This is the beginning of one of the most exciting projects I think I will create. A few months ago, I got in touch with my first grade teacher through Facebook and we started chatting as any two people who hadn’t spoken in over 20 years may. Kim (formerly addressed by me as Ms. Blau, and later, Mrs. Mason) asked me how my family was, what I was up to and where is was living. When I asked Kim what was new on her end she naturally answered, “I’m still teaching first grade.” Woah! I thought to myself, Kim has been a teacher for over 20 years for the same age, she must be a wizard at what she does. Immediately, I targeted this reunion as a seed for the beginning of a great project.
What project? I had know idea. But just thinking of the opportunity to build something with my teacher, who till this day I talk about enthusiastically in many scenarios, blew my mind.
It was time to get the ball moving. I knew that one of my classes at ITP would be a great environment to develop a self-driven project like this. So, I emailed Kim a bunch of ideas I had, here’s the email I sent:
I’ve been putting this email together for a while and the truth is that I could probably add more ideas but I thought that it might be wise to mention just a few and see what you might feel strong about. My background is primarily in design (graphic /web / app design) but in this degree I am acquiring more programming and technical skills.
It is not a requirement for this course to work with a teacher, but I thought this could be a unique opportunity for the two of us, having the background we have and experiencing the classroom together once upon a time. I’m sure that we can create something very valuable and meaningful together.
I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on any of these ideas! What ideas below do you think could work? Maybe there are ways to combine a few of them?
We can chat over Skype if you like sometime too.
Best regards for now,
Ideas for projects that incorporate Design / Tech / Education
Show and tell
I was thinking along the lines of a database for show and tell, or maybe a physical booth for presentations.
Emphasis: public speaking, introducing new ideas to classmates
Something along the lines of “Pay it forward”, each classmate contributes to the communal pool of writings, shares thoughts on a theme or specific class. Could also initiate activities, etc.
Volunteer organizing kit
Develop a system that will provide students with tools to organize volunteer events like bake sales, clothes / food drives, etc.
System for kids to build their own meals / lunches + activity at lunchtime
Infographics for kids
Charts and systems that can help kids with research projects
Any intro to hardware projects that uses these (!): http://littlebits.cc/
Intro to animal anatomy and introducing a new animal every week
A system that will encourage sharing within the class
Graphically designing a curriculum
Using the classroom as a canvas, turning the classroom into a museum.
Making creative use of bookshelves, screens, desks, space etc.
Learn from everyone
kids teaching kids, share ideas and discoveries.
Link to idea here.
Arousing curiosity “How things work / are made” through video series
Online class library
Books that have been read (archive) and books the class is reading together, book reports, book reviews, etc.
– Something for learning math
– Something for developing organization skills (planner, prioritizing)
– Geography game
Things I would like to keep in mind in general:
- Focus on the students, not on the technology (the technology needs to stay a means for the end)
- Something big enough to create an impact, small enough to complete in a semester.
Kim wrote back to me a few days later:
Ok- I really took a close look at your ideas. I would like to do the online class library. I thought about one of your goals of emphasizing the kids and the technology should be in the background. This could be a really cool project because it would incorporate so many academic areas and it reaches learners at many different levels. I also think this is something that I can use from year to year. I think future classes would enjoy reading book reviews/reports written by their peers. What do you think? Let me know where we need to go from here.
Alrighty. So we have a direction; I think it’s time we start.