Thursday, August 15, 2019

Innovative Learning Experience, Feedback & Gear Change

I set out to learn how to program a Raspberry Pi, use it for students to collect sensor data on environmental solutions, and basically solve all the world's problems.

About that...

One of the many nuances of my work is helping students with crazy ideas create actionable pathways (and there's also the part of spurring on students who are convinced they don't have any ideas). Sometimes the pipe dream comes to fruition, but often in unexpected ways. Often times we make dents, but fail and move on. I'm finding that I love being a generalist, but jack of all trades master of none stinks sometimes.

My Raspberry Pi attempt flopped. I'm still processing how I feel about that.

Around the same time, we did a PD week at school with one day focused on deeper integration with our largely untapped maker space tools. We rotated through a series of peer coaching sessions with a vinyl cutter, laser, engraver, and even wood carving hand tools. Of course, I made a cliché mini-van sticker.
Nate Langel Creative Commons License
I hash out a lot of my learning in this video overview (and self-taught my way through speeding up video clips in Adobe Premier!), but the social element of that experience is becoming my largest takeaway. I viewed the Raspberry Pi endeavor as a lone ranger project. There's obviously a place for that in my life, but the disconnect from my professional team is probably a big part of why I didn't get off the ground.

Fast forward a week- I find out that my science colleague is working on a Python script that will automatically pull proficiency data from our student project management software into a class level competency spreadsheet (we use business world tool for co-planning projects with students, it just doesn't spit out the academic-y stuff we still need). I leaned on another teacher for support with the vinyl cutter, and have clearly found a collaborator for my Raspberry Pi ideas. 

Needless to say, my Innovative Learning Lesson plan changed gears, and netted me two tracks of  feedback as well. I received some technical resources and pointers on the Raspberry Pi end, and questions about UDL implications and grounding with the vinyl cutter. The UDL feedback really pushed me to consider the multiple means of engagement the vinyl cutter and other physical logo creation tools afford the Green Solutions project, namely student ownership and motivation.  This project still needs a lot of work, but it is good work. 

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