NEOTIE is a small (about 100 people), local, education conference held at Beachwood High School in October. It is a very good event and well planned. $18 gets you breakfast, lunch, a t-shirt, and 4 blocks of PD sessions to choose from. More Northeast Ohio educators should put it on their calendar for October 2019.
First I learned a bit about Desmos Activity Builder ( https://teacher.desmos.com/ ) from Mike Gisondo. An important thing to take away is that you can use it to build activities for any subject. Polygraph and Card Sort are great ones that can be used for any subject. You can add any images and concepts that you want students to work with.
Anne Radefeld used PearDeck to take us through some digital tools : padlet ; read & write for google (https://www.texthelp.com/en-us/products/free-for-teachers/ teachers can get the premium version for free, students cannot but some schools are taking advantage of their awesome whole school pricing to buy it for all students). There are a variety of ways to make text accessible in addition to Read & write. There is “OpenDyslexic” (chrome web store) ; a variety of audio book tools, even Google translate. There are some tools to help students focus : Go Noodle, Noisli, Move It, Simple Blocker, Visor (the last three are Google extensions). She gave us three organizational tools to check out (Google Drive - some students find color folders helpful, Google Keep, Toby). Students using their voice (Google Voice Typing, Google Search with Voice, voice notes in Google Keep, Google Voice (free phone service), Closed Captioning in Google Slides). There are some ways to gamify their learning (prodigy). Some she didnt have time to show us : EdPuzzle, VoiceThread, Flippity, Book Creator, Google Sites…(and FlipGrid, Screencastify, Kahoot)
After lunch (nice box lunch made by the Beechwood food staff), I went to learn a bit more about Adobe Spark (Post , Page Video) from Dan Stitzel. He showed us some quick examples, then people got hands on making things. Spark is a pretty good set of apps, with templates, built in photos and audio , and lots of style adjustments It is easy to use and things look good. It is web based as well as an iOS/Android app. Post is like a meme or a poster (images, text, icons). Page is web page, but think scrolling web page that you can add pretty much anything (image, photo grid, text, links, video, glide show). Video is as it says, add some images, add video, take video. And yes they have templates and stock images & audio. When your students publish or share, you might have them “uncheck” the buttons that include their name and get them noticed.
The last slot of the day was the first time I had a session on “Maker Market School”. It is a crazy idea that John Martin and I had while strolling the Wichita Farmers Market after Podstock. Every booth there could be done by our students. The focus of the school would be to run a monthly Market (Farmers, Crafters…). 3 people came to the session (the other sessions I was in during the day had ~20), but it is a real crazy idea with a strange name. It is a participant work session. We talked about 3 questions and everyone wrote down ideas. What booths would you have, what would the students do, what skills are being learned. We had some great discussions and ideas. One attendee thought that it could work as a half day or whole day workshop to really do a deep dive and get at the 4th question : what content standards are there. I agree. Hopefully I will get to do this session at OETC19. I am also trying to work through and develop these four questions and answers more.
I thought I would make some yard decorations for Halloween. Pumpkins seemed like a simple thing, especially since I had done some previously. Last year I cut some small ones on my CNC router (largest size it can do is 12”x13”), and some larger ones by hand (jigsaw) as samples for my cousin (she needed some for a painting class). I did some more large ones this year. I have used both MDF and plywood, some ½” , some ¾”. The new part was deciding what to stake them into the ground with. The small ones I made wood stakes, but the larger ones I wanted a more durable stake. My choices were ½” galvanized pipe (~$9) , ½” rebar (~$2), ¾” aluminum spindle (~$1.50). At those prices the easy choice is spindle. The real hard part is what pipe hangers will work. The ½” galvanized are too big, the ¾” copper are too big, the ½” copper are too small. I just happened to try ½” EMT (silver looking, but not galvanized) and the fit the spindle snugly and don’t quite reach the board, so it will be snug. I used ⅝” screws. The small ones on wooden stakes are attached with a nail gun, though they want to come off when pounding them into the ground (basic physics, hit the stake and it wants to move but the pumpkin wants to stay still = Newton's Law of Inertia)
A little sanding, some primer, some orange paint, some green paint, then some topcoat.
A friend is working with someone on the idea of repurposing cargo containers. They are working with 20’ long containers (because 40’ will not fit in the shop). They are mulling many uses because these containers are really blank slates that we have an excess of (we import more than we export). Their first model is kinda like a weekend hunting cabin (though i think they need a more environmentally sustainable toilet solution). Another idea is hooking together multiples to make a larger living space (320 sq ft side by side ; 640 with a 2x2 stack). Another is a kitchen/restaurant placed next to a building. It might be easier and less expensive than retrofitting a space for a kitchen. You could create a bar/party trailer with a drop down wall for a patio.
Austin, Texas has a container bar. Cargominiums have been put up in Columbus, Ohio. Wichita, Kansas (and other cities) have shipping container “malls”.
Using shipping container has unique zoning issues, same as the tiny home movement. Some of it is a square footage issue, some is portability. There are cities that are embracing these as housing/building alternatives, some are adamant against them.
The use of these goes along with one of the exhibits at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. They talk about our changing household demographics and housing costs and housing sizes. They also have a model 1000 square foot home that has “pocket” walls to change size/purpose of rooms. The demo uses multipurpose furniture from Resource Furniture.
I like these ideas because we are repurposing an existing resource. I think they could be one piece of the homeless puzzle. I think the “mall” idea could be helpful to local entrepreneurs because the costs should be less. I have been following the idea of agriculture using these. Someone also had the idea of school #MakerSpace in a box like these. I have seen one science lab in a box (the curiosity cube) Not being on wheels can be a positive and a negative. I have seen science labs and makerspaces in a trailer (cleveland mobile fab lab) that are much more portable. So I am not sure which is “better”
I also think 3D printing houses would be cool.