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.

New Hampshire’s Best Known Secret

There are two event websites I use for niché groups and networking – Meetup and Eventbrite. These sites are useful to finding activities in your area. This week I attended a 3½ hour NH Salesforce User Group (via Eventbrite) held at the FIRST headquarters.

I will gladly use this time to capitalize on “New Hampshire’s best known secret.” So you know those segways that public safety officers and annoying tourists scoot about on? The Human Transporter was invented by Dean Kamen of DEKA, and noted friend of inventor Ray Kurzweil. In an effort to get students (ages 6-18) more excited about STEM careers – engineering, robotic design, and animation, Dean Kamen started the nonprofit FIRST. Inspired students plan and then construct working renditions of moveable models with LEGO® Robotics, and often work with scientists to solve real-world problems. Competitions aspire students to gain 21st Century skills including creative problem solving and fosters lifetime exploration of science and technology for children, our tomorrow’s leaders.

Back to the User Group…

A user group is essentially like-minded people gathering around a table of donuts and coffee (sadly no NY bagels) sharing ideas, tips and tools of the trade. I listened, I shared, I observed. We discussed best ways to use Salesforce to attract different audiences, how we can bridge the gap with mobile communication and by using the CRM platform to its greatest potential, see substantial ROI. As an audience member, I was most impressed with Southern NH University’s College for America demonstration as I saw first hand the student portal, paying close attention to how the organization optimized the system for their user. An opportunity to see inside some of New Hampshire’s most promising companies and a chance to learn about SF best business practices, this was an event I will have to wait until next February to attend again.

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?

Creativity abounds with SXSWedu 2014

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Who would like to buy me tickets to SXSWedu in Austin? Going once, twice, three —

SXSW looks like an amazing festival, held every spring featuring film, interactive, music and conferences with panels of speakers, workshops, Meetup events and a trade show. There is also SXSWedu, an expo for educational innovation, SXSWeco for those environmental conservationists and SXSW V2V for techie startups on the prowl.

This year’s conference has a few discussions I’m interested in:

Permission Engines: Facilitating Creativity (SXSWinteractive)
What do Googlers and Burning Man have in common? Find out here (hint: it’s in the title)

STEM Challenges for Digital Citizens
Amazed by Amplify, I’d definitely drop in.

Apple for Teacher: Education Ripe for Disruption
This interview may make you redefine the status quo.
Just think of the opportunities we can unlock by making education as addictive as a video game.

iStories: Teaching with Social Video Self-Modeling
Learn how to demonstrate a concept, create step-by-step instructions and showcase prompt as a student video with social stories.

Rethinking Teaching and Learning: Competency-based
Every discussion poses questions; some pertinent like these.
What system changes must be made for students to have coherent and goal focused educational experiences?

Interactive Chocolate
Because everyone loves chocolate.

Tickets may be a stretch and I’ll try to make it there at least in spirit. Until then I’ll seek out PanelPicker to vote for the content I want to see (whether as a virtual attendee or a real one).

School Spotlight: Inglewood Unified School District, Inglewood, California

This series will highlight school districts that are empowering youngsters to embrace technology. Perhaps your school is bringing GAFE to the classroom, rolling out tablets, using Lynda.com or Khan Academy to introduce video supplements or you are just a Nerdy Teacher using Evernote as an experiment to engage students in a new way.

Inglewood Unified School District is southwest of downtown Los Angeles, California with a population of 100,000+ students amongst its twenty-six schools.  In 2008, the district launched Game Smart Design Academy (with Think Now Education, a community-oriented business dedicated to bringing creative after school programs to SoCal) for grades 6-8 encouraging students to write, create and publish video games. This program motivates students to learn about game design, animation, critical thinking and problem solving, storyboarding, collaboration and constructive criticism all while following a STEM-enriched curriculum.

In 2011 Inglewood created Newshounds Journalism Club, a project based, common core aligned language arts program teaching students the fundamentals of blogging. Those interested use this medium to express themselves, develop a voice, and inspire others to do the same through text, video or still images published online. Students work in teams to address a theme; brainstorm ideas, conduct research and interviews, and gather multimedia resources to create a succinct blog post. The Club’s live product is available online and in school libraries.

You may ask what significance do these programs have? Who cares about these buzzwords being thrown around: STEM, Common Core, Digital storytelling, and the various Learning types (blended learning, mobile learning, project based learning, competency based learning, etc.)?

In my opinion, the Newshounds Journalism Club is an innovative after school program that inspires youth to explore the written word and hone in on their audience, voice and style. (aka great free write exercise on the tablet) What better way to do this than sharing instantly with each other? I also see how students can understand the production process to complete a project. For instance, one can learn how to create and refine content and present stories in iterations; all things that journalists, software developers and video game designers do on a daily basis. With school programs like these, students are given the skills that can be used in future endeavors.

EdTech Story Starters for Journalists

I enjoy researching some of today’s issues in education policies and reform; assessments, the CCSS, Obama’s Race to the Top funding, MOOCs and the role of adaptive learning in the classroom.

I found a wealth of information on Educational Writer Association’s Story Starters website and wanted to share. Go here to find background information on STEM education, NCLB, higher education reform and a plethora of other topics.

Be sure to check out these highlights:

Glossary of Education Reform
Find topics A to Z in this glossary of terms for journalists

Five Questions to Ask
If you are writing a piece and perhaps struggling to make sense of it, look no further. Ask these five questions to get the creative juices flowin’

Organizations
Find a list of organizations pertaining to a particular topic

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