MuseForJews

muse: n. a source of inspiration

Using 3D Printing to Foster Students’ Creativity, Collaboration and Design Skills

“I’m working on a design for the Apple Pencil holder.”

“I need to print a poster that I designed.”

“We’re designing logos for the Israel Experience trip.”

This is what I hear as my 6th, 7th and 8th grade students gather in our new Innovation Studio for their innovation exploration specials. They can’t wait to spend time learning how to use the new iPad Pros with Apple Pencils, GoPro cameras and green screen, poster printer and electronic paper cutter, and especially the 3D printer.

 

While the tech staff had experimented quite a bit with 3D printing over the summer, we had only worked with designs that were sourced ready-to-print. When I created “Innovation Go,” a game designed to teach my colleagues about the new innovation studio during faculty planning week, my tech colleagues assisted by finding and printing various Pokémon Go characters for prizes. That was easy—designing and printing our first “from scratch” project has certainly proven to be much more of an interesting challenge.

 

Our first student-designed project is most definitely an ambitious one. We discovered right away that the Apple Pencil styluses are really cool but cumbersome to store when being charged. They kind of look like an electronic octopus, and it’s been difficult to keep them organized. So my Innovation Studio co-teacher and I posed the challenge to our 7th and 8th grade students: could they design and print an attractive, functional holder?

 

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The 20 Pencil mess…

One of my 8th graders rose to the challenge. He began by using 123D Print to design a holder. After spending a couple days (and evenings) working on his design, we were ready to print our first project. We were shocked at the length of time that it took to print! 7th and 8th graders regularly popped into the Innovation Studio on their way to other classes to check on the progress, peering into the 3D printer to watch the tiny thread of filament build the object.

Three days later, when we returned from the Labor Day weekend, we found a beautiful, structurally sound, perfectly printed Apple Pencil holder. It was everything we hoped it would be…except it was too tight for the Apple Pencils to fit properly!

My students aren’t daunted in the least. We explained to the class that this is simply the first step in learning how to engineer. One 8th grader led the class in a spirited discussion of the process, including what worked and how we can improve on our design and building skills. The students debated important questions like how we can better test designs before committing hours of printing time and how we can avoid the 3D printer having to create wasteful supporting structures. Having seen a design go from an iPad Pro screen to an actual item that you could hold was powerful, and we could not have had the discussion before we had actually gone through that process.

We explained to the students what going “back to the drawing board” really means, – and off they went!

 

In the meantime, these 6th, 7th and 8th grade students are learning how to use the iPad Pros to design for the 3D printer, and we’re excited to see their ideas coming to fruition. We’re carefully planning how to test, test and test before printing, and how to continue to build on what we’ve learned to ensure future successes. Stay tuned for updates on our design and manufacturing processes as we continue to collaborate and innovate our way to 3D printing success.

Cross-posted from Solomon Schechter of Metropolitan Chicago

September 18, 2016 Posted by | iPads, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Learn with me: sketchnoting

I’m starting a new feature called “learn with me.” I realized that, more than anything else, I’m curious. About everything.

As a child, I was constantly reading. I remember not being able to eat breakfast unless the cereal box (now, there’s some fascinating literature) was sitting in front of me so I could read it. Of course, that was before the Internet. Now, I find myself eating dinner in front of the TV, with my iPad or phone in front of me. I realize that’s not what a nutritionist would suggest, but it’s perfect for a lifelong learner.

Anyway, whenever people ask me what I love most about my job, my answer typically is that there’s always something new to learn. I rarely do things the same way twice. In fact, the best part of repeating something you did before is figuring out how to improve on last year’s effort.

So one of the things I’ve been learning about is sketchnoting. Sketchnoting is essentially taking notes but doing it in an interesting visual manner; incorporating images (like icons), color and other diagramming tools. For instance, Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk accompanied by the RSA animation is a professional and incredibly powerful example of sketchnoting:

We will be getting a cart of iPad Pros next year with Apple Pencils, so I have been studying the whole sketchnoting field and figuring out how to teach it to my 7th and 8th grade students next year. Why sketchnoting on an iPad?

First, I figure the iPad app Paper will be a terrific way for the students to be able to combine sketching with using the iPad. Paper is a great app, and there are lots of ways that students will be able to use it. The advantage to using the iPad for sketchnoting is that electronic sketchnotes can easily be shared and tagged for reference.

Thoughts about teaching students to sketchnote:

The first is the “why.” I’ll start with why we take notes, and how studies are showing that taking notes using your hand is more effective than typing them.

The second will be to learn how to use Paper and the stylus. There are a number of terrific tutorials here. Then we’ll have the students create their own drawings using the app.

Next, we will work on learning how to actually sketchnote. This will be the tricky part – kids need to learn how to LISTEN and figure out what the important stuff is (which is why taking notes by hand rather than trying to just transcribe everything they hear). I think this will be the hard part, but certainly the most beneficial. There are several lessons plans online that incorporate sketchnoting:

Third grade sketchnoting

2nd graders go wild for sketchnoting

Visual narrative meets note taking

I think it will be helpful to find some TED talks that are of interest to the specific grade level, and practice sketchnoting to those, before using them in an actual class. In fact – that’s what I’m doing to hone my sketchnoting skills.

The other thing that I’ll do with my students is have them develop their own library of images (ideas, important connections, for more information, etc.) and then put them on the side of a drawing (like a key). Then, they can use that drawing as a template for each of their subsequent sketchnotes. That way, they don’t have to figure out how to redraw an image over and over; they can just select and copy it to wherever they need it when they’re doing the actual sketchnote.

I’m excited to try sketchnoting! Stay tuned!

May 10, 2016 Posted by | iPads, Learn with me, Sketchnoting | , , , , | Leave a comment

Adobe Voice

Crossposted from Behrman House’s Tech Tuesday email. Check out their great resources!

Kids love to tell stories. And teachers love an app that lets kids effortlessly choose photos or graphics, record their own stories and easily create an accompanying video.

Adobe Voice is free and surprisingly robust. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t get in your way – it’s simple and intuitive to use, doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary confusing features, and saves files in a format that you can easily share. Users can choose from a large variety of slide layouts, themes and music to enhance their stories. You can use the images that are in your personal camera roll, or you can search among Adobe Voice’s copyright-free image library (called “icons” in the app). There’s a nice selection of background music, too, or you can use music that’s already on your iPad.

Users need to use an Adobe ID (or sign in with Facebook credentials) to create Adobe Voice stories. You can sign up for an Adobe ID right in the app or do it via the adobe  website. Then, simply download Adobe Voice for your apple device. (Sorry – there’s no Android version right now.)

In Your Classroom

  • Have students bring in Jewish holiday family heirlooms and take photos of them holding them. Then, record the students talking about their object and how it’s important to their family.
  • Invite your students to retell a Bible story. Ask them to create between three and four drawing that depict important parts of that story. Then, use Adobe Voice to record students’ voices retelling the story to you, and add images of their drawing to accompany their telling.
  • Use Adobe Voice to create a tutorial for students struggling to learn how to pronounce prayers. Record yourself reciting the words to a prayer, and add imagery that relates to the meaning of the prayer.

March 4, 2015 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday, iPads, Mobile devices and apps, Storytelling | , , , | Leave a comment

Week One: 5th and 6th graders word processing with iPads

We are piloting using shared iPads for word processing in two of our language arts classes this year, and my sincere hope is that it’s going to get better. Admittedly, one week is not exactly an indicator of anything (which is why pilot programs last more that, well, a week), but the rollout has already had its issues.

This rollout was done in conjunction with our adoption of Google Apps for Education. Part of the reason for instituting GAFE is that we had eight year old laptops that are coming close to well past their useful life, an I was hoping to avoid buying more laptops. We’re pretty much a Mac shop (for lots of reasons), and even the least expensive Mac Air is more money than I’d like to pop right now. And we’ve had tremendous success in many of our classes with iPads, so I was interested in seeing if iPads would meet the needs of our LA teachers.

If we were going 1:1 with take home in these classes, I wouldn’t have worried about what’s going to happen to the students’ documents, but we’re not (and I’m not sure I see that next year, either). So, in order for iPads to be used by multiple students, their documents have to have somewhere to go. Enter GAFE.

Well, that sounds fine, except that I had had little experience with relying on the Docs as a word processor. I’ve used Google Docs on a laptop, and wasn’t unhappy with it, but there’s quite a bit of difference between the Docs app and the web-based version. And I’m pretty sure Google doesn’t really care about making it more user-friendly, since they’re really interested in our purchasing Chromebooks…

Is there spell check for Google docs?But this is what I’ve got. I’ve got two LA classes with beautiful iPads (and standalone keyboards) and no spellcheck. That’s the text you want to get in the middle of a meeting… 

Well….um….no. Not exactly. There’s autocorrect, but that’s not the same thing. And if you’ve ever taught 5th and 6th grade, you know that “be sure to use spell check” comes out of your mouth a lot.

A lot.

Gulp. 

So for my play time today, I’ve been playing with Docs, Pages and Textilus on my iPad and Google docs on my laptop to come up with a suitable workaround that will be palatable to my LA colleagues and doable by my 5th and 6th graders.

Here are my findings:

The only place students should have to log into Google is in the Docs app…not Drive or Safari. This is important because these are shared devices, so where you log in you must log out.

Tip #1 – accessing a spellchecker while using Google Docs app:

If you do this, you get autocorrect, but you also get little red dots beneath words that don’t appear in the dictionary:

  1. Create a new document and tap on the three little dots on the right (under the battery indicator)
  2. Tap on Share and export, and select “Save as Word (.docx)
  3. Docs will save your document as a new Word document with the .docx file extension. The original one is still there (with no file extension), so your kids will have to know which one to open. 
  4. If you click on the little red dots now, you should see a checkmark next to Spellcheck.

Tip #2 — creating content using the Pages app and then saving to Google Docs

Pages on the iPad is lovely. The problem is that Pages documents are saved on the device itself, and aren’t available to the student outside of school. And, since multiple students could be using any one iPad at one time, the documents aren’t secure. A workaround is:

Make sure the student has logged into Docs

  1. Create a document in Pages, and then tap on the rectangle with the up arrow on it. This icon generally indicates a way to share or move an item.
  2. Choose “Open in Another App.” 
  3. Tap on Word, and then Pages will convert the document. 
  4. When the conversion completes, tap on “Choose App” at the bottom of the next box. 
  5. Choose “Open in Docs,” and you should get a box asking if it’s okay to Upload Item to My Drive?
  6. Tap on Upload. The document will be available in the student’s Google Drive

Google – please add a real spell check to the Docs app, or next year it’s Macbook Airs for us. 

August 30, 2014 Posted by | G Suite (GAFE), iPads | , , | 1 Comment

   

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