ITTIP November 2015 Newsletter

Page 1

ITTIP Monthly Newsletter

November 2015

Monthly Megabite Students Learn Finch Robot with Scratch Programming On Saturday, October 24, 2015, sixteen middle school students attended a Finch robotics workshop at Longwood University. Longwood University’s Institute for Teaching through Technology and Innovative Practices (ITTIP) facilitated the event, providing students from Appomattox, Brunswick, Charlotte, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Prince Above: Student used Scratch to program their Edward, and Sussex school diviFinch Robot. sions with the opportunity to learn how to program the Finch robot using Scratch. The workshop was made available to any middle school student in SVRTC school divisions that could get transportation to and from the workshop, but filled up fast with students from these seven counties leaving ITTIP with a lengthy wait list. STEM Learning Specialist at ITTIP, Stephanie Playton, facilitated the workshop for the students. While the better part of the morning was spent programming and tinkering on the web based version of Scratch, the rest of the workshop focused on the integration of Finch robot with Scratch. Continued on page 3


Up-Coming Events November 9th

IMPRES Webinar

November SVRTC Meeting, Nottoway High School 18th November VAST, Chantilly, VA 19th - 21st November Holiday, Office Closed 25th - 27th

What to find in this month’s Megabite: Page 1 Students Learn Finch Page 2 ITTIP Office Move Page 2 Hummingbird Pilot Page 3 Classroom Observations

ITTIP Monthly Newsletter

November 2015

ITTIP’s Office Move: New Location in South Boston As of November 1, the ITTIP offices will be located in the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) building on Bruce Street in South Boston. While our physical location is changing, our programs and outreach to K-12 school divisions will remain the same! Stay tuned for a future announcement for an open house to showcase our new space and invite the public to learning more about ITTIP.

Powhatan Hummingbird Robotics Pilot Powhatan Junior High School students are currently experiencing Hummingbird Robotics through an after school workshop with Longwood’s ITTIP staff. The workshop was advertised to Powhatan middle school students and met its capacity rather quickly. Students participating in the after school program have been attending a one-hour workshop every Monday afternoon, with help from Powhatan’s Science teacher, Donia Spott. They are now in process of creating their robotic prototypes of an elementary playground using recycled materials and the Hummingbird Robotics kits. The workshop will conclude on MonAbove: Students day, November 16th. ITTIP looks forward to the collection of information this will provide to assist in providing these opportunities more started creating Above: Powhatan students their robotic protooften through grant funded opportunities. work in groups.


ITTIP takes Technology Tellagami Around the World Tellagami is a mobile application that can help bring new creative ways for messages to come to life! The application combines photos, voice, and character customization and personality on a mobile platform. After you create a message, you then have the opportunity to share your video link through various ways (sample), depending on what applications you have on your mobile device (i.e. Twitter, email, YouTube, Memos, Dropbox, Pinterest). You can even share you actual video file! The application converts and sends it in a .mp4 format to your desired location. The application is free, but has limitations. For instance, your recorded message can not be longer than 30 seconds. You also have limitations on how you may customize your character and background (for instance, only one shirt style but three color choices). There is a paid version where you are given more customizations, but this is not necessary in order to benefit from the tool. Think of a creative way to use it in your classroom! This may be a great tool for gathering formative assessment feedback from your students in a quick and easy way (for both of you).


ITTIP Monthly Newsletter

November 2015

Classroom Observations: Robotics in Virginia Classroom observations are still going on for both Finch and Hummingbird robotics activities in classrooms across Virginia. Hummingbird robotics are being implemented through our Problembased Interdisciplinary STEM Learning II (PISTEM II) SCHEV grant, while Finch robotics is being implemented through an opportunity funded by the Verizon Foundation.

Above: Nottoway middle school teacher, Jason Buchanan, reviews the classroom activity with Finch.

“It’s inspiring to see all the creative ways teachers and students are integrating these robotics’ experiBelow: Chesterfield County students work ences in their classrooms!”, says ITTIP STEM Special- on their after school robotics club with ist, Stephanie Playton. Observations for both grants Hummingbird Robotics and Scratch. will continue throughout the school year. Approximately 40 classrooms will receive visits from ITTIP staff, while it is estimated that over 2,000 students will gain experiences with programming and robotics through these two grant funded opportunities.

Left: South Hill Elementary school students work with Hummingbird Robotics kits in their STEM classroom.

Finch Robotics (continued)

Above: Students learn Scratch so they can learn how to program the Finch.

Dr. Virginia Lewis, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at Longwood also spent the day at the workshop with two of her students, Shirley Bridges (“Kate”) and Jesse Blackstock, to offer assistance to the students’ day of learning. Dr. Lewis has been integrating Scratch programming into her mathematics teaching curriculum at the university. She collaborated on the project to help provide her students with the opportunity to work directly with middle school students on concepts they learned in Dr. Lewis’ course.

The middle school students that attended this workshop also got to take a Finch robot home to help provide them with the tools to continue fostering an interest in computer science. ITTIP made this opportunity possible through grant funding from the Verizon Foundation in order to provide both a teacher workshop (Summer 2015) and a student workshop in order to bring more programming into classrooms and homes in Virginia.


Above: Students work together with the Finch Robot.