene

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Future Ready Classroom – Google Cardboard & Augmented Reality

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Future Ready Classroom – Teaching Robotics

Ruben Gameros, ASU, teaches class on robotics – Via Skype

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Salt River Elementary featured in Dept. Of Interior News

I covered the visit of US Secretary of interior, Sally Jewell to my school, here on the school website.

It was exciting that she also visited my class, and had a talk about robotics and science. At that time, little did we know how it would figure in the grander scheme of things…as a Listening Tour, of Native youth.

The department’s video below included several pictures of her engaging with our students. Two of the students you see in this are potential podcasters in my class on audio. Three are in robotics.

More from the Department of the Interior’s communication channel called ‘This Week at Interior.’

Local NPR Station, KJZZ covered the visit here.

Here she talks  to two of my students, and watches a demo in my class.

 

 

And this from Cronkite News at ASU.

 

Radio – not too ‘old school’ for digital natives

Is radio too ‘old-school’ for our so-called digital natives?

On the face of it, radio is not cool because it lacks visuals that most young people have grown up with. Also, given that the screen has become our interface of life, teaching for the ear gets a thumbs down.

If we give up.

I’ve recently discovered that, in class, radio –and the recorded voice—has a remarkable potential for engagement. I’m still trying to decide if it’s the hardware (a simple, cheap  corded mic) or the ‘studio setting’ I establish that gets a class all excited about creating content, and interacting.

The past few weeks, based on a lesson on sound and audio, I pushed my first graders to work on a format to make their own class radio show. I know what you’re thinking- First Graders?!  They may never ‘get’ why interacting (live) is big part of learning/thinking, right?

I beg to differ.

I give them 30-second practice-runs, and then pick a ‘host’ (based on the voice recordings last week) and get that student to basically run the show.

They make a mistake, no problem. We start again. They flub on their words. We re-record.

This is a lesson that combines technology and language. Technology at the service of language. My goal in this class is two-fold:

  • Let them discover a technology that helps them  communicate better, think fast. New Common Core standards call for integrating “information from oral, visual, quantitative, and media sources…”
  • Understand how vocabulary is key to describe an event (playing in the snow), appreciate a piece of content (a book review), show interest in a subject (the “I want to be a/an………….. because” prompt)

But by putting a child in the proximity of a medium (the visible hardware and the invisible software), I want him or her to see Language Arts through a new filter; To appreciate why good metaphors and word choices make good scripts, great stories…

KJZZ & Story Corps

I thought a lot about this yesterday, returning from Phoenix, after stopping by the Story Corps booth, at the Phoenix Art Museum. A mobile studio goes across the country letting people tell their stories. They may not have radio voices, and six-dollar words, but their stories are compelling. (While we were there, former Chief Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor was in the booth, recording hers.)

On the drive back, my 10-year old daughter insisted on listening to ‘The World’ –a news segment from Public Radio International, BBC and NPR. She’s a huge fan of the segment, Geo Quiz.

She’s a digital native. Yet it’s radio, not TV, that has sparked her interest in geography and world events.  It’s not as old school as you’d think.