3D Printing

How can 3D printing change the way we think about education?

3D printing brings actual artifacts into the classroom, making lessons more interactive. Students are able to build knowledge by seeing a model, as well as by touching, using, or manipulating an example of what they are learning. This can make learning more meaningful and fun. Students are often more interested and engaged when working with more stimuli than just a textbook (3D, 2017).

Historical artifact, specialty maps (ex. topography), cooking molds, prototypes, models of molecules, cells, virus, and organs, math scale models, and floor plans, are all examples of how 3D printing can be used in education (10 ways, 2013). For more ideas visit this article, Why 3D Printing Needs to Take Off in Schools Around the World, at 3D print.com. It gives multiple ideas, as well as links to videos and examples. (Krassenstein). Another great resource for teachers who need lesson ideas comes from Thingiverse, where they have lessons for all grades and subjects. They also have start up videos to help those who are not sure how to begin.

Some argue that there isn’t much that can’t be done by 3D printers. The limit to what can be accomplished is only in our ability to imagine uses for them. Areas of study already benefiting from this technology are medicine, science,  and vocational courses (Federico-OMurchu, 2014). 3D printing can make education more interesting and engaging.

3D printing sounds very interesting and could definitely work with some lessons; however, it seems like an expensive new addition to the classroom. It would be nice to have something for students to manipulate, but for the Language Arts classroom it doesn’t seem to be as beneficial as it would be in the sciences and social studies. I do, however, find it a fascinating idea. In fact, I keep thinking about the idea of printing food and human organs. I just can’t wrap my mind around some of the things that can be printed, nor how I feel about it.

10 ways 3D printing can be used in education. Teachthought, (2013, February 19). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/technology/10-ways-3d-printing-can-be-used-in-education/

3D Printers for schools, universities & education| Leapfrog 3D Printers. (2017). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from https://www.lpfrg.com/en/professionals/education/

Federico-OMurchu, L. (2014, May 12). How 3-D printing will radically change the world. CNBC, Retrieved June 19, 2017, from http://www.cnbc.com/2014/05/09/will-3-d-technology-radically-change-the-world.html

Krassenstein, E. (2014, December 21). Why 3D Printing Needs to Take Off in Schools Around the World. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from https://3dprint.com/27743/3d-printing-benefits-schools/

Coding in the Classroom

What are the compelling arguments both for and against computer coding in schools?

Arguments For Coding in Schools:

Proponents of coding in schools claim that there aren’t enough computer programmers to meet the demands of the future, we must therefore, teach more people coding. It is an area of study that if taught, will help “students acquire vocational skills that are immediately relevant to today’s job market”(Trucano, 2014)They argue that coding is a foundational skill, which is becoming necessary knowledge in all other academic areas. It does not have to be a stand alone class, but instead should be interdisciplinary, connecting real world situations to content. Teaching coding, especially in connection with other subjects also helps to develop students’ critical thinking, problem solving skills, (Engelberg, 2015) creativity, and innovative expression. It is also argued that, “Understanding coding helps students better understand the nature of the world around them, and how and why increasing parts of it function as they do” (Turcano, 2014). 

Coding may be a subject that appeals to previously disinterested learners, as it brings technology into learning.

Arguments Against Coding in Schools: 

Opponents of coding argue that coding isn’t for everyone and shouldn’t be forced into the curriculum as a requirement. If schools add Coding to the required class list, what other subject must move in order to make way for the new requirement? Does an elective get cut or do schools require fewer credits of a core class?  Who makes this decision? Some even feel that coding may simply be entertainment and not actual education.

Another argument is that coding is not the only way in which students develop their critical thinking, and problem solving skills. In a quality curriculum, these are taught throughout each class. (Turcano, 2014).

On the other hand, some opponents aren’t necessarily against coding, but argue that schools shouldn’t be teaching code, but instead should be figuring out a better way to make apps. “In order to empower everyone to build apps, we need to focus on bringing greater abstraction and automation to the app development process. We need to remove code — and all its complexity — from the equation” (Shringer, 2015).


Engelberg, M. (2015, September 30). 3 Reasons Coding Should Be a Core Subject. Getting Smart. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://www.gettingsmart.com/2015/09/3-reasons-coding-should-be-a-core-subject/

Sehringer, M. G. (2015, August 06). Should We Really Try to Teach Everyone to Code? Wired. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from https://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/should-we-really-try-to-teach-everyone-to-code/

Trucano, M. Should All Students Learn How to Code? Pros and Cons. Wise Ed.Review (2014, August 12). Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://www.wise-qatar.org/coding-cognitive-abilities-michael-trucano

Week Five- Design

Design an object that could be classified as belonging to “The Internet of Things” and describe how it could contribute to your classroom.

To start of, I feel a definition of “The Internet of Things” is necessary. If you are like me, you have no idea what this phrase means. According to The Guardian, “At its core, IoT is simple: it’s about connecting devices over the internet, letting them talk to us, applications, and each other” (Kobie, 2015).  So, what’s that got to do with education? There are a rising number of students with smart phones, tablets, laptops, and smart watches in schools, as well as schools using systems like Google Documents that allow for sharing and collaborating of documents. But, how will IoT change the way we teach and learn? Business Insider UK gives examples of student benefits, such as e-learning and enhanced access to information, organization benefits, such as campus safety and better organization of school resources, and teacher benefits of creating “smart lesson plans”, quicker assessments, and thus the ability to work one-on-one with students during time that had traditionally been spent on grading (Meola, 2016). The benefit of using IoT is the ability to gather, manage, and analyze large amounts of data. It is this information that will enable teachers, administrators, and schools to improve students’ learning experiences by helping them to make more informed decisions (Zebra).

As a middle and high school teacher, I think that it would be great if there was a way to gauge how much time a student spent reading a page in a book, or doing specific homework assignments. It would be wonderful if MS and HS students didn’t need to do homework, but with ever increasing texts and writing assignments it isn’t realistic to think that they won’t have homework. But how do we make sure that students working well? Too often I hear that a student spends hours doing homework and it makes me wonder what they are actually doing. Are they doing homework that long? Do they know how to organize their time? Are they maximizing their time? Is the student actually reading every page of the assigned book? Are they taking too long on each page and need a different book or help decoding words? How do we know that a student wrote their own work?

All these questions make me want to create a program or device that could give more information to a teacher about what a student is doing at home. It would be wonderful if there was a device that could connect to any book. The student could type in some information or the device could scan the title or bar code to know what the student was reading. It could then read the page number of the page the student starts reading at. Then each time the student turns the page, the device would make a note. It could then tell the teacher how long the student read overall, as well as how much time was spent on each page. This would be valuable for the teacher because: 1. They would know if they student actually read the book, 2. If a student read the pages really fast they could check for understanding and either change to a more difficult text or have a conversation about quality reading using strategies, and 3. If a student is taking too long on each page, then the student may need more assistance.

It would also be great if there was something like a document camera that saved images of the student writing at different intervals or there could be digital paper that stores the final writing. The document camera could be used for any writing assignment. It could be simply writing or it could be filling out graphical organizers and worksheets. It would take pictures at given intervals, in order for the teacher to see how long different parts took. The digital paper could keep track of editing/revising, time spent on writing, and areas of pausing.

All of the above devices would store data either on the device or in the cloud, which could then be sent either directly to the teacher’s account or be downloaded the next class. I personally would like it to be a file sent through the cloud. It would be great if it went into a dashboard of some sort, maybe connected directly to the assignment on my calendar or in my gradebook. That way I would have the data collected of them doing the work, as well as their performance mark.

How the internet of things is transforming education. (n.d.) Zebra Education Profile. Retrieved from http://www.zatar.com/sites/default/files/content/resources/Zebra_Education-Profile.pdf

Kobie, N. (2015, May 06). What is the internet of things? The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/06/what-is-the-internet-of-things-google

Meola, A. (2016, December 20). How IoT in education is changing the way we learn. Business Insider UK. Retrieved from http://uk.businessinsider.com/internet-of-things-education-2016-9?r=US&IR=T

Maker Spaces

What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this pedagogy to students?


American International School of Chennai, India: Maker Space, Design Saturday



At the root of the Maker Space pedagogy is the idea of allowing students to create their own learning and knowledge within a space designed to allow them to interact with physical objects. It is constructivist at heart, building upon the early ideas of Jean Piaget. According to Gary Stager, “The Maker Movement is a vehicle that will allow schools to be part of the necessary return to constructivist education. A movement that will allow students to be creative, innovative, independent, and technologically literate; not an ‘alternative’ way to learn, but what modern learning should really look like” (Makerspace). Students in active Maker lessons are fully engaged. They collaborate with other students and learn from failures. Students create new experiences and stretch their understanding. Teachers are facilitators and help support students in learning (Stager). Those students who learn by doing will thrive in this type of environment (7 Things).

There are many benefits of Maker Spaces, but most importantly, they allow students to be creative, to explore, to innovate, to fail and try again, to solve problems, and use critical thinking skills. They let students guide their own learning and promote working through problems. Students are encouraged to be hands on and to learn by discovery. Maker Spaces motivate students to participate because they enjoy it (Bannan).

7 Things You Should Know About Maker Spaces. (2013). Retrieved June 03, 2017, from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7095.pdf.

Bannan, K. Makerspaces Encourage Students to Innovate and Build Critical Thinking Skills.(2016, October 10) Retrieved June 03, 2017, from https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2016/10/makerspaces-encourage-students-innovate-and-build-critical-thinking-skills

Makerspace for Education. (2017). Retrieved June 03, 2017, from http://www.makerspaceforeducation.com/

Stager, G. What’s the Maker Movement and Why Should I Care? (2014). Retrieved June 03, 2017, from http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3758336

Emerging Pedagogy: Genius Hour

Which emerging pedagogy appeals most to you, and might be most useful for your classroom and students? Why?

Genius Hour- Allowing a time for students to learn about something that interests them. Letting them become the expert in an area. Teachers are facilitators, helping guide students when necessary, but the student is driving the learning in a self-paced format. Students learn from a variety of sources (Genius Hour). Students have the freedom to design their own learning experiences within a designated time frame. “It allows students to explore their own curiosity through a self-manifested sense of purpose and study while within the support system of the classroom” (Heick).

This appeals to me because my school has been promoting inquiry and personalized learning. The idea of Genius hour seems to fit in nicely with both of those ideas. We also already have Passion Projects in the high school. When I grapple with these types of learning I often jump to the idea that they mean that students have to have the ability to research whatever interests them without any constraints. The more I read about them though, the more I realize that Genius Hour is used within a structure. The teacher can facilitate by giving a genre or broad topic and allow students choice within that space. It is, however, less formal and organized than typical teaching, as it is, “open-ended learning characterized by student self-direction, passion-based learning, inquiry, and autonomy” (Staff). That does not mean that it is a free for all without structure or focus. Students are researching based on a driving question, and must have some sort of end result that they share.

One reading that really helped me to fully understand this idea was Teachthought’s “10 Characteristics and 10 Non-Characteristics of Genius Hour”. They give the following characteristics:

Characteristics of Genius Hour

Genius hour is…

  1. Student-centered
  2. Messy
  3. Emphasizes inquiry and research
  4. Authentic
  5. New challenges (i.e., it creates new problems to solve in your classroom)
  6. Inherently personalized
  7. Inherently creative
  8. Purpose-driven
  9. Maker-friendly
  10. Often collaborative and social

Non-Characteristics of Genius Hour

Genius hour is not…

  1. Standards-based
  2. Data-driven
  3. “Free time” for students
  4. Teacher-centered
  5. Without any rules or expectations
  6. Less rigorous (compared to other approaches to learning)
  7. Structure-free
  8. Requires whiz-bang technology
  9. Unfit for schools and other formal learning environments
  10. Requires less planning and less teacher ‘effort'” (Staff).

Assessment of Genius Hour products can sometimes be tricky, but I liked Nichole Carter’s idea in her blog post “Genius Hour and the 6 Essentials of Personalized Learning”, where she had her students create Ted talks to teach their peers about their topic. According to Teachthought the final product is some sort of making, where that be acting, doing, publishing, or designing, but the most important aspect of the process is the creativity. Therefor, I think it would benefit students to write reflections afterward looking into further questions they may now have after finishing and strengths and weaknesses of their process and final product.

Further Questions:

  1. Differentiated vs. Personalized Learning
  2. Can personalized learning be a small group?

Carter, N. (2014, August 04). Genius Hour and the 6 Essentials of Personalized Education. Retrieved May 31, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/genius-hour-essentials-personalized-education-nichole-carter

Heick, T. (2016, May 12). 6 Principles Of Genius Hour In The Classroom. Retrieved June 02, 2017, from http://www.teachthought.com/learning/6-principles-of-genius-hour-in-the-classroom/

Staff, T. (2016, May 12). What Is Genius Hour? -. Retrieved June 02, 2017, from http://www.teachthought.com/learning/what-is-genius-hour/

What is Genius Hour? (2017). Retrieved May 31, 2017, from http://www.geniushour.com/what-is-genius-hour/


Photo credits: CREATE- gfpeck Flickr, Question Mark- pexels