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When Books Kill a Love of Reading

When Books Kill a Love of Reading

I’m a big fan of children’s book illustrator/author, Dav Pikley. So, when I came across a beginning reader by him called, “Big Dog and Little Dog,” I bought it for my three year-old grandson. The grandkids should love it. The book is complex with a great deal of subtext. Big Dog and Little Dog want food. Here is some food for Big Dog. Big Dog is happy. Here is some food for... [Read more]

Lessons from My Latest Family Workshop

Lessons from My Latest Family Workshop

Leading family learning-by-making workshops in schools around the world is a pure joy. When parents can experience through the eyes, hands, and screens of their children what is possible, they demand a new more progressive educational diet from their school. I have now led three different family workshops at my favorite school in the world. The first one featured a wide range of materials, including:... [Read more]

Great Honor and a New Book

Great Honor and a New Book

Marvin Minsky & Gary Stager One great joy of my life has been getting to know and work with so many of my heroes/sheroes. Even greater satisfaction comes from sharing those people with my fellow educators, via books, presentations, and the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. Over dinner thirty years ago, one of my mentors, Dan Watt dropped some wisdom on me when... [Read more]

The Subtlety of Prompt Setting

The Subtlety of Prompt Setting

Invent to Learn In Chapter Four of our new book, Invent to Learn – Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, we discuss the importance of prompt setting as a basis for project-based learning. I argue that “a good prompt is worth 1,000 words.” Projects are not the occasional dessert you get as a reward after consuming a semester’s worth of asparagus,... [Read more]

Perhaps My Favorite Keynote Ever

Perhaps My Favorite Keynote Ever

In August 2018, I delivered the opening keynote address at the Constructionism Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. When invited to speak at the conference nearly eighteen months earlier, I felt pressured to share the topic of my address quickly. Since I do some of my best work as a wiseass, I offered the title, “Making Constructionism Great Again.” Over the ensuing months, my tongue-in-cheek... [Read more]

It’s a Book!

It’s a Book!

I’m thrilled to announce that our publishing company, Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, has released a new and expanded second edition of our book, Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. The new book is available in softcover, hardcover, and Kindle editions. Co-author Sylvia Martinez and CMK Press Art Director Yvonne Martinez put the finishing touches on the... [Read more]

Podcast discussion: Does Everyone Need to Code?

Podcast discussion: Does Everyone Need to Code?

For decades, I have marveled at the vehemence with which seemingly reasonable adults defend not teaching kids to program computers. Aside from the typical (and often dubious) justifications popularized by politicians, Hour of Code, and the Computer Science for All community, I know how learning to program in the 7th grade was an intellectual awakening that has served me well for more than four decades. So,... [Read more]

When a Young Newspaper Reporter Asks Questions, Why not Turn it into a Blog Post?

When a Young Newspaper Reporter Asks Questions, Why not Turn it into a Blog Post?

I recently received interview questions by a cub reporter in the heartland. Paradoxically, the nature of the questions made answering a challenge. Here’s my attempt. How would you define STEM education? Quite literally, STEM is an acronym meaning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To the extent that there is anything new to be found in STEM, it is a recognition that the nature... [Read more]

Professional Development Gets Personal

Professional Development Gets Personal

Hello World is a free, glossy, well-edited magazine for educators published by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Gary Stager has written two featured articles in the first four issues of the publication. His latest article, Professional Development Gets Personal, shares lessons learned over a decade of Constructing Modern Knowledge. Download the complete issue   Read Gary’s PD Article   Download... [Read more]

CMK 2018 is Back for an 11th Year!

CMK 2018 is Back for an 11th Year!

We are excited to announce that the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute will be returning for an 11th year, July 10-13, 2018. Discount early-bird registration is now open! Constructing Modern Knowledge 2018 Guest Speakers Reggio Children President Carla Rinaldi • TV’s Paul DiMeo • Author/Historian James Loewen • MIT Professor Joseph Paradiso • Inventor Eric Rosenbaum Sylvia... [Read more]

A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

The irony could cause whiplash. Over the past thirty years, the EdTech community expended sufficient energy to colonize Mars fighting the idea of teaching children to program computers. I cannot think of another single example in education where so much effort was invested in arguing against children learning something, especially ways of knowing and thinking so germane to navigating their world. Now,... [Read more]

Caution: Chromebooks

Caution: Chromebooks

I am often asked about the adoption of Chromebooks and have spent months agonizing how to respond. This article offers food for thought to teachers, administrators, school board members, and policy makers who might find themself swept up in Chromebook mania. What should a student computer do? In addition to being portable, reliable, lightweight, affordable, and with a good battery life, a student... [Read more]

Oops, I TEDed Again!

Oops, I TEDed Again!

With all of the problems in the world, I know what you’ve been thinking. “I sure wish there was a new Gary Stager TED Talk to watch.” Well, your prayers to Judge Roy Moore have been answered. Last Spring, I was headed to Germany to be in-residence at a school where my great friend, colleague, and former student, Amy Dugré, is part of the leadership team. A few weeks before my residency,... [Read more]

Look What Teachers Can Do!

Look What Teachers Can Do!

Look at what preK-6 Mexican teachers did in my recent PBL 360 workshop in Guadalajara. This was their first experience with engineering, physical computing, and programming. They designed, created, and programmed these “birds” in less than two hours with the Hummingbird Robotics Kit and SNAP! The prompt was simple… “Make a Bird. Singing and dancing is appreciated.” There... [Read more]

Who’s that Guy with Stager?

Who’s that Guy with Stager?

Gary Stager is returning to Australia to once again keynote the FutureSchools Conference in his adopted second hometown of Melbourne in March 2018. He will be leading a masterclass, keynote address, and a presentation on the Expo floor. Making, Coding, and Engineering Whether You Have a Makerspace or Not (masterclass) The co-author of “the bible of the maker movement in schools,” 1:1 computing... [Read more]

Collaboration

Collaboration

I have often wondered why educators are so darn excited about Google. They get “Google Certified,” attend Google conference sessions, mourn when features change or Google loses interest in a platform they LOVE(d). Google loving teachers attend summits that are a cross between an Amway convention and cult meeting. Districts trust their communications and document storage to a company they know harvests... [Read more]

When You Wake Seymour Papert Up in the Middle of the Night

When You Wake Seymour Papert Up in the Middle of the Night

Back in the late Eighties, there was a Logo Conference held in Los Angeles. After a wild night reminiscent of Martin Scorsese’s 1985 film, “After Hours,” longtime Papert collaborator Brian Silverman and I found ourselves locked out of where we were supposed to sleep. Seymour Papert & Gary Stager in Sydney, 2004 Ever the problem solver, Brian said, “Seymour always has a big room. We can... [Read more]

Seymour Papert – Father of the Maker Movement

Seymour Papert – Father of the Maker Movement

Dr. Gary Stager was invited to write a profile of his friend, colleague, and mentor Dr. Seymour Papert for the premiere issue of Hello World!, an impressive new magazine for educators from The Raspberry Pi Foundation. This new print magazine is also available online under a Creative Commons license. I suggest you explore the entire new magazine for inspiration and practical classroom ideas around... [Read more]

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

An old friend and colleague got a new job at an education marketing/communication company where he believed they wanted actual content. He asked me to share some views on educational leadership. So, I took the time to formulate responses for his august publication. Sadly, it appears that the new publication seeks to be a low-rent version of EdSurge, focused on aggregating links and pro-vendor happy... [Read more]

Choice Time

Choice Time

I became a pre-k through 8th grade teacher in the mid-1980s. I was literally in the last teacher education cohort who was expected to learn how to teach science, music, art, physical education, special education, make puppets out of Pop-Tart boxes, create math manipulatives, and fill a classroom with interdisciplinary projects. Teacher preparation was equal parts art and science. Then around 1985,... [Read more]

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