Day one – CMK15: Learning

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The work space before the thinking began

This year’s Constructing Modern Knowledge is big. There is so much energy and enthusiasm, and there are some growing pains as well. The use of space is transformative. I was not here last year, and as I understand it this was a move they made last year. Being able to use this huge area to spread out and work is great. It has the usual acoustic issues of a big space with lots of hard edges, but they should figure that out.

The list of project ideas was incredible. Two have a Back to the Future vibe (create a hoverboard and an automated pet care system [thank you, Dr. Brown]) No one suggested a Flux Capacitor, though we do have a Tardis under construction.  Some of the other ideas were:

  • Robot Space Suit
  • A book with a mind of its own
  • A feeling recognition system
  • A way to sense the mood of a room
  • Rubic’s cube solver
  • Water-power generator
  • Manatee Speed Trap
  • Energy Generating Shoes
  • Robots that do classroom chores
  • Connected robots
  • Regular Piano to a player piano
  • Smart Watch
  • Army of Art bots
  • Interactive Art room
  • Heckling Pencil (Gary’s favorite)
  • Solar powered bag/charger
  • Virtual Tour of famous places
  • Robot space suit
  • and an Origami Sponge Fractal made of business cards (this is underway).

My thoughts for personal projects were a YA book recommender, the Art Tour App of Francis Parker School, or Virtual Narratives.  Based on Scratch, there is a programming language called Snap that allows us to build out own “modules.”

I think that as I have been thinking about this and gathering momentum for this for YEARS, that I will work on the app for the art at the school. This is an itch that I have been trying to scratch, and I have a ton of data and design to use. There is momentum for me on this. I have the students’ navigations from a year ago – and I have a ton of material available to me on my wiki.

I made the critical error of not downloading xcode at home. The school that I teach at has a 1 to 1 iPad program from grades 5-12 and all teachers have an iPad. To make this something we can push out to everyone, we need to work in Mac-land. So it took a long time to download the app, so while I was waiting I went back to Microwords EX to see if I remembered anything about writing code. Well, as it turns out, I do remember some things.

Yes! I do remember some things!
Yes! I do remember some things!

Especially the ‘clean’ command (wipe away my attempts, please).  It’s not exactly like riding a bike, but it started to come back to me. You will see in the workspace that it is super polite and tells me when it does not understand what I want it to do. This all gives me hope that I can navigate the world of xcode, though I have no expectation that it will be polite.

I’m not worried about not finishing. After all – if I get started on this I can enlist the power of the middle schoolers who are geeky like me. Together we can launch this on the school.

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