Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Free CAD Software

Free CAD Software »Looking for free tools to teach engineering design? Energy3D Version 1.0 is now available. Funded by the National Science Foundation as part of our Engineering Energy Efficiency project, Energy3D is a computer-aided design and fabrication tool. Your students can easily design a dream home on the computer, then print and assemble a real model.- http://energy.concord.org/energy3d/?utm_source=The+Concord+Consortium+List&utm_campaign=28725bf68f-October_2012_Newsletter&utm_medium=email

Free Resource about the Common Core - Library of Congress

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is here and teachers are trying to figure out how to best integrate it into their tried-and-true lessons. They’re struggling to integrate technology to best augment CCSS. They are in desperate need of classroom materials that they can trust.
The U.S. Library of Congress has just  unveiled an enormous new (and free!) resource that’s all about the Common Core. It’s located at http://www.loc.gov/teachers  and worth checking out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Interesting article - One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School,

The following is an excerpt of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School, by 17-year-old Nikhil Goyal, a senior at Syosset High School in Woodbury, New York.

Can creativity be taught? Absolutely. The real question is: “How do we teach it?” In school, instead of crossing subjects and classes, we teach them in a very rigid manner. Very rarely do you witness math and science teachers or English and history teachers collaborating with each other. Sticking in your silo, shell, and expertise is comfortable. Well, it’s time to crack that shell. It’s time to abolish silos and subjects. Joichi Ito, director of the M.I.T. Media Lab, told me that rather than interdisciplinary education, which merges two or more disciplines, we need anti-disciplinary education, a term coined by Sandy Pentland, head of the lab’s Human Dynamics group.

“Today’s problems — from global poverty to climate change to the obesity epidemic — are more interconnected and intertwined than ever before and they can’t possibly be solved in the academic or research ‘silos’ of the twentieth century,” writes Frank Moss, the former head of the M.I.T. Media Lab.

Schools cannot just simply add a “creativity hour” and call it a day.

Principal at High Tech High, an innovative, project-based learning school in San Diego, California, Larry Rosenstock, points out, “If you were to hike the Appalachian trail, which would take you months and months, and you reflect upon it, you do not divide the experience into the historic, scientific, mathematic, and English aspects of it. You would look at it holistically.”

After indicating the problem at hand, scoop out the tools, research, networks, and people required to get it solved. Get out of your comfort zone.
“You can have students do laboratories and hands-on activities and learn nothing, because they are following the cookbook and going through the motions without having their brains on.”
In practice, this means the elimination of English, mathematics, history, and science class. Instead, we need to arrange the curriculum around big ideas, questions, and conundrums. What does learning look like in this model? Letting kids learn by doing — the essence of the philosophy of educator John Dewey. He wrote: “The school must represent present life — life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the playground.” Let kids travel to places, work with mentors, and inquire about the world around them.

MIT BLOSSOMS “Back-to-School” Lesson Contest

MIT BLOSSOMS “Back-to-School” Lesson Contest


High school level teachers are invited to submit their lesson designs for a new MIT BLOSSOMS lesson in Mathematics, Science or Engineering. We are looking for a lesson that you have taught successfully and that you think would work well with the MIT BLOSSOMS “Teaching Duet” pedagogy. We are also looking for lessons that cover essential high school curriculum topics, but approach those topics in a fresh, dynamic way. Also, a winning math lesson will be supportive of the new Common Core standards. Here are some important things to remember about a BLOSSOMS lesson:

• A BLOSSOMS lesson is not a lecture.

• A BLOSSOMS lesson presents a topic from an unusual, interesting angle.

• The video segments should be 3 minutes or less, and never more than 4.

• The first segment needs to be no longer than 2 minutes and must excite the interest of both teachers and students.

• With video technology, segments can be filmed in interesting locations. Stay away from the classroom as much as possible!

• A lesson must provide challenging, thought-provoking classroom activities for the video breaks.

Important Contest Deadlines:

• Monday, December 3, 2012 – Teachers must submit the completed MIT BLOSSOMS Concept Template for their lessons, available here.

• Monday, January 7, 2013 - Finalists will be announced and asked to complete the MIT BLOSSOMS Architecture Template for their lessons, available here.

• Monday, January 28, 2013 – Finalists must submit the completed Architecture Template for their lessons.

• Monday, February 4, 2013 – Winners will be announced

The winning teachers will be invited to travel to MIT—all expenses paid—to film their lessons during either their Winter or Spring vacation weeks.

For further information, contact blossoms@mit.edu.