Year in Review: Lessons from the Innovation Lab

techedupteacherI came up with the Innovation Lab, our take on the makerspace, when I first got to Fair Haven eighteen months ago. The goal was to make an engaging technology “special” to replace our more traditional computer class which we pushed down toward the elementary school. I spent the bulk of this year’s afternoons working in the Innovation Lab with Ms. Smith and her 5th and 6th grade students. In the Innovation Lab, students learned about Design & Engineering, Computer Science, the Digital Arts, and, for a few months, Entrepreneurship. After our first full year in the Lab, I wanted to share the lessons I’ve learned.

Lesson Learned: Blended Learning is best, but not without a learning curve. I blended my high school English class for the last five years I was there. My sophomores received little direct instruction. Instead when they came into class, student work and the resources they needed to be successful were already online in our Learning Management System waiting for them. This worked incredibly well for my Sophomores, so I decided to bring blending to the Innovation Lab.

 

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It’s Time For Mastery Learning

lightgrenadeOnce upon a time, I was terrified that I wouldn’t pass my drivers test. I wasn’t good at parallel parking to begin with, but as I waited for my instructor to pick me up I realized that I had been practicing on the wrong side of the road. I had been approaching the parking spot from the north when I should have been approaching it from the south. To be successful, I would have to mirror everything I’d trained myself to do and would only have two shots to get it right. Outlook not so good.

Once upon a time, I was terrified that I wouldn’t do well on the SATs because I never took a strategy class, nor studied in any meaningful way. To add to the stress, my parents couldn’t afford to pay for college, so I needed to do well on the SATs to get a scholarship. Do poorly and I’d have to go to community college and live at home; not something I wanted.

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Problem Based Learning In Action

Turd Brown Wall6/22 – We are live and ready to go! Thank you to everyone who believed in us! We’re hoping for an epic win!

6/12- KI Furniture came by today and dropped off a gift: A school-colored Learn2 desk! The kids were thrilled! KI has been supportive from the start of this project and promised they would do their best to give us a great deal on more desks. We also finished re-filming and editing the IndieGoGo campaign video. We have a few more loose ends to tie-up, but we should be ready to launch this Monday or Tuesday. Everyone is pumped!

6/5 – Had a great conversation with John Vaskis (@gogoJV) at indiegogo! We will be moving our campaign to IndieGoGo. We hope to launch by June 16th at the latest. Stay tuned for more and help spread the word! Thanks to everyone who has helped us along the way. 

6/3 (Afternoon)- John Vaskis (@gogoJV) has offered to help my students move their project to indiegogo! Everyone is freaking out and super excited!

6/3 – We’ve heard offers of help, kind words, and well wishes from KI Furniture, Robert Pohl from Collaboration Solutions, Bretford Furniture, Amplify, SMART, Hitachi, and Simple Minds (Yes, the band!), but no update from Kickstarter. We are still in the appeal process. My students really hope that Kickstarter is rewriting their policy to accept projects like ours and that’s what is taking so long. How could they not want to support students and the places where they learn? Now, kids are looking into making an indiegogo campaign or just releasing their awesome video in hopes it goes viral.

5/25 Update: Still waiting to hear back from Kickstarter. Anyone suggest any Kickstarter alternatives?

5/13 Update: We’ve been denied by Kickstarter. We’ve filed an appeal. 

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