Tuesday, October 15, 2019

NY Google Energizer 2019

All the Google for Education Certified
Innovators that attended the NY Energizer.
I love attending events hosted by Google because I know it'll be non-stop inspiration from the moment I walk in until the moment I leave. The first piece of inspiration I got during the graduation ceremony was a reminder that someday is not on the calendar. Stop saying "I'll do it someday, do it today." This was followed by the newest cohort of Innovators sharing their ideas and goals. So many amazing ideas were shared and I can't wait to see this group of Innovators bring their projects to life over the next year.

A GTAATX reunion.
Saturday morning, I returned to Google's office for the Energizer. After an amazing icebreaker game and "speed dating", we sat down as a group to listen to some Googlers talk about upcoming updates to G Suite (sorry, I signed a NDA) and then we broke into smaller groups.

I went to a session on podcasting and learned some interesting things about getting started and best practices. I also hosted a session on crowd-sourcing your classroom where I shared resources for finding funds. I'm sure you all know my favorite is DonorsChoose.org, but I also shared other websites and companies.

After some more full group activities, we moved the festivities over to a local arcade where we had dinner and fun. While I may not be any good at modern games such as Fortnite and Overwatch, I am still the queen of Tetris. The vintage games at the place had so much nostalgia and I was sad when the evening was over.

The original eSports... Tetris.

The Educational Side of Comic Con

Star Trek transporter.
Last week, I attended a small event in New York that you may have heard of before. New York Comic Con. I was fortunate to receive a "professional" pass as an educator which allowed me to attend the entire four day event for a lower cost. I only attended Thursday and Friday because of another event in NY that I planned to attend, but I got tons out of the weekend.

Go to ebooksforall.org and
sign the petition.
NYCC hosts a special series of panels on the opening day (Thursday) at the New York Public Library for educators. Unfortunately, the earliest ride I could get from Philly was too late because these panels are in the morning and fill up quickly. Next year, I plan to go Wednesday night so I'm there bright and early on Thursday morning for the library sessions. Titles like "Turns Out They Don't Rot Your Brain: The Study of Graphic Literature" and "How Spider-Man Taught Me My First Physics Lesson" demonstrate the type of panels that are geared for teachers.

When I arrived at the Javits Center I was blown away by the crowds. I thought Thursday was the slow day (hint: it was) and I still waited over an hour to take a trip on the transporter. The actual experience lasted thirty seconds and included four scenes.

Gwen and I are both
After Star Trek, I headed to the expo hall where I walked around. The section I spent the most time in was the publishers because they were giving out advanced reader copies of books and I was hoping to see some of my favorite authors. I tweeted multiple times, but never got lucky enough to see Felcia Day, author of You're Never Weird on the Internet. I did see her talk on the stage but I missed her book signing.

I also met some really cool librarians that explained why I normally have to wait a few weeks for eBooks from the library. Publishers limit the number of licenses that libraries can purchase. (PSA: Go to ebooksforall.org and sign the petition.)

On Friday, I went back to Comic Con to hang out with my friend since Daisies, Gwen. We walked around the expo hall again and bought a few beautiful pieces of art for her daughter's bedroom. After taking a nap on The Good Place's couch, I said goodbye to Gwen and Comic Con as I headed for my second reason of being in NY for the weekend, the latest Google for Education Certified Innovator's graduation ceremony followed by a full day of Google goodness at the Google for Education Energizer.
A quick nap on the
Good Place couch.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Makey Makey Lets You Make Things

alligator clips attached to a hand drawing of music notes on a staff attached to a makeymakey
Pencil piano
This weekend I drove up to State College, home of the Nittany Lions to attend a "Train the Trainer" event sponsored by PAECT. At this event, we learned about Makey Makey from their VP of education.

a group of six teacher holding hands to create a circuit and play piano
Group circuit. How many people
can you connect?
The training was a full day of activities for us to see how Makey Makey can be used in the classrooms. We will then turn around and provide trainings to different educators from around the state.

The first activity of the day was to test the conductivity of different materials. It seems that Play-Doh is conductive and so is pencil led. I don't think I ever realized how many everyday products are conductive.

One idea we were shown was when a teacher selects a new game each week and has the students design a controller that will create the "natural" movements for the game while functioning as a switch to complete the circuit.

I'm posing for a picture in front of the nittany lion statue.
When in State College, you need a
picture with the Nittany Lion.
Some pieces of advice we got:

  • Avoid dollar store foil because it rips easily and is hard to manipulate.
  • Aluminum Foil Tape is conductive and lasts longer than copper tape.
  • Find "busy work" when the students are given time to create. This will force you as the teacher/trainer not to help solve the problem.