iPad rollout Phase I: #FAIL

Epic Fail. Let’s consider this our Agile retrospective. A few things went right, but mostly things went wrong.

What went wrong?
– The first iPad launch for Los Angeles (see previous post here) school districts cost $1 billion dollars. Each individual tablet given to each student costs way more than retail price, $678 to be exact. With the Chromebooks costing roughly $250, you can buy two laptops for that price.

– Professional development: training and support for students, teachers and parents was an afterthought, leading to the failure of this launch. You cannot possibly deploy a new product without offering training (and follow-up support) for users, especially the relative size of this audience.

– Let’s give these students the tools they need to become well rounded individuals. Yes that means harnessing creativity and encouraging STEAM exploration. And yes this means giving them a device with a keyboard. Writing skills (even if that includes QWERTY) on the back burner, who would have thought?

What went right?
Isn’t it obvious? Hopefully with this deployment a few kids learned something aside from phishing for unapproved content. The main goal was delivered: technology supplementing instruction for every student.

Recycled Art

At the deCordova Sculpture Park installations are built with their natural environment in mind. The landscape and industrial materials like rebar, bricks, aluminum, and glass are incorporated into the designs. Most notably set on its sixty acre property is Untitled.

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Composed of broken bricks and wrapped steel, this sculpture signifies the deconstruction of civilization. The Indian artist said his work “addresses the constant cycle of building-destroying-rebuilding and explores the relationship of rural and urban life where technology, globalization and materialism collide.”

What if we took the same idea of using recycled items and turned them into functional pieces of art? What would these creations look like?

Need a notepad?

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How about a thumb drive?

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Do you fancy a picture frame?

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Or a hanging key hook?

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These Steampunk artists created collages from USB ports, motherboards and memory chips

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British artist Susan Stockwell even constructed an entire map of recycled motherboards

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Frankly who knew old computer parts were art? This would be a great STEAM project to learn the insides of a computer and a great way to introduce art appreciation.

Math in the Realworld

Do you remember math class in middle school or how about high school? I remember sitting attentively, yet struggling even in college to make sense of these difficult mathematical questions, thinking how can I relate to this problem in order to solve it. This was Introduction to IT and I had no idea why I had to learn amortization tables in excel as a creative writing major.

I believe content developers struggle to find suitable assessment questions and material that not only is relevant, but engaging and invokes thought. Learning should be fun (ignore reference to corny cliché) and encourage students to explore other avenues with math and science backgrounds. Prime example is the budding interest to get children (and especially girls) involved in STEM or STEAM deciplines. For example, computer programming, video game development, robotics, and anything Minecraft.

Mathematics should address problem solving in the realworld. Real World Math, a free website presents lesson plans for teaching with Google Maps. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego just got a whole lot better. Educators can use Google Maps to discuss distance formulas from point A to B, enhance geography lessons with satellite images and real-time street views, and plan travel adventures, navigating through twists and turns of Google traffic and subway lines.

What are some other tools that help make math fun and meaningful in and out of the classroom?

Creating an architecturally sound text with a literary-themed structure

Professor Matteo Pericoli encourages his creative writing and architecture students at Columbia School of Arts to create a visual representation of a story. A literary, not literal model of a building with the foundation as characters, walls as plots, floors as themes and plumbing as interweaving parallelism.

When I read the NY Times article, ‘Writers as Architects‘ I started to think what book I would model my own structure after. Lorraine Hansberry’s story of the Youngers in A Raisin In the Sun was the first idea that popped in my head.

This is a story about aspirations and wanting a better life for yourself. Every character from Walter and Mama to Beneatha and Willy are dreaming of something more; their life’s struggles defined by these unfulfilled hopes.

I would like to build a free flowing structure, with its height giving you the illusion that it is always reaching upwards towards the sky. Think Gothic architecture with less clean lines. Its walls are nonlinear and its foundation impermeable.

Something like this:

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BTW, this could be a great STEAM project!

From STEM to STEAM

Rhode Island School of Design’s quest to add Art & Design in STEM curriculums starts with Pelosi?

Back in June, the US House Democratic Leader met with local congressmen and RISD President to discuss how art/design can better the state’s economy. She commended the efforts of congressmen Cicilline and Langevin for pushing art and design into the already established Science-Technology-Engineering-Math curriculum. As education is about innovation, it is only apparent to include the Arts.

Where would user experience be without design or Warhol without printmaking? Art is an expression, a burst of energy through your fingertips. It is in every way creative, innovative, and imaginative.

If you agree, sign this petition to change STEM to STEAM