Sunday, December 3, 2017

Creating Vinyl Stickers with the Silhouette Cameo

During our prep period, Carrie and I decided to dive into the Silhouette Cameo. Just like the Touch Board, we instantly found some complications. Carrie created circle patterns to cut out for an upcoming project. At first only half of the circles on the vinyl sheet cut out. After some tinkering (and help from Google), we realized that we had to manually adjust the blade. Easy fix. After that, it consistently cut out the circles. Though the stickers are hard to remove!

Overall, we found the machine relatively easy to use and more importantly useful. We ordered cutting fabric for one of our sixth grade projects and excited to try out a new material.

Check out some of our photos from this tinkering session. We were joined by some thirds graders who were learning besides us! The best type of learning!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Partnering with Generator

Fabulous news!  The Generator Educator in Residence program has adopted our  Fall 2017 IGNITE a MAKERS.  The support that Jenny and Carrie will receive from Generator as part of this partnership is going to help them develop and implement their goals of creating an interactive mural that can be used to display student work. 

Jenny, Carrie,  met with  Ignite a Mentor, Caty Wolfe and Generator director, Chris Thompson to set goals for the next few months. 

Both Carrie and Jen have completed the laser certification and are signed up for the CNC tools training in order to gain the skills and access needed to complete this project!

They have been experimenting with Lucie's  Silhouette Vinyl cutter  and have plans to use in some projects with their students inspired by artist Yayoi Kusama 

Here's a quick update from Carrie and Jen

Remember that you can also  follow these maker educators on Instagram

Jenny's art room Instagram

Carrie's Library Instagram

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Touch Board Take 1

One of the projects Jenny and I will be focusing on creating is an interactive mural board. This device will help some of our 6th grade students present their passion projects in an innovative and creative way.

Today we played around with a Bare Conductive Touch Board. This board will be the heart of the project allowing our students to record short segments about their projects which will be played at the touch of a button. The device is similar to a Makey Makey but is programmed using a mini SD card and works with conductive paint. 

We were easily able to get the board plugged into a computer but were unable to get the alligator clips to work when plugged into the electrode holes. After a lot of troubleshooting, we Googled the problem. The solution? Make sure the board is clean and the holes are clear from any previous conductive paint residue. One light wash with water and we were in business!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Follow us on Instagram!

Hello fellow Makers! Since we are in visual fields, Carrie and I use instagram on a regular basis! You can follow our Maker Journey on our school accounts.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Meet our new 2017 IGNITE A Maker team

I'd like to welcome a new team to IGNITE a MAKER  for November/December 2017.   During the next two months Jenny Jacobson and Carrie Speranza will our Maker-Educators.  We look forward to seeing how Jenny and Carrie experience a two month membership at  Generator- Burlington's Maker space in the Create Make Learn studio

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Weeding Vinyl

With several new classes learning to vinyl cut, I have been teaching them all how to "weed" their designs.  We did a little time lapse video of the process today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Developing Maker potential in High Schools

A belated "Hello" from Mount Mansfield High School! As a long-time computer & technology teacher in both middle and High Schools I am constantly exploring ways to leverage our investments in technology to improve teaching and learning. Preparing our students with the skills to move into the 21st century workplace and the flexibility to adapt as technologies evolve is an important part of our mission. Sadly and despite our investments in equipment and infrastructure, my observation is that a large percentage of technology "use" in schools has simply replaced books, pen and paper with word processors and the Internet, and students are still most often reading and writing which is not always engaging. That is not to say that there are not benefits to a digital workflow even if the content and products are more traditional, but as I collaborate with teachers to develop instruction my goal is to find the "value added" that will not only engage students but allow them to explore and demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

As a former outdoor educator and Science teacher I have always valued an open ended, project-based approach to learning that allows students to DO things, make connections between content and "real life" and exercise their creativity. When I began to explore the Maker world a couple of years ago it seemed the perfect venue to combine my educational ideals with the opportunity to create more tangible and durable products with our tech tools. It is also a perfect fit for my "inner tinkerer," nurtured through years of bicycle & auto repair, woodworking, DIY home improvement and tendency to fix things before throwing them away. Last year I began to create a Maker Space at our school, bringing in the 3D printers that had been lurking and in limited use in our Science Department as well as a new Shapeoko CNC, a fair supply of Arduino components and misc tech bits including some older computers and other electronic oddities like this beauty.

The space has slowly taken shape over the last year, enough to draw the attention of students and teachers such that we have now integrated 3D printing and Arduino as options in a number of projects and the CNC machine has recently been in use in the wood shop. I know the latter seems like a no-brainer, but integrating new tools into established programs can be a slow process. More than anything else, the visibility of the MakerSpace has brought a collection of like-minded souls who enjoy spending their available moments designing, inventing, exploring and sometimes just BS-ing about geeky stuff. The core students are also members of our rookie FIRST-FTC Robotics Team.

The opportunity to join the Generator community and explore the available tools and resources is tremendous. My initial goals involve pushing myself forward with automation and kinetic sculpture using Arduino and possibly RaspPi, but I am also appreciating access to the laser cutter (on our shopping list for next year) and CNC. Lowering the learning curve by identifying a straightforward workflow for each tool and process is an important part of the support I provide to our teachers and students, and I am also always looking for ideas on how these tools can be applied. Seeing the dynamic and creative culture that has evolved around Generator has already given me much inspiration, and I look forward to continued exploration. Onward!