ITTIP's August Megabite

Page 1

ITTIP Monthly Newsletter

August 2012

Monthly Megabite Students Get Digispired This summer, 75 high school students met over the course of two-weeks in July at three different locations (Longwood University, Virginia State University, & the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center), and worked on computer programming and game creation use the two computing tools, Unity 3D and LilyPad Arduino as part of an NSF funded project, Digispired ii: Workforce Investigation Inspiration for STEM (WiiSTEM). Digispired ii is unique and innovative in inspiring high school students to investigate mathematics, science, and engineering principles related to the use of game controllers and to create games using a professional game authoring system, Unity 3D. In past years, Digispired ii students used the Discover Electronics kit to understand engineering design concepts. They also used microcontrollers such as Arduino and Picoboard in Scratch games; participated in LEGO robotics, Vex robotics, and underwater robotics activities, during the project and on their own; developed programming skills with C #, and interacted with scientists, game designers, and engineers at university campuses, on field trips to industries, and during visits to hands-on science centers.

Above: Students show Longwood University President Connelly their Unity 3D projects.

Up-Coming Events July 30- VA STEM CoNNECT, Aug 3 Dinwiddie Middle School, Dinwiddie, VA Aug 6- INSPIRS Cohort II, Aug 10 Dinwiddie Middle School, Dinwiddie, VA

What to find in this month’s Megabite:

Continued on page 3

Enabling Today’s Teachers to Educate Tomorrow’s Leaders 1

Page 1 Digispired ii Page 2 Scratch @ MIT Page 3 What is Scratch? Page 3 Teacher Academy

ITTIP Monthly Newsletter

August 2012

Scratch @ MIT 2012– The Institute Visits Boston, MA ITTIP Director, Dr. Mano Talaiver, and STEM Specialists, Paula Klonowski Leach and Stephanie Playton, visited Boston for the 2012 Massachusetts Institute for Technology - Scratch@MIT 2012 Conference. During the three day conference, over 400 professionals met from 31 different countries to share ways that they have integrated Scratch into the classroom. Presentations throughout the event varied from sharing teaching experiences and methods, studies of successful integrations and camps, and opportunities to build the Scratch learning community. ITTIP looks forward to sharing their learning experiences and findings with other divisions. Above: Director Mano Talailver and STEM Special-

To find out more about what happened at the Scratch@MIT ist, Stephanie Playton, talk with Mitchel Resnick at MITs Scratch 2012 conference. Mr. Resnick is one 2012 Conference, please visit the conference web site: The ITTIP has pro- of key contributors of the development of Scratch. vided professional development workshops on using Scratch during the ISTE 2008 conference and VSTE 2009 conferences. In addition, you can go right to the Scratch@MIT 2012 conference site to learn more about the sessions and resources.


ITTIP takes Technology Around the World What is all this talk about Scratch? Scratch is an open source gaming software created at the MIT Media Lab, Lifelong Kindergarten group. It uses a program language that makes it easy for learners to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music and art — and even share them on the web to become part of the Scratch learning community. Creators learn important mathematical and computational ideas through trial and error while facilitating creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. Learners program by using building blocks that connect together to run the programming (almost like LEGO blocks!). Scratch has been used by ITTIP since the unveiling of the software five years ago (initially with 6th and 7th graders). MIT is getting ready to release Scratch 2.0, a web-based version, that we are all looking forward to. Check out the website to download free, or explore from over 2.6 million projects shared from around the world: Note: There is a huge need for Computer Science (CS) professionals. If you are interested in professional development, creating semester long CS classes for middle school students, or implementing an Exploring CS course for high school, please call us at (434) 517-0717 or email Mano at 2

ITTIP Monthly Newsletter

August 2012

Digispired ii

Teacher Academy Teachers from Hanover, Dinwiddie, Richmond City, Goochland & Maggie Walker’s Governor School joined for a week long face to face training on integrating Scratch. Participants ranged from elementary teachers through high school teachers, including special education and collaborative teachers. Goochland’s Instructional Technologist, John Hendron, facilitated the training. He has been collaborating with the ITTIP and providing the workshops as a PD consultant for the past three years. Mr. Hendron conducted the training using a constructivist approach to learning. He used Scratch to challenge his participants to use problem solving and critical thinking to reinforce the use of 21st century skills . Mr. Hendron also shared the resources that he has been creating and updating on his Goochland website, along with things that have worked and not worked while teaching Scratch to teachers and students. His experience with using Scratch was a huge asset to the learning for others. After the training, teachers will take what they learned to create lesson plans using Scratch that they will upload and share to a community site. A professional learning community will be formed through discussions and peer feedback for the participants. Teachers from the academy work on their Scratch challenges to better prepare themselves to challenge their own students.

(continued from page 1) As participants of the original Digispired NSF funded ITEST project in 2007, middle school students explored game design tools such as Squeak, Alice, and Macromedia Flash and developed collaboration and problem -solving skills through LEGO robotics. Learning experiences continued with Scratch in 2010 (game design tool) and with C# in 2011 (programming tool) , Above: Student discuss their ideas. helping with their learning of Unity 3D. One student commented, “Learning Scratch taught me the very basics of programing code. It has given me plenty of ideas for future projects, including Unity. It has taught me to be very patient while working”. Another student commented that this experience has given them, “. . . troubleshooting skills. The Digispired experiences in game development has proved to make me successful; this ability drives my desire to create games now.” The second learning project this summer, was using the LilyPad Arduino board. The LilyPad Arduino is a microcontroller board that can be sewn into fabric along with sewable power supplies and sensors , connecting circuits with conductive thread. One student noted, “I would have never thought that sewing would be involved in computer science! To me it seems very futuristic and gives me the idea for some different projects.” We look forward to the students sharing their projects, both Unity 3D and LilyPad, in October. On November 3rd, ITTIP will be hosting a Above: A student at VSU examines Digispired graduation to highlight tools/items from his LilyPad kit. the various projects our Digispired students have created over the past 6 years.