Monthly Archives: June 2016

EDET677 Reflection–Week Six: What stuff will you stock your making space with, what’s the cost, and how will you fund it?

EDET677 Mechanical Applications in Technology with Dr. Lee Graham

by Aleta May

Even since writing my initial blog in response to the EQ above, I have thought about resources for paper technology. I now have a book about making paper inventions (Ceceri, 2015).  The book is divided into sections and definitely uses electronics for maker projects. There is a general paper inventions supply cabinet on one of the front pages. One example of what to add to my cabinet is copper tape. Later on, I would like to add conductive thread and figure out what LilyPad does.

Just thinking about all of the possibilities of what to have students make, a whole new world has opened up to me. I feel that I have finally been given permission to add creativity to teaching core subjects in order to engage students and tap into their ability to think deeply; to problem solve. I have a lot of intermediate skills that I have not used in a while—in music and sewing. This is a point to which I arrived when I homeschooled our daughters. Being so concerned about meeting benchmarks, standards, I ordered prepared curriculum kits. This was a great way to start, but we had the most fun when we expanded on those geography projects or went to the library to snag that science experiment picture book. It was messy and sometimes we failed, but we learned and had fun learning. My wording then was to “make that textbook come alive.” I did not have internet early on in teaching, but we had computer programs (like MathBlaster) by the time our third daughter was born. And by then, our annual test scores were in the high 80th to upper 90th percentile—so I figured, our thematic and multilevel support methods were working! It helped that we were simultaneously building our own house—so our daughters knew what was inside those walls. We had farm animals and watched carefully (and later talked and wrote about what the veterinarian did and how she saved a cow).

Reading WordPress posts, I learned that Sara and I are in the same school district and coincidentally were both involved in massive cleaning up the school efforts. Looking back on this, I truly don’t know why a village to village river barge was not set up to take away unwanted items from schools and communities alike, for recycling. I know there is a cost involved, but there is an environmental cost to tossing massive amounts of books into tundra style landfills or trying to burn it all, not to mention old equipment of all sorts.

Gerald inspired me to think more deeply about 3D printers and games that do not require computers, yet teach coding skills. Anastasia inspired the idea of incorporating cultural aspects to teaching fractions (beaver hats) across the year in maker spaces. Catherine detailed how making can be used (along with electronics and science) to teach students who are preparing to take the driving test(s) as they turn 14. Finally, I was especially happy to see that Kate gave me valuable input as well as opening my eyes to how many places in Alaska are indeed remote, though they may not be in villages, so to speak. Planning ahead for projects, therefore, is a must until that MakerSpace is already set up and underway.


Ceceri, K. (2015). Make: Paper inventions—Machines that move, drawings that light up, wearables and structures you can cut, fold, and roll. Sebastopol, CA: Maker Media, Inc.


I helped clean major areas of the school in Quinhagak, then have continually weeded out unnecessary things in my tiny room in Tuntutuliak. Since we are in the same school district, I believe we need to send a barge to each village to place items in huge recycling bins for the city. Our library is in exactly the same condition! The new principal does intend to clean a lot of unnecessary junk out of the small space left in our library. I know a lot of what I talked about was having major equipment in one area, unsafe equipment for high school students up stairs in a newly cleared out space, and the piece of the library.

Did you create that beautiful inventory form? It is categorized after Martinez and Stager (2013), but did you create this in Excel?

I think with district support, we can get grants since creating Makerspaces now has an official week dedicated to it via the Obama administration. Being so rural is a good way to request help in the form of grants.


There are a lot of jobs that are not considered to be Computer Programmers’ jobs that do utilize the skills of students who can use such skills to create apps or design an idea that is easy for co-workers to envision in computer 3D. There is also an area of art and music where computer programming can bring in that exact timing of the repetitive pattern so the artist can visualize more concretely their own vision for a canvas art original.

I like the idea of a board game that teaches coding without a computer, but the hope would be that actual computer connections would be made soon. If for limited other reasons, students can better comprehend the coding in the apps and devices they use on a daily basis if they better understood how these apps work.


What a great idea—combining culture and math to make things. The Makerspace as a place to gather to express learning about fractions sounds like a perfect way to bring fun to math, makes it seem like a way to gain their attention to think about what fractions mean. Adding in making a beaver hat and sewing is cultural expression. I know our new principal stated that he would like to see culture week happen across the school year—rather than just one week set apart for this. That makes sense to me. I think the plan you have in mind may be more likely to draw in parents and elders to come help where the environment is based in a smaller classroom environment rather than our current one week per year having adults manage groups that rotate in and out of their sessions—this seems to overwhelm some volunteers and people paid to come in.


I was thinking about playing around with paper and/or fabric circuitry when I get back to Alaska—at home first. Then I can try it out with a small group and display their projects—as applied to some common core standards in reading, writing, science or math.

Many years back when I was in high school in Anchorage I remember taking an afterschool class for driving. I visualize how you could teach velocity, for stopping distance at different speeds while at the same time considering variables such as curves, ice or bald tires, a moose stepping out in front of a car, as well as the effects of impaired reactions. Maybe some students have an older Wii program with steering wheels and driving games that could be borrowed as part of the project.

Your idea is so inspiring. The list / inventory is so well thought out too!

katemullin17 says:  June 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm (Edit)

Aleta, you have done a nice job of not only looking at what you might want to have in your space, but also the challenges of having such items. Rural Alaska poses such an array of different challenges to setting up a makerspace. Even though Sitka is urban by Alaska standards, ordering simple items such as button batteries has posed a challenge because of delivery issues. Repairs and support for equipment is a consideration I hadn’t considered as well.

Your ideas for funding are excellent. Local corporations have a vested interest in their future employees, so providing quality educational experiences to students benefits everyone.

I replied:

Thank you, Kate. Although I have not been there, only to Juneau in SouthEast AK, I’m sure Sitka has a variety of small stores for necessities, but not for those unique electronic items that will be used in a Makerspace! Isn’t Sitka even more remote and smaller than Juneau? And delivery issues must be similar to my village–the plane is too full with people and their items to add mail this trip, the weather permitting mail delivery, and whatever else comes up (some unique and laughable deterrent to receiving mail in a timely fashion). Maybe pre-planning one project at a time, and gradually building the space is a better plan for both of us. It is difficult to describe the unique issues of places in AK that rely on planes and barges–weather permitting. So our style of building Makerspaces in a “tight budget” era will need to be creative for sure.

Week 6 Reflection for EDET678: What are the compelling arguments both for and against computer coding in schools?

Aleta May

EDET 678 Emerging Technologies with Aleta May

Week Six Reflection

After reading the articles provided and that I personally found through research, it is very difficult to imagine why we are NOT doing more computer coding—computer science—where students are taught to create. It seems that this should be a given in our classes. I believe our school district has been pretty great at keeping up with technology—though remoteness has brought a certain amount of drag to building programs simply because it has not been very long since we have gained enough bandwidth that we could depend on without continual backup plans. Although this is still an issue, it is getting better each year. We actually do need to keep our computer and iPad equipment up-to-date enough to have the capacity to receive the signals. I think the most important area right now is to update our wireless airport receivers so that they have a higher student capacity.

There are wifi signal boosters coming out that may help. Maybe these would be perfect for a wifi booster that will help classrooms with the most reception problems to have fewer issues.  Here is an example, although it does not look like they are available for purchase yet:

I understand that there are ways to teach computer science without computers—however, I am more apt to want what the real thing for our students. I noticed that in certain rural areas here in Oregon, there is a dirth of computer or other technology equipment, and what is available is far outdated. This clearly leads me to appreciate teaching in rural Alaska where at least we are struggling with how to best use what we have, which has been reasonably updated.

I learned so much about a topic that just came up in my thinking last semester—coding. Now my understanding of why coding is important has expanded so much.

When Brian, a high school math teacher, responded to me, he got me thinking about the balance between sticking to reality and pushing forward. I believe we as educators are responsible for incorporating a variety of coding projects across subject areas; however, the school district has a big responsibility in encouraging our efforts as we step out into these new to us areas. I liken this to special education laws, and how one time, not in Alaska, I was actually told that I was expected to keep my moderate to severe students in the classroom to watch grass grow! By the way, the principal did not even realize that one such student had already passed the 8th grade benchmark. So is district support needed—this is a resounding yes! When I pair students off in my room to work together on reading according to current practice taught to me in my college program, I don’t want to be told from an evaluating principal that my room is too small to have students read together in pairs—and to stick to round robin style (which is shown to be not best practice to say the least). Then either barge a bigger modular room to me so I may serve the needs of the many students coming to me with best practices or, . . . what?! Scheduling does not allow me to visit each room for K-12 where there are definite needs across the grade levels. Multilevel teaching in any subject area is the way I teach, and technology/reading are the electrical threads that tie it all together.

Tricia added a thought to my comments–she is a math 5th thru 12th grade teacher as well.  So I was very happy to get responses from two math teachers with my idea for a hybrid math and computer science class.

This week to encourage a couple of responses to my WordPress Blog, sending a Twitter message directly to two people I had responded two in their blogs worked well, in that Brian responded back to me and I in turn to him. Where one blog I responded to, came up as waiting for moderation, so I sent a Twitter directly to this person as well and will likely get a response from her as well.

Here are the replies I gave or received in Week 6:


I am wondering whether our current educational system with so much over testing is preparing our students to fear trying to gain the skills they will need for future jobs. Are the assessments we currently give assessing problem solving skills? Maybe in a very limited manner when it comes to math; but if they are not learning critical thinking skills that prepare them to think of more than one option, we are teaching them that problem solving is too hard for them. I think coding helps students to think around situations by finding ways to create that were not previously thought of.

It seems to me that although we should definitely pay attention to the nuances that manifest throughout a child’s developmental stages, waiting until around age 14 reminds me of trying to shield them from many other things that are natural to their environment. I have to consider too that it is important not to trade computer art for paint and a paintbrush—why not do both?

It is also okay to learn just a few steps ahead of students, enough to get them going, and then grow with them. In my view, our society has segmented every skill into such a professional subsection that we have feared or shunned people who think to step outside their own professional corner. We segment people by age, by interest (before they know what else is out there to be interested in), in every career field. It is not affordable to even use the services of so many specialized people. Maybe this is why we need to embed computer science into as many subject areas as we can. I like the idea of a MakerSpace where we can reach for drawing paper, hand tools as well as technology tools, all for a variety of ways to demonstrate learning.

Hi Laura,

I think the computer science careers are so varied that there are enough subareas in this field to interest many people. It is funny to me that before reading over the last two weeks, I had not really thought about building my own apps. I looked up the link: and I am glad you called my attention to this. There is so much at this site to explore. This art/math connection is nice: It is called “Painting by Numbers.”

Hi Brian,

Response to Week 6 Blog:

Great point about how the demands for programmers are growing; and only 29% of graduates are qualified to fill these jobs. I believe we are moving in the direction of preparing our high school graduates to not only consider going into these programs, but also to graduate with 21st Century computer science skills that will assist them in most careers.

Wow, what a good idea, to create a three-part course for high school. What I have noticed is that some of the electives we try to set up for our students are sometimes rocky. For example, telling a teacher that they will be teaching digital photography without any cameras and leaving them to seek out curriculum for this; or telling them they will teach music and rely on the teacher to obtain ukuleles through donations from another student so they will have actual instruments to teach music with in a meaningful way sounds inappropriate. Wouldn’t it be better to equip students with computer science experiences where the Arts can be incorporated into it; for example, music and photography art?

I guess my main point here is that requiring students to take computer programming / science seems logical, because we can weave into the classes freedom for students to pursue their personal interests—including high school.

akmathteacher Brian says:

June 26, 2016 at 5:29 pm (Edit)

I like your idea to allow high school students to use computer science courses for math. But we need to be sure that students can not only get their math credits through computer science courses. I think that in HS students should need 4 credits of math to graduate. The first three credits should be the required math classes (algebra, Geometry, ect) and the fourth credit should be an elective math class. A computer science could count as their fourth credit.

Thank you for your reply, Brian! Could computer science be embedded into geometry and algebra? I’m sure this sounds a lot easier than the reality of putting this together. It would be nice to have some ready made curriculum embedded into the course as a place to launch. Aleta

triciaturley05 says:

June 27, 2016 at 12:35 am (Edit)

I like your hybrid idea. However, as a person who went through the math education program for teaching 5-12 grade, I would like to see that hybrid idea modeled on the college level to help me get a better grasp of how that might look at the high school level. That would help me feel more prepared for teaching that type of class. I’ve been out of teaching high school math for years, but I still cannot wrap my brain around it. I’m just not familiar with enough coding. I also like Brian’s idea of 3 regular math classes and a choice of a hybrid math/computer science class for the fourth class.

My reply:

Tricia–Thank you so much for your response to my post as well! I feel the same as far as not being familiar enough with coding yet to apply it to teaching yet. For me it will take experimentation–but I am not a high school math teacher at all! Also, coding will need to become a hobby so I feel comfortable getting started using it in classes I teach–along with this Arduino electronics concepts. I am noticing myself learning faster than I thought I would, however. One thing I am noticing is that when I am in the village, I need things to do after work. Previously, when I taught here in Oregon, my husband and I had 3 daughters still at home, and we were taking care of my mom, as well as building our house. I taught part time, and Dan drove 50 mins each way to & from work. We were officially called the “sandwich generation,” still taking care of kids while taking care of parent(s).  So I definitely can relate to what it is like not to have extra time to devote to experimenting on my own time. I think we need a curriculum in Math handed to us that has enough coding instructions that directly apply to Algebra and Geometry (and fractals) to get going. I dream big–but start small.


Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Literally, people who are mechanics, construction workers, beauticians; and the list goes on endlessly; use technology. I think what opened my eyes to this even more was when I read about how we can create apps with coding. I don’t know why I didn’t realize this until this week—but that is the point—I should have already known! There are more opportunities than ever to start a personal business and using an app for this endeavor is needed. Realizing this is not a coding issue, as far as I know, I remember the first time a beautician swiped my debit card in the white “square” for payment for her services. Okay—I had been living in the village and not been to many beauticians, then I found one that was just starting her own business. The more computer, creating skills our students get, the better off they will be—this applies to me as well!



EDET678 EQ: What are the compelling arguments both for and against computer coding in schools?

Aleta May
EDET 678 Emerging Technologies with Aleta May
Week Six Initial Blog

Presently, coding is a part of the many apps we use daily, and the uses include “thermostats, cars and just about every device we own” (Sehringer, M., 2016, p. 2). Therefore, knowing how to code is a pathway to understanding the operations of a computer app. Sehringer makes a really important point about how coding may soon not even be the best way to build apps; further stating that “we need to remove code—and all its complexity” (p.3). I agree with the idea that what seems so important today will be exchanged for the next disruptive technology tomorrow. But think about how the Programming Interface: Scratch can be used by students to integrate digital story telling for a science concept, by explaining the problem in a series of scenes or through a how-to video , both based on pre-drawn storyboards that allowed students to pre-plan where animation or restrictions in development would come in when applying code (Hansen, Iveland, Dwyer, Harlow, & Franklin, 2015). The students become problem solvers when they apply coding across the curriculum. They have to define and delimit the problem (constraints of coding and assignment demands—like how many characters and scenes will be in the story), develop multiple solutions and optimize the solotion by identifying failure points (Hansen, et al., p. 61). The grading rubric would include computer science and content knowledge.

According to Welcome (2015) “coding is the language this generation speaks. . . ) (p. 26). Coding also encourages discovery and collaborating to solve problems. Most students are motivated to use coding in their school assignments. Coding coursework prepares students for college-level courses and jobs (Shueh, 2014). I believe all 50 states should allow high school students to use computer science courses for math or science credits toward graduation—and embed it along the way. This is a class in how to create technology, this is very different from just using computers.

Since a student’s day can be so filled with required curriculum standards and coursework, (Guest Author, 2015), the answer is to hybrid courses—“replace your math class with a math/CS hybrid class” (p. 2). We are already going this route when we declare that every teacher is a reading/writing teacher in every subject area. I agree that along with this, we need to embed the language of the day—computer coding.

I am opposed to not adding coding into the curriculum after reading all the literature as to how much a part of our students’ lives computer science really is. Therefore, the cons are impossible for me to find.


3 Reasons coding should be a core subject by Guest Author, September, 29, 2015 From Getting Smart. Retrieved 6-20-16:

Twenty Resources for Teaching Kids How to Program & Code by Severine Baron, Feb 20, 2014 Retrieved 6-20-16:

Should we really try to teach everyone to code? Sponsor Content: Gottfried Sehringer, Mendix WIRED:  Retrieved 6-20-16

Hansen, A. K., Iveland, A., Dwyer, H., Harlow, D. B., & Franklin, D. (2015). Programming digital stories and how-to animations: Computer science and engineering design in the science classroom. Science and Children, pp. 60-64.

Harrell, M. (2015, 17 March). Add coding to your elementary curriculum . . . right now. Edutopia.

Shueh, J. (2014, 25 June). Advocacy groups push coding as a core curriculum: Students must learn how to create technology to prepare for a computer-driven workforce.

Week 6 Initial EDET677: What stuff will you stock your making space with, what’s the cost, and how will you fund it?

Aleta May
EDET 677 Mechanical Applications of Technology with Dr. Graham
Week 6 Initial Post

This week’s essential question just happens on the first ever week called “National Week of Making” (officially started on June 17 through June 23) that will unveil several new initiatives and begin by expanding across 50 states in more than 1,400 schools:

A Maker Promise includes a K-12 school leader who will support their school or district by setting aside space for making, and showcasing student projects after having a making campaign. In the planning stages are commitments by schools , companies/organizations that will set up coding labs, fab labs, mobile labs for further community access, as well as pilot programs and more.

At the website listed in the references, “Where to Buy Supplies,” website is a whole list of weblinks for places shoppers may go to buy supplies for their Makerspace. Since I know that my new administrator wants to bring in at least one 3D printer to our school, In Libow & Stager, on page 154, there is a percentage list for allocating a budget for setting up a FabLab. I went to the link listed on this page: and found out that the cost of their Fab Lab Inventory as of 6-24-16 had gone up from the writing of the book by about $6,650. Since this is listed for the MIT budget, of course it is very expensive. Two points come to my mind. First, the prices of items are rising, and our school’s focus could be more on percentages. At this point, what I do know is that 3D printers would fall under the major equipment purchase category; and our textbook recommends that this type of equipment be around 40% of the budget.

Also, I realize that there is a wide array of 3D printers, and that new makers need equipment that is both durable, and where the filler for making items is affordable. In the rural area of Alaska where things are either flown in or sent in on a barge, the chemical content of some liquids, fillers, etc. can add significantly to the shipping price tag—so this is a definite consideration. Also, a 3D printer needs to come with company support for troubleshooting any issues encountered during the making process. This can be in the form of video clips and pdfs., but will also need to include strong customer service; maybe even over Skype. Assuming this will become a trend across the district, albeit gradually, we may need technology support in Bethel who can come in to fix a machine.

Other percentage categories from the budget include 10% for each: spare parts for equipment, electronic parts and consumable supplies, tools, and computer or tablets and Android devices that are “easier to create apps for” Martinez & Stager,” 2013, p. 143), and finally “books, safety equipment, cleaning supplies, office supplies and storage” (Martinez & Stager, p. 154). To stock a Makerspace, Hlubinka (2013) mentioned that each school is very individualized. I remember thinking about clearing out a section upstairs in our school for a book room arranged by themes and levels that are in sets teachers could checkout for their class. Since we have such space issues in our school, I do believe that we can have some space cleared out of the library for placing big, shared items.

We can also clear out an area for students to go upstairs for completing projects. This fall, our school program will continue to be split 50%/50% for dual language through the 5th grade, but this will now go all the way down to Kindergarten instead of starting with 2nd grade. The students stay in the same room while teachers move between classrooms to teach two grade levels. With some classroom sizes larger than others, carving out a corner for making may be limited. Carrying items up and down the steep stairs is not safe for most of the elementary students. So likely the more dangerous tools and projects would be located up stairs. Setting up more than one Makerspace area will likely affect the budget.

This means that basic stocks will fall into the categories listed on page 147 of Libow & Stager:

• Electronic parts and tools
• Computers, cameras, software
• Craft and art supplies
• Building materials and traditional tools
• Junk for recycling into new products
• A library

Hlubinka (2013) makes a good point that “No matter how durable the tool, equipment always begets more equipment. Hand tools need toolboxes or cabinets to organize them. Battery-powered tools need charging stations” (p. 4). This goes on further to imply that other items that may not initially considered in a list are vacuums, first aid kits, filters for equipment, sharpening blades, and more. It seems like to me that it would work best to start out building Makerspace(s) that are focused according to grade levels. Maybe the younger students could start with very simple tablet coding programs, like an open source dialect of Logo called Scratch, that uses turtle animation to replace text-based programming with snap-together blocks” (p. 137, Libow & Stager) where they can animate stories. The next grade levels could start using LiliPad Arduino for Flora for creating “wearable computing construction materials” (p. 124, Libow & Stager) to work with fabrics and electronics.

A Makerspace library should include pre-bookmarked sites set up to go to Make Magazine Arduino, Super Awesome Sylvia’s Simple Arduino Projects, and Instructables for project ideas (p. 125, Libow & Stager). Books that support Arduino and other platforms students use can line shelves in that bookroom I mentioned earlier, for a variety of age levels.

Setting up a Makerspace by buying used, as suggested by Hlubinka (2013) is a good idea. I bought a very sturdy table for setting up a Makerspace in my home this summer off Craig’s List. I think putting out a wish list to the community Calista Corporation leaders and our schoolboard members might be a way to have an initial Makerspace “shower” and item tagged money-tree, for our new area. Since the article by Chang mentions support by Chevron, maybe we can gain support in Alaska from large oil companies to reconstruct or build new Makerspaces.


Chang, R. (6-20-16). Maker movement: President unveils new initiatives during national week of making.

Gabreski, G. (Retrieved June 24, 2016). Where to buy supplies

Hlubinka, M. B. (2013). Stocking up school makerspaces.

Libow, M., S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. (Chapters Six, Seven and Eight)

EQ EDET678 Design an object that could be classified as belonging to “The Internet of Things” and describe how it could contribute to your classroom.

Aleta May
Reflection for Week 5

This week I received a response to my initial post. I believe placing my link on Twitter did help call attention to my WordPrress post. Although I did not shorten my post, it was much more reader friendly this week—I added in more of my own experiences with the topic.

This week, Gerald and I co-hosted the Twitter session regarding the topic of the Internet of Things (IOT). He and I, as well as some other students in our class, discussed how we were aware of how more and more wireless wearables and portable items, such as, those in our homes, cars, medical devices, exercise equipment tracking and baby monitor, are bringing together an ecosystem of the internet– Wi-Fi, RFID, Bluetooth, wireless home products, Cloud. During the Twitter session, I mentioned safety concerns for students, and another student expanded this to how exercise/health monitors could impact whether we receive insurance coverage down the technology ecosystem road. In the session, we were made aware of how our searches on the internet set us up for particular advertisements; we went to a site to look at the new June Intelligent Oven, and one Twitter session participant immediately received an advertisement for this and was able to tell us the price of it. So our thoughts led us to how privacy issues, from exercise tracking to web searching, can impact our students’ lives as well. Kids will interact with wireless technology outside of school and inside. It becomes one of our roles as teachers to make students aware of this impact and how to manage this issue.

After talking on the phone with Gerald, and exchanging some questions via messenger, he set up a googledoc for us at:

Here we started with ten questions each, plus one ice breaker question each. We compared our questions to be certain there was not too much overlap, then we each decided on keeping five questions each. His questions looked like the best ones to begin with, so he went first and I followed up. We ended up each drawing from our bank of extra questions to keep the Twitter session going for the full hour, keep it interesting, and maintain a flow along the way when the answers started to slow down. Sometimes it is important to allow for a little lag time in case someone is still thinking about an answer. Wait time applies to adults as well as K-12 students; but too much wait time means someone will be distracted and possibly run off to get tea. We don’t want to lose our audience.

Here are the questions we used:

Twitter Session questions week 5. (Gerald and Aleta)

Ice breaker questions:

What is your favorite hobby? #uaemergtech

Where is your favorite place to go just to relax and clear your mind? #uaemergtech

Q1: Did you know the term “Internet of Things” (IoT) before this week? Explain. #uaemergtech

Q2: Are you aware of devices you own now that have network connectivity? If so, what? #uaemergtech

Q3: What IoT device would you create in the class? Briefly explain. #uaemergtech

Q4: Check out the June Intelligent Oven. (watch short video) Any thoughts? #uaemergtech

Q5: Is a fully integrated IoT class possible? Better yet, needed? #uaemergtech

Q6: Ecosystem of Internet—Wi-Fi, RFID, Bluetooth, wireless home products, Cloud. How do we manage safety?#uaemergtech

Q7: As kids interact more w wireless technology, how can we make them aware of what data is collected on them?#uaemergtech

Q8: How can we make students more aware of how data may b used by others w the IoT they interact w?#uaemergtech

Q9: With so much info available 2 our students, how do we design instruction 2 focus on what is most important?#uaemergtech

Q10: How might the use of the IoT help us differentiate in the classroom?#uaemergtech

. . . plus a couple of more from our extras.

This is a link to our Twitter script: (Lee storified this one)

I Storified the Twitter Script for practice, though I need practice with getting the script to change order to begin the script with the most recent—I’ll go over the YouTube video Lee posted for us again:

Aleta’s version: You’ve been quoted in my #Storify story “#uaemergtech”

Below are comments I made for our Week 5 Blog on WordPress, as well as, a reply from Josie:


It certainly would be nice if AIMS Web could be recorded online for the curriculum based reading timed readings and automatically scored for words correct per minute; much like an iPod recording, but with analytic features. We almost did something similar for WiDA English Language Proficiency assessment Speaking section—so that the questions could be asked through headphones, and the student could respond through a headset microphone—this would certainly saved me time since I individually gave these 25 minute tests individually to about 130 students this year. Yet, across rural areas of Alaska, the new automated feature failed to work. (I did get good at putting the system onto computers as did our technology lady.) For AIMS Web math, wouldn’t be nice to use iPads for students to use a stylus to calculate answers and then have these automatically scored? The timing would be accurate since the machine would clear the screen when the 8 minutes are up for math calculations and math concepts and applications.

I must confess, that I think we need much better ways to asses students in the first place, but if we are going to do so, individually testing the entire class on lower level reading and math tasks in K-1st grade is quite the time consumer (since at these grade levels there are 4 tests per student. That Oral Counting Measure would be nice to test on an iPad voice-recording app!



Wow, that IoT Market Map is an amazing visual of just how broadly applied the Internet of Things really is (wearables, connected home, IoT infrastructure & sensors, smart utilities & energy, retail, UAV / Drone, Connected car & Fleet, healthcare and industrial). I would conclude from this visual map alone that we need to embrace this world and harness pieces of it by embedding it into our instruction! It is interesting that there is not a separate category for education.

Since you mentioned veterinary medicine recording operations, I am thinking that we could use a headset GoPro to record moose or seal meat preparation—the video segments could include an introduction regarding our thankfulness for the provision and respect for the animal by using each part (culture), another segment for naming the anatomy parts so students may later compare and contrast these to different mammals, and more.

MyScript Math Pad looks like an excellent example of how Genevieve’s time saving device could be used to translate AIMS Web math tests, time them, and calculate the score. Thank you for sharing—I went to This looks awesome!

I have heard from other math teachers about how much time they spend checking math work. We do have the technology for all of this—your All-in-One Design exactly suits the needs. There is always plenty for the teacher to do, even if the computer individualizes lessons for students. You could turn your class into a math applications lab for small groups of students while other groups work on their All-in-One textbook, math iPad.



In the video, it was stated that sensors are getting embedded into “everything”. Controlling the quad-copter (which looks to me like a 4 way drone) using hand movements. Watching this made me think about how amazing the rate of change in the world of the IoT is progressing!

Your Wiggle Monitor idea is such a creative way to monitor student needs for movement. As a teacher, I know that sometimes I get so involved with another student(s) that it would be easy to forget the need for breaks. Even for middle school students—the class length had changed to a block schedule. Although this has some awesome benefits for project based learning, a 90-min. time frame definitely calls for breaks. With a Wiggle Monitor, your group could take a run around the gym 2 times break. I know there are activities online we can use on the Smartboard too-but your main point is that if kids need a break, we need to be responsive to that need. It is much more natural to let the kids “tell” you through your monitor than to use artificial exact “break times.”


From Josie:

Great way to introduce the weekly topic into needed inventions at your place. I am sure you can find comparable inventions on Amazon or even Shark Tank lol.

I have heard of the wearable technology last year at an oracle conference and I thought how awesome. I think that technology can do wonderful things to make our life easier. The breathing machines for heart patients are a great idea. However, I do wonder how the wifi or blue tooth signal might give off. I have read articles about the radiation that could harm us. We have heard this many times with Xrays and microwaves as well.

EDET 677 Week 5 Initial Blog Essential Question: What is the relationship between teaching and learning?

Aleta May
EDET 677 Mechanics of Technology with Dr. Lee Graham

The computer programs I have used at school; such as Reading programs– Lexia, Compass Learning, Imagine Learning, assisting with the Read 180 program and Math programs Dreambox while touching on ALEKS Math, are all wonderful tools for an individualized blended learning environment. But it is so important to remember that these are programs designed to deliver curriculum—and can become robotic and even counterproductive if the teacher is not closely monitoring student progress within the medium of computer learning.

In Martinez & Stager (2013), the mantra, Less Us, More Them (LUMT) was introduced. This means we need to support our students; usually after waiting to be asked, but also by making ourselves available by walking around observantly. The goal is not fruitless struggling, rather “Wise teachers know when to dispense the smallest dose of information possible to ensure progress” (p. 71). This theory of learning rests on contructivism that is “progressive, child-centered, open-ended, project-based, inquiry-based” (p.71). The theory of teaching is constructionism—where teachers bring together new experiences that are associated with what students know and to be available at a natural moment in time – while being willing to let go of making sure every student gets the same “right” information delivered to them without any opportunity to tinker with objects and resources to experiment with and discover ideas. We need to set up environments for learning that bring about teachable moments that can be fully utilized when they occur. This 8 minute YouTube clip captures the teachable moment in a way that connects teaching and learning by setting up for a Leaning Mindset that includes not just a growth mindset, but a sense of trusting the teacher, belonging, and class goals are relevant to their personal lives:

The Cognitive Principles of Effective Teaching Video 5 of 5:

Prior knowledge needs to be correct in order to build on it. How do experts use this knowledge? Why does what I am learning matter. Formative assessments are valuable for immediate feedback for both students and teachers. Teachable moments need to be long-term. By using the information, students gain information they need for building understanding, and in turn using this knowledge over at least three times (in different ways). When students are completely involved in the concept, they are more likely to recall it from long-term learning.

I found a site where I can go to, select a subject (math), select video and type in a topic (area & perimeter) and get to videos or interactive games:

Using these can help the teacher capture a teachable moment and individualize learning. This is the Twitter handle: #PBSLovesTeachers

I believe that teachers’ professional identities are strongly impacted by factors like how the teachers around them view their roles, how safe a teacher feels trying out new pedagogies when they are being observed for using perhaps more traditional methods, and most of all how teachers view themselves as confident educators through their own beliefs and knowledge. Gee suggested “that a person’s identity is related to being recognized in a given context” (Bjuland, Cestari, & Borgensen, 2012, p.4). Related to this is the idea of using narrative to teach. This is similar to using think-alouds to teach, the teacher goes through a narrative process as he/she shows students their thinking by letting them in on their own process as they teach. When we solidify our thinking by self-reflection, we are in the process of thinking through how we will engage students through similar narratives, even when we teach math.

What is just as important is when we create an environment of pedagogic discourse is to allow for dynamic discourse—talk that is less regulated by the teacher and more shared between the students, rather than making them the regulated. The teacher takes on the role of being regulator only as needed. A resistant identity “complaining/arguing with the teacher, finding fault with/making fun of the teacher, blaming/doubting the teacher, challenging/refusing his authority” (Park, 2008, p. 9) is the result of legitimizing the power structure in “seemingly normal classroom interactions as pedagogic discourses between teachers and students as the regulator and the regulated in a classroom” (Park, p. 9).

Teachers will need to change “how they view themselves and their work in the context of their discipline and how they define their professional status” (Brownell & Tanner, 2012, p. 339). In my role as an educator, I have served primarily as support staff. I teach students individually and in small groups, I have gone room-to-room to teach English Language Development, and used music to teach speaking fluency. The changes in my roles are numerous. I have definitely experienced the changes in my own professional identity and often considered what the “rules of membership of that discipline” (Park, p. 341). I have a lot of control over how I am perceived, but not completely. There are many perceptions of how a special education teacher should teach, usually without consideration to the whole picture of how I would actually serve a number of students with highly different ages and needs. There really is not a professional culture of special education teaching anymore—as it has already gone through so many changes and adjustments.

In my role as a reading specialist is not necessarily the same from one day to the next either—direct teaching in small groups with a novel, teaching reading skills through content area reading, bringing students up to the level of their peers on a fast track, analyzing reading data for teachers, and coaching. I think as a technology professional, I will need to keep my professional identity in line with that of current research readings, needs of my school and district, and keeping students up to date through immersing them into as much information about the various uses of data as possible in order to prepare them for their future careers.


Bjuland, R., Cestari, M. L., & Borgensen, H. E. (2012). Professional mathematics teacher identity: Analysis of reflective narratives from discourses and activities. J Math Teacher Educ. Springer.

Brownell, S. E. & Tanner, K. D. (Winter, 2012). Barriers to faculty pedagogical change: Lack of training, time, incentives, and . . . tensions with professional identity? CBE Life Sciences Education. The American society for cell biology.

Martinez, S. L. & Stager, G., Ph.D. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Park, Hyu-Yong (2008). “You are confusing!”: Tensions between teacher’s and student’s discourses in the classroom. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 43(1), pp. 4-13.

EDET 678 Wk. 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.

Aleta May
EDET 678 Emerging Technologies
Week 5 Initial Blog

Inventions for Waylon (the best Golden Retriever in the Universe)

To begin this conversation on the Internet of Things (IOT), I have invention ideas. Here at my home in Oregon, we have a small 5 acre farm, complete with farm dogs. Our newest is our one-year old Golden Retriever—Waylon. We need to keep a farm gate across our driveway to make sure he does not wander across the highway. And what if one of those pigs or a goat gets lose. As a kid growing up in Anchorage, I remember the simplicity of using garage door opener to park our car in a warm garage. I believe what we need is an automatic gate opener for those rainy, busy days, that can be activated by an application on the smart phone.

I also want to check my app to find out if Waylon’s water dish is low. Ideally, this would be connected to a water supply that I could activate with my app.

Further, Waylon needs a sensor on his collar that lets me know if the flea count is building up or if there was a new hatching of fleas.

This contributes to my classroom by teaching myself how to create an app and having students be inspired to create their own app as well.

Here is a short (January 2016) YouTube Video:

Here is a 15 minute YouTube Tutorial for “How to make MIT app for controlling servo Motor using arduino and Bluetooth module (slower pace video):

Here is a 9 minute YouTube Tutorial for “How to Build Custom Android App for your Arduino Project using MIT App Inventor” (can use the smart phone or computer) (faster pace video):

Smart Babies

After reading the article “The Internet of Things is Coming for Your Baby,” I have an experience to share about the use of infant monitors for bio-tracking. First, I am fascinated with the idea of a Mimo Smart Baby Monitor which snaps to a baby’s onesy monitoring breathing, and body position. When I was a new mom, I woke up periodically to check my baby’s breathing by putting my finger under her nose, lightly touching her; but there were times where I inadvertently woke her up—and I definitely wanted to go back to sleep after checking on her. So I can see how nice it would be to use a Wi-Fi-enabled base station that communicates with my cell phone; like the Sproutling; so I could easily just check my baby from afar—without waking her!

Smart Babies Who Need Health Monitors

As a grandmother of a newborn though, I can verify that what the pediatrician, Dimitri Christakis, stated is true: “. . . the current manner in which they’re doing so raises concerns over how accurate that data really is. . . this is true also for existing in-hospital infant monitors, which he says track similar biometrics—and emit false alarms far more frequently than fair warnings” (p.3). My personal experience was that our granddaughter was born with a heart problem and had had a microscopic surgery within a couple of days of her birth. Later, when she came home, she came with a heart monitor. My husband and I slept right next to her crib (to give her parents the much needed break they needed) and that alarm went off frequently—each time a false alarm!! This was about 9 ½ years ago, so hopefully the equipment is improved by now. The home visiting nurse, however, seemed to not be aware of how many false alarms could occur, and our daughter was ‘scolded’ by the nurse. In this case—I would say that the Internet of Things (IOT) was both our friend—monitoring is good—and our enemy—false alarms and false information communicated outside the home is, well I’ll just say—stressful!

The Internet of Everything Blend of The Human Touch and Devices for Parents and Educators

Another quote from a doctor in this article puts the IoT into perspective further—“I worry that if parents become fixated on the information they get from their gadgets, they won’t learn the rhythms of their babies, how to read cues, which noises mean something, which can be ignored or how to recognize the subtle signs of both illness and wellness” (p. 6). I can liken this (as an analogy) to my profession as a teacher who uses a variety of academic computer programs to teach, as well as a variety of computer assessment programs that are used to guide instruction. These devices and tools are extremely helpful. Of course I would want to use monitors for my newborn baby and check from a room nearby so I could sleep, but this does not replace the human touch and ability to discern the needs of my own baby. Likewise, as a teacher, the computer programs (commercially pre-designed) or Web 2.0 are instruments in the masters’ hands. We decide when, where and how to use these.

The computer programs that teach lessons seemingly at the speed of light to my English Language Learners (ELLs), can be used, but as a tool by the teacher to attach to their own prior knowledge; further, they can relate better to the vocabulary it is assumed students will already have learned. Otherwise, students tend to get stuck into a vortex with the computer program that just repeats a video clip. To use the tool as a portal to the world outside of our own, I can support the student by using the pause feature to slow the lesson down to the speed of the life of the child, so the student can clarify meaning to me. Over time, they can use pause and find answers to their own questions by going to sites like YouTube that explains an unfamiliar concept, or even to to get different shades of meaning to a word they had not hear of. In this way, they can utilize multiple devices—as the computer program tends to usurp the computer for other uses.

How can we prepare our students to make sense of the Internet of Everything (IoE) for the workforce? In the article by Cisco, “The IOE: Fueling Educational Innovation,” there is a chart of critical skills that are in the knowledge economy. As I read under the 21st Century Skills heading, I understand how important communication, problem solving, collaboration and creativity will be for our students. An important point is made about how people who are currently employed across many careers need ways to build their skills pertinent to the job changes they are already in. For example, Udacity is an organization that can help companies like AT&T to teach employees who need to research specifically how to build their first webcrawler.

To apply this to my position as a teacher who uses a blended learning environment to individualize, the quote above helps me to see that by monitoring my students in programs and sharing the information with them will help them in their future careers: “The data scientist will see, for example, that students are spending a lot of time at ‘node 60’ of a course and not progressing forward” (Cisco, p. 3). The next step then is to create a new module (in my case, a mini-lesson in person or within a Web 2.0 environment, such as in Google docs). Or, the module may need to be remade with more details or from a different angle. Another approach may be as Parker states, “70-20-10 principle . . . where 70 percent of learning that truly sticks with you is the informal learning that takes place when . . . you go out in search of your answer” (Cisco, p. 4).


From all of this reading, I am realizing how big the IoT really is and the rate of how it is growing is phenomenal. From baby monitors, to the world of collecting data from wind turbines (wind speed, direction, air pressure and blade pitch) for the GE company (Tamburini, p. 2). By expanding the use of sensors to analyze our own environment by connecting that information to the internet, we can teach students to think about what they are studying and create examples so that they are no longer just consumers of education. People can create “new forms of collective intelligence” (slide 10) by following “digital breadcrumbs” (slide 10) and analyzing how people and things interact (Slideshare from Deloitte University Press).


Hennick, C. (2014, 25 June): What will the internet of things mean for K-12?

Learning@Cisco (2014). The internet of everything: Fueling educational innovation.

Click to access 14cs4580-iot_whitepaper-charts-r2.pdf

Slideshare: 5 Key Questions to ask about the internet of things. Deloitte University Press. Retrieved 6-15-16 at

The internet of things 101. Video

The internet of things is coming for your baby.

Tamburini, D. (2014). What is the internet of things & what does it mean for design?

What is the internet of things?
Kobie, N. (2015, 6 May).

Can the internet of things make education more student-focused?

Week 4 Reflection EDET693 Essential question: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this pedagogy to students?

by Aleta May

Essential question: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this pedagogy to students?

It seems to be true in my own experience that there are “two different philosophies of education battle: on one hand, the proponents of mass-produced instructionism, now powered by Internet video, and on the other, the advocates of the highly personal forms of learning that come from making, building, and creating one’s own theories” (Bilkstein, 2016, p. XV).

As a Reading Specialist, I learned that knowledge structures, schemas, develop or build: Jean Piaget explained it as new information assimilating to new information the child has already learned and a new schema is accommodated to, learned (Cherry, 2016). As a Special Education Specialist, I have observed too often that in spite of the laws that require inclusion of students who struggle in our instructionism classrooms, they get “sent away” or left behind as the more average or advanced students go off to Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) programs. Now we have an increasing population of groups from a variety of cultures, customs, and languages. Students need each other and more activities (alternatives), visuals, options to make sense of their world in the classroom and to note the connections to real life than ever before. And this need is going to increase. I like this quote from Bilkstein as well, “Constructionism has, at its heart, a desire not to revise but to invert the world of curriculum-driven instruction” (p. XV). I do believe after the readings, and watching video clips from classmates/colleagues this week, I see the definition of curriculum-driven instruction becoming more and more broad. Textbooks will need to be at least in part, digitized, so they may keep up with the information flood occurring daily. We also need to add to our pedagogy that it is indeed not only okay to question the textbook, but to seek out other sources to add to what is taught; then to construct an example of what this might look like.

Below are responses to blogs I gave throughout the week that demonstrate one part of constructivist learning and building on my own schema to accommodate to new thinking:


Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I was immediately drawn into the loft space I read about in your week 4 reflection. Making our classrooms more child-centered seems like it would be a natural conclusion of our education system.

There are more and more students who do not fit into the “traditional mold of academic learning.” Even the ones who “do fit this mold” could become so much more as far as creative, problem solvers. I think the primary goals of the maker space are student-centered learning spaces where they can take a prompt from a task card and use this to think about their thinking. This could really work well for expressing what was learned in a scene from a story or a science concept. I don’t think it is wrong to get students started or teaching them how to make things. In my view, it is more about not allowing any leeway for students to create—once they get going. What do you think?



Hearing from your 16 year old son cleared up a lot of my thinking. I realize I’m reading a lot about freedom in learning and self-directed learning. Yet, I think we need to get students started first. I need inspiration and ideas to branch off from. As an example, I used crochet quite a bit before I tried my own design. I used a book that showed a variety of stitches, found one I really like, then chose variegated yarn; but this beautiful afghan was preceded by several very basic looking scarves I had seen previously. It can be overwhelming to just walk into a makerspace and be told to find a space and make something. I view learning as an apprenticeship. The student learns by mirroring the teacher and then the teacher lets go—jumping in only as needed.



I completely agree that teaching students a growth mindset equates teaching them not to give up; and learning from our mistakes may mean taking a new direction to solve the problems. Beginning with Art class does seem like a natural way to start out with a MakerSpace. As teachers, we will very like begin to think of Art in a much broader way.

I plan to help build a centralized MakerSpace in the library, as soon as our SA gives the go ahead. In the meantime, I will most likely begin with one-on-one students that need to enhance their individualized reading / writing instruction. This may mean starting out with supplies directly related to their reading; for example, a younger student will look a lot different than an older student. They could work together, in an ideal situation. I have had 3rd graders help create a storyboard, then at another time of the day, have 7th graders add their art work to it or enhance the story a bit.



Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Thank you for the web links! I especially explored this one: although, both look great!

I really like the idea of J. Cooper’s high-tech options for a makerspace. Electronics and digital fabrication intrigue me the most—but that will expand for me by the end of this course, I’m sure.



Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Yes, the interdisciplinary aspect of makerspaces seems to be one of the most important. Also, the growth mindset—where they are free to think about what to try next time; the red pen—aw. . . such memories!

The space itself can be anywhere; big or small. I do like the idea of seeing the blend of technology (for building and for collaborating) with other materials. Page 12 of Makerspace Playbook seems to be a great place to start—complete with a first aid kit. Page 11 in the Youth Makerspace Playbook has a great tagboard bench area. I know I’ve always tried to set up centers in my home for the kids living there at the time. Right now it is a Lego table for grandchildren. A sewing area is emerging. We built our house to be kid and disabilities friendly; one level, larger living room space, wide doorways. We still need acoustic ceiling tile for controlling noise; funny! Still building our house after many years.



Bilkstein, P. (2016). Forward. In P. Blikstein, S. L. Martinez, & H. A. Pang. Meaningful making: Projects and inspirations for fab labs and makerspaces.

Cherry, K. (2016, 20 April). What is a schema? Retrieved 6-12-16 at

Week 4 Reflection EDET677: Essential Question: What project could help me integrate my content with making?

By Aleta May

During this week, I did explore how a maker space might look in my small classroom and how it might soon be connected to the library with a 3D Printer. I explored the idea of how students would make something to support a project or theme they are working on in their classroom. I found a very useful “Rubric for the 6 Facets of Understanding by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe Understanding by Design at:

This will be very a very helpful guideline for the evaluation piece of any project based theme or activity. It really helped me to focus on the overall structure for planning the rest of the project when I read Teresa’s blog post. She selected a theme and three standards for students to choose from. Then she used the guide from Martinez and Stager on pages 58-59 to answer eight questions regarding the structure and meaning of her project; from the purpose and relevance, to connecting students and sharing results.

Point number four on p. 58 state that “Children have a remarkable capacity for intensity that is rarely tapped by the sliced-and-diced curriculum” (Martinez & Stager, 2013). The way I have worded this many times to colleagues when I explain that I have trouble “sticking to the curriculum” is that in order to really reach students with what is in the text is to make those ideas come alive! This is one way I have realized that I am really more contructivist in my philosophy than I had previously realized. Many things have slowed this down to just pursuing very basic hands-on manipulative ways of helping students visualize math, or the elements of a story; and finding a way to get students to discuss a book together.

There is so much to learn by reading the blog posts of colleagues in this class!

Below are comments I made to colleagues in class this week:


Your opening statement rang true with me—“with a growth mindset and sense of adventure,” anything can happen. I’m in my home in Oregon for the summer and recognize the Legos comment as exactly true here—it starts out as a step-by-step kit, then it all goes into one big tub.

Wow, I really love the Lego math examples for building square numbers and relating fractions! How are the students guided to ask reflective questions in the contemplation stage?

Continuing new tasks that immediately builds on prior learning reminds me that we need to give students plenty of time to create and learn. One reason for this would be to solidify the original learning by using it again as a foundation to learn from.

I wonder if the Lego materials could add the arts ‘A’ to their repertory to make connections between Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM).



Check out this CircuitScribe YouTube link! I wonder how you could use this pen to draw out linear equations; such as for, designing a building in architecture. The CircuitScribe is a ball point pen that writes with conductive silver ink.

I think sufficient time is one of the most important elements of a good project. If a project is related to a class project, then sometimes finding a space to store the ongoing project can become another element – space. What about when students move in and out of a classroom—it is good to view other classes projects, but space can be an issue. Well—I found a design for floating shelves today at Maybe this would be a solution.

Collaborating would help teachers see standards emerging in projects that the teacher closest to the project(s) might overlook. Emerging understanding is part of grasping that teachable moment. Maybe posting standards on the wall as a partial guideline for students to think about—going back to keeping students responsible for their own learning.


It really helped me to revisit the three types of projects for students. This helps me to answer questions about the teacher’s role as well. I am also a special education teacher. I think integrating making to improve-writing would work well. This could even be technical style write with bullets. Another way might be to express what they read by making a scene read about in the book, then dictating to an audience where a teacher or another student acts as a scribe for them (so they can rewrite this—seeing their own words appear on paper or as script to scenes they make). They could use the visual they made to help them know what to explain.

I notice that students really like to see their own stories hanging in the hallway. They seem to enjoy looking at other students’ writing as well. Laminating and binding them makes it into a real book. Your project gives me ideas, like using a prompt. I visualize your students taking pictures of what they make to add to their writings.

Such an awesome plan! Thank you for sharing.



Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I am so glad I read your post! It is organized so well. You pointed me in the direction of how using The Eight Elements of a Good Project from Martinez and Stager’s guide can be used in an actual project. Starting out with the standards for students to choose from was another great idea. I believe I will need to narrow my broad thinking now to one specific grade level (most likely for 9th grade students I will have that are on an individual education plan to help them create and write to a project in class with the curriculum they will be focused on; but allowing them time to work on this project way in advance of a classroom due date.

I visited the Makeymakey website you posted:

Wow, the project ideas are endless and very educational!

I found the Makey Shop. Here is a pdf file I found for making a game of operation that uses a combination of technology, like Scratch, foil, electrician’s and copper tape, chopsticks, and a cereal box.

Thanks for sharing your project and the site.


Week 4 EDET693: Essential question: What is the pedagogy behind a Maker Space? What are the benefits of this pedagogy to students?

EDET693 Emerging Technologies, with Dr. Lee Graham

Initial Blog Post for Week 4

By Aleta May

A makerspace reflects the learning environment created by constructivist teachers for constructionist learning for their students. There are five qualities and behaviors “for fostering a constructionist learning environment: Keep it brief, relevant, and open; Model the maker mindset; Act like a scientist; Reward curiosity and passion with rigor; and Keep it safe (welcoming, friendly space that is as free as possible from the pressures of time . . . students participate in their own assessment, allowing them to see its value and to gain literacy and autonomy through it” (Flores, 2016, pp. 17-18).  Sometimes a constructivist teacher may need to study a concept briefly first before trying it out. An example is given by David Malpica (2016) when using CircuitScribe kits with a conductive ink pen used for creating ink networks; CircuitScribe modules “help students quickly visualize the circuits created by the modules and the ink paths . . . electricity likes to travel through the path of least resistance and that it would travel that way through the ink as well, bypassing the LED module if that’s the easiest” (p. 100). The point of preteaching here is to prevent the high possibility of students damaging nonreusable materials. So there is a balance between teacher-led facilitation and student experimentation. The balance to me is in keeping learning student centered.


Here is a link for viewing more about CircuitScribe:

In San Mateo, California there is a MakerFaire. Since microcontrollers are a big part of making, it is important to make these available to kids. What is a microcontroller? These are computers designed for a variety of applications. The benefit of these small computers is the low cost, leading people in homes to use these as devices for hobbies that are limited only by the imagination, time spent experimenting and individual and/or group willingness to be creative. As stated by Patterson (2016), jumping into using microcontrollers “cold and unassisted” is not advisable without first getting together with people who are knowledgeable about one brand, like Arduino resources, without knowing how this works together with existing equipment at the school.

Patterson’s idea of “bringing something like Hummingbird Robots into class. . . With these kits the idea is to build an interactive robot with cardboard and servos” (Patterson, 2016) is a great example of blending old school with new technology. Although it is ideal to let students come up with their own ideas; as we have read in contructionist learning theories and through the persuasion of teaching students a growth mindset; maybe connecting the known (a cardboard diorama) to enhance the new (like an animated hummingbird robot. Patterson also discussed how this project would connect with using block-based coding; and that learning coding through Scratch and Tynker is the norm for third grade at their school. In elementary school, students could start becoming “microcontroller ready” (Patterson, 2016) in preparation for more sophisticated projects when they get to middle school. This leads me to the next topic for schools, the Maker Movement.

According to the article “ELI: 7 things you should know about makerspaces,” there is a area set up with materials like “Plexiglas bins with arduinos, Legos, Tesla coils, cardboard, rockets, yarn, LED lights, duct tape, batteries, and solar receptors” (Educause, 2013). These makerspaces provide the opportunity for students to get together to share resources, ideas, work on projects individually or together. They can inspire students to experiment, and prototype ideas. Although makerspaces originated as a nonacademic community space, and emphasized community members assisting each other, they can turn into self-directed places to express academic learning. When video is added to the makerspace there is the potential to share projects between schools, which may even collaborate to share ideas. Further potential is that students may create across content areas. Makerspaces encourage students to own their projects.

In the article by Stager (at Scholastic), reference was made to I explored and found a place with multiple project ideas and guides for how to make things. I think ideas from this site can inspire teachers and students to branch off these for their own purposes. I was intrigued by the floating shelf idea at: Instructions for making these are very clear, but the purpose could be remixed into floating shelves for makerspace storage. Here is an idea that can be used to visualize music, teach rhythm, and even turn into musical notes that can be related to fractions.

To summarize, I believe the pedagogy behind a Maker Space is based in Constructivist Learning Theory. Flores (2016) noted that Vygotsky (1978), “introduced the concept of allowing learners to step beyond themselves” and to use each other as a resource to find this ceiling by letting students bump into the wall and then figure out how to get unstuck. The key would be to balance frustration that is productive with asking students leading questions that may get them to think about what to try next instead.


 EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Community (2013). Seven things you should know about makerspaces.

CircuitScribe Image Link:

CircuitScribe YouTube Link:

Cooper, J. (2013, 30 September). Designing a school makerspace. Edutopia.

 Flores, C. (2016). Fostering a constructionist learning environment: The qualities of a maker educator. In P. Blikstein, S. L. Martinez, & H. A. Pang. Meaningful making: Projects and inspirations for fab labs and makerspaces.

Malpica, D. (2016). Learning to debug circuits with circuitscribe. In P. Blikstein, S. L. Martinez, & H. A. Pang. Meaningful making: Projects and inspirations for fab labs and makerspaces.

Patterson, S. (2016). Learning with arduino and microcontrollers #makered by @SamPatue. TeacherCast Educational Blog; My Paperless Classroom.

Stager, G. What’s the maker movement and why should I care? Administrator Magazine. Retrieved 6-5-16 at:

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes (14th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.  (Reference found in Malpica article)