Treat yourself or the other makers in your life to these incredible new (or old favorite) materials and sources of inspiration for future learning adventures.
Be sure to click on the links at the bottom of this list for additional materials you’ll want under the tree.
All of the recommended products are affordable and may be purchased online with one-click!
Read out latest newsletter for creative educators. There you will find other book reviews and recommendations for stimulating learning adventures!
Add your email address to our mailing list for updates on CMK 2013 and for information on the forthcoming Los Angeles Education Speaker Series!
There is simply no better event or opportunity for educators to reinvent themselves this year!
In addition to learning with one of the great filmmakers of our time, the inventor of wearable computing construction kits, the godmother of project-based learning, the editor of Make Magazine and Super Awesome Sylvia, the remarkable Constructing Modern Knowledge 2012 faculty supports your learning adventures over four glorious days July 9-12, 2012 in Manchester, NH USA.
For the past four years, Marvin Minsky has generously led impromptu “fireside chats” with CMK attendees. Dr. Minsky is widely considered one of the leading scientists and intellectuals of the past half century and he will be at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2012 over two days! Of course, he will lead his annual “fireside chat” where no question is off-limits and his responses may surprise you!
According to Wikipedia…
“Isaac Asimov described Minsky as one of only two people he would admit were more intelligent than he was, the other being Carl Sagan. Patrick Winston has also described Minsky as the smartest person he has ever met. Ray Kurzweil has referred to Minsky as his mentor.”
Seriously, where else can teachers play, tinker, chat and learn with an inventor, scientist, raconteur, composer, pianist, author and educator who also happens to be considered one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence?
There is still time to register for Constructing Modern Knowledge 2012! Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn with expert learners, makers and creators!
Also from Wikipedia…
Minsky won the Turing Award in 1969, the Japan Prize in 1990, the IJCAI Award for Research Excellence in 1991, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Franklin Institute in 2001. In 2006, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Computer History Museum. In 2011, Minsky was inducted into IEEE Intelligent Systems‘ AI’s Hall of Fame for the “significant contributions to the field of AI and intelligent systems”.
- Highly recommended five recent essays on education by Dr. Minsky ( 1 2 3 4 5 )
- Smart Machines, a brilliant essay about mind, brain and learning by Marvin Minsky
From the TED web site:
Marvin Minsky is one of the great pioneers of artificial intelligence — and using computing metaphors to understand the human mind. His contributions to mathematics, robotics and computational linguistics are legendary and far-reaching.
Constructing Modern Knowledge is back for a 5th year, July 9-12, 2012 in Manchester, NH.
This year’s CMK 2012 promises to be bigger and better than ever before!
Guest speakers include award-winning filmmaker Casey Neistat; MIT Media Lab professor and Lilypad Arudino inventor, Dr. Leah Beuchley; Mark Frauenfelder, Editor-in-Chief of Make Magazine, Founder of BoingBoing.net and author of Made By Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World; Expert educator and advocate for “the project approach,” Dr. Lilian Katz and Web phenom, Super Awesome Sylvia.
The Big Night Out in Boston will begin with a reception at the world-famous MIT Media Lab, hosted by Dr. Leah Buechley.
Fantastic team discounts now available.
Register today! Space is extremely limited!
Constructing Modern Knowledge 2012 celebrates computing, creativity and children by adding blog, YouTube and MakerFaire sensation, Super Awesome Sylvia as a guest speaker and faculty member at CMK 2012, July 9-12, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Sylvia’s enthusiasm, curiosity, ingenuity and passion have inspired hundreds of thousands of children and adults to tinker with cutting-edge technology. Her videos share wisdom and whimsical ideas for projects. This pint-sized pedagogue also teachers viewers about art, science, engineering and technology with remarkable clarity.
It will be super awesome to have Super Awesome Sylvia as a co-learner at CMK 2012! I can’t wait to see what we make together!
- Super Awesome Sylvia’s web site
- Gary Stager’s article, Super-Awesome Sylvia in the Not So Awesome Land of Schooling
- Constructing Modern Knowledge’s amazing guest speakers and faculty
- One of Sylvia’s recent instructional videos (below)
- Award-winning filmmaker and star of the HBO series, The Neistat Brothers, Casey Neistat
- MIT Media Lab Assistant Professor and inventor of the Lilypad Arduino wearable computer, Dr. Leah Beuchley
- Mark Frauenfelder, Editor-in-Chief of Make Magazine, co-founder of BoingBoing.net and author of Made By Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World.
Mark Frauenfelder is a writer and illustrator living in Los Angeles. He is Editor-in-Chief of MAKE Magazine, the cofounder of the popular Boing Boing weblog and was an editor at Wired from 1993-1998. He is the author of terrific books, including: Rule the Web: How to Do Anything and Everything on the Internet—Better, Faster, Easier, The Happy Mutant Handbook, Mad Professor: Concoct Extremely Weird Science Projects and his latest, Made By Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World. Mark Frauenfelder is at the vanguard of the exploding world of DIY and tinkering. He brings a wealth of expertise as an artist, Web pioneer, author, publisher and parent. Check out the following videos to learn more about his work and the expertise he brings to Constructing Modern Knowledge.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
Warning: Educators will be criticized below! You have been warned.
Recently, a friend sent me a link to an episode of Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show. In this whimsical YouTube video, eight year-old Sylvia teaches you about designing, engineering and programming a variety of projects using the open-source Arduino robotics controller. With the poise, wit and clarity of a seasoned television host, Sylvia explains the electronic principles of light–emitting diodes, resisters, potentiometers, grounds and compiling the program you download to create a strobe light. Next, she teaches viewers how to construct a Randomly Influenced Finger Flute that uses a square wave at a variable number of hertz to make the Arduino play music.
This is no burping into VoiceThread!
Sylvia disposes of the ISTE technology standards in the first fourteen seconds of her video. By following her motto, “Have fun, play around and get out there and make something,” she learns a host of powerful ideas, engages countless habits of mind and demonstrates her knowledge by constructing something shareable. Sylvia’s video embodies Seymour Papert’s theory of constructionism. In fact, many of the fluencies displayed by Sylvia are discussed in Papert and Solomon’s 1971 paper, “Twenty Things to Do with a Computer.”
Don’t you dare tell me that the demands of the curriculum preclude time for such classroom projects. Kids like Sylvia remind us of the authentic nature of learning and the efficiency of project-based learning. Several years worth of lectures on physics, electronics, engineering, computer science and video production would not result in the understanding demonstrated by Sylvia; that is if elementary schools bothered to teach such subjects at all.
Engineering is concrete. Engineers make things. They experiment and tinker. If you know anything about development you recognize that knowledge construction follows a progression from concrete to the abstract. Yet, most kids are deprived of engineering experiences until they endure twelve years of abstractions. If the creative inclinations of young children were nurtured in an engineering context, their understanding of the increasingly elusive math and science facts would be developed in a meaningful natural context.
Sylvia’s father is an accomplished technology expert. So what? Public schools are designed to democratize specialized learning experiences for all children. If Sylvia was doing little more than reading off a teleprompter, then her performance would still exceed our expectations. Yet, she demonstrates so much more.
Sylvia embodies the spirit of the exploding DIY movement with the creativity of the Little Rascals and curiosity of Mr. Wizard. She’s just using the construction materials of her era. The difference is the power of computational thinking and microprocessors. Arduino microcontrollers are the Barbies of her generation.
The high crime is that kids like Sylvia will be in seventh grade, four years from now, where the curriculum awaiting them will be worthless concoctions like keyboarding instruction or “using the Google.” We insult children’s intelligence and squander their potential by serving up a curriculum of “computer appreciation” dependent on adult inadequacies or misallocated resources.
There are lots of computers in schools, but very little computing! Three decades ago, I dedicated my life to using computers constructively to amplify human potential. Back then, educational computing was built on progressive learning theories, propelled by passion of the civil rights movement and based on a notion that children could invent a better world than existed for previous generations. Sadly, I no longer recognize my own field. The powerful ideas of Dewey, Holt, Papert, not to mention Al Rogers, David Thornburg, Tom Snyder, Fred D’Ignzaio and Tom Snyder – have been replaced by a focus on filtering policies, meaningless clichés about 21st Century skills and funding concerns. I often wonder, “is edtech/ICT a legitimate discipline or just a shopping club?” Too many educational technology conferences, like ISTE, seem like a busload of foreign tourists speeding past historical monuments in order to get to the next duty-free shop.
While your district tech team wrestles with the earth-shattering decision over whether kids should write their five-paragraph essay in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, kids could be doing and learning like Sylvia. While you bathe in the warmth of your PLN with self-congratulatory tweets, Sylvia is sharing serious expertise with the world.
Tens of thousands of district tech directors, coordinators and integrators have done such a swell job that after thirty years, teachers are the last adults in the industrialized world to use computers. I feel compelled to ask, “Are the very same employees charged with inspiring teachers to use computers creating dependency and helplessness instead?”
Teachers are not imbeciles incapable of growth or felons who can’t be trusted to show Sylvia’s YouTube video in class. Each summer’s Constructing Modern Knowledge Institute demonstrates the creativity and intellectual capacity of educators when they are engaged in projects involving programming, robotics materials, microcontrollers, drawing tablets, musical bananas, soda can orchestras, bike powered LEGO iPhone chargers, animation, filmmaking, authentic problems and whimsy. During the 1980s, we taught tens of thousands of teachers computer programming and how to teach it to children.
Educators love the stories of the eleven year-old dot.com millionaire and Web stars, like Sylvia, but would you really want her in your class? Can you build upon the gifts the kids bring to you or will you force them to comply with someone else’s curriculum? Would you punish her or classify her with a learning disability for a failure to sit quietly as school repeals the 20th Century?
Failure to embrace the kids’ competence, capacity and creativity leads educators to deprive children of opportunities to achieve their potential. Worst of all, it cheats children out of the rich 21st Century childhood they deserve.
- Super-Awesome Sylvia’s YouTube Channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/SuperAwesomeSylvia
- Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute – http://constructingmodernknowledge.com
- Tinkering resources
In addition to the keynote addresses, presentation topics and workshops offered here, I have created new hands-on minds-on workshops for the coming school year.
Invent to Learn
Join colleagues for a day of hard fun and problem solving where computing meets tinkering and performance. A secret yet timeless curricular theme will be unveiled Iron Chef-style. Participants will work with a variety of software, hardware and found materials in four domains (virtual, tactile, audio and video) to express the theme in a personal fashion. The day’s intensity will lead to impressive gains in skill development and a greater understanding of effective project-based learning. Computer programming, filmmaking, animation, audio production, robotics and engineering are all on the menu. Bring a laptop and camera or video camera We’ll supply the rest. Invention is the mother of learning!
Electrifying Children’s Mathematics
There may be no greater gap between a discipline and the teaching done in its name than when the beauty, power and mystery of mathematics becomes math instruction. One can only begin to address the systemic challenges of math education by understanding the nature of mathematics. Nearly 100 years of efforts to increase achievement with unchanged curricular content continues to fail spectacularly; yet, we do not change course. This workshops moves beyond the goal of making math instruction engaging to providing educators with authentic mathematical thinking experiences. Such experiences acknowledge the role computers play in mathematics and society’s increasing demand for computational thinking. Project-based approaches with mathematics at the center of the activity will be explored. Traditional concepts such as numeracy, geometry, probability and graphing will be investigated in addition to exciting new branches of mathematics rarely found in the primary grades.
This workshop is designed for teachers of grades 3-8. It may also be offered as an ongoing course with a greater emphasis on curriculum development and action research.
How to Teach with Computers
This hands-on minds-on workshop helps expand your vision of how computers may be used in knowledge construction while exploring pedagogical strategies for creating rich computing experiences that amplify the potential of each learner. Mini activities model sound project-based learning principles and connect various disciplines across multiple grade levels.
Modern schools face several challenges; among them are the questions at the heart of this workshop. Once teachers are finally convinced to use computers as instruments for learning, do they have creative project ideas and do they possess the pedagogical skills necessary for success?
This minds-on hands-on workshop will feature mini-projects designed to nurture sophisticated inquiry, computational thinking and artistic expression across disciplines and grade levels. The presenter will also discuss pedagogical strategies for using computers in an effective fashion as intellectual laboratories and vehicles for self-expression. These strategies illuminate principles of sound project-based learning and honor the individual learning styles, talents, curiosity and intensity of each student.
Dr. Gary Stager has thirty years of experience helping educators maximize the potential of computers and create productive contexts for learning on six continents. He led professional development in the world’s first laptop schools, created one of the first online Masters degree programs and was recently recognized by Tech & Learning Magazine as one of today’s 30 most influential educators.
If you were ever curious about what I believe or do as an educator, my summer institute, Constructing Modern Knowledge, represents me quite well. The energy, creativity, projects developed and guest speakers at last month’s institute makes CMK 2011 one of the proudest accomplishments of my career. Even when we lost electricity for a couple of hours, project-based learning continued unimpeded!
Educators from across the USA, Costa Rica and Australia came together for four days of project-based learning, collaboration and conversation with some of the greatest thinkers of our age. Registration will open in early September for the 5th Annual Constructing Modern Knowledge institute, July 9-12, 2012 in Manchester, NH. Add your email address to the mailing list for discount registration information as soon as it becomes available.
I’ve done a bit of work documenting a few of the learning stories captured at CMK 2011. I hope you and your colleagues enjoy them!
- Lessons learned from a creative, collaborative, computationally-rich, non-coercive, constructionist learning environment.
- Impossible – Documentation of a project blurring the boundaries between science, technology, engineering, mathematics and an insane project idea successfully realized.
- Serendipitous Learning – Documentation of a project blending S.T.E.M., invention, tinkering, history and linguistics inspired by an unlikely “object to think with.”
- Constructing Modern Mathematics or is it History? English? – Documentation of a project in which mathematics, computer science, history and art come together in a computationally rich environment.
- Tinkering Resources – Lots of links, resources and inspiration.
- CMK 2011 Construction Materials – Interested in downloading a list of the open-ended creativity software and construction materials being used at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2011?
- A Constructionism Primer
- Three articles about effective project-based learning
- What attendees said about Constructing Modern Knowledge 2010 (including Chris Lehmann)
Created with flickr slideshow.
I am thrilled to offer conferences, professional learning centers and school districts a unique keynote presentation featuring HyperStudio inventor, raconteur and fellow bricoleur Roger Wagner and myself, Gary Stager. The idea for the session came from a spontaneous collision between Roger and I when we bumped into each other on the ISTE Exhibit Hall floor as the event was being broken down. While dodging forklifts, Roger and I showed each other fantastic stuff we made or discovered on our laptops and iPads, showed photos on our iPhones, recommended books that the other person MUST READ IMMEDIATELY and cracked each other up repeatedly. We were so inspired, amused and entertained that we decided to not only do it again, but to do so with an audience.
Contact Gary Stager for booking details.
Eavesdrop as two edtech pioneers and old friends regale each other with hilarious and profound tales of computing, magic, chemistry, history and suspended adolescence. Each mischief maker will have their laptop connected to a giant screen so they may spontaneously share interesting props, tell stories and engage in multimedia mischeif-making. Be as amazed, inspired and entertained as Roger and Gary are whenever they collide. Hilarity will ensue!
This keynote promises to be like no other!