Devices

November 14, 2014

I tend to let my students have a lot of freedom to use their myriad technological devices as they will. Just as long as they use them responsibly (i.e. for academics during class time). What’s most interesting these days is seeing how they combine the various electronics.

Working with pen, paper, tablet and laptop.

Working with pen, paper, tablet and laptop.

This Chemistry student is referring to her textbook on the iPad, while she creates a presentation on her laptop. Yet pen and paper are still integral parts of the process.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. Devices, Retrieved September 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Useful Games and Apps

March 13, 2014

Ellen Holderman has an excellent post about “24 Apps, Games, and Websites Teachers are Using in STEAM Classrooms” that are mostly free. (STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics).

They’re mostly aimed at a younger audience–middle school and below–, but there are things like Khan Academy that’s useful for all ages. Quite a number have to do with introducing coding.

Ms. Lannert.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. Useful Games and Apps, Retrieved September 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Dissecting Computer: Building a Hovercraft

February 20, 2013

Extracting the hard drive from an old computer.

Our school was recycling some old computers, so my students convinced me that it would be worthwhile o dissect a few of them to see if there was anything worth saving. It was quite remarkable to see just how interested they were in examining the insides of the machines — a few desktop computers and a monitor — but I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, it’s getting harder and harder to open up their iPods and other electronics, and even more difficult to repair and repurpose them, so I can see why students would jump at the chance of looking inside a device. Also, they tend to like to break things.

Pulling apart a monitor.

To get them to think a little more about what they were seeing, I got a couple students to draw a scale diagram of one of the motherboards, and write up a report on what they’d done.

Diagramming a motherboard.

Some of the other students spent their time trying to make all the motors, LED’s, and lasers work by hooking them up to 9-Volt batteries. Then they found the fans… and someone had the brilliant idea that they could use it to make a hovercraft. Using a gallon sized ziplock bag and some red duct tape, a prototype was constructed.

Hovercraft prototype.

The fan would inflate the bag which would then let air out the bottom through small holes. I convinced them to try to quantify the effectiveness of their fans before they put the holes in by hooking the bag up to one of our Vernier pressure sensors that plug into their calculators. Unfortunately, the sensor was not quite sensitive enough.

Attempting to measure the hovercraft’s bag pressure using a gas pressure sensor connected to a calculator.

This was not how I had planned spending those days during the interim, but the pull of following the students’ interests was just too strong.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Dissecting Computer: Building a Hovercraft, Retrieved September 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Flipped Teaching

January 30, 2013

Mrs. D. recommended this nice little article on “flipped teaching”, where students get lessons from videos (usually at home) and spend their time in class working on problems and getting help from peers and their teacher. Sounds a lot like Montessori. In middle school, for example, where you get a short lesson at the beginning of the week and spend the rest of the time working on projects and assignments.

Pushing the video out of the classroom can, potentially, be a useful step, especially for those students who can work independently. I’ve been trying it a little with the Khan Academy videos, but I need to organize it a bit more.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Flipped Teaching, Retrieved September 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Following the Technology

October 29, 2012

Following the arrow.

Our middle and high school students tried their hands at geocaching on our visit to the Audubon Center at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

They got their GPS units and instructions on how to use them: basically just choose the right waypoint and follow the arrow. They were told that they wouldn’t need to walk through the prairie.

But the arrow pointed toward the prairie.

Following the GPS.

(These guys were actually on a trail). The Mississippi River is in the background.

The results were scratched legs and quite a number of boarders.

Seedpod boarders.

Afterwards, our guide pointed out that they could have found all the caches by using the paths.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Following the Technology, Retrieved September 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

The Hazards of Too Much Technology

July 4, 2012

New technology has a tendency to be used badly, but that does not mean it can’t be a powerful tool. Konstantin Kakaes argues that the increased use of technology is hurting science and math education.

A 2007 congressionally mandated study by the National Center for Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance found that 16 of the best reading and mathematics learning software packages—selected by experts from 160 submissions—did not have a measurable effect on test scores.

— Kakaes (2012): Why Johnny Can’t Add Without a Calculator in Slate.

He makes some good points –a lot of technology is used employed simply because it’s “new technology” and not for what it can do– but I think he’s missing one fundamental aspect, probably because stuff is so new that we’re still figuring out how to use technology properly. The key missing aspect is that the increasing ubiquity of technology is changing who we are.

Technology is like an amplifier for our cognitive abilities –memorizing facts is less important because you can quickly look up the answers; how much time should you spend solving matricies if your can program your own matrix solver? –, and technology is becoming more closely integrated into who we are –we’re becoming inseparable from our smartphones (and it’s only a matter of time before they become implants).

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. The Hazards of Too Much Technology, Retrieved September 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Tweeting as Literature

April 9, 2012

“Not far from the Surulere workshop where spray-painter Alawiye worked, a policeman fired into the air. Gravity did the rest.”

Teju Cole (2012) NPR.

Teju Cole reinterprets news articles into tweets. The brevity of the tweets intensifies their emotional impact. The story NPR.

He’s currently going though the New York newspapers of 100 years ago.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Tweeting as Literature, Retrieved September 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Integrating Chaos: Citizen Journalism

March 8, 2012

The Guardian paints a fascinating, chaotic, and terrifyingly feasible, picture of the future of journalism.

(via The Dish).

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Integrating Chaos: Citizen Journalism, Retrieved September 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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