Sphero National Park Mazes

Sometimes the students take a project in an unexpected direction and make it better!

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My middle school classes have been working on several coding units during the past few weeks. They began by using Apple’s Swift Playgrounds to learn some of the basics and vocabulary of coding. Then they transferred what they had been learning about code to the Sphero Edu app while working on a variety of Sphero Coding Challenges.

Our final project has been to design a maze and then code Sphero through it. We have done this activity before, but this year we added a theme to our mazes – US National Parks! Students did a bit of research on their selected park, then designed a maze where Sphero would give a tour of the park. Students have been challenged to use movement, color, actions, and speaking/sounds as Sphero moved through the park. Here is an example of Nick’s maze design for Glacier National Park:

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Once their plans were completed, I expected students to put a bit of tape on the floor, print out a few pictures, and add a simple ramp or tunnel to build their mazes. But as their ideas developed, my room began to explode with cardboard, styrofoam and paper cups, pipe cleaners, and gobs of masking tape. Students were having a blast BUILDING stuff – not always pretty, but definitely related to what they had learned about their national park. Here are a few of their ideas:

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While researching, Ethan learned that the only way to visit Isle Royale Nationa; Park was by seaplane or boat. So he designed a boat to carry Sphero to the island. In his coding, Sphero pauses so that when it reaches the island, he can remove the boat, then Sphero can hike through the island.

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Ryan’s Sphero will travel deep into Mammoth Cave – note the cave with pipe cleaner stalactites.

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Sphero traveling down a waterfall at Katmai National Park. Note the salmon swimming upstream. Some bears are going to be added to this scene.

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Joshua’s cardboard structures from the Grand Canyon included a bridge and the Sky Walk.

I’m looking forward to sharing some videos showing how the coded Spheros move through their mazes!

Solomon Island Boat Game Pieces

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We recently began working on designing boat game pieces based on the boats of the Solomon Islands. The game pieces are for my missionary friend Martha Matzke who is developing a game about the Solomon Islands similar to the game Ticket to Ride. (Learn more about how we Skyped with Martha to launch the project here.

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Students were given the choice to use either Tinkercad or the Morphi app to create their designs. As you can see, their attention to details was amazing, especially considering the designs were only 40 mm long.

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Students discovered that precise measuring is important. We cracked up when this teeny boat was printed – not the 40 mm size that was expected!

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Students went through multiple iterations of their designs. Becuase these files printed in about 15 minutes each, they were able to learn how to process the files for printing and then actually print them on our Dremel 3D Printers.

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Here is a link to student blog posts where they share and reflect upon their project.

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These models above were printed 50% larger than the 40 mm size that was needed for the actual game. By printing them slightly larger you can really see the details!

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Here is the actual size of the final versions of the game pieces. (I made slight adjustments to the student designs to help stabilize them, remove sharp pieces, and get them a similar height and thickness.)

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Our Dremel 3D40 and 3D20 printers have been going all day printing 50 of each boat design. We appreciate having great 3D printers from Dremel that make this project possible!

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We are delighted to be getting these game pieces ready to send to the Solomon Islands!

Disclosure: As a part of the 2016/17 Dremel 3D Idea Builder Ambassadors program, our school received use of a 3D40 printer. If you are interested in learning more about the Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 printer, you may contact https://3dprinter.dremel.com/education-request.  I’d appreciate it if you noted Karen Bosch/this blog post as a referral in the comments/questions section at the bottom of the form.  Thanks!

Merge Cube Mania

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A few weeks ago I joined in the Merge Cube Mania and purchased 30 Merge Cubes for a dollar each at Walmart. This week I asked my middle school multimedia tech class to explore the Merge Cube apps and then write a review of the product and apps on their blogs.

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The students had a blast and were amazed at the AR/augmented reality effects when using the cubes. They wrote some insightful posts and included pictures and videos to illustrate their ideas. Some student even used the Clips app to illustrate their reviews.

Here is a link to the student blog reviews. We’d love for you to view them and even leave them a comment!

Middle Pages Merge Cube Reviews

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I also have been beta testing the Merge Cube Object Viewer. It allows you to upload a 3D file (such as a .stl file that you create with Tinkercad) and view it in 3D in the cube. It is a pretty cool way to preview 3D files. Here is an example of a boat designed by one of my students being viewed in the Merge Cube:

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

For more information on Merge Cubes, check out this detailed post from Michael Fricano.

Check out if your local Walmart has any discounted Merge Cubes available.

Here is a Merge Cube Printable that you can use to make your own cube to test out!

Life Lesson Selfie Videos

Our Life Lesson Selfie Video project is a good way for students to creatively many of the multimedia skills that we have worked on during the semester. They used iPads to film themselves sharing 5 “Life Lessons” that were both serious and funny. Many students used filter, photo cam, and green screen apps to film their lesson clips. Then the clips were downloaded onto our Mac computers, where students used iMovie to edit the clips and add titles, music, voiceovers, and other effects. The students were very creative with how the edited their videos together. Here are their videos:

You can read the student reflections and evaluation of this project at their Kidblogs here: https://kidblog.org/class/scs-ms-multimedia-tech-17/posts

Bubble Wands: Better, Bolder, Beautiful!

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Our Middle School multimedia tech class has been working through the 5 step design process while designing bubble wands using the Morphi app. The challenge was to see if students could improve the ability to blow bubbles (better), make it blow cooler bubbles (bolder), and then make the design of the wand look interesting (beautiful).

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Students began with designs using exact measurement.

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Some first designs were not very successful! LOL!

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Students worked through several iterations of designs to address design flaws and to add decorative features. We used our Dremel 3D20 and 3D40 printers to print our projects. Above you can see  examples that show how the designs evolved. Below, you can see some of the bubble wands in action!!

 

 

Each student created blog posts talking about how they planned and worked through this project. Click here to see their posts:

3D Printing Bubble Wands

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UPDATE: We were able to have a Google Hangout with Sophia, the developer of the Morphi app! Students enjoyed learning more about app development and shared some suggestions for features to add to Morphi.

Disclosure: As a part of the 2016/17 Dremel 3D Idea Builder Ambassadors program, our school received use of a 3D40 printer. If you are interested in learning more about the Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 printer, you may contact https://3dprinter.dremel.com/education-request.  I’d appreciate it if you noted Karen Bosch/this blog post as a referral in the comments/questions section at the bottom of the form.  Thanks!

Using Clips to Annotate and Narrate Sketchnotes

The MS Tech Class has not only been making amazing sketchnotes (see this post), but also has been using the Apple Clips app to explain their sketchnotes by adding narration and annotation. Check out their videos, then click on the link underneath to see a blog post where each student wrote to share about the visual learning strategies that they have been learning!

MJ’s Blog Post

Drew’s Blog Post

Kendall’s Blog Post

Cameron’s Blog Post

Lilly’s Blog Post

Jordan’s Blog Post

Mehki’s Blog Post

The Apple Clips app is a wonderful free addition to classroom learning. It lets you combine photos, video clips, audio narration, closes captioning, titles, text boxes, annotations, emoji’s, and music into short Instagram style videos. It can be used in all subject areas in a variety of ways – I especially like to use it as a way for students to share and reflect on the things they are learning.

Sketchnotes from MS Tech – Fall 2017

Digital Sketchnotes

Over the past week, students in the Multimedia Tech class worked on making digital sketchnotes on our iPads. They tested out several drawing apps, selected their favorite (most chose the Tayasui Sketches app) and then worked on a non-fiction sketchnote from their science or social studies book.

Sketchnotes are about ideas, not art. The purpose is to link words with simple pictures to create a visual document of learning that is easy to remember. Here are some examples of their work:

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Students also worked on making sketchnotes based on a fictional book. Here are a few more examples of their work (note: a few of these are missing, will try to add next week).

It was exciting to see students explore drawing apps and learn to use new techniques like layers as they worked on putting their ideas into pictures. Next week we will be adding voice and annotations to their sketchnotes using the Apple Clips app!

 

 

 

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BookSnaps using the Pic Collage app – MS Tech Class

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Recently, I’ve been seeing many examples of a visual learning strategy called “BookSnaps.” (Check out this post from Tara Martin, who is the BookSnaps Guru if you would like to learn more.) To make a BookSnap, take a photo of a page in a book, then use an app like Pic Collage, Book Creator, or SnapChat to add lines, text, images, and emojis to dive deep to annotate and visualize the text.

The Middle School Multimedia Class recently created these BookSnaps over fiction stories using the PicCollage Kids app. The drawing tool (which was recently added to PicCollage) works perfectly for this strategy. I asked students to use red to show an important idea, green to show something they had a question about, and blue to mark a vocabulary word. Students added text boxes to tell about their annotations. They also used the photo search feature to add pictures that illustrated parts of the story. Finally, some emoji’s were added to show their emotional reactions to parts of the text. Here are the BookSnaps that they made:

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Here is my teacher example for the lesson:

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I put together a series of video tutorials to help students work through the process of creating their BookSnaps in PicCollage Kids. Student used the videos to self direct their learning with the project. Here are the tutorials:

I’m looking forward to trying this strategy with some other grades – it is a fun way to help students think deeply and visualize text.

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Sketchnote Resources for Multimedia Tech Class

Students, first watch the video on Sketchnote Elements:

Next, view the tutorials below to view which will demonstrate the drawing apps that we are going to use for our sketchnote. Please watch at least 2 tutorials and decide which app you like better and want to use for your upcoming project. Use your iPad and a stylus to

try them out while watching the tutorials and after you are finished watching them.  Then practice and explore using the app you like best.

Paper 53 tutorial:

https://vimeo.com/235130787

If you finish early, you may try to make a Selfie Portrait.

Here is the tutorial on how to make a selfie portrait. Watch the tutorial and pause it as you watch to follow the steps to make your own Selfie Portrait!

 

 

iPad Photography

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This past week, the Middle School Multimedia Tech class worked on learning ways to improve their iPad photography. We used a variety of FREE iPad apps including Prizma, Pixlr-o-matic, PaintMee, and MySketch to add filters and effects to self portraits. We also used the Pic Collage Kids app to design collages that showed off their best work!.

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We then looked at my teacher friend David Caleb’s wonderful free eBook “Stories Through the Lens” for some ideas about photo composition.

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Since it was a warm beautiful day, we headed outside. Students picked one subject and took photos of it using a variety of perspectives following ideas that they learned from the book.

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It was a fun way to end the week. Next week students will be blogging about about what they learned about iPad photography and sharing some of their examples!

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