February 25, 2024

I Need Your Help – Really!

MacArthur Grant

Over the past 28 years, my work with children, teachers and schools has been based on personal entrepreneurism, volunteerism and the PD budgets of schools. I have rarely been constrained by or blessed with grant money. During these tough times of tightening school budgets and draconian education policies it is even more critical to create compelling models reminding policy-makers, citizens and educators that things need not be as they seem.

That is why I have been involved in four modest, but creative, proposals for the HASTAC Digital Media and Learning Competition supported by the MacArthur Foundation. “Reimagining Learning” is the theme of the competition and describes what I do.

Part of the selection process for the awarding of grant money is based on public support and comments regarding the proposals. That’s where you come in!

I would be most grateful if you could take a few minutes to setup an account on the HASTAC DMLC web site (at the bottom of any page linked below) and offer enthusiastic comments (constructive suggestions are welcome as well) on the following proposals.

One of the proposals, Virtual CMK, directly benefits YOU by sharing presentations from the upcoming Constructing Modern Knowledge event via the web.

The other three proposals are intended to create learning opportunities for bilingual children in terrific progressive urban charter schools founded by one of my former grad students. Despite project-based learning, bilingualism, authentic assessment and weekly field trips, the New City Schools are cash-strapped and their students would really benefit from one or more of these projects being funded.

One of the proposals would create a 21st Century (digital) instrumental music program for the school and the other two are focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with 1:1 computing.

Virtual Constructing Modern Knowledge
Constructing Modern Knowledge is a minds-on institute for educators committed to creativity, collaboration and computing. Participants have the opportunity to engage in intensive computer-rich project development with peers and a world-class faculty. Virtual CMK will make video of speaker-led conversations and capture participant collaboration, construction and reflections available online free-of-charge.

Urban Engineering – Revolutionizing S.T.E.M. for Young Children
Robotics, Scratch and MicroWorlds programming on personal computers allow young children to have concrete experiences with engineering principles that support the learning of more abstract concepts in the future. This project’s significance is in making 1:1 computing, robotics, computer programming and engineering the new basic skills for bilingual elementary students.

The Urban Laptop Orchestra – Musical Performance for All
Imagine an orchestra composed of inner-city children performing classical, jazz, latin and popular music when the only instrument is a laptop computer. Public charter school students will make music using a laptop and small keyboard while developing interdisciplinary habits of mind and enhancing literacy, history, mathematics, technology and communication skills.

Off-the-Shelf-Games as a Platform for Student Game Development and Interdisciplinary Learning
“Off the shelf games,” Little Big Planet and Spore [games specified by the grant] not only offer opportunities to develop problem-solving skills and other habits of mind, they also provide a context for exploring science concepts in the classroom. This project uses these titles to inspire student game design and the rich multidisciplinary learning that results.