3D Printing

Essential question: How can 3D printing change the way we think about education?

As I read about 3D printing this week, I found myself thinking of the similarities to other emerging technologies we’ve discussed recently, especially in the attitude it promotes and the use as another way for students to display their creativity. 3D printing has the possibility of instilling a problem solving mindset and the idea that failure is ok. They have the possibility of teaching students to solve problems and learn how to improve upon failed prototypes. It can teach them to persist despite adversity. 3D printing gives students yet another way to express their creativity and prepares them for the future. Because it’s interactive, it also captures the students’ interests (LeapFrog; .

As I read 24 useful things you can make with a 3D printer, I thought about how 3D printing could be another avenue for students to exercise their problem solving capabilities. You could pose a question to the group and they could create a 3D printable prototype to solve the problem. As is mentioned on the LeapFrog 3D printers site, their prototype might not work the first them, and they will learn to problem solve again, until they have the solution they are looking for.  3D printing can also allow students to handle fragile artifacts that they might not get to explore otherwise (Nicholls, 2013).

I feel like the biggest possibility to change the way we think about education isn’t specific to just 3D printing, and lies in the implementation and environment in which it is introduced.  Christine Mytco is cited in the Schaffhauser (2013) article and has learned to replace control with setting boundaries. Now she tells her students, “Let’s talk about something purposeful in your life that you’d like to design.” Giving students some control and choice in their education leads to an increase in motivation. Not only that, but students see a real life application for their learning.   With measurement for example, they aren’t learning it because the teacher deems it important, they are choosing to learn because their project requires it and they want to (Schaffhauser, 2013). Overall 3D printing has the possibility to take teachers out of the center of the classroom and put student interests and needs there instead. Students may have more schema on 3D printing or the skills needed to create a prototype than the teacher does, so it also holds the possibility to have teachers step back and allow students to ask and answer questions of each other. A teacher must be ok with saying, “I’m not sure. Does anyone else know the answer?” or “Let’s ask Google!”



24 Useful things to make with a 3D printer. http://www.businessinsider.com/useful-3d-printer-projects-2015-2

LeapFrog 3D Printers. http://www.lpfrg.com/en/professionals/education/

Nicholls, Dale. (2013, Oct 23). Why have 3D printers in the classroom? Retrieved from: http://3dprintingsystems.com/why-have-3d-printers-in-the-classroom/

3D Printers in the Classroom: 7 Reasons Why Every School Should Have a 3D Printer (2013, Feb 27). http://airwolf3d.com/2013/02/27/school-3d-printers-in-the-classroom/

Federico-O’Murchu (2014, May 11). How 3_D printing with change the world. Retreived from: http://www.cnbc.com/2014/05/09/will-3-d-technology-radically-change-the-world.html



Week 6 Reflection

I enjoyed reading my colleagues’ blogs and chatting on Twitter this week.  This reading really helped me to round out my understanding of the complete argument around coding in schools, especially the arguments against coding.

Because I attacked this topic with the mindset of teaching it to second grade, I did not even consider the idea that teaching students to code could prepare them for future jobs, some of which do not even exist yet.  Also I just thought of teaching this in a 2nd grade room I only thought of teaching it as a special at a separate time, bust so many of our classmates made the argument to integrate it into other core subjects.

Finally reading blogs this week really helped me understand more of the argument against teaching coding in school.  Sarah K cited an interesting article in which the author believes that students aren’t developmentally ready to reason abstractly with technology until age 14.  Genevieve mentioned teachers being uncomfortable with technology as a con that I had not considered. It got me thinking: in our Twitter session we discussed using the free resources available to educate ourselves as teachers in order to offer these skills to our students. However, what do we do with a teacher that is unmotivated to learn by his or herself? The only solution that comes to me is that the administration would have to offer the whole staff a PD session or more on coding.

It’s so interesting to read others’ blogs on the same topics.  Everyone approaches the topic from a slightly different perspective, and together we form a well rounded argument/knowledge base!

Coding in Schools

Essential question: What are the compelling arguments both for and against computer coding in schools?

When searching for computer coding in schools I found almost exclusively support for teaching students, even elementary students, to code. In his TED Talk, Mitch Resnick (2012) likened coding to reading when he said first kids learn to read then they can read to learn, just like kids first learn to code then they code to learn. Coding is learning a new language (Zamora, 2014), and learning to code would open a whole new host of opportunities for students.   Learning to code teaches valuable skills for many jobs and life in general including:

Problem Solving


Collaboration (Resnick, 2012; Harrol, 2015)

Logical thinking

Communication (Harrol, 2015)

Creativity (Zamora, 2014; Resnick, 2012)

Like Resnick (2012) said, not every student will become computer programmers, BUT the skills they attain from coding will help them in any department. Zamora (2014) argues, “If students can adopt the language of coding at an early age, they will have laid the foundation for a greater understanding of the tools they utilize in their everyday lives.” Coding has mainly been taught to older students, but Zamora (2014) positions that it makes sense to introduce coding to students in the younger grades while they are learning to read and write, as their brains are “learning and processing their literacy skills.”

After I read this, I just had to try Scratch Jr. (http://www.scratchjr.org/) and downloaded it onto my iPad. The 3:27 tutorial offered within the app was all I needed to get started. This is created for children ages 5-7, and I could really see this as a big hit in my 2nd grade room. We have an iPad cart for the elementary grades and each grade uses them for 1.5-2 hours a week. I plan to submit this app for approval on the iPads.

The only argument that I found against programming was by Sehringer (n.d.) in his article “Should we teach everyone to code?” He says, “My advice? Don’t teach everyone how to code. Teach them how to identify and understand needs, as well as how to visually express logic. Teach them how technology works, so they can understand the realm of possibility and then envision game-changing innovations. And then create an environment where they don’t even have to think about writing code — where building great apps is as easy as using iTunes. Just drag and drop.”

Overall there seems to be strong support for teaching kids to code. One concern could be finding time in our already packed schedule. Another concern could be not having enough technology/computers for the whole class. My solution to both of these concerns in the elementary classroom would be to offer it as a “special” or choice time. I could see it fitting in really nicely during a Genius Hour setting. In this way, our students would be exposed to it, but allowed to be creative ad have choice over whether they wanted to participate and what they wanted to create.


Harrol, Matt (2015, Mar 17). Add coding to your elementary curriculum…right now. Retreived from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/add-coding-elementary-curriculum-now-matt-harrell

Ted Talk: Mitch Resnick: Let’s teach kids to code (2012, Nov). http://www.ted.com/talks/mitch_resnick_let_s_teach_kids_to_code?language=en

ScratchJr. http://www.scratchjr.org/

Sehringer, Gottfried (n.d.) Should we really try to teach everyone to code? Wired. Retreived from: http://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/should-we-really-try-to-teach-everyone-to-code/

Zamora, Wendy (2014, Apr 1). Why coding should be taught in elementary school. Retreived from: https://techblog.evan-moor.com/2014/04/01/coding-taught-elementary-school/


Week 5 Reflection

What a fun week expanding my knowledge on the crazy world within the IoT.  Designing a device for the classroom that falls within the IoT and reading about other colleague’s “inventions” leaves me wondering what the future holds for technology in the field of education.  There’s certainly a lot of possibility, but it was interesting to note that in the IoT Market Map that Gerald found–there was no category for education.  He figured it was probably buried within different categories.

It was fun to read about some different inventions that others came up with and how they would solve a variety of common problems by assisting the teacher to collect data in order to inform his/her instruction and best meet the needs of the kids.  Jessica’s device would help to monitor the anxiety level and cognitive strain in her students–assisting the teacher in adapting his/her instruction to meet the needs of the students.  I also thought this device would have potential to allow teachers to differentiate or offer more of a challenge if students are taking enough of a cognitive load.

Sarah’s idea about a vibration to alert students that they are off task and gently reminding them to turn their attention back to their work would be something that would be easily added to my device as well.   I wouldn’t have thought of using that, and I can see some connections to Josie’s device that would collect data on student behavior in order to inform instruction.  Perhaps the number and times of vibrations could be logged and a report could be constructed to see patterns in student behavior.

Gerald had a similar idea to my smart surface adapted for use in the upper grades.  I think there’s a lot of potential for a tablet that allows a classroom to be paper-less with digital (interactive) textbooks.  It’s interesting to note that we came up with similar ideas for such diverse grade levels and I think that really points to the potential for the IoT in the classroom.

Sarah discussed the importance and value in security and privacy in the design of her device and I think this is so important.  We would have to take steps to ensure the privacy and security of the data collected on students.

Thinking about these “inventions” and reading about the IoT left me with one big thought:  technology cannot replace teachers.  Sure we can use it as a tool to help us collect data, but I think it is very important not to get so caught up in the data collected by these devices that we forget to use our own intuition.  WE know our students and our knoweldge, feelings, and instincts about students should always come first.  Aleta talked about this in her blog post using some of her personal experiences and I could really relate and find the value in this.

Internet of Things

Week 5 Essential Question: Design an object that could be classified as belonging to “The Internet of Things” and describe how it could contribute to your classroom.

Before I can answer the essential question for the week, I must address a few other questions:

What is the internet of things?

Benson Hougland (2014) had a great description in his Tedx Talk about the Internet of Things (IoT).   The internet was designed to connect people, while the IoT connects things. Things can share data, interact, and collaborate with other things.

Using a comparison I could understand, he said people interact and collaborate through 5 senses; now things have senses (where you are, if your moving, sensing light, etc) and can communicate. Then he added that because they communicate on a network they know how to “listen.”

Nicole Kobie (2015) writes that the IoT is about “connecting devices over the internet, letting them talk to us, applications, and each other.”

Of course security is very important (Hougland, 2014) and must be addressed.

What does the IoT look like in the classroom?

Max Meyers (2014) says connected devices have the potential to drive new ways of teaching and transform the experience both for students and educators.

But how?

He suggests that as students walk into the classroom, attendance could be logged automatically using a smartband type device. A “beacon” might send a warm-up directly on their smart tablet.  Neurosensors provide insight into students’ cognitive activity—and essentially who needs help. A teacher could send a vibration to students’ wearable band or tablet to redirect off task behavior (Meyers, 2014).


So now I’m ready to address the Essential Question: Design an object that could be classified as belonging to “The Internet of Things” and describe how it could contribute to your classroom.

If I were to use a device that belongs in the IoT in the classroom, it would be to make our lives easier and to allow me to focus more on students and less on bookkeeping matters. Before using a device in the classroom, I’d need to consider the security and privacy. But let’s assume that we’ve crossed that bridge already.

When considering this question I had to think of the parts of the day/activities that take the most of my time away from students. I came up with:

  • checking in/out books
  • announcing/changing classroom jobs
  • attendance
  • collecting papers (and grading them after school)

First I thought that I’d design a smart books shelf, but then quickly decided that a Kindle would do the same thing much more efficiently. From there I thought we could take the Kindle idea and make each students’ desk a smart surface and individualized for their needs. They could check choice books out and read them (or have them read aloud using earbuds) and also have their textbooks available on the tablet/surface. Students could also write with a stylus and get instant feedback on some practice like math problems and spelling tests.   From here I think of how Hougland talked about devices talking to each other and thought these Smart surfaces/tablets would “talk” to the teacher device, we’d still need a student specific device to talk to the tablet. I thought about Hougland’s smart watch vibrating to wake him up and alerting the coffee maker to turn on. If students wore a band, it could signal when they sat down, automatically doing attendance, and like Meyers (2014) mentioned could send warm-up work to their tablet, and I’d even add an icon with their daily “job” in the top corner of their screen to eliminate time. When students complete their work, a copy could be sent to the teacher’s device, eliminating the need to collect papers.



Kobie, Nicole (2015 May 6). What is the internet of things? Theguardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/06/what-is-the-internet-of-things-google


Meyers, Max (2014, Dec 3). Can the internet of things make education more student-centered? Deloitte Development LLC. Retreived from:   http://government-2020.dupress.com/can-internet-things-make-education-student-focused/


Tedx Talk. Benson Hougland (2014, Dec 17): What is the internet of things and why should you care? Retreived from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AlcRoqS65E


Week 4 Reflection

Looking at Maker Spaces this week was super useful for me. They encourage students to be creative, innovative, and to solve problems. Like Brian said in his post, Maker Spaces allow students to fail—and that’s how they learn to succeed, through improving on failed attempts.   Aleta and Melissa reminded me about what an important job teachers have in Maker Spaces—to know when to step in and ask a leading question and to know when to sit back and let students figure it out for themselves. I think teaching students a can-do, problem-solving attitude is such an important benefit to the Maker Space pedagogy.

Laura’s post included the “three easy steps” to starting a Maker Space and was so encouraging to me. It really can be as simple as securing a space, putting stuff in it, and inviting students to play.   After reading Daysha’s post, I thought about our computer lab’s cabinet that just keeps collecting “junk” from teachers that have come and gone…that “junk” is going to be a gold mine for my Maker Space. My art lessons have always been students working on the same project.   I can totally see the benefit to setting up a space with materials and allowing students to create through using their imagination instead. I’m so charged to get started!



Maker Spaces are areas that are set up to allow students to create and work on projects, by trying out solutions to problems, accepting input from others to overcome obstacles, and sharing knowledge with others (“7 things,” 2013). This pedagogy is student centered, project based learning in which students follow their interests and collaborate with others to solve problems. Maker Spaces teach students to be creative and innovative (Goodin, 2013; HRSBOfficial, 2015), by allowing students to create from their imagination. In his TEDx Talk, James Leben (2015) calls Maker Spaces a “gym for your mind” and a great place to pool resources and interact with others.

MakerSpaces have many benefits for students. It makes their learning applicable to the real world by giving students a place to apply the knowledge they’ve gained. (Pearson, 2013). Because they teach students to approach obstacles by taking their first prototype and improving on it (Goodin, 2015), I think it teaches students a valuable mindset—that we don’t give up. When we encounter an obstacle, we find a way around it by talking with others and trying something else. We may encounter failure, but we don’t give up. Above all, we learn from our mistakes.

I was interested to see how elementary schools have adopted MakerSpaces. Some elementary schools have used the library as the Maker area. Howe Community Library (2015) has different making stations set up and allows the students to choose a station after they have chosen their books during their set library time. Michael Wallace Elementary School (2015) incorporated Maker Space as an after school or recess time club. When thinking of trying this in my classroom, I can see an easy way to begin by using the Makerspace idea during Art class. Here I would offer students a variety of materials and allow them to create their own masterpiece. By offering students ownership over their project it seems as if they would be more motivated and take a higher interest in their project.

I can see great benefit in being intentional with planning  MakerSpaces in the classroom to allow students to integrate ideas learned across subject matter. This, however, is something that I need to spend more time contemplating on exactly how it would look/work. In our Twitter session yesterday, we discussed the idea of offering “making” as a center during student choice time in the primary grades. I think this would be another great way to bridge the use of making in the classroom.  In this way it would still be a student choice over whether they wanted to participate and what they wanted to accomplish. I do think that student choice is central to this pedagogy. I’m very interested to hear how you use/plan to use making in the elementary classroom!


Bruhn, Barbara (2014, Jun 6). Makerspace . Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hcnww3N-vHA

Gcaavideos (2013, Aug 31). Goodin, Andrew: What is a Makerspace? Retreived from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NUjR9l6vyE&index=2&list=PLikpSLcGyyJnNCapr0tB3hr_8lkzdxkec

Howe Community Library (2015, Sep). Elementary Makerspaces Sept. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELTTUbJQDa4

HRSBOfficial (2015, Nov 25). MakerSpace at Michael Wallace Elementary School. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fOm6cYuVak

Pearson (2013, Dec 17). How the maker movement inspires kids to learn.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjwXTHmVHx8

Tedx Talk (2015, Jul 14. James Leben: Makerspace: Make Community.

Retreived from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQnXaShzuHw

7 Things You Should Know About…Makerspaces. Educause. ELI Publications, Apr. 2013. Retreived from link at: https://uasemergtech.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/week-four-what-is-the-pedagogy-behind-a-maker-space/


Week 3 Reflection

It was interesting to read blogs this week and I enjoyed reading about all three choices of emerging technologies, but I chose to really focus my attention and time on Genius Hour. I really feel like Genius Hour can be used successfully at any grade level.

It was really interesting to read about Gerald experiencing Genius Hour from a parent’s perspective and his statement, “When my daughter told me she could pick any topic and project to work on in health class, I thought she was mistaken.” really hit home. Especially in the upper grades our students would probably experience similar thoughts, which may prevent them from starting right away. By that time some students may have learned how to “play” school and do just what they need to to get by.  Something else I picked up from his post was that we can find experts in the students chosen project field that may be right in our building or town. Of course we can use technology to put our students in touch with experts that aren’t in our geographic location.

Daysha reminded me of how excited primary students are to learn and how we can use that to our advantage with Genius Hour. We shared similar feelings of apprehension when thinking of implementing this in our classrooms. Daysha had a great idea of finding another primary class that has used Genius Hour effectively and using that for ideas and even to show the student examples of finished products. She was interested in hearing how another primary teacher would organize Genius Hour to keep it from unproductive chaos and this really made me sit back and think, how would this really look in my classroom?

I think I would start small—with our independent book reading time and go from there. The next step would probably be to model how Genius Hour looks by doing a project myself. Then I would have students work on their projects during a center time—a time when all the other students are working at independent centers so that the Genius Hour group could receive teacher assistance as needed. With time and practice my students would become more independent. Due to our remote location and no library, I would really rely on technology to help the students research for their chosen project.

Finally, I was discussing this with my husband, a high school CTE teacher, and it was really interesting to reflect on the different concerns about implementing this in a high school room or a elementary room.  One of his biggest concerns was assessment and “grading.” We discussed how not everything needs to be graded, but the students final project and presentation would be a great form of authentic assessment.

Genius Hour

Week 3: Which emerging pedagogy appeals most to you and might be most useful for your classroom and students? Why?

I find it difficult to make some of the emerging technologies we’ve discussed relevant to work in the primary grades, so this week’s topic was very intriguing for me. The question in the first paragraph of Nicole Carter’s (2014) Edutopia article on Genuis Hour caught my attention. “How do I engage my learners and make their classwork more authentic?” This is a question that often circulates through my mind and I’m always striving to answer. One solution to that question could be to use Genius Hour in the classroom.

Genius Hour is a student-centered approach in which students get to choose a project of their interest/passion to explore for a portion of their school day/week. This approach has been shown to lead to a whole new level of engagement, ownership, and passion for learning in students. (Juliani, 2015; Carter, 2014). Genius Hour allows students to choose the content that they want to learn, while still meeting the required standards. The purpose of Genius hour is for the kids to create something that they are passionate about. By allowing them this choice, students will be more likely to be intrinsically motivated (Juliani, 2015).

AJ Juliani (2015) has a 25 minute webinar on Genius Hour and says, “Genius Hour is something you can do at any single level.” Not only that, he outlines the steps to follow if you’d like to introduce Genius Hour to an elementary classroom:

Genius Hour Journal for K-8

  • discuss what genius hour actually is
    1. choosing a passion and a purpose
      1. “what do you do for fun? What are you curious about? What are you interested in? What have you always wanted to create?”
      2. Passion Madness Bracket
    2. Make a KWL chart
  • Pitch it to the class
    1. what, why, how, success (what will success look like?)
  • Create and make something
    1. Document through blog, journal, etc
    2. Success and failures
    3. Make an action plan

A link for his Genius Hour Journal and webinar, along with other resources is available here.

Though Juliani said Genius Hour could be used in the primary grades, I wasn’t quite satisfied with the list of steps to implement; I felt like I would need to revise them a little to apply to work in a second grade room. Then I found Paul Solarz’s Blog Post Leading Children to Explore Their Passions in the Classroom and he offered a great idea—to start off with books. This is something I already do—offer students time to read books they are interested in–so I feel like I can use this as a bridge to getting started with Genius Hour (or Passion hour as Solarz calls it)….and suddenly it doesn’t sound so intimidating.

Something else I understood from both Solarz (n.d.) and Juliani (2015) is to be transparent with the kids and explain your purpose for this time and why/how it will work. Also, it may take time for students to decide on a project to work on, but that’s probably the most important step—choosing something that they truly are passionate about and want to learn more about. AJ Juliani (n.d.) says, “You don’t need to create the desire as a teacher. Instead, our job is to help students connect their existing desires to this project as a new purpose for learning.”


Carter, Nicole (2014, Aug). Edutopia: Genius hour and the 6 essentials of personalized education. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/genius-hour-essentials-personalized-education-nichole-carter

Kesler, Chris (2013, Mar 26) What is genius hour? Retrieved from: http://www.geniushour.com/what-is-genius-hour/

Juliani, AJ (2015, Oct 13) Getting started with #GeniusHour . Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPLJjoXYsVM

Juliani, AJ (n.d.) What to do when genius hour fails. Retrieved from: http://ajjuliani.com/genius-hour-fails/

Solarz, Paul (n.d.) What’s going on in Mr. Solarz’ class? Leading children to explore their passions in the classroom. Retrieved from: http://psolarz.weebly.com/leading-children-to-pursue-their-passions.html

Week 2 Reflection

I came into this week with a very unclear understanding of open learning.  After researching and discussing on Twitter, I felt like I had a much better idea.  However, then the question of application in primary classrooms entered into the equation.  After reading and responding to blogs I came to the conclusion that open learning technologies and strategies can be approached like standards:  they have to be scaffolded through the grades and introduced in small steps with teacher guidance and support.  It may not look completely “open” in the K-2 grades, but we can set our students up to be able to use the technologies and strategies in the upper grades. By using these strategies we will also be able to meet portions of the Alaska State Standards.  In kindergarten Alaska State Standard W.K.6, “With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.” and in first grade students are expected to “use” a variety of digital tools to publish writing.  K-2 grades are all expected to participate in shared research and writing projects (Writing standard 7) and even though this doesn’t specifically require technology, we could certainly utilize open technologies to help meet it.

Brian and Sarah helped me think of other reasons why open learning is so important–it offers a venue for student to construct knowledge and allows for differentiation with our diverse learners.  Gerald discussed some OER resources that he uses in his high school classes, which pushed me to think about how I could apply similar tools in work with students in the youngest grades.  Josie brought up a further point that open learning can help students who can’t be in school because of illnesses, etc.  Aleta offered a great idea about using video clips for guest speakers and having the students write questions to send back to the speaker.  The questions could be sent using open technologies!