Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Segway NXTway-Gyro self-balancing NXT robot with remote PSP joystick con...

This clip shows the possibilities of NXT WOW. I spent several hours trying to improve my understanding of PID Control. After quitting last night, however, I refocused on the human intelligence. What can we learn from kids who have developed these kinesthetic skills that will help us to help all students to achieve at high levels?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mathematica Solution to the GyroBot Control

A Google search (forces inverted pedulum angular rate) produced this online view into a Mathematica Notebook addressing the challenge of robot control.

"Inverted Pendulum Controls" from the Wolfram Demonstrations Project

Note the much greater complexity than the solution that Barello describes in his version of the GyroBot. Perhaps we can derive insight from this demonstration to see how to implement an easier solution. Also note that Mathematica even provides a free viewer tool that allows an intermediate level of access to the model.

Mathematica model contributed by: Stephen Wilkerson (Towson University) and Nathan Slegers (University of Alabama, Huntsville) with contributions by Franz Brandhuber

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ariel, Laurel and Alyssa share in Frau Adams' class

Frau Adams invited students in her 8th grade German class to submit weather projects in multimedia formats of students' personal preferences. Ariel and Laurel chose to extend their work with the green screen in ITeam for this assignment. Here, they set up to share their production with their class. I wanted to submit a brief video clip of their presentation to the class but Blogger would not accept the video file submitted this way as described here and here.

This image comes from the camera album in the gallery.
This method does not require the end termination. I also needed to add tags manually.

ReTest post to blogger with attached image

This post ideally should contain a title. This text with appropriate formatting.

The AndroidLegoRemote video. It did not take the video.

Now trying a jpg image. And a tag escape.

And none of the signature stuff after an end command. The end command worked as described in help but my attempt to probe the system for undocumented functionality did not produce the desired result:
#tag test
I needed to add the labels to the post manually.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sharing video of learning process

Blogspot gives me a tool for adding video to this post. Will it work any better than the Video Upgrade at Wordpress.com?

I have been trying to locate one of my videos of this subject on my MLTI laptop and it is anything but straightforward. I can easily find and view the video I want but so far, I cannot get the file url into the upload tool.

By using the "Save for Web" item under the file menu of QuickTime, I was able to create and find the file for upload. While that convoluted process might have sufficed in the past, it doesn't encourage routine use. What can we do to facilitate easier use?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Capstone retreat and student participation

The Mt. Ararat H.S. Capstone Committee has planned an all-day retreat off-campus in order to focus on the development of resources necessary for the implementation. Unfortunately, the two student members of the committee expressed reservations about taking that much time away from school because of the challenge of keeping up with demanding course-work. The situation illustrates the challenge that students face in having to choose between two conflicting demands: during junior-year, when students are trying their hardest to establish exemplary records, conventional school work almost always wins. It is extremely difficult to introduce a new culture when the existing one is so firmly established and reinforced.

I wonder if some of the seniors that are doing pre-pilot projects might be available. They face some similar challenges but might be willing to come for part of the day and recruit a collaborator who would bring valuable perspectives, too.

NXT, AppInventor and ?! [1st DRAFT]

Interrobang invites students to participate in missions and share their work as deeds that are reviewed before publication on their website http://playinterrobang.com. Ariel and I are evaluating the environment by submitting a collaborative mission. Interrobang held our work in limbo for more than three days.

Sunday evening they returned access to our work with a request to revise before they will accept it. The reviewer suggested that we add some video to our contribution.

Deed Needs Revisions

The deed you submitted for the mission "Knowledge Swap" needs some more work before it can be approved. You can keep working on it and submit it again at any time.

Here's what you need to work on:
This is very cool and we want to accept the deed -- but I think it can be much more illuminating to the community if you also upload a little video of what you're doing. Is that possible? We'll give you more points if you do so. Thanks!

So, I am saving it here as part of our development process and evaluation.

"Ariel M. and I worked together combining her knowledge of NXT and mine of AppInventor"

I am developing experience with AppInventor and track the new features as they are released. When I saw that Liz Looney was developing AppInventor support for NXT robotics, I anticipated that this would be highly engaging for ITeam members.


Ariel uses NXT robotics outside of school. She showed me how to use the NXT module and test a variety of sensors. For example, she used the ultrasonic distance sensor to determine its range (~1 to 90 inches). We connected it to math by measuring the maximum distance and comparing it with the distance we measured (as 7.5 x 12" tiles on the floor outside he library).

We could make an even more engaged connection with STEM by conducting a more complete comparison of observed (sensor) with measured (tape measure) distances and plotting those for analysis and interpretation. Once ITeam members are sufficiently familiar with the tools, we may be able to help MAMS sixth-grade teachers and Ms. Hogan, the technology integrator, incorporate ideas into the force and motion unit that they are developing.

We were able to connect the phone to the NXT Bluetooth and control both the tone generation and a test motor! Ariel was sufficiently excited that she started building the robot described in the NXT instructions booklet.

12/10/10- Today we worked on adding another motor to the robot. We also took some pictures of what we were doing. Hopefully by next week we will have the motors put together and many more pictures.

Friday, December 10, 2010

InterroBang ?! - A network for student-centered learning?

We need infrastructure to support project- and challenge-based learning that we are doing in both MAMS ITeam and MTA Capstone. We have been exploring and doing action research using AppInventor to control NXT robotics as they roll out new features. We want to share our work with others who might be interested in it.

I learned about ?! (InterroBang: http://playinterrobang.com/) through a message that Jim Matthews posted on the ARISgames group (http://groups.google.com/group/arisgames). I investigated, created an account, selected a mission, created an entry based on current work, invited Ariel, one of our experienced ITeam members, to contribute and help evaluate the system. After we submitted our entry to the system, I wrote the following reflection on the wall of of my user page at InterroBang.
Stephen Spaeth [Note that this link will not take most users to the right page because you need to have an account to get access to this page.] Ariel joined our team and contributed to documenting the deed. She took the picture, wrote the caption, and added text to describe the continuing work we did today. She decided that we were ready to submit the mission and hit the button. Apparently, it takes the deed out of our hands and we no longer have access to the deed. I can understand the need to freeze it during the approval process but I'd still like to be able to see the preview. It is unnerving to loose control over our own creation.
about 18 hours ago
As more time elapses, it becomes clearer that providers of this service need to:
  • Make the time-frame for approval process clearer
  • Make it clear to users that they will loose access to their own creations
  • Add the option to cross-post entries to other venues (e. g. to this blog for me) or at least the option to make the entry publicly accessible
Ariel thought that we should encourage ITeam members to use this service. I'm pretty sure that we don't want to do that until we resolve some of the outstanding issues.

Update: AppInventor developers and beta users are cranking out useful resources almost every day. For example, Liz Looney shared ShinyLegoNxt, a new source file to demonstrate the new NXT resources.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Re-Building Capstone

We are establishing a formal Capstone program at Mt. Ararat High School to give student alternative ways to show that they meet the mission of our school. As part of the process, we are running a Capstone Pilot with a subset of students. At yesterdays' committee meeting, Dr. King described Chandler M.'s plan to rebuild a motorcycle. After the meeting, I wrote to Dr. King:
Thank you for making time in your schedule to participate (even briefly) in the capstone meeting today. I thought that your part added much to the deliberations. Your story about rebuilding a motorcycle resonated with me because my brother's student initiated learning project consisted of 3 or 4 years dedicated to rebuilding two Model A Fords.
Students have wanted more engaging learning experiences for a long time. But only the most persistent and/or well-supported have been able to do substantial interest-based project and connect them with their school experiences. How can we make it possible for all students to get the benefit of doing the "hard fun" of something they want to learn?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Alex's Blog

Alex came to visit and updated us on his work at Hoboken and the new opportunity to do work on transportation security in London. I told him about discussing Capstone Projects with Brad Smith. He gave us the address for his blog:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Organizations selected for Google Code-in 2010

Organizations selected for Google Code-in 2010

For several years, Google has supported the development of open source projects by sponsoring Summer of Code Programs and related competitions. They typically have recruited undergraduates to participate and compete for prizes. They programs are sufficiently successful that Google has developed infrastructure to support projects. They are now extending the program to include secondary school students (13 to 18 year-old). Since this is the age range of our students, I have studied the program in more detail.

Previously, I thought they were primarily interested narrowly in "code." The Code-In Program makes it clear that all aspects of open source development are supported including outreach and training. These elements are closer to the mission of MSAD 75 ITeams so I want to understand the opportunity even more.

One of the projects selected to participate in the Code-in Program is LimeSurvey. Since we use surveys extensively to support learning and management, I wonder whether we can find ITeam members or others who would be motivated to participate. Since they build mentoring into the process, these opportunities would make great Capstone Projects for students who are motivated: Announcing Accepted Organizations for Google Code-in.

Friday, October 22, 2010

2011 Windstorm Challenge

Mt. Ararat students Jacob K. and Ian H. designed, built and submitted their entry to the 2010 Maine Wind Blade Challenge. Organizers recently announced the deadline for the 2011 Challenge and announced the opportunity to participate in a second challenge: The Windstorm Challenge (http://www.deepcwind.org/windstorm/index.php and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Orono-ME/Windstorm-Challenge/151153578227990)

Mt. Ararat students have expressed interest in creating an entry for the Windstorm Challenge:

These entries could provide outstanding examples of Capstone Projects. Can we find video teams who could create the a documentary of such a project as their Capstone Project?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Google charts and more

I have started programming app inventor apps. Some members of the Google app inventor group provide new insights. Here is one: The Google Charts API provides the tools to produce a growing variety of charts and maps to visualize data and share the results in web-based images. The tools are sufficiently flexible to support the creation of QR Codes.

A sample map. and to the tools: Chart image playground-Quadratic equation

Use a QR Code scanner to test these codes.

I hadn't fully appreciated until I worked with this tool that the 'data' can be many forms (urls, app store links, phone numbers, poetry, mathematical equations, ...) and now under control of anyone who has a Google account. This capacity solves on of the outstanding questions that I had about the development of some ARIS Quests.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Interested in Developing Apps?

Are you interested in learning more about developing apps for mobile phones? I need some original images to incorporate in a demonstration app for App Inventor development. This image in Russian is not particularly helpful to most of us despite its Creative Commons License: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pitch_Roll_Yaw%28rus%29.png. Once the images are created (probably with SketchUp), I'd like to explore the possibility of using SketchUp to animate motion sensors. If people are interested in learning more about programming smartphone apps, then this will be an opportunity to do that, too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beginning a Learning Partnership

We will have a meeting for middle school parents on Wednesday this week and I want to have a student help me explain some of the new directions we are taking. Jon is an eighth-grade student who enjoys science and wants to learn more. Ms. Theberge thought that he would be able to learn quickly and be confident enough to share on such short notice.

We met last Friday during Community Enrichment Time (CET) to make a plan. I had hoped that he would be able to bring his laptop home over the weekend so that he could learn to use the data logging and analysis software that MLTI installed on all computers. At that meeting, he told me that he could not do that because students cannot bring home computers until after the parent meeting. Foiled.

When I told Ms. Koch the story on Monday morning, she said, "We have a computer that we could loan to him for this purpose!" So, I quickly installed the required software and she delivered it to his math class. He returned this afternoon for another session to prepare for Wednesday evening. He seemed pleased to have had the opportunity to work on the project at home. He could not find the video tutorial so he figured it out on his own. He looked at the help menu but did not realize that further down the page they provided links to additional information. Despite these challenges, he was able to create the trace of a foosball bouncing on a hard floor.

We compared his experiment to the simple simulation that I created 7 months ago (click on the image to go to the Scratch site where you can interact with the project and download it to revise and improve it):

Scratch Project

Now that we have more insight from our research, I can see ways to correct some over-simplification in my simulation!

We reflected that he had been able to make considerable progress on the challenge. That he had exercise ingenuity to solve some problems. That he enjoyed the 'hard fun.' That there are opportunities to improve his initial attempt. That he should keep a copy of his first try so that we can look back on the experience to see the progress that he/we are making. He has a soccer game this afternoon so he won't have as much time to repeat the experiment but will try.

I wonder if he will think about bouncing soccer balls in new ways as a result of this work?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Progress as a Mechanic

Gamestar support responded to my query. Seems as if they are still refining their level controls:
Gamestar Mechanic Your bug report Sep 7th, 2010
Hi, SCSpaeth-

It seems you have found a bug! The system has been incorrectly unlocking some quest games for users. You are required to beat all missions in an episode before the next episode is unlocked. You can currently check to see if a mission is completed by a red check mark that appears on the mission tab. If there is no red check mark, then the mission is not complete.

As it currently stands, if you do not finish a mission, the next one will still unlock. You can go back to a mission by clicking its tab in the mission screen. You may experience unexpected behavior in how your episodes unlock until we address this issue within the next week.

Thank you for your bug report!

I returned and reworked through all the levels in Episode 2 and finally got to move on to Episode 3. While I worked, Kate asked me what I was doing. She is used to a regular pattern of sounds coming from my computing. This certainly differed from my typical computing. I told her personally, that I'd prefer solving puzzles (e. g. mind bending) to action but the Factory is training well-rounded game mechanics.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gamestar Mechanic Challenges

I signed up for the Gamestar Mechanic Beta because of the power that I saw in ITeam members use of Scratch 1.4 to create games. Some students had a little difficulty with Scratch programming so I hope that Gamestar Mechanic will provide an easier on ramp to this kind of learning opportunity.

My invitation arrived and I have been exploring and asking older students to explore. They are generally enthusiastic and I am enjoying the opportunity to learn new skills and ideas. But I got stuck so I sent the following message to the Gamestar Mechanic support system:

In the instructions for participating in the Challenge you say

"If you haven't already, complete Episodes 1-5 of the Quest to earn the right to publish games in your Workshop. If you already have, you might want to replay Episode 4 for a quick reminder about top-down games vs. platformers." So, I know that there are at least three more Episodes to complete.

I have completed the four levels of Episode 1 and two levels of Episode 2. But now, the only choices I can make are to replay levels within Episodes 1 and 2. The colored indices display on the silos on the left of Factory 7 and level tabs (4 for E1 and 2 for E2 )but I don't know how to activate more levels within E2 or the next Episode. If that is part of the puzzle to be solved, then I'll keep searching for the key. If it is an unintended challenge, I'd appreciate some help in continuing.

Maybe I need a kid to help me through this barrier.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

How to make a fake UFO video

Avery has been looking forward to joining ITeam. He found one of my YouTube accounts and subscribed to my channel. When I looked one of his videos, it bore a striking similarity to one I posted recently:


Mine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv7xG9KA4Ss

Until he pointed it out, I had no idea that I had been making "ufo videos." I'll have to ask him how he is getting his viewers!

Friday, July 30, 2010

App Inventor for Android

Googlelabs have developed a new tool for learning and programming: App Inventor for Android. The programming interface is similar to that of Scratch 1.4 and has common roots.

They are inviting requests from users and educators to participate in Beta testing. I wrote this in my request:

Our student tech team members have been using Scratch 1.4 extensively and have produced increasingly interesting and elaborate games. They are so engaged with the experience, that they spend weekends and vacation time working on Projects.

They used the Scratch viewer for iPhone briefly until Apple pulled it from their App Store. I'm confident that they will transition to this new level of development without breaking stride!

Stephen Spaeth
Scratch Gallery: http://scratch.mit.edu/galleries/view/75680

I'm eager to see what they will do with this!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tools for Place-based Learning Projects

We are trying to develop our capacity for Challenge- and Place-Based Learning. Tim H. helped me test the Trails App on his iPhone. When it worked reasonably well, we used it at the Summer Technology Institute as one of the sub-projects of our Vital Signs Project. This is an extension of that effort:

Picture geotag? at EveryTrail

Plan your trips with EveryTrail iPhone Travel Guides

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cameron Herold: Let's raise kids to be entrepreneurs | Video on TED.com

While trying to setup a network service, I waited for the required several minutes for data to load from one interface to another. I took the opportunity to catch up on a little RSS Feed Reading. I found this talk by Cameron Herold to be interesting and applicable to our work.
Cameron Herold: Let's raise kids to be entrepreneurs | Video on TED.com
Tim, Kate and others are exhibiting entrepreneurial leadership. What can we do to help foster stronger and broader support for it?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Respect Awards - New York 2010 - Danielle Smith

"GLSENvideo — May 28, 2010 — Danielle Smith is honored as this year's Student Advocate of the Year, presented by AT&T, at GLSEN's seventh annual Respect Awards - New York."

In this speech accepting this national award, Dani describes the process by which she became a student leader. Peers, teachers, administrators, parents and community members can benefit from seeing this autobiography of leadership development and asking themselves, "What can I do to help develop leadership skills for myself and others?"

Where do we see other students and colleagues take the responsibility for informal leadership that would otherwise not be noticed? What can we do to share these so that they become the norm rather than the exception?

The Making A Difference Club Video!

I saw Jennifer and Ted at the Memorial Day Parade on Main Street. We shared progress on establishing community connections. She and Ted told me about this video that The Making a Difference Club created in order to have something to share with their community partners at Spectrum Generations. They made the video and then worked with six Spectrum partners to setup YouTube accounts and find videos of interest to them.

Both Ted and Jennifer said that both groups enjoyed the experience and want to do more. She reported similar challenges sustaining collaborations when other activities compete (e. g. school sports participation) for collaboration time. Jennifer liked the idea of collaborating on the Power Meter Project and expressed enthusiasm for connections with other groups and more systematic approaches. She especially liked the idea of improving assessments to be more consistent with 21st Century skills.
Vital Signs involves collecting, mapping, photographing, analyzing, and communicating about local invasive species to determine where they are and how they are spreading through Maine. Power Meter uses real-time energy monitors (provided by the project) at school and home to collect real-time data about electrical energy use and determine ways of reducing consumption and saving money.
In looking for the link to Spectrum Generations, I noticed that its partners include some of ours as well:

Spectrum Generations celebrated a “soft” opening recently with a luncheon at the new Southern Midcoast Community Center at 12 Main Street in Topsham.

Guests included representatives from Westrum House in Topsham, CHANS Home Health Care, TRIAD, the Topsham municipal office, Respite Care, and Hospice. Two new Center volunteers took advantage of the opportunity to start the new “Friday Fun” morning social time.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MYAN Peer Leadership Award 2010 - Tim

Mt. Ararat High School holds award ceremonies to recognize the contributions and achievements of students. MTA High School recognized juniors during Advisory this morning. Organizers asked me to present Tim's MYAN Peer Leadership Award to him.

Find my remarks below:

MYAN is the Maine Youth Action Network, a state-wide organization dedicated to encouraging youth leadership development. They do this through a Peer-Leadership Conference and Workshops. At MTA, we know them best as one of the organizations that supported the development of Wellness Wednesdays.

The MYAN Youth Leadership Awards recognize young people who exemplify leadership in their groups, schools & communities. These youth are selected for their dedication and passion for making positive change.
Tim seeks out opportunities to help with technology in schools. He takes responsibility for his own learning in and out of school. He transfers knowledge and skills from work in the community to activities in school.
Beyond that, Tim is helping us to understand the mission and vision of our school:
MTA Vision and Mission Statement
At Mt. Ararat High School our vision is for every student to explore and work toward fulfilling his or her unique potential.
Tim is taking responsibility for shaping his high school experience to meet his and our needs:
  • He led the identification of the Network Challenge.
  • He contributes to technology use at the high school as an ITeam tech support person.
  • He works with District Technology Department to contribute a student perspective to network use at the high school.
  • He will participate in the competitive NextGen Operators program for the 2010 MLTI Student Conference. Tomorrow he will work along side Networkmaine, Apple and Cisco engineers to support the wireless network for 1000 MLTI laptops that students use in Orono.
  • His volunteer work at the middle and high school has convinced the District Technology Department to hire him during the summer to work on tech support.
  • Finally, he has also worked with Guidance, Staff and Mentors to create internship for next school year that will extend his work from the summer.
His leadership helps us understand how students can take a greater role in identifying learning opportunities important to them and make them happen.

Thank you, Tim, for your leadership!

Monday, May 10, 2010

High School Students Reach Across Globe Through Technology

  • DJ submitted this request to alert people about our collaboration with Maris Stella High School. He received some authentic feedback from the Editor of this About.com section. This use of network tools illustrates students' developing understanding of networking to achieve goals.

    tags: ChBL, ITeam, mlti, assessment, tech

    • High School Students Reach Across Globe Through Technology

      From Douglas Smith,

    • Our mission has been to communicate and collaborate with students from Singapore about real world issues of information, communication and technology skills faced in schools today.
    • How I Got Involved With My Cause:

      I've always had a passion for technology and when a few friends and I got involved in the school's 1-1 laptop program, we were able to come up with solutions to problems that the school faced.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
Note that the annotations that I added to highlights from DJ's entry are not included in this blog posting. You can see my comments in the annotated version linked above.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Middle school students support Scratch 2.0

Seventh-grade members of our ITeam have been creating Scratch Projects for several months. The projects started simply and have progressively increased in complexity. I also see them apply concepts that they are learning in math (e. g. x- y-coordinate systems) to a context for which they have great affinity, game development. They are spending considerable amounts of time exploring and creating projects outside of school.

Scratch Project

Look at this gallery of projects to see more examples: http://scratch.mit.edu/galleries/view/75680

We discussed the plans to develop Scratch 2.0 and one student proposed development of capacity similar to Build Your Own Blocks (BYOB) that several advanced users of Scratch have been developing and evaluating: http://scratch.mit.edu/galleries/view/79892 When I showed him BYOB, he downloaded the image and created test blocks with interesting properties. He created an arrow control with a rate parameter and discovered that a negative value for the parameter inverted the senses of up/down and left/right arrows as well as controlling the rate.

When I showed the Scratch programmers the Scratch entry in the DML Competition site and explained the rationale for comments from users, they considered adding a comment. But, ultimately they chose to create new Scratch projects instead. They are preparing to work with middle school technology teachers at the District Summer Technology Institute to incorporate Scratch into their classes. We all look forward to using Scratch 2.0.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Google Building Maker- evaluation

I read the Google Blog and learned about Building Maker, a browser-based 3D modeling program. I wanted to learn more and give some feedback so I explored and then took their survey. Here is my more extended response:
I am a technology integration specialist in a Maine School District (MSAD 75, Topsham, Maine) where we have one-to-one laptop implementation (Maine Learning Technology Initiative, MLTI) from grades 7 through 12. We are trying to identify ways for students to apply math concepts in service to their communities. We explored SketchUp modeling and found it to be more complex than we could manage with available resources. I decided to explore Building Maker as a potentially shallower learning curve.

I saw that one of your featured users, do nuko, was mapping extensively in Sapporo, Japan. I lived there many years ago but still recall the time fondly so I decided to explore the Building tools there. I suspect it will be some time before you provide Building Maker images for Topsham, Maine.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Drawing on Scratch

I told ITeam members about the enthusiasm that Ms. Loughlin, the Assistant Superintendent of MSAD 75, showed for the generative work that they have been creating with Scratch, SAM, Alice and video. They expressed appreciation for the recognition and seem to be inspired to create more.

Coby created a drawing program that uses the arrow keys to control the "Pen" and a palette to control the colors. If you need instructions to understand how to use it, click on the "Learn more about this project" link.

Learn more about this project.

I tried to adjust the scale of the applet to get the controls to fit within the column width of the Blogger page but it does not scale project as it does images. The layout of the programs that Coby and Scratch designers have used causes some controls to be out-of-sight. I am excited to see that the Scratch programmers are using x-, y-coordinate systems to create and discuss their development strategies. This kind of application of math concepts should serve them well in more formal math and science learning.

Supreme Decision- a learning game

The Learning Games Network will host a session on the new series of games designed to support learning about civics. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor encourages students and teachers to use games to engage in important work through new media. This may interest our students even more because of their opinions about student rights and technology: Supreme Decision.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

ITeam Scratch Programming

Some ITeam members have embraced Scratch as a creative medium. All ITeam members have shown their enthusiasm for the projects. I have encouraged the programmers to share their work at the Scratch site. Coby has shared one of his simple games. Charlie has programmed several but not yet shared any on the Scratch site. Here I test to see whether I can share their work and extend their audiences.

Scratch Project
The simple embed reference is above and the applet embed is below:

applet id="ProjectApplet" style="display: block;" code="ScratchApplet" codebase="http://scratch.mit.edu/static/misc" archive="ScratchApplet.jar" height="387" width="550">/applet> Learn more about this project
It looks as if Blogger won't accept the Applet embed.
Correction: The Blogger Preview did not load the Applet embed when I used the Chrome browser. Now that I have switched to Firefox, it loads the program and starts. Unfortunately, the window is too narrow so the start flag and stop button are hidden out-of-sight. The only way I could stop the program was to leave the page. We'll need some more work on this to find the best ways to share our projects.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Google's Blogger API connects to Seamless Services?

Blog This - simple editor using the Blogger JavaScript API
I am trying to understand how to use the JSON feed from Diigo to support our assessment needs. Google provides several examples using such feeds and I am testing this one to understand how it works.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Skills- Linda Darling Hammond's List - Part 2

I wrote recently about New Skills- Linda Darling Hammond's List that will be needed in this new economy. Sally and I discussed how we can help our students and stakeholders to value and develop these skills. We will want to use some of these ideas to support the collaboration with students at Maris Stella HS in Singapore.

Then, over the weekend, I worked with Nils to explore the proposal that he and others at CTLT are developing for the New Media Competition. We struggled with an online submission interface that interfered with our work. I used the comment system that the competition organizers provided so that they would easily be able to see our public work without going elsewhere. But, I kept some of my own notes about the process in Diigo. I shared some of those with Nils in the form of a Diigo List.

Nils returned to work on Monday and consulted with Theron and produced a new way to organize feedback on proposals using a DML-Competition group with color-coded highlights in Diigo and then he tried Google Sidewiki. This morning, Theron commented that he wanted to be able to sort and filter for tags. I liked Theron's idea but I couldn't find any way to run the queries that Theron requested.

I looked at the tools in Diigo to learn which could potentially support the filtering and found that Diigo Groups have some of the right properties. Initially, I met some internal resistance because this seemed as if it were an unusual application of groups. But as I worked with the concept, it started to grow on me. So, I needed some relatively short names for one or more Diigo groups to prototype my interpretation. So, I searched for Darling Hammond's list and revised it for compact representation:

Design, evaluate & manage one's work
Frame, investigate & solve problems
Find, analyze & use information
Collaborate strategically
Communicate in many forms
Develop new products & ideas
(Darling Hammond, 2010)

As I worked on the list and the problem, I realized that it forms a reasonable representation of our (Sally, Nils, Theron, Steve, Lisa, ...) work, too. In this post alone, I describe how we "frame, investigate, & solve problems," "collaborate strategically," "communicate in many forms," and "develop new ideas." Perhaps one of the best ways for us to understand how to help our students and colleagues is to walk a mile in these shoes.

Linda Darling Hammond. 2010. The Flat World and Education, TC Press. 408 pgs.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Flocking simulation and school change

The Committed Sardines are trying to support transformation of schools. The name "Committed Sardines" requires some explanation that they provide on a page with their blog. They use analogies to contrast the turning radius of a whale with that of sardines swimming in schools to describe their strategy to promote change in schools.
But finally, when a critical mass of truly committed sardines is reached - not a huge number like 50 percent or 80 percent of the school, but 15 to 20 percent who are truly committed to a new direction - the rest of the school suddenly turns and goes with them - almost instantaneously!
I recalled Netlogo and Starlogo both provide samples of flocking simulations that they say are similar to schooling. In searching for and embeddable version of a flocking simulations, I discovered this one at OpenProcessing provides this simulation of flocking/schooling with a different goal. Move the mouse around the simulation window to see changes in the system behavior.

OpenProcessing represents interesting concepts that some of our ITeam members may grow to appreciate.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Testing LooseStitch Collaborative Outliner

This post tests the online outliner LooseStitch that claims to make it possible to collaborate on outlines.

And this continues the blog text. The embed script does not render in the blogspot preview. When it does render, the outliner seems to be a little confused about where it is in the outline.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Skills- Linda Darling Hammond's List

Linda Darling Hammond has published a new book, Flat World and Education: How America's commitment to equity will determine our future, that applies the principles of Tom Friedman's Flat World concept to Education. In chapter one, she lists skills that will be needed in the 21st Century. She attributes the list to Peter Drucker and Tony Wagner. But she writes her list in ways that are succinct, compelling and easier for students, parents and others to understand.

Skills that will be needed in this new economy include the capacity to:
  • Design, evaluate, and manage one's own work so that it continually improves.
  • Frame, investigate, and solve problems using a wide range of tools and resources.
  • Find, analyse and use information for many purposes.
  • Collaborate strategically with others.
  • Communicate effectively in many forms.
  • Develop new products and ideas.
Sally Loughlin and I are trying to find ways for students and teachers to use this or a similar list in assessment for learning including self- and peer-assessment.

She reported using this list in recent discussions with members of the local Rotary Club and observed that the list resonated with them. Their discussions led to a focus on students communicating with members of our communities similar to those that the Study Circle Pilot groups' recommended as actions to develop.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Program at UMaine for wind development

New Courses to be offered at UMaine for wind development

We should try to find ways to articulate our efforts in STEM with these initiatives.
“We’re putting together new educational programs at the university. Undergraduate and graduate students will work in the laboratory and get paid. It covers all aspects of the deep-sea wind development, whether it’s the oceanographic environmental monitoring piece or the development of composite turbines, said Dagher.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Choosing Tools for Collaboration: Co-presence Indicators in gDocs

MTA student leaders, Josh Ottow, Lisa Hogan and I are planning a challenge-based learning project called the Network Challenge. It developed as a result of the expansion of the MLTI project from 7th and 8th-grades to the high school. Adding more than 900 devices to the MSAD 75 network introduces both opportunities and challenges.

We need to decide what tools will best support the effort. Since one of the major assessments of the project is a performance-based presentation to MTA Faculty, one of the constraints is that project members will need to develop and give presentations. When students at the MYAN Conference, presented one of their action plans to a review panel, they worked under an extremely tight time-frame. They chose Keynote because they were familiar with the program and didn't need to deal with remote collaborators.

A week later, when visitors came from Maris Stella High School in Singapore to learn how we use technology to enhance learning, Lisa and I asked ITeam members to develop and give a digital presentation about ITeam's contributions to deployment and supporting enhanced uses of technology for learning. We called a brief meeting on Monday afternoon, divided the topics among the ITeam members most involved with each project and asked each presenter to create a 2- to 4-slide presentation. Since students were not able to stay to develop their presentations, we discussed whether to use Google Presentation or Keynote. Since we did not have time for face-to-face development, I leaned toward the Google solution. I thought that it might help presenters to see and articulate through lines of ITeam work. Lisa expressed a strong preference for Keynote and dissatisfaction with some aspects of Google's presentation tool. She proposed that students use Keynote, and email their parts of the presentation to her. Then she would assemble the components into the composite presentation by the deadline of 10:00 am the next day. Presenters accepted her proposal after agreeing to use a common theme and style for their parts so that the composite presentation would be consistent.

When we gathered the next morning, only a few had submitted their parts of the presentation to Lisa via email. So the others transferred their parts via thumb-drive. During the presentation, students spoke in turn as the topic slide signaled their entrances. Since students spoke about common experiences, they built on their previous knowledge of each others' topics rather than previewing their presentations. Students gave impressive demonstrations of their contributions and leadership to the school and district.

The Google Docs development team recently announced the addition of Co-Presence Indicators in the Google Presentations tool. Now, you can see where a collaborator is working on some element of a presentation (e. g. slide, title, text, image, ...). This new feature makes it easier and more reliable to collaborate on the development of a presentation even if contributors can not meet face-to-face.

Schedules challenge our work on the Network Challenge. Students, staff and resource people are all busy with other responsibilities that make it difficult to schedule face-to-face time for the team to work on the challenge. The plan for an initial presentation to the faculty on the January 19th professional development day gives us more time than either of the previous cases. We all have more experience with online collaborative documents. We may even have the time necessary to develop the presentation using Google tools in ways that will make it possible to export into a Keynote for the final presentation to take advantage of some of the features that come with a desktop application.