Teacher PD – Week 5 – Reading Notes

Borko, H., Jacobs, J., Seago, N. & Mangram, C. (2014). Facilitating video-based professional development: Planning and orchestrating productive discussions. In Y. Li, E.A.Silver & S. Li (Eds.) Transforming mathematics instruction: Multiple approaches and practices (pp. 259-281). Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Use of video to discuss the teaching practice
  • Video watching must be skillfully guided
    • “To successfully lead such discussions requires that teachers have deeps knowledge of the relevant content, of student thinking about that content, and of instructional moves that are likely to guide the discussion in fruitful directions.” (Borko, Jacobs, Seago, & Mangram, 2014, p.261)
  • Best practices
    • Anticipating student responses
    • Monitoring their thinking
    • Selecting approaches for the class to explore
    • Sequencing student’s shared work
    • Connecting student responses to one another and to key ideas
  • Three decision points when planning a video-based discussion
    • Determine goals of discussion and select video clips
    • Identify goal relevant features of the video clip
    • Create questions to guide the discussion
  • Three practices for orchestrating productive discussions
    • Think about lesson segment
    • Probe for evidences of their claims
    • Connect analysis to key mathematical and pedagogical ideas
  • Content accompanying video for PD facilitators
    • Time-coded transcript
    • Lesson graph
    • Guiding questions to ask
    • Notes on the clip
      • “Back pocket” questions
      • Mathematical support
      • Cautionary notes
  • The need for a PD for PD facilitators

Gaudin, C., & Chaliès, S. (2015). Video viewing in teacher education and professional development: A literature review. Educational Research Review, 16, 41-67.

  • The need for facilitation in video-based PD
    • “How can teaching teachers to identify and interpret relevant classroom events on video clips improve their capacity to perform the same activities in the classroom?” (Gaudin & Chaliès, 2015, p.41)
  • Teachers must be trained to identify relevant events
    • “Most authors agree that enriching selective attention should be an objective of both teacher education and professional development. Indeed, both PTs and ITs suffer from an inability to identify relevant classroom events without training and focus.” (Gaudin & Chaliès, 2015, p.46)
  • Teachers must be able to
    • Describe
    • Explain
    • Predict
  • “Disposition to notice” and “capacities to reason”
  • Objectives of video viewing in teacher education and professional development
    • Show example of good teaching practices
    • Show characteristic professional situations
    • Analyze the diversity of classroom practices from different perspectives
    • Stimulate personal reflections
    • Guide/coach teaching
    • Evaluate competencies
  • Two main categories of video use
    • Developmentalist – how to interpret and reflect on classroom practices
    • Normative – what to do in the classroom
  • Select videos of “‘examples’ not ‘exemplars’”
  • Videos of
    • unknown teacher activity
    • peer activity
    • own practice
  • Effect of video viewing in TE & PD
    • Motivation
    • Cognition
    • Classroom practice

Gröschner, A., Seidel, T., Kiemer, K., & Pehmer, A.-K. (2014). Through the lens of teacher professional development components: The ‘Dialogic Video Cycle’ as an innovative program to foster classroom video. Professional Development in Education, DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2014.939692

  • How to teach “Productive classroom dialogue”
    • “Productive classroom dialogue refers to approaches to classroom communication in which teacher and students, through purposeful classroom talk, engage in a continual process of the co-construction of knowledge (Wells and Arauz 2006, Mercer and Littleton 2007, Alexander 2008).” (Gröschner, Seidel, Kiemer, & Pehmer, 2014, p.2)
  • Effective components of professional development
    • Content focus
    • Active learning
    • Collective participation
    • Duration
    • Coherence
  • Self-determination Theory (SDT)
    • “teachers’ abilities to foster perceptions of autonomy, competence and (social) relatedness.” (Gröschner, Seidel, Kiemer, & Pehmer, 2014, p.8)
    • “In the field of PD and workplace learning, studies found that autonomous motivation also supports job satisfaction and predicts the quality of transfer of PD experiences in daily work (Gegenfurtner et al. 2009).” (Gröschner, Seidel, Kiemer, & Pehmer, 2014, p.8)
  • Problem-Solving Cycle (PSC)
    • Iterative, long-term PD approach (Borko) focused on CK and PCK
  • Dialogic Video Cycle (DVC)
    • Builds upon PSC model
    • Focuses on verbal interactions between teachers and students
    • “In the DVC the focus is on the implementation of the two activities student activation and clarifying discourse rights and scaffolding student ideas and feedback (Walshaw and Anthony 2008). By helping teachers implement both activities in the classroom, the DVC aims to change the perspective of teachers towards engaging students in classroom dialogue and to support student learning processes.” (Gröschner, Seidel, Kiemer, & Pehmer, 2014, p.9)
  • “Therefore, through the lens of teacher PD components, video-based reflections as well as collaborative learning opportunities seem to be crucial aspects for teacher learning.” (Gröschner, Seidel, Kiemer, & Pehmer, 2014, p.25)

Kiemer, K., Gröschner, A., Pehmer, A.-K., & Seidel, T. (2015). Effects of a classroom discourse intervention on teachers’ practice and students’ motivation to learn mathematics and science. Learning and Instruction, 35, 94-103.

  • Motivation to learn
    • “Motivational concepts such as interest in the subject are important outcomes of educational processes (Krapp & Prenzel, 2011) and are key elements regarding the young generations’ preparedness for life-long learning as a core-skill in knowledge-based societies.” (Kiemer, Gröschner, Pehmer, & Seidel, 2015, p. 94)
  • DVC worked
    • “This study shows that after successful implementation (Gro€schner, Seidel, Kiemer, et al., 2014), the video-based TPD approach of the DVC was effective in changing teachers’ behaviour towards more productive classroom discourse.” (Kiemer, Gröschner, Pehmer, & Seidel, 2015, p.101)
    • “The results of this study further show positive changes in students’ experiences of autonomy, competence and social relatedness as well as intrinsic learning motivation, when their teachers participated in the DVC intervention.” (Kiemer, Gröschner, Pehmer, & Seidel, 2015, p.101)
    • “The results demonstrate the importance of productive classroom discourse in promoting positive learning outcomes for students’ motivational orientations and its role in fostering student interest in STEM subjects.” (Kiemer, Gröschner, Pehmer, & Seidel, 2015, p.101)

LDT Seminar – Master's Project Milestone Assignment


Approach: Theories

There are several different “approaches” to address in your proposal.  One is your theoretical perspective on the challenge you address.

What approach to learning informs your design? Explain your theoretical framework – a mile-high view of the big ideas in your proposal about how people learn. The point is not to show that you read everything in 333A or 328, but rather to help your reader understand where you’re coming from. Explain how this approach has potential to help learners reach the learning goals.

It can be challenging to know what to include here. It might help to look at past projects. For instance:

  • Contrasting cases is a core mechanic in Feeling Talk
  • Creative confidence is the key outcome in Kibuni
  • Periscope uses augmented reality to promote theory of mind 
  • TandemArt facilitates conversations between kids and caregivers, because that’s how they learn
  • NatureQuest supports close observations of nature through narrative and family interactions.

For more examples, I strongly recommend reading some past project reports (at sdr.stanford.edu) to get a sense of how this might look for different types of projects. 

Approach: design of the solution

Another way to address “approach” is to think about how you will arrive at your final design. You probably identify more with one or the other of two scenarios:

  1. You know (pretty much) what you will be making. You might find it useful to list the key features of the proposed project, with brief explanation and rationale for each feature. You will want to explain why this is the right technology for this problem.
  2. You need to learn more (or much more!) about the learner before you can say anything about what your solution will look like.You will probably focus more on the design principles that you will use to focus your efforts and inform your design decisions. Somewhere later down the line you will need to decide what technologies to use; what can you say now about which ones will be most likely and/or how you will decide

If you expect any challenges, discuss how you might address them.



The approach to learning that informs my design is a combination of the Protege Effect, project-based learning, and TPACK. The expert, teacher, or content creator is here called the “user” insofar as it is the person who is interacting with LXD during the course creation process.

The Protege Effect will be elicited through a virtual student who will prompt the user to teach him by asking leading questions, making suggestions, and warning the user about excessive use of one style of teaching as well as the lack of content, reflection opportunities, or detailing of previous knowledge. The virtual-student closes the gap between the content ideation and the actual student’s experience. Through immediate feedback, the virtual student will elicit the user to think deeply about content choices and aid in the process of deciding the learning progression that must be in place.

The project-based learning approach simply entails that the user is engaged in a project while using LXD itself. The project is the course creation process itself, within which scaffolds are presented to the user. In addition, the approach utilizes backwards design principles embedded in the interactions the virtual student has with the user. The idea being that the heuristics and strategies invoked by the virtual student are guided by these approaches without necessarily making them explicit.

Finally, LXD aims at increasing the user’s Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) by offering simple media editing tools, pedagogical scaffolds, as well as content produced by other users that can be incorporated into the course creation process. LXD in itself is a technological tool that will increase the user’s TPACK by presenting the necessary information, background knowledge, and content that supports the user’s ideation and publication strategies.


Existing solutions (“competition”):

LXD is a construct that for the purposes of this project, will build upon an existing LMS or CMS – let’s call it LCMS for simplicity. This LCMS provides a base from which to start off with. Creating an entirely new LCMS from scratch is unfeasible and not necessary in order to test LXD’s effectiveness. I am currently analyzing which platform will be the best suited for this project. Here’s a list of the ones I have shortlisted:

  • Moodle – open-source CMS
    • Positives
      • Total freedom to create
      • Mature platform with thousands of plugins
      • Large community to interact with
    • Negatives
      • Cumbersome to customize
      • Old looking base interface
      • Old HTML base – no use of HTML5 affordances
  • Coursera
    • Positives
      • Could work with existing content publishers on Stanford
    • Negatives
      • The focus is curating online courses done with any online tool (I think)
  • Udemy
    • Positives
      • Content publishing tools is one of the most user friendly I’ve seen
    • Negatives
      • Would have to negotiate with Udemy access to their platform’s source code
  • Udacity
    • Positive
      • Focused on tech courses – familiar to me
    • Negative
      • Have never seen their course publication tool
      • Would have to negotiate with Udacity access to their platform’s source code
  • EdX
    • Positive
      • Candace Thille might have contacts to get access to the company
    • Negative
      • Have never seen their course publication tool
      • Would have to negotiate with EdX access to their platform’s source code

At the moment, Udemy is looking like my favorite candidate.

I also intend to talk to VPTL at Stanford to understand what are the usual difficulties professor have in the process of creating their online tools.


LDX will be a web-based tool which will overlay the existing LCMS with text, image, and video triggered by analyzing the steps and content being published in the course. This is where artificial intelligence comes to play. Let’s say that the user has published a 30 minute video – LDX might suggest that the video should be shorter. If the user publishes 50 pages of text with no images, LDX might suggest that images illustrate concepts more powerfully that text alone. LDX might prompt the user to insert a knowledge-check or reflection activity once the user has published 5 pieces of content. The idea is to provoke the user to think about how the learner will be processing the content towards learning.  

The key features of LDX are:

  • Virtual Student
    • 3D character that talks to the user
    • Guides the user through the process of creating the content
    • Asks questions about the content and format of the course as it is created
  • Media Editing Suite
    • Video editor
    • Image editor
    • Text editor
  • Course Publication Tool
    • Create course structure and progression
    • Add media
    • Create assessments (quizzes, multiple choice, reflections, and etc)
  • Curated Content
    • Access to similar courses to get examples
    • Ability to link to external material for student’s reference
  • Coaching
    • Peer-to-peer help to go through courses

This is definitely ambitious for the time and resources I have for this project. The biggest challenge, other than the sheer volume of features, is the Virtual Student. I would have to partner up with someone who has experience and access to such technology in order to create a prototype.

Beyond Bits and Atoms – Week 4 – Makerspace Observation Assignment


What your report should have

  • An introduction, in which you state the issue you are interested in (1-3 pages). This could an improved version of the essay that you did for week 3 (or pieces of it). Make sure it is well-connected to the literature that we have read so far (and optionally also others that you have come across in other classes). This is not just about your opinion or gut feeling–we want to make it academically more solid–but keep your voice there!
  • A description of your observation plan, the site, what you did, how much time you spent there etc. Justify your choices (1-2 pages).
  • Your data and discussion. Make sure you separate the observations from your interpretation (page count depends on how you did the observations, how much data you have — typically 3-5 pages)
  • A conclusion, including suggestions to solve or improve the shortcomings and issues that you observed (1-2 pages).

Remember that our plan is to transform your papers into chapters in an free ebook and release them to the world! (of course you will be able to revise them later and also opt-out).


(Google doc with pictures, links and formatting)

Makerspaces in schools and professional development: how to do it?
Lucas Longo – 2016

Makerspaces in schools provide an unique opportunity for teacher professional development, in all disciplines. They may provide a situated learning experience where teachers can recall the difficulties students have in the process of learning and thus reflect upon their own teaching practices. Given that the majority of teachers are not familiar with fabrication and electronics, they are put back into the beginner’s seat, providing the possibility of reflecting metacognitively about learning and teaching. Accompanied with engaging discussions and activities of grounded on the affordances the activities provide, teachers learn about the best practices of teaching through modeling and engagement in practice.

The nature of the activities in makerspaces range from exploring, designing, building, and asking questions – all traits considered desirable in today’s research in education. What if we could apply these features into an English Poetry class? How can we promote transfer from the teachers experiences in the makerspace into their ‘Monday’? I propose a PD curriculum that through engaging in makerspace, teachers are provided the opportunity to reflect on how learning happens, how to transfer these ideas into their own practice, and ultimately affect learning outcomes of their students.

“In fact, the richness of makerspaces comes not from the fact that the abstract is left out, but that it is brought in together with new ways to build relationships with and between objects and concepts. ” (Blikstein & Worsley, 2001, p.5)

The process of tangibilizing ideas I believe is central to the learning process teachers would go through. How might a History professor tangibilize a class about the Industrial Revolution? Perhaps by reenacting a pivotal moment, trial, or protest where the students represent the historical figures. Students will be engaged by the shared responsibility of doing research on the topic, creating a skit, performing it, and finally discussing what they learned from the experience. This process has direct parallels to the activities in the makerspace where the goal is to learn in the making, where the process is the goal, and the final product is an experience.

“The history of educational technologies and education reform (Collins & Halverson, 2009; Tyack & Cuban, 1995) has repeatedly demonstrated that the implementation of “revolutionary technologies” often leads to considering their benefits as self-evident. We see research (done together with teachers) as a tool for both measuring learning outcomes and as a way for teachers to reflect upon and optimize their own practice.” (Blikstein & Worsley, 2001, p.6)

This PD curriculum would also need to introduce new concepts of assessing if students are learning more or less once these new practices in teaching are utilized in the classroom. I am not proposing the elimination of ‘traditional’ testing but an added level of observation of the student’s process, effort, and progression to provide new measures of assessment. These measures would in turn provide valuable information for the teachers to formatively assess their own practice.

“Assessing the work that takes place in makerspaces is possible, but it requires a new set of approaches and tools. Teachers and practitioners need to be aware that the metrics of success will not necessarily be test scores but very different types of assessments—it is a common and dangerous trap to promise that students’ math scores will automatically improve as a result of a maker class.”  (Blikstein & Worsley, 2001, p.10)

Finally, a sustained community of practice is needed to create synergies amongst teacher’s experiences, doubts, and shared knowledge. Utilizing the common thread of their makerspace PD, they could share and discuss how they applied what they learned in their disciplines, curricula, classroom activities, and assessments.

“Allowing teachers to “pair up” and design curriculum together, even if they are from different areas, greatly expands the range of activities that can be done in the labs and makes it possible to attract students with a variety of different interests.” (Blikstein & Worsley, 2001, p.9)

The makerspace PD experience might trigger in teachers the desire for a more multidisciplinary approach to their practice where the connections between the abstract and the concrete are explored and transferred. “Knowledge is not merely a commodity to be transmitted, encoded, retained, and re-applied, but a personal experience to be constructed.” (Ackermann, 2001, p.7) To do this, they must be open to potential overlaps of different disciplines and creating opportunities for the students to engage not only mentally but physically with the concepts at hand.

With this intention in mind, makerspaces provide not only an opportunity for students to do so, but for teachers, as students, to engage and experience with potentially different approaches to teaching their discipline. There is no ‘magic bullet’ but I believe that makerspaces could provide an interesting mechanism to scaffold the teacher’s progression towards transforming their own practice.

On top of using the makerspace as a PD environment, the teachers might also be inspired to use the space for special projects within their discipline. Back to the History teacher, he might want to show how the evolution of machines has increased the production output of goods, having the students experience the speed with which they can prototype products using only pencil and cardboard versus using the computer to design and the laser cutter.

Hopefully, the now worldwide Maker’s movement will survive and prosper as a means to the ultimate end – improved learning outcomes – both for the students and for the teachers.

“We have the once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish something truly new in schools, make it sustainable, and deeply integrate it in the school day. We have the opportunity to give to millions of children a new entry point into the world of knowledge and science, and give them a much richer palette of expressive media for their ideas to come true, creating much more sophisticated “objects to think with.” (Blikstein & Worsley, 2001, p.12)

For this to happen, all stakeholders must be committed and involved in the process. A FabLab PD might be one way to stimulate and help spread even more widely the affordances this kind of space can provide to all parties involved.

“The maker movement will only survive and fulfill its educational goals if the decisions are being made by teachers, education researchers, and education policy makers—professionals that really understand schools, teaching, and learning.” (Blikstein & Worsley, 2001, p.12)

Observation plan

To explore this idea of using makerspaces as a learning environment for teachers I went to Barron Park Elementary School where I interviewed Smita Kolhatkar, the lab coordinator, who walked us through the stations, described the activities students engage with in the space, and how she actively helps classroom teachers use this space as a learning environment in their disciplines. The hour long visit was extremely fruitful even though there no children in the space at the time. I would also have like to interview some of the teachers who have been using the space as part of their lesson plans.

The space itself was a regular classroom converted into an open space with the working stations along the wall and low tables covered with paper where the students plan and work on their iPads. An outside area is also used for larger projects and is where all the Lego bricks are stored.

Data and Discussion

I recorded the interview and transcribed it loosely, categorizing by topic what was said. I here present my findings along with the most relevant information obtained. Please refer to the Raw Data for the full transcript of the interview.

The arrangement of the space is divided into tool stations along the perimeter and working stations in the central area. Even though the space might look ‘messy’ it conveys a message of open exploration where all the tools and supplies are readily available for use. There is no check-out sheet of any kind or locked cabinets to which students need to request access to. The space itself is open to students during lunch time and after school promoting the idea of free access and empowers the students to decide when to work on their projects.

Smita transformed the classroom into a Makerspace by getting rid of all the closed cabinets along the walls, cutting the table’s legs making them more accessible to the students, and installing shelves to store material and student’s work. This was the first makerspace in Palo Alto’s District created around one and a half years ago, and now is being used as a model for other schools. An interesting concept that arose from the conversation was that some schools who do not have a full classroom for a makerspace are using karts with equipment and material that is circulated amongst the teachers allowing them to use the tools in their classroom.

Smita also mentioned that she has worked at the richest school in Palo Alto where they still do not have a Makerspace. ‘They are still thinking about the color of the furniture that will go there’ and ‘the teachers are not aware that the administration is even thinking about or planning to create a makerspace.’ ‘Teachers are not bought into it yet – they have the money but nothing happens. Let the kids do it – figure it out what is needed – put in action – do it.’ Her maker mentality needs to be somehow transmitted to the other schools. Freire would appreciate her statements in the sense that she is providing an open space for dialogue and relinquishing control over the experiences the students have in the space. She embraces the notion that the students are responsible for their own projects and that the teachers learn as much from them as they might from the teacher.

For the purposes of this paper I focused on how Smita was using the space as a learning space for other teachers as opposed to looking at the children’s learning tasks in the makerspace. She actively engages with the classroom teachers to create learning experiences in the makerspace. At Grade level meetings, she occasionally pops in and gives them ideas of what they could do with their classroom, for example. Understanding the affordances provided by the space and the teacher’s current topic of study provides a rich collaboration and an even richer experience for the students.

Even though the teachers at Smita’s school were ‘apprehensive and did not know about expect’ before the space opened up, they now see the student’s ‘excitement and learning’.

‘They all get on-board once they see this happening. Classroom teachers think that they have to learn it all themselves. The mindset has changed. Now they know that the kids know more about the apps and the space than they do so they are willing to relinquish control and let them figure it out.’

This transformative approach to teaching is promoted by her not only at her school but also in more formal PD sessions she holds at the space. This year she said that the teacher enrollment is low since teachers have little time to attend but she is able to hold around 1 or 2 sessions a year.

Her efforts in sparking interest in the Maker’s movement is inspiring. Smita also has two active blogs (1to1 iPad blog and her EdTech blog) to document her initiatives, results, and thoughts. At the district level she teaches “iPad in the Classroom”, “How to use Google Docs”, and “Schoology”. Every year she creates new courses to match the current software needs the teachers might have. She is also organizing the first EdCamp, a series of events for educators, focused on makerspaces – EdCampSVMake – hosted at her space at Barron Park Elementary.

As far as the students go, Smita applies a few concepts that teachers themselves could utilize. Students for example, are encouraged to document their entire process, from design to final product. With these pictures, notes, and videos the students can ‘reflect back and see how they could do it differently next time.’ We could transfer this concept into PD by stressing the importance and value of formative assessment techniques the teachers could use in their own practice. Another example of this kind of transfer can be extracted from the fact that at lunch time all age groups are together in the space, where peer-to-peer teaching is evident. ‘They observe each other and learn from each other – even the older kids learn from the younger kids.’ A teacher PD designed in a makerspace would facilitate and demonstrate the value of collaboration and group work.

The variety of tools available at the makerspace is significant. It all started because they already had a 3D printer and LEGO Mindstorm kit donated by parents, who also bring general supplies such as cardboard, wood scraps, and other material they thought students could build something with. Dash & Dot gave them robots. Computers were provided by the school which had already equipped each student with their own iPad. This fruitful combination of tools provided a solid start for the makerspace. See the list of equipment she compiled for setting up a makerspace.

She was particularly emphatic about the iPad as a better tool than Chromebooks or PCs. She claims that Chromebooks are ‘not as intuitive, the apps are still coming out, it has no camera, and they are cumbersome to carry. It was a no-brainer to choose the iPad over Chromebooks. Besides, they are not as intrusive in the classroom – there is no screen standing up on the desk hiding the student.’ Computers in general she says ‘only used for programming but more and more, the programming capabilities are more and more available on the iPads’.

In terms of preferences, she says that the circuit kits are extremely popular along with the robots that do need a computer to program them. She is introducing several “Dissection” projects where they tear down electronics and try to find useful components. She also allows the students to use Minecraft (in creation mode only) and tells us that ‘since Microsoft bought it, they are promising lesson plans to be used in the classroom.’

Laser cutters are too expensive and not very safe since they require an exhaust system along with other safety considerations. A still relatively expensive alternative is a product she mentioned: Glow Forge – a “3D laser printer”. Basically a laser cutter made to be used at home, in a classroom, or at the office. It promises to be simpler to use and has several interesting features to facilitate the creation process.

In conclusion, I felt that her pragmatic personality, hands-on approach, and technological know-how all are essential characteristics for creating a sustainable makerspace. This includes her efforts in spreading the word to other teachers and helping them in figuring out how to best integrate their disciplines with engaging constructivist activities encouraged in makerspaces. What I would like to have seen more of, and propose as future work, examples of how teachers from different disciplines or subject matters used the space to enhance the student’s learning outcomes. Even though a direct link between the makerspace experience and an improvement in academic performance may be hard to be measured precisely, the effort seems to be rewarding and promote growth beyond test results. It teaches both the children and the teachers to co-create, explore, investigate, and ‘make’ their own learning happen.

Raw Data:

Interview Transcript – Smita Kolhatkar – Barron Park Elementary School – Jan 2016

Physical environment

  • Transformed the classroom into a Makerspace by clearing cabinets, cutting the tables to be closer to the ground
  • Space is open during lunch – a free for all
  • Computers and iPads remain on the tables while the gluing station and making areas along the walls
  • This was the first makerspace (1.5 yrs old) and now being modeled – those who do not have the space, they have karts with equipment on them
  • Smallest and poorest school in Palo Alto – 30% “Free Reduced”(???) Lunch, 30% EL, a lot of special needs students
  • She worked at the richest school in Palo Alto but they still don’t have a Makerspace because they are still thinking about the furniture
  • The teachers are not aware that they are thinking planning to start a Makerspace
  • Teachers are not bought into it yet – they have the money but nothing happens
  • Let the kids do it – figure it out what is needed – put in action – do it
  • 50 kids every day at lunch
  • Lunch 12:25 to 1:00

The learning task

  • Classroom teachers and her talk about what they could do for their classroom
  • Students document their entire process
  • Lego kits comes with curriculum
  • Pictures offer a closure of the project
  • Students prefer the tangible affordances of the robots – having to connect them to a computer in order to program them is an obstacle
  • At the District Level she teaches iPad in the Classroom, how to use Google Docs, Schoology
  • Use the Makerspace as a PD environment
    • Low enrollment this year – teachers have a lot to do – held 1 or 2 only in the past year
  • Our teachers were apprehensive before the space opened up – they did not know about expect – once it opened, they see the student’s excitement and learning they all get onboard
  • At Grade level meetings, she pops in and gives them ideas of what they could do with their classroom
  • As students progress through the years, they come into with previous knowledge and are able to dive into making
  • All age groups get together during lunch time – lots of peer-to-peer teaching. They observe each other and learn from each other – even the older kids learn from the younger kids
  • They teach each other and it comes naturally to them
  • Minecraft – one boy simply observes a group of older students working on their project, learns from it, and makes suggestions about what they should do
  • Classroom teachers think that they have to learn it all themselves – the mindset has changed – now they know that the kids know more about the apps and the space than they do so they are willing to relinquish control and let them figure it out
  • Kids usually finish the projects – almost like an unsaid rule – when they get stuck you help them – but naturally invested in finishing the projects
  • There is no “I Can’t”
  • Exposure to all kinds of things is important
  • Everyone talks about letting kids following their passions but they do not know what passion is!
  • They have an iPad Squad from 5th grade that does updates and maintenance
  • Teach them to document the process by taking photos so that when we have them reflect back they can see how they could do it differently next time
  • Digital etiquette that comes with it is great as well
    • What to do when you search Google and something inappropriate comes up?


  • They already had a 3D printer, LEGO Mindstorm, computers, and iPads
  • Dash&Dot gave them robots
  • iPad apps are really easy to use and very powerful
  • Parents donated quite a bit of material
  • Schools get a tech budget and spend them how they want – teachers were involved in the decision making process
  • Chromebooks – not as intuitive, apps are still coming out, no camera, cumbersome to carry – “no brainer to choose the iPad over Chromebooks” – not as intrusive in the classroom: no screen standing up on the desk
  • Computers are only used for programming but more and more, the programming capabilities are more and more available on the iPads
  • Circuit kits are extremely popular
  • Dissection projects – tear down electronics
  • Laser cutters are too expensive and not very safe – require exhaust and all – ordered a Glow Forge
  • Minecraft – creation mode only
    • Since Microsoft bought it, they are promising lesson plans to be used in the classroom
  • Lego Mindstorms not so good because you need to program on the computer and newer versions come first for the PC – schools have Macs.
  • Make the most out of the resources we have
  • Kids need to be used to different devices – using the computer is good occasionally
  • Apps are easier but are still not quite there for 3D tools
  • Store pictures on Schoology

The students

  • Students are highly engaged – they never want to stop working
  • Kids come in and says “I want to make something today” – they look at the material and start making
  • Gender preferences start appearing in 4th and 5th graders where boys gravitate to Minecraft
  • 1st and 2nd graders – hard but possible to teach coding
  • Girls don’t enjoy sitting in front of the screen
  • All like the robots and the tangibles
  • Coding must be introduced early on for girls – otherwise would loose interest on it later on
  • Two girls started coding club at their middle school
  • Boys use the sewing machines – don’t even have to ask that
  • We love it because we can make anything we want
  • A lot of boys would even come after school to finish projects
  • They have phases – are into one tool at a time

The teacher

  • She was a classroom teacher and then given the task to integrate technology
  • She acts as the technology integrator
  • First EdCampSVMake focused on Making April 30th – Saturday – 9 to 3 at Barron Elementary – Aimed at educators – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/edcampsvmake-tickets-20901981389?aff=es2
  • Might help that she is a woman in reducing gender biases
  • Her blog – http://haystechblog.blogspot.com

Maker Studio Initial Equipment List by Smita Kolhakatar

  • Sewing station
    • Sewing machine
    • Loads of fabric
    • Sewing accessories
      • Thread
      • Bobbins
      • Needles
      • Buttons
      • Sewing pins
    • Yarn
    • Looms
  • Filming Station
    • Stands for Stop Motion
    • Props for Stop Motion from Plan Toys
  • Gluing Station
    • Glue
    • Glue sticks
    • Glue guns
    • Masking tape
    • Regular tape
  • Robots Station
    • Bee-bots
  • Supplies
    • Markers
    • Crayons
    • Color pencils
    • Pens
    • Markers
    • Scissors
  • General Materials for building
    • Corks
    • Popsicle sticks
    • CDs
    • Straws
    • Wood scraps
    • Filters
    • Empty cartons
    • Cereal boxes
    • Pegs
    • Pipe cleaners
    • Bottle caps
    • Lots of empty boxes
    • Stuffing
  • Keva Planks
  • Stuffed toys
  • Circuitry
    • Battery packs
    • LEDs
    • Wires
    • Battery cells
    • Snap Circuits
    • Dough for squishy circuits
    • Makey Makey
    • Building kits
  • Movable whiteboards
  • iPad mini
  • MacBook Air
  • Makerbot Replicator 2
  • Makerbot Digitizer
  • LEGO NXT class kit
  • LEGO Storystarter class kit
  • Arduino kits
  • Soldering Kits
  • Laptops
  • Make Wonder Dash and Dot robots
  • Furniture
    • Tables (Low)
    • Tables (High)
    • Chairs
    • Cupboard
    • Built in counter space
    • Wall shelving



Ackermann, E. (2001). Piaget’s constructivism, Papert’s constructionism: What’s the difference. Future of learning group publication, 5(3), 438.

Blikstein, P. & Worsley, M. (2014?) Children Are Not Hackers.


I became an actor!

I was called upon to act in two group’s films for a d.school class Matej and Shelly are taking. Film making is hard work! 1pm till 10pm! Films will be shown on Sunday at 7pm.

Here’s one of the several shots we made and some images of what is coming up : )



Beyond Bits and Atoms – Week 4 – Class Notes 2

During the lab session all the 7 teams joined their contraptions to create a “Rube Goldberg Machine“. Hard to coordinate all of them but for the most part it worked and everyone certainly learned quite a bit from the experience. Ours wast the last contraption to be activated.

A magnetic ball hits our sensor, which is sitting on top of a keyboard’s space bar, which starts the Star Wars theme music, turns a motor that spins a lever and knocks off a weight that turns on the exhaust fan and the air compressor, then another motor raises our button presser which turns on the laser cutter which finally prints out Darth Vader’s face.

Link to the project’s documentation: Google Docs



Beyond Bits and Atoms – Week 4 – Class Notes 1

This week the reading group (Camila, Anastasia, Edrik) presented a summary of the week’s readings – Freire & Blikstein.


We then did a group exercise on creating a new makerspace – our group’s constrain was to be in an informal environment. We thought of a space in a shopping mall with several making stations and prototyping materials with a monthly topic/challenge such as water conservation to inspire projects and solutions for it. Introductory activities are available separated into distinct suggested durations of 5, 10, or 30 mintues.

We then had a very interesting talk with Dr. Dor Abrahamson, Associate Professor, Cognition & Development, University of California, Berkeley. 

Design by Theory, Theory by Design: Evolution of a Design-Based Research Project / Dor Abrahamson, 2016-01-28 TLTL, Stanford

Designing educational artifacts can be more than engineering, fabricating, and evaluating products. Rather, the practice of design can serve as a context for pursuing unresolved questions from educational scholarship relating to phenomena of learning and teaching with artifacts. In this presentation, I will survey an on-going design-based research project that seeks to illuminate relations between physical action and conceptual learning. The project, which began in Fall 2008, has gone through multiple iterations using different technologies. Currently the key build, the Mathematical Imagery Trainer, consists of an interactive NUI system in which students learn to move their hands in a new coordination as their solution to the problem of manipulating virtual objects in accord with an assigned task objective. Only once they have developed this new “choreography,” we introduce into the problem space various tools for mathematical modeling, such as a grid and numbers. I will share empirical data from eye-tracking experiments, in which we see students mentally construct new objects on the screen; these objects are then used to explain proportional relations. I will comment on the relevance of this work more broadly for understanding how higher-order reasoning emerges from sensorimotor interaction as well as what all this might mean, moving forward, for educational design.


Curriculum Construction – Week 4 – Reading Notes

Short summary of Ralph Tyler’s Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction

  • Four fundamental questions to be answered when developing any curriculum
    • What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
    • What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
    • How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
    • How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained? (Tyler, 1950, 1-2)
  • Content and ideologically agnostic

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding By Design. (Expanded 2nd edition) Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. pp. 13-34, and 105-133.

  • Three stages of backwards design & Template
    • Identify desired results
      • Established Goals
      • Essential Questions
      • Understandings: Students will understand that…
      • Students will know
    • Determine acceptable evidence
      • Performance tasks
      • Other Evidence
    • Plan learning experiences and instruction
      • Learning Activities
        • W = help the students know Where the unit is going and What is expected. Help the teacher know Where the students are coming from (prior knowledge, interests…)
        • H = Hook all students and Hold the interests
        • E = Equip students, help them Experience the key ideas and Explore the issues
        • R = Provide opportunities to Rethink and Revise the understandings and work
        • E = Allow students to Evaluate their work and its implications
        • T = Be Tailored (personalized) to the different needs, interests, and abilities of learners
        • O = Be Organized to maximize initial and sustained engagement as well as effective learning
  • Standards contribute to the design work in 3 ways:
    • As a reference point during design
    • For use in self-assessment and peer reviews of draft designs
    • For quality control of completed designs
  • The UbD design matrix (column headers with rows for each stage of backwards design)
    • Key Design Questions
    • Chapters of the Book
    • Design Considerations
    • Filmes (Design Criteria)
    • What the Final Design Accomplishes
  • Essential Questions: Doorways to Understanding
    • Four connotations of what an essential question is:
      • Important questions that recur throughout all our lives
      • Core ideas and inquiries within a discipline
      • Helps students effectively inquire and make sense
      • Will most engage a specific and diverse set of learners
    • The importance of intent – not only the question has to be essential but the intent of it should be clear
    • Topical vs Overarching questions
      • Topical are more content specific questions
      • Overarching are generalized question about the content
      • Define the intent then create overarching and topical questions
  • Question starters based on the Six Facets of Understanding
    • Explanation
    • Interpretation
    • Application
    • Perspective
    • Empathy
    • Self-knowledge
  • Crafting Understandings
    • Examples and non-examples of understanding
    • Definition
      • Inference stated as specific and useful generalization
      • Transferable – enduring value beyond a specific topic
      • Abstract, counterintuitive, and easily misunderstood ideas
      • Acquired by ‘uncovering’ and ‘doing’ – developed inductively, coconstructed by learners, using ideas is realistic setting and with real-world problems
      • Summarizes important strategic principles in skill areas
    • Topical and overarching understandings
    • Understandings vs Factual Knowledge

Mukai, G. (2000). Anatomy of a Curriculum Development Project. Unpublished paper. Stanford Program on International and Cross- Cultural Education. pp. 1-21.

  • Example of curriculum for teaching migration, looking at Japanese migration in the Americas as a base
  • Sections of the curriculum design process
    • Needs assessment
    • Conceptualizations
      • Activities
      • Organizing Questions
      • Objectives
      • Strategies
      • Materials
      • Assessment
    • Curriculum Research and Writing
      • Multiple intelligences
        • Verbal-linguistic intelligence
        • Logical-mathematical intelligence
        • Spatial intelligence
        • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
        • Musical intelligence
        • Interpersonal intelligence
        • Intrapersonal intelligence
      • Small group activities
      • Constructivism
        • Teachers seek and value their student’s points of view
        • Classroom activities challenge student’s suppositions
        • Teachers pose problems of emerging relevance
        • Teachers build lessons around primary concepts and ‘big’ ideas
        • Teachers asses student learning in the context of daily teaching
      • Emphasis on multiple perspectives, balance, and diversity in exploring any issue
      • Utilizing content experts and teachers
    • Evaluation
      • Edit curriculum for particular context
    • Dissemination
      • Spread the word

Gardner, H. (1999). The Disciplined Mind. New York: Penguin Books. pp. 115-137.

  • Designing Education for Understanding
    • University of Phoenix – designed to get a job
  • Plan backwards – determine what kind of person you want to produce, then design education accordingly
  • Neither breadth nor depth – but understanding the underlying principles of a discipline
  • Difficulties of Understanding – need deep content knowledge from teacher
  • Obstacles to Understanding – erroneous engravings on a young child’s mind – hard to change
  • Disciplinary Expertise
  • Four Approaches to Understanding
    • Learning from Suggestive Institutions
    • Direct Confrontations of Erroneous Concepts
    • A Framework That Facilitates Understanding
      • Performance of understanding – how to assess it?
    • Multiple Entry Point to Understanding
  • Other players
    • Well-trained, Enthusiastic Teachers
    • Students Prepared and Motivated to Learn
    • Technology as Helper
    • Supportive Community

Beyond Bits and Atoms – Week 4 – Maker Space Observation

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.46.04 AM.pngWent to Barron Elementary School today to observe their Maker Space. Barron is a public school with around 300 students – supposedly the ‘

poorest’ school in the district… if this is the poorest, I cannot imagine what the richest schools look like!

We spoke to the incredible Smita Kolhatkar who idealized and implemented the Maker Space in the school – now all schools in the district are using her work as a model. Inspiring. Here’s her 1to1 iPad blog and her EdTech blog.

Now off to write the report on the visit.



Curriculum Construction – Week 4 – Class Notes

Great class again lead by our ‘master-teacher’ Denise Pope.

  • Housekeeping
    • Group sites – arrange a meeting
    • Write your Curriculum Rationale (see photo)
    • Be aware of your site’s ideology for curriculum construction
    • 1 to 2 pages – max 3 pages
  • Definition of Understanding
    • Being able to explain it
    • Apply underlying concepts onto other situations or disciplines
  • Has to be hands-on but even more so minds-on

During class we practiced create “Essential Questions” and “Essential Understandings” for a hypothetical lesson on the US Bill Of Rights




Assignment for next week – Curriculum Rationale


After class our group (Celine Zhagn, Lisa Jiang, Mohamad Haj Hasan) went to speak to Allison O’Hair from the Graduate School of Business (GSB). She is helping redesign their Data and Decisions course for next winter incorporating a blended-learning approach. It is a perfect opportunity for us the help design a curriculum at its conception. 


EdClub – dinner at my place

Edrick, Camila, James, Sherry, and Corinne came over to my place to talk about EdTech Adoption in schools. Cooked Chicken Stogonoff for the first time following some YouTube recipees – it worked! Adopting EdTech in the house – that’s what I did 🙂

And here’s the aftermath 🙂

Great discussion guys!