Monthly Archives: July 2016

EDET 678 Week 11: Essential question: What specific policies will help your district prepare student for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?

Aleta May

Initial Post for Emerging Technologies Week 11

EDET 678, Dr. Lee Graham

Essential question: What specific policies will help your district prepare student for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?

There are five Policy Directions detailed in the Learning and Tecnology Policy Framework (2013):

  • Policy Direction 1: Student-Centered Learning
  • Policy Direction 2: Research and Innovation
  • Policy Direction 3: Professional Learning
  • Policy Direction 4: Leadership (building capacity within the system to leverage technology for student-centered learning)
  • Policy Direction 5: Access, Infrastructure and Digital Learning Environments

In my estimation, our district is working to improve in all of these areas, and this is no easy task when it is across the great vast tundra of western Alaska. For each of the above categories listed above, there is a chart that lists detailed descriptions of what these look like. I believe that this framework would work well for our district as one to hold our special technological challenges up to.  I am visualizing our’s mirroring this framework. It is very important to note that Canada faces many of the same challenges we face in Alaska. For example, there are wide expanses of tundra, woods, mountains, rivers, that hold within these students who deserve the best education available. This means that reaching across the wide-expanse needs to involve close connections to Internet providers, satellite companies and for us an understanding of funding through E-Rate.

The E-Rate program was developed by federal policymakers. Telecommunications Act of 1996, the E-Rate program “is a discount on telecommunications services for schools and libraries “ and it is “overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)” (Hess, Hochleitner & Saxberg, 2013). This program is up for expansion of provisions for high-speed Internet to 99 percent of America’s students by 2017” (Hess, et. al., p. 2). President Obama and his education team calls this “ConnectED.” This is major for our school district!! The higher speed of internet we have, the more the equipment we already has can be effectively used to make available courses and/or tutoring they need.

As a school district, we need to change “the culture of instruction” . . . “Technology does not change the cognitive rules for learning, but offers ways to better deliver the learning experience” (Hess, et. al., p.9). Our district (as well as many others across Alaska) needs to use technology in ways other than testing and pre-made programs. For example, I do use Lexia for reading, Dreambox for math, and we have Read 180 that is set up to be a blended learning environment with built in rotations. What we need to do district-wide (and perhaps beginning at our school) is strongly emphasized integrating technology into every subject area and use an interdisciplinary approach. I could be teaching science and use a breadboard not only to teach electronic circuitry, but to also calculate the difference between my body temperature in Celsius with other students, and we could discuss ambient room temperature and how that affects what we are seeing on the computer screen from the code that was copy and pasted in and then adjusted. Further, our students need to learn how to use coding—this may include gaming, which may in turn involve math or story telling.

Additionally, our district needs a policy that is very clear on how to appropriately use social media in school, safely. According to an interview in an article by Winske (2014), we need to prepare our students for appropriate use of social media, since they will be facing this in workplaces anyway. If we overly restrict or ban YouTube, Facebook in order to prevent the possibility of cyberbullying, we are removing the opportunity for students to learn how to handle situations. I agree with this quote,

“I actually think one of the things that might happen if you open these resources (social media, YouTube, etc.) to use in schools is not necessarily that you’re going to see more bullying, but that you might create an opportunity for a teacher to see something and say hey what’s going on? Is this common? Are you doing it? Is it being done to you? “ (Winske, 2014).

A strong acceptable use policy (AUP) will guide teachers and students to consistently teach and refer to rules already set in place, while simultaneously teaching appropriate formal use of Internet spaces and how this is different from informal uses away from school (and futuristically in their workplaces).

Basic Acceptable Use Policy Tech Training YouTube clip from Magnolia ISD’s Acceptable Use Policy for teachers:

Acceptable Use Policy for Kids created by Kaitlin Fajks using PowToon:


 Hess, F., Hochleitner, T., Saxberg, B. (2013). E-Rate, education technology, and school reform. American Enterprise Institude.

Minister of Education (2013). Learning and Technology Policy Framework. Edmonton, AB: Crown in Right of the Province of Albrta copyright. (2013).

Winske, C. (2014). Tips for creating technology policies for K-12.

YouTube Video Clips:

AUP Video Clip for Teachers:

Griffin, K (April 25, 2016). How to deal with Acceptable Use Policies & Cyberbullying in the classroom.  Retrieved 7-31-16 at:

AUP Video Clip for Students:

Fajks, K. (September 14, 2015) Acceptable Use Policy. Retrieved 7-31-16 at:  (created using powtoon: )


EDET677 Initial Post: Essential Question: How have you, and will you, continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?

Aleta May

Week 11 Initial Post

EDET678 Mechanic Applications of Technology

Essential Question: How have you, and will you, continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?

To begin answering this question, I have kept up with education by not stopping at a M. S. in Special Education, but additionally completing a Reading Specialist M.A. in 2015 and continuing on with an Instructional Design and Technology, M.A. The courses I am taking now are building my understanding of Constructionist and Constructivist theories of learning. In this present post, I am challenged by my reading to do what I know is a best practice; thematic, relevant, and motivational education. This, (i.e., teaching each subject separately without an understanding of how one connects to the other) does not work:

To overcome the status quo of teaching traditional knowledge due to “the overwhelming amounts of prescribed content for each school year that allow little time to address skills” (Fadel, 2016, p. 3), I can have a primary subject area focus, while weaving in other content areas. While doing so, I will need to keep “Higher-order skills such as the ‘4 Cs’—creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration” (Fadel, p. 4) at the top of my list.

Additionally, at this siteI found a visual for what our students need. As an educator, I need to rise to the occasion and model integrating thematic/interdisciplinary instruction that leads us to “Imagine Deeper Learning.”

Imagine deeper learning in the 21st century.jpgSee slideshare link below and YouTube link for Curriculum Redesign.

As I challenge my students, I will focus on building character:

I will need to model for my students, as well as, help students develop a “Growth Mindset: Positing that talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence” (Fadel, p. 4).

Further, Dr Pravin Bhatia notes from (I took notes so you really do not need to watch this clip unless you want to.—I’ve seen this teaching strategy before recently and know it is a good one.

Become creative with good ideas. Draw ideas from students. Exercise our brain—stop using it mechanically only. Get away from long lecturing. What do we do then?

Here is a strategy model that can create a framework for organizing my teaching which Dr. Pravin Bhatia

  • Step 1 Divide students into groups of 6.
  • Step-2 Dividing the subject matter within those groups.
  • Step-3 Each group reads the portion allotted to it (silently read; better to read than to listen so they get the ideas even when they cant get the words.
  • Step-4 Each group discusses the topic (this discussion is the most important part). This is peer learning. The teacher goes from table to table group. The teacher clarifies difficulties.
  • Step –5 Each group then in turn, presents its portion to the whole class. (communication and analyze skills are learned by doing this)
  • Step-6 All students ask questions from the group. This is where the most analyzing come from..

I believe this model can be a framework for weaving in Makerspace activities, electronics, coding, explaining what worked and what did not work. Teachers and students reflect at the end of the day.

Student ownership of learning is major. Grant Lichtman at TEDxDenverTeachers noted this as well. “He also said schools need to be creative, dynamic, permeable, adaptive, relevant, and self-correcting.” Some schools are becoming adaptive and crossing subject boundaries. He found a student in Atlanta who is a 2nd Grader who told him, “we design, and build, and prototype, ideate, fail forward and fail upward.” As Lichtman said, and I agree, this child will never go back into the limited box of that industrial age model. I agree. My role is to push myself, so I will move even further away from that old model than I am now. Honestly, I have made somewhat of a pest of myself encouraging teachers to start using the blended learning model so that students get some part of their day growing from the level they are already at. So, I believe I can influence teachers further with what I have learned, and will continue to tinker with from this and the Emerging Technologies classes over this summer.


Bhatia, P., Dr. (November 20, 2014). A teaching technique for the 21st Century. TEDxNagpur:

Fadel, C. (2016). 21ST century competencies. Independent School, 75(2), pp. 20-26. Here is a YouTube link to a 1 hour 18 minute webinar by

Charles Fadel, published on March 8, 2016:

Lichtman, G. (2013).

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

Storksdieck, M. (2016). Cultural Studies of Science Education, 11(1), pp. 167-182. -its-character-framework-complete-concise-clear-actionable-globally-relevant/

What should students learn for the 21st century? A four-dimensional education. ICenter for Curriculum Redesign. (February 1, 2016). Retrieved 7-27-16 at:

You Tube videos:

YouTube video for Center for Curriculum Redesign (CCR): What should students learn for the 21st century? A four-dimensional education (January 18, 2016). and…

You Tube video: A teaching technique for the 2ast Century Dr. Pravin Bhatia TEDxNagpur

Reflection for Week 10 EDET677 Essential Question: Why does “Lewis Angapak Memorial School (LAMS)” need a makerspace?

Aleta May

I really gave this initial post a lot of consideration. I have noticed that at the lower levels, there is a new emphasis on having students depend on each other more rather than sit and wait for a teacher. Also, I have noticed that teachers are beginning to incorporate the use of our computer programs for a blended learning environment. These are definitely improvements; and yet as an observer, I noticed that there is something more missing. Now, having been through this class, and this post in particular that causes me to pause and think about this; I am sure that making and all that it involves is one very big piece that is missing!

Making includes so much! Electronics, programming (making games, following codes for crafting and experimenting), it is now very difficult for me to imagine not including so many hands-on ways to express learning, incorporate new knowledge into their current schema, and move from the initial stage of learning on up through creating, inventing, and solving real world problems.

LAMS needs this! LAMS needs to incorporate the arts into learning, learn about programming / coding, and making as individuals and in groups; researching and asking peers for answers. At one school in Oconomowoc (WI), they started with one shared cart where they could spend one hour weekly in a makerspace in their own classrooms. Later, they had four carts. Since the materials and activity binders on the carts were available, the learning resource teacher said that “teachers design lessons around the materials that fit right into the curriculum” (Ullman, 2016). It started with one cart, and then gaining funding after this was much easier since students gained so much from the use. I believe LAMS teachers would use these if there were someone to write out the activities and manage supplies.

Following are replies to my Initial post and the alternating conversations that were generated:

I relate when you write about the fixed mindset of poor income students. I witness it daily in my class. I have also found these same students are my most resourceful. I see them as being more at ease and excited using a makerspace than my typical ‘A’ students. Sometimes the ‘A’ students are the ones who are most uncomfortable, because suddenly they aren’t quite sure what is expected of them. There isn’t a strict set of steps to how they earn their grade. I can totally imagine your kiddos bringing in items they have at home or that could be recycled to use in their tinkering. I am excited for you and your school to create a makerspace! I watched the video about Richard Turere and I am crazy inspired. I have already downloaded a copy for myself to show to my students. I think it is important for them to see other people their age doing amazing things. Thanks for the great post!

Reply to Catherine, who wrote on my post:


I am so glad you are inspired by that YouTube clip. Although it is 7 mins. it was so inspiring to me as well! One big need our students have is how to fix their bicycles–from chains to leaky tires. I wonder if the dump could start sorting trash into metals, like bicycles, with the idea in mind of reusing. Catherine, our kids are Can Do kids–and I am so proud of those ‘A’ students because often they swim against the odds in life. However, I’m ready to ‘shake it up’ as well.


Catherine’s Post and my response:


Since we have heard how we need to use higher-order problem-solving for several years now, I believe that slow turning wheel (or spiral) that supports teachers with makerspaces and supplies needed to have occurred a very long time ago. This is our time now. Of course the budgets at our schools will need to be dealt with—I suppose we will need to find those grants as well. Meanwhile, I am investing in myself by getting my own supplies so I can be “ready to go.”

I really like that you wrote about well-planned and established makerspaces.

That is a very strong statement—“the jobs of the future do not need scientists who have memorized the periodic table. . . they need to be creative, independent problem solvers. I will add that they need to also be collaborative problem solvers—group intellect. As I have mentioned in makerspace online in our sessions, I was a homeschool teacher/parent. One of my daughters attended community college instead of high school. She was taking chemistry at the same time her high school friend from the tennis team was. I fully believe the reason my daughter was learning at such a higher level, successfully, than that of her same age peer, was that the college course had many more hands-on applications to help students understand what that periodic table means. This tells me that we need to incorporate problem solving, hands-on learning at the high school level!!

Yes, making is a vessel to reach out to the community. Your statement here helped me visualize finding ways to make the lives of the elders more convenient through finding a need and making.

Thank you for a great post!



Great examples of recycling through e-waste! Environmental science at its best J When I was 16, I had a back surgery and a home tutor came by once a week with adapted lessons for me from teachers at the high school. One of my classes was arts and crafts. Since my mom was an itinerate art teacher in Anchorage for a couple of years, she had me covered. My assignment was to make it unique. I used weaving. Tree branches at the top and bottom provided my frame. Then I wove in everything, LOL. Pipecleaners, breadbags, left over yarn from my grandmother’s crochet basket. This piece of art reminds me now of a bird’s nest; from the kid’s book My Nest is Best. If electronics were the inspiration of that day, I’m sure Mom would have taught me how to light it up with LEDs.

I like the way Chibitronics helps learn the basics of electronics with paper. What great tree examples!

Yup, I want a wall mural with electronics now! I watched that dandelion video. Living out in a village is a perfect place to create beautiful wall décor without needing to try to have the typical store bought picture sent out in a large cumbersome box.

I am interested in the sewable electronics as well.   The FLORA looks like an easy way to get started.



I totally agree that there are Many barriers to teaching creatively!   More often than not, the grandiose ideas fall to the teachers who are asked to do and be more than ever before; being social workers is just one of those demands I’d like to add to your list. I think this is why I would like for an IT person to start me off with kits we can incorporate into our electronics, programming, problem solving and more—that weave into content areas across the grade levels. We have a very big job!

You have a great solution built in. We can begin engaging the students who are not typically doing well “in the traditional school system of taking tests.” Writing can be encourage along by storytelling with creating paper pictures or play dough circuitry.

One issue I have with the Common Core Standards is when administrators who evaluate us wear side blinders on their eyes and lock us into their perception of how these standards “should be focused on in certain ways.” With a little more peripheral vision, administrators can see us making these connections in a creative and engaging manner. We may need to start small and post the results of student learning wherever they can be seen, so it will catch on and spread. Also, you really had me thinking about how helping other teachers is so important. We share, we learn, all benefit.


Amy’s reply to my initial post:

tessiesim says


I also see students who are overly dependent on teacher support to do any tasks, and even to get started. Even in a small group, they can suck all of my time and energy or just sit when there is no one to directly help them. I agree that teaching a Growth Mindset and modeling it ourselves is important to get these students to try and realize that it’s okay to make mistakes. I like the stages you describe in transitioning to a Maker Model. It’s important that we scaffold this idea rather than expect overnight change in how our students function independently. I think your idea of starting with kits and more specific tasks is key to gradually letting them create more independently. I hope to hear more about how you implement these changes in your school.

My reply to Amy,


Scaffolding seems to make sense to me–and breaking the cycle at the early primary stages. Maybe this is where blended learning comes in as well. Students may need to work on computer assignments, then rotate to a making station. Again, time and grade level of students affects all of this. Also, teachers need IT support and kits at least in the beginning as part of that scaffold.

Thank you for your feedback, as it keeps my dreams into the top end of moving forward, but in a successful way teachers can manage.


Kate reflected and I replied:

katemullin17 commented on Initial Post Week 10, EDET677: Essential Question: Why does “Lewis Angapak Memorial School (LAMS)” need a Makerspace?

Aleta May Initial blog week 10 EDET677 Essential Question: Why does “Lewis Angapak Memorial School (LAMS)” need a …

I love your transitioning levels to get students to be independent users of the makerspace! In fact, I really enjoyed everything about your post: the video clip, the two different makerspaces for your school, and the idea that your students view the world differently than the textbook (absolutely!). I was prepared to write about one or all of these in depth, but then I got to the comments, and those are what truly grabbed my heart.

“Scaffolding seems to make sense to me–and breaking the cycle at the early primary stages.” The cycle of teacher dependence is so detrimental to students actually learning material. Discovery is such an important part of the process, but often educators just “spoon-feed” information as a means to cover all the material or simply because it is easier. Helping students understand their part in the process, their responsibility in being an active part of the learning process, is a very real challenge, especially when working with students use to the system of teacher-led learning.

I started my career as a secondary teacher in rural Alaska. I had never been more frustrated in my life. Each day, as I worked with my students who were barely able to read, who couldn’t write, who didn’t understand math, I wondered to myself, “Where did the system fail these kids?” (One example was the student who had passed prealgebra the previous year with an A by redoing the same eight lessons until she received 90% or better on each of those lesson…except there were 165 lessons to cover in the prealgebra curriculum, 157 of which she never did). I wasn’t ready to jump on the bandwagon of allowing minimal effort for full credit, further perpetuating the cycle, but as a first year teacher, I had no experience and very few resources to draw upon. To make matters worse, I kept hearing over and over, “They are just village kids,” as if to say they were born with different learning abilities than the rest of the kids in the world or they didn’t deserve to be educated at the same level.

This experience is what spurred me to return to the land of student loans to pursue a degree in elementary education. One cannot simply sit on the sidelines and hope for change to happen. I needed to be a part of that change. I needed to experience the difficulty of changing that fixed mindset, from my students, to their parents, to staff members. I taught the youngest students (K-3) and even this group showed resistance to owning their education, but over time and with a lot of hard work from ALL of us, this group of students learned to value their role in learning.

Every child deserves a great education, and the students at your school are lucky to have you!

Kate, You truly got to the point of what I have seen in our village schools. We did have someone come out the last two years to make sure teachers were focused on using computerized formative assessments to show growth. Though we saw some growth, one class seemed to need continual reminders that they “could do the work.” There was no time for discovery-education, however, since this elementary class only had half a day to teach a very required curriculum at two different grade levels.

Last year, a new science teacher for middle to high school asked us the same questions over and over–re: why can’t they do their work without help at this age? One major problem I saw was the extremely small room with no cabinets for science lab equipment. However, I did loan a Science Activity book to her I had at home in case I needed activity ideas for sped students I teach. And her interactive notebooks were awesome–the students referred back to them often.

Thank you for such encouraging words! Your school is very blessed to have you as well! Going back into debt to meet the needs where they start is a very, very big deal! Aleta



(May 2016). Trending: The latest news & stats affecting the K-12 edtech community. Top 10 Web Stories from

Which led to this article:

Ullman, E. (April 2016). Making the Grade: If you build it, they will create. How to take the concepts of the maker movement and use them into day-to-day classroom activity.


Reflection for Week 10, EDET678; Essential Question: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

Aleta May

Reflection Post for Week 10


After such a wonderful day going to the coast and breathing in the fresh air, I am so refreshed!

How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

The answers to this question are so expansive, I cannot even imagine covering it all.

According to Wohlwend and Peppler (2015), “Playshops bring together childhoold strengths with school curricula in play, collaboration, new technologies, and a content area such as literature, arts, and sciences.

Further, they argue that children use play to open access to rigorous learning—new knowledge is connected to their personal experiences by learning with a variety of learners (Wohlwend & Peppler, 2015, 26). The picture from this article reminds me of the Ted Talk video clip I watched this week about how home made play dough is made more from salt and is more conductive of electrons than the store bought brands which are stiffer and made more from sugar. With positive and negative wires and electronic circuits.

Learning is not all rigor and no play! (1)

There is a “false dichotomy of reducing playtime in favor of more time to lern math and literacy. But pay can deepen learning even in core content areas” (Wohlwend, & Peppler, 2015, p. 22) I don’t agree that the Common Core forces schools into this false dichotomy—in fact, I believe the Common Core Standards (CCS) allow us to write our own curriculum as long as we can justify it with what is outlined that students need to learn at a variety of grade levels. In fact, I would reach further than both the authors of this article and the CCS and proclaim that we need to blend playtime styles of learning with CCS, thus exceed the expectations of both.

I have much experience with both teaching freely—then being pushed into a testing vortex …

I gained so much inspiration this week from reading other’s posts, commenting on these, participating in a Twitter Session and reading/watching pertinent video clips on how to weave play, electronic circuitry, and content areas into the learning process. This was a very inspiring week!

Discussions from Week 10’s Blog:


First, I really enjoyed reading your post! I really did not realize just how much technology has spread across the arts and wearable fashion. When our students have time for creating, they are amazing at it. From past experiences I have had with them, I believe this Bike Turn Signal Jacket would be awesome! Our students at Lewis Anagapak Memorial School would probably have different applications to their design; since they ride bikes usually in daylight (after the snow has melted). The issue is more about seeing kids walking on the boardwalk during daylight hours with 4-wheelers and snow machines riding by.

That craft site with beginner tutorials would awesome—especially projected onto a Smartboard and having students draw on the board.

Thank you for sharing that Chibitronics video!




Wasn’t Jie Qi’s dandelion painting beautiful. And yes—an awesome example of how we can incorporate art, technology (electronics) and science.

I noticed the classroom pack as well—but missed the educator discount. This sounds like a great deal for getting started. Then we can take off on our own as facilitators of teaching circuitry and art.


I replied to Daysha’s initial Post:


It seems like young kids will be very non-threatened by using Chibitronics. One problem we may encounter is that they will need to begin with those specific instructions, and likely want to jump ahead. If we as facilitators can control the urge to teach “why” (circuits, etc. ), and slow them down to follow directions for how to make it work first. Then the next project can be more of their own creation and some explanation of positives/negatives/ neutrons etc. woven in.

My bachelor’s degree was in Home Economics–Social Services. When you talk about uneven seams, this definitely brings back memories! Sewing with electronics is something I am going to do.

Play dough circuits sound so fun! AnnMaria Thomas: Hands-on science with squishy dough; demonstrated that homemade playdough has half the resistance (meaning it will conduct electricity) of commercial playdough. Sugardough has 150 times the resistance of salted dough. Combining these can mean parallel and series circuits, LED lights work when the legs are separated in the dough not work when the dough is pushed together.  So I bookmarked the links to the videos you shared:

Thank you for sharing the CircuitSticker Storytelling YouTube (Chibitronics): I saw the potential!

Daysha replied to my initial post:

daysha2016 says:

July 24, 2016 at 1:09 am

Aleta, I agree that crafting may be another avenue to teach electronics and programing to students who might not be interested in it otherwise. I also love the idea of the light up Kuspuks! What a great way to blend cultural traditions with new technologies! Can you imagine if they designed it to look like the northern lights?

I replied to her on my post:

Daysha, I had not even thought of the northern lights idea! A fading in and out on curved lines going down the back (especially in colors from whitish to greens! I was trying to think of using LEDs on the ric/rac zig/zag design they usually sew in, but didn’t really feel that was creative enough. We have group intellect going on here! Thank you for that, Daysha, because I am beginning to better understand how powerful that can be.



Wohlwend, K. & Peppler, K. (2015). All rigor and no play is no way to improve learning. Kappan, 96, pp. 22-26.,

EDET 678 Week 10: Essential Question: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

Aleta May

Emerging Technologies

Initial Blog Post EDET678 Week 10

Essential Question; Week Ten: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

There are some students who may be attracted to programming and electronics by using it for art and clothing, who would otherwise never be interested in electrical circuitry or computer programming. Going through to look over what is available for younger students through high school was very fun and very eye opening to me.

Specially designed Kuspuks might interest some of our students as well. This image was taken from Bing:



As I watched the light show of Qi’s Interactive light show, I saw nature expressed as clouds, the effect of time lapse and the overlapping of music and drawing. Then I saw Qi blow on the white puffs to watch the seeds disperse, generating new flowers— with the use of LED lights with sensors receptive to her breath, a science lesson was taught through art.

How beautiful it was to see that the drawings were exposed to be copper tape, buttons and what looked like a connecting piece that may have connected these copper conductors to microcontrollers. I clicked on the embedded link and learned that I was right about the circuitry being made up of microcontrollers, LEDs and of course microphones to produce the music. Programmable Paintings take in elements of art and painting, with the addition of “interactivity of electronics and computation” ( I clicked here for the sound code: This could be used much like the Arduino kit, but I would need to dig a little deeper to find out where to actually copy and paste the code or how to use it for a project with students.

I have a Circuit Sticker Sketchbook by Jie Qi that I recently received. I was excited to dig deeper into Qi’s Dandelion links to reach this link: This book is designed to build into the pages in the book. From there, there is a Sketchbook sample for creating a book that combines circuits + origami. I found out by going to the chibitronics store, they sell a classroom pack (for 30 students) for $110. This would be a good way to get kids started since it has templates to follow.

Designing electronics is generally cumbersome and expensive — or used to , until Leah Buechley and her team at MIT developed tools to treat electronics just like paper and pen. In this talk from TEDYouth 2011, Buechley shows some of her designs, including a paper piano you can sketch and then play. This came from Leah Buechley: How to “sketch” with electronics YouTube link: :

Mellis, (2014) Leah Buechley created the LilyPad Arduino. The projects sound like such a fun way to teach basic programming and electronics. Leah’s graduate student , Kanju Qiu, is a co-author with her for Sew Electrick: A collection of DIY projects that combine fabric, electronics, and programming. This quote really really stood out to me: “We aimed to design projects that are fun and whimsical but also complex and challenging. We assume that our readers have no previous experience, but limitless ability.” The projects listed for children in this article sound exactly like what I would like to try with our students.

I agree with Buechley that there is a strong “creative artistic medium” to sewing electric, and making “mass produced products” may occur, but then the personal uniqueness intrigue will be lost. Wow—she is drawing in on large-scale architectural work now—even designing a home and studio with her partner to develop a maker space. As Buechley articulated, “It’s wonderful to be soldering, programming, sewing, and painting again!” I can see myself doing this grandma style a year from Christmas break in our outside room Dan and I are building for ourselves next summer.

Using a LilyPad to communicate with a computer, students can “build a soft piano that plays music both on your computer and through a sewn-in speaker” in about 4-10 days. Electronic materials for this include: Lilypad Arduino simple snap, LilyPad speaker and protoboard, FTDI breakout board, conductive thread and a mini-USB cable.


As I looked over this FLORA Ardino Compatable Wearable platform, then read down to where it suggested a mico-lipo charger to reduce fire risks (especially with fabric), my first reaction is that they should just raise the price and put this into the set. When compared to the Lilypad, the FLORA is lighter, has bigger pads and the with larger holes that are easy to use with alligator clips (which many prefer to use). It is a Field Transmitter that now works with Arduino devices (and others) that have alligator clips. (7/13/2016).

The light up and flash skirt (with LEDs) is activated by the FLORA motion sensor. It is connected to with pixels through conductive thread that is all connected to the FLORA mainboard. The code can be adjusted for sensitivity to motion by changing one number. The battery is removed to hand-wash clothing. Air-dry all the way before adding the battery back in. This looks very popular for prom night:


Adafruit—FLORA – Wearable electronic platform: Arduino-compatible – v3. Flora arduino microcircuits (projects at the bottom):

Qi, J (2012). Interactive light painting: Pu gong ying tu (dandelion painting). Retrieved 7-17-2016 at: Sparkle skirt with flora motion sensor:

Buechley, L. (November 15, 2012). Leah Buechley: How to “sketch” with electronics (Sketching Electronics):  Retrieved 7-17-2016 at:  Ted Talks

Mellis, D. (Feb. 4th, 2014). Sew Electric with Leah Buechley—Interview.

Chibitronics (2014). Electronics for everyone: Create, craft, code with Chibitronics circuit stickers.


Fabric piano:

Einarson, E. (01.01.13). Go bionic with these wearable arduino projects. Retrieved 7-17-2016 at:

Soft Piano Image:

Picture for Kuspuk pictures were found on bing by typing in kuspuk images.


Initial Post Week 10, EDET677: Essential Question: Why does “Lewis Angapak Memorial School (LAMS)” need a Makerspace?

Aleta May

Initial blog week 10 EDET677

Essential Question: Why does “Lewis Angapak Memorial School (LAMS)” need a makerspace?

At Lewis Angapak Memorial School (LAMS), we serve a very, very high percentage of students who live in lower-income households. At the heart of a growth mindset is the students’ beliefs about whether “you can learn new things, but you can’t change a person’s intelligence” (Sparks, 2016, p. 2). Since “a growth mindset was a greater predictor of success for poor students than it was for their higher-income peers” (Sparks, 2016, p. 2), when persistence and grit were promoted, according to research completed by Claro, Dweck, and Paunesku in Chile with 168,000 10th Grade students. Students from poverty are more likely to have a fixed mindset, believing that they cannot change their skill sets or intelligence. I believe many students have this fixed mindset at LAMS.

For example, when new teachers come to our school to teach from an outside state, often I hear statements that reflect this fixed mindset. More specifically, the students have been taught overreliance on the teacher for help. Martinez & Stager (2013) have led me to realize that we are definitely not alone: “Kids have been taught through the years to expect teachers to spoon-feed them detailed recipes for success” (p. 190). What is even more eye opening is that “removing that safety net may cause some cognitive dissonance, especially for your most successful students” (Martinez & Stager, p. 190). We are on track in changing this at the elementary levels so that students have a growth mindset.

Furthermore, I believe incorporating technology and other creative making into the content areas will help students delve deeper into the meaning of what they are learning—in every content area. A Makerspace provides a place for creating with other students and can become a shared space that inspires students when they see other projects in the making.

At LAMS, we need two areas for Makerspaces. I have gone through this in more depth in another blog post; so in summary, one space would be for older students upstairs in our school with the more dangerous making tools while another would be in a portion of our library and in my room which is right next to the library.

To encourage a growth mindset across the grade levels this coming year, we need to begin with kits like the Arduino Circuits kits. For example, when students are taking physics this fall in 9th grade, there will be a section of the text devoted to learning about atoms, which fits exactly in with using kits to get started using hands on learning to build computational literacy. Students will learn programming and electronics (focusing on ‘how’) in the form of “material computational literacy” (Berland, 2016, p. 197) one of three components of computational literacy. Arduino Kits start students out with copy and paste code, and gradually build into adding code. Then our LAMS students need to discuss with each other and clearly articulate “to whom and for whom” through “social computational literacy.” The skills of explaining to others will build our students teaching and speaking skills along with technical skills. “Cognitive computational literacy” describes why (p. Berland, 197).

Specifically, students at LAMS may have a different way of viewing the world from the textbooks they encounter. “Schank argued that humans build up linked, recursive models (called scripts and schema) and learn when those models prove insufficient.” At LAMS, facilitated experimentation with “productive failure” in making and tinkering will guide our students toward how to analyze a problem through critique and evaluation. I appreciate how Berland states that “understanding the problem space—is a key move towards literacy rather than raw skill or knowledge” (p. 201).

Loertscher, Preddy, & Derry (2013) propose a model to describe a Maker, Using, Tinkering, Experimenting, and Creating (uTEC) Maker Model. This is how I visualize LAMS transitioning students from being teacher dependent to independent creating.

  • Beginning at the Using level, students “re-create something others have already created,” . . . follow “step-by-step instructions already developed by another to create . . . at the consuming level” (p. 3).
  • The Tinkering level, is a formative stage that involves “questioning the how  and why”; such as “altering code just to see what happens” (p. 3).
  • The Experimenting level, is where students leave behind things that others created and begin to design something new. This is the stage where “ideas begin to flow, trial and error are enacted as hour after hour slips by unnoticed” (p. 4). I want students at LAMS who are at this level to think critically and ask questions like: “I like this idea; not that. Does this work? What if? No, not right yet. . . . What if?” (p. 4).
  • At the highest level, Creating level, students will work to think independently and as a group to create “a novel product or design” p. 4). At this level, students share their intelligence as a collaborative group so that “what emerges is greater than the sum of the minds that created it.”

Here is an example of a young man in TED Talks developed through these stages from tinkering “In the Maasai community where Richard Turere lives with his family, cattle are all-important. But lion attacks were growing more frequent. In this short, inspiring talk, the young inventor shares the solar-powered solution he designed to safely scare the lions away.”

I agree with Berland who states that experimentation “requires prior understanding of the problem space . . . and with tinkering “learning what might happen through making semidirectedly and failing” . . . is “productive failure” (p. 201). The students at LAMS bring a perspective from their own environment that may require facilitating a bridge between what they know and understand within their own environment and what the textbook is teaching. Richard Turrere in the TED talks YouTube clip solved a problem with lions through an understanding of electronics he had built up over time. Being from different environments from the majority population does not equate a fixed mindset; rather it obliges the teacher (as well as administration’s responsibility to take responsibility for educating themselves on the importance of making at LAMS and the district level) to facilitate connecting that bridge.


Berland, M., Making, tinkering, and computational literacy (Chapter 12). In Makeology: Makers as learners (volume 2), (2016). Peppler, K., Halverson, E. R. and Kafai, Y. (Eds.). New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis.

Loertscher, D.V., Preddy, L., & Derry, B. (2013). Makerspaces in the school library learning commons and the uTEC maker model. Teacher Librarian, 41(2), pp. 48-51.

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

Sparks, S.D. (July 20, 2016) . Growth mindset: How much can it counter poverty’s damage? Education Week’s Blogs

YouTube Video:

Turere, R. (Feb. 2013). My invention that made peace with lions. 7:20. TED. Retrieved 7-21-16.

Reflection Week 9, EDET677; Essential Question: What would you need to coordinate a “Maker Day” for your school?

Aleta May

Reflection Week 9

EDET677 Mechanical Applications of Technology

Essential Question: What would you need to coordinate a “Maker Day” for your school?

This week’s initial post was very productive for me! I learned about distinct/yet related elements that a Make Day consists of from readings.

Since the topic of advertising for a Maker Day came up, I created a piktochart infogram for an event at my school: I chose the design background to emphasize the design thinking and challenges that go with this.

I especially enjoyed reading from the site regarding how a facilitator of an event needs to participate—beginning with Don’t Judge—leaving out value judgments. Advice from also explains that although beginning a project with a prototype is beneficial, it should become a springboard for people to create their own ideas.

I was very excited to find a very up-to-date and just in time Maker Education: Reaching All Learners video clip to include in this post. It is an excellent overview of what making, using technology and ways to allow us to see students in action, safely using a variety of equipment.

Through the many resources listed in my reference section of this initial blog post, I can now refer back to ways to get making started and how it can look over time.

Below are responses I made to classmates, and replies I received back:


What an excellent idea to include other schools and the community at large. Even with our villages being separated from each other and the main district office. There is a budget for sports travel, Lego Robotics, and I’ve seen it come together at our school for students in our choir to fly to Dillingham and Nome. I wonder if we could set Maker Days in Bethel at the high school gym? I know it is not cost effective to send every school at once, or even reasonable, but I can visualize two things. One is to have Maker Days within our own school. Another is to bring perhaps bring in grade level groups to Bethel so they can see each other’s ideas and creations. Some adult chaperones (often a teacher and parents) from each community could attend.

Having committees “consider which locations in the school” to use and decorate, and another group planning the activities is a great way to organize the group. I had not thought of the pottery or the wide range of art in the list you made.

I noticed a sign at an Oregon Home Depot advertising for the vendors to come help people transplant a plant of their choice into a pot of their choice.

Also, I was not aware of culture camps supported by Native corporations. Maybe our students could be involved in these in grade level groups/ranges.



Mini maker faires sound like a good way for educators (like myself) who are new to setting up a multi-project event like this. Organizing the event into these 5 areas seems like a it would also lend itself well to delegating jobs to pairs or groups of staff members or community volunteers.

Thank you so much for sharing the Maker Challenges with 19 challenges list!

I think my favorite challenge, although it is difficult to narrow it down to one, is Musical Marshmallows


After reading your opening paragraph, I believe George Mason”s ideas merge well with Martinez and Stager. It seems that Martinez and Stager have a focus on using modern tools to solve problems; while George Mason is seeing a wide open door for makers in areas like carpentry, plumbing, etc. which for which there is a shortage of in Canada.

Collaborating multiple ages to me seems important because, in my view, we have divided students by certain ages and grade levels to an extreme. Our students do not all mature at the same time and they don’t all learn the same things at the same time either. Usually many older students will volunteer to help younger students on a project they solved in the past (or a similar one).   The groupings of grade levels in Sitka seem like natural ranges for starting Maker Spaces. Even these could be mixed up in future groups—especially toward the end of the school year, 1st Graders might move over to the 2nd – 4th Grade group while the 5th Graders move up to the middle school group (it is really awesome that you want to include younger students in your maker group), and 8th up to the high school group – so they can see and participate in what the older group ranges are working on.

Yes, planning for days to have Maker Space events would be different across Alaska! In our community, we don’t use school buses since we have boardwalks. But we would need to plan around times when students are helping out with subsistence food provisions on the weekends.

It is wonderful that you already have experience with a hands-on science day for Science Saturday. This would fold right over into organizing a Maker Day (different, but similar enough).



Week 9 Response

First of all, your Maker Day plan is very insightful and well organized. Reading your post inspired me to rethink what I can do for students at school by referring to my own family as an analogy.

As I read your opening statement, I thought about my own immediate family. First of all, my husband learned at home so many things about “how things work” just by being encouraged to go into the shop and take apart radios, old TVs; as well as, watching his dad work on motors and building his own house. His older brother invited him to come to Alaska to help wire his house, so Dan learned another new skill. He has taught shop class mechanics at Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon, until this class was discontinued (along with art) for a focus on academic skills. This summer he has changed the brakes of our van, changed the hose of our 1998 Oldmobile, since it had overheated. My 29 year old-daughter helped him do this. Dan will not fix major issues without involving either our daughter or soon to be husband. This is what I would term family apprenticeship. Last summer, she and Dan replaced two door frames and door.

I am a seamstress, though I have not used this skill much lately. This week, I will be altering the shoulders and length of my granddaughter’s dress for the wedding on July 31st. My intention is to start teaching her how to sew when we come back home in the winter and next summer.

Dan built an amazing treehouse for our 2 grandkids, plus our 2 new grandkids who come on a 50/50 custody schedule. So far, they have learned how to put stain on the treehouse, name drill bits or screwdrivers properly, and watched a Treehouse Master at work. Our soon to be son-in-law helped as well when he and Dan were not outside wiring the shop, we put concrete in ourselves last summer.

We know that it is our role to pass the baton over to the next generation so that they know how to pull up a water pump, identify the problem (corroded wires) and replace these. Otherwise, they immediately go toward hiring people to do this for them and they cannot afford this. (We have many other demands on our monies, so we cannot either).

So to me, Maker Day is all about taking back our traditional ways of learning how to do things and helping others to learn what we know as we learn from them.


  • Just a few thoughts:
  • – Your Piktochart is excellent. What a great way to spread the word about Maker Day! You were able to include a lot information. Your design and colors are very positive and inviting.
  • – The video you embedded showed a school that is really into Making. It’s inspiring to see teachers, parents, the principal and superintendent all supportive of Making.
  • – The concept of a “beginner’s mindset” for Maker Day is interesting especially “don’t judge” and “question everything”. This all makes a lot of sense to me. Planning an event such as a Maker Day can make for a fixed mindset. But taking a step back once it’s up and running to take on a beginner’s mindset may be advantageous.




Thank you! I enjoyed making a Piktochart. It is getting easier for me with practice.

That video inspired me too—as how possible it is and why the kids would love it! I wonder it we could tie this to migrant education funding?

Yes, I think it is easy to forget to observe the overall picture when we get involved in individuals’ projects. It is good to have a balance of both.

It was so nice to hear from you Teresa. Your time is valuable to me—I know you are working very hard in several courses. You’re nearly there!