Friday, December 20, 2019

Article Commentary: Engineering the Future

While doing some research on STEM Labs and Makerspaces, I found an interesting article that was published recently. The article brought up a lot of major points, but I also feel like its lacking explanations and glosses over some important issues.

"When my daughters and their peers enter the workforce in 10 years, the global economy will be even more competitive, automated and technology-driven than it is today.

Image Source:
The global economy is definitely changing on a daily basis. We all know that jobs tomorrow haven't even been invented today. This is why we need to prepare our students for the real world and not for standardized tests. This is one of the reasons I am such a supporter of the Maker Movement (although I hate calling it that). When we give our students real world problems, or let them decide the problem to solve, they will learn skills that can't be taught through a textbook.

In terms of new jobs, I've seen job titles such as "Innovation Director" and "Chief Learning Officer" among those of educators that have left the classroom and taken on a coaching role. Even these simple changes of mindset can have an impact.

"Schools can't keep pace with how quickly technology is changing."
No ones fault specifically, but a product of the process. When schools learn of new technology, they must first research that technology and make sure it will have a positive impact on the students. If a school was to just buy every shiny new toy, the budget would be gone before Labor Day. The problem however is that some of the decision makers will spend so much time learning about a new technology that by the time they purchase it for the school, it's outdated. This leads to the "we already bought it, so you'd better use it" mentality that forces teachers to get creative.

"Content knowledge skills are relatively easy to learn, standardize and assess. This means they're also easy to automate."
Image Source: Make a Meme
This may be true but there's more to it. Content knowledge creates a foundation that students need but is being skipped over in may classrooms. When I was teaching middle school math, I had students that couldn't multiply double digits without a calculator. When I spent time helping them with these basic skills, I was told be an administrator that the students have calculators and I needed to move past it so they could be ready for standardized testing.

I understand the importance of standardized testing. In Pennsylvania, my ranking as a teacher was impacted on the scores of my students, but I still saw the importance of basic skills. Yes, we all have calculators on our phones, but quick math shouldn't require one. Additionally, when students rely so much on technology they aren't able to recognize extremely wrong answers.

Cited Source:
Chklovski, Tara. “Prioritizing STEM and Coding Won't Fill One of the Biggest Gaps in Education.” Quartz, Quartz, 25 Nov. 2019,

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ed Tech Chef

Have you ever watched a cooking show? They're full of creativity, quick thinking, and sometimes a little messy. It is with that in mind that I created EdTech Chef as a professional development activity as part of my E2 application. I am please to share this with you and can't wait to use it during an upcoming workshop that I will be running.

Source: azquotes
The premise of this three hour workshop is that teachers will be given their secret ingredient (topic) and then work in groups to create a 3-course meal consisting of a hook, main lesson, and closer.

A vocabulary list has been created to associate the school setting with a kitchen. If you want to have even more fun with your staff, have them wear paper chef hats during the activity.