Sunday, 29 December 2019

Personal Learning at JIS - Learning How to Learn

This is the second year that I have been running the big Makerspace (double classroom) at the JIS Elementary, PIE campus. I have been wanting to update this blog with my thoughts as to how the process is going. I am aiming to publish a more comprehensive guide on this by the end of this current academic year. Until that time, I am working with teachers to further develop the program. This is a work in process but I am starting the realise that it will always be in a constant stage of development.

In the past I have published a few books on particular projects that I have done with students. I have always waited until the finish to write the book. For this book however, I am realising that it may never be finished and that I need to move forward with it as it is.

The personal learning program at JIS has come a long way. Initially it was launched with help from a consultant on inquiry, Kath Murdoch. In the beginning, each homeroom teacher conducted the personal learning in their own classroom. Personal learning meant that each student pitched a proposal for a project idea and then spent the next 6 sessions to work on it. Each project was different. It was very hectic and the students mostly did research projects resulting in a slideshow or a document about what they had learned. There wasn't a lot of projects that involved hands-on making. I believe that this was mostly because managing so many different projects was too overwhelming for the homeroom teacher and there was a lack of resources and a lack of understanding of how to developing making skills.

I saw an opportunity to help. I love to make, it's what I do in my downtime. I am constantly teaching myself new skills and almost all of my teachers are virtual. I am constantly developing my own Maker Mindset. It's hard, it really is! I fail a lot. I get frustrated a lot. In my role I am continually learning from virtual teachers and in many cases learning on my own through trial and error. This is an important skill for students to develop.

I work with Apple devices either an iPad, a MacBook or my iPhone. It's my comfort zone. I use a range of apps to help me design and figure out my projects. I am constantly working between digital and analog. It helps me to see. I use the design cycle of Investigate, Design, Create and Evaluate. Using my devices allows me to work within each part of the design cycle.

Making with your hands is so much harder that just writing about it. It requires skills, knowledge and risk taking as a learner. The Maker Mindset is all about trying to make something even when you don't know if it will work. That's the hardest part.

I began with a simple idea. I wanted to share how I learn with students. Just that. I felt that I could be the bridge and support students and teachers to enable more hands on learning. I started to work with some classes. I did this by making my own learning more visible.
"You only know what you know and you don't know what you don't know."
I love to say this. Helping teachers and students to work outside of their comfort zone is how I help them to develop learning dispositions. We have four learning dispositions at JIS. They are, reflective, resourceful, resilient and relating. Helping students to develop the Maker Mindset creates opportunities to develop these dispositions. Using the Split Screen (what I am doing/what I am learning) to be mindful of learning really helps students.

Again - it's hard and requires a lot of energy. I have a lot to think about on this. Perhaps this post can be the start of it?

I think that this is a book waiting for me to write. I need input though. Shared learning is so much richer.

More later ...

This is a photo of a current project of mine. I leave my work out for students to see and to comment on so that they can see my process to learn from it. I particularly show my failures - 
this is one example of a failed project. 

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Online Book Creator App via iPad

I have been a huge fan of the Book Creator ever since it first began. My son John Tambunan was indeed the first child in the world to publish a book with the Book Creator app to the Apple iBooks Store. His book is called 'Little Fish'.

Imagine my excitement when Book Creator online become developed! To be able to use iPads (or MacBooks) to create online books which can be seen and edited by teachers on their own device is so powerful. I started using this app last year in the Makerspace. It is easy to use and has been a great way for students to document their learning in real time. I have hundreds of iTime journals to manage and this tool has made that process much more efficient. It is easy to see the books and you can see all of the ones that have already been published to Seesaw - by the little globe icon. Here is a screen shot of just some of the journals created this quarter.
After this New Year, I am planning to use a template. I have noticed that some of my students do a great job to document their learning but some struggle with including all the details. I have tried many strategies. First I tried using starter sentences on each table. Then I made a display with a checklist of what needs to be included. This did make an impact, but there are still gaps in many of my student books. iTime is such a busy hectic session so the documentation needs to run fairly independently.

I have been chatting with some of the homeroom teachers, and I am planning to try using a template with some of the classes. Here is that template.
I am hoping that this will help my students to better understand what needs to be included. I thought that including a key question for each session will also better direct their reflections. I have also created this display board with sentence starters to help reflections. This display features the JIS learning dispositions of Relating, Resourceful, Resilient and Reflective. 
I really need for student reflections to be more efficient so that it doesn't take away from the project time. Reflection is such an important part of the iTime process as this helps to make the learning more visible and give students an opportunity to make important connections in their learning.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Laser Cut Wooden Puppets with Keynote and Apple Pencil

We have a new Laser Cutter in the ES Makerspace. I have been wanting to extend working with wood for our students.

The first hurdle that I had to overcome was how to use the Laser Cutter. It's a Glowforge Pro. My first cut was documented on my IG account. I read as much information on the Glowforge site as I could. It was very easy to use as Glowforge supplies you with wood for your first project.

I wanted to start using the cutter as quickly as possible with my students. A Grade 1 class that I was teaching in the Makerspace provided me with that first opportunity. The students were interested in animals and learning more about the form of animals. For example: What makes an eagle look like an eagle? I asked each child to make a silhouette drawing of their animal.
It took a few attempts for the students to understand that they only needed to draw the outer shape. Next we looked into making some fo the parts move. I worked with each child to identify which body part could move by adding a split pin.

The students took a few attempts to draw their puppets which they did on paper . Next I photographed each one with my iPad inside the Keynote app so that I could trace over their drawing with an Apple Pencil to create a digital sketch.
I really like to use Keynote with an Apple Pencil for this and it is easy to export to PDF. PDF files are easily read by the Glowforge laser cutter. To send it to the Glowforge, I uploaded the PDF to the Glowforge online app and then added the settings for the cut.
As I was using local plywood (uncertified material), I needed to make some test cuts and watch carefully to make sure the wood is cut through safely.

I posted my progress to my Instagram account, which was liked and commented on by Glowforge. They even asked me if they could share my Grade 1 work on their official accounts which is very cool considering that this is my first try at using the laser cutter with students!

After successfully cutting out all the parts the students painted their puppets and put them together ready for the puppet show. We were the first class to use the new puppet theatre in our school library.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

2nd JIS Maker Conference 2019

I organised and ran a successful MakerEd Conference at JIS. I worked with several teachers and administrators at my school to plan and run the conference. It was attended by over 15 different schools from all over Indonesia. Our theme was, ‘Fostering the Maker Mindset’. I presented the Keynote about our personal learning program together with Hugo Indratno and I ran a workshop deep dive session on 3D printing and design using MacBooks to access Tinkercad and iPads with merge cubes to preview the 3d object via AR. 

Here we are opening the event together and welcoming the participants.
My biggest take away from this event is that the teachers who attended need further (ongoing) support and have requested that I create a network of schools for MakerEd in Indonesia. I hope to action this in the near future.
My hands on workshop on designing with Tinkercad on MacBook and sending the 3D file to be viewed on a Merge Cube with an iPad.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Human Body Systems Integration with Makerspace

I was so excited to work on a Science collaboration for the Makerspace with Grade 4. I persuaded 2 teachers to try a pilot with me using different technologies to create working body systems. We used Microbits, Ozobots, simple balloon pumps and mixed media to make the body systems come alive.

The two homeroom teachers both worked in different ways. One teacher preferred to work with one system at a time and have all students exploring that one system. The other teacher got the students to research a range of different body systems in small groups and then work together with that group to create a working demonstration to show their learning.

Both types were rich learning experiences for the students. I made a short Clips video of the different groups creating the body systems and preparing to share their work through a mini exhibition with other classes.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Spotlight and Workshops at Apple Leading Innovation Summit, Singapore 2019

Last week I presented a Spotlight and workshops at the Apple Leading Innovation Summit in Singapore. I was invited to present along with Hugo Indratno. Honestly we were both nervous as we prepared for our Spotlight presentation. As it turned out, that preparation was a rich experience for me personally.

I have presented regularly over the years. In the past I have even worked as an Apple Professional Developer. I have also presented two Spotlights at Apple Institutes previous to this occasion. What I enjoyed the most was getting critical feedback from the Apple people whilst I was on stage practicing for the event. I am always looking for ways to improve my skills. Having detailed feedback on how to present together with Hugo was such a learning experience. I learned to pace my speaking so that Hugo and I could take more natural turns to speak. I learned to look out to the audience to make that important contact with them. I also learned to make sure that all of the pieces of information about the 'how' in my presentation were clearly highlighted.

It can be hard to be self-critical. I am open to feedback as I am used to working with a diverse range of people at my school. As a coach you need to be really aware and sensitive to others around you.
As well as the Spotlight, Hugo and I also presented two hands on workshops. We were much more relaxed in those workshops as this is more of a comfort zone for both of us. We had teachers learning about developing that Maker Mindset through creating something that moves. We even brought with us a mini swimming pool to test out what the participants made. It was fun and our participants were reluctant to pack up at the end of the session.

Monday, 15 January 2018

New Makerspace in ES PIE

I have been an Apple Distinguished Educator for 10 years and it has provided such inspiration. To be connected with the amazing group of ADE educators has given me so much. I have presented a lot over the years on publishing but a few years ago I decided to challenge myself to try something new. To branch out and reinvent myself. It can be daunting to start again but I saw the potential for Maker Education and really wanted to be a part of this worldwide movement. At the time, my school had decided to develop an iTime program (Personal projects) with the help of Kath Murdoch as a consultant. I really wanted to be involved, but my job at that time was all about digital as I was a technology integration specialist. Many of my ADE peers in other schools were moving into this area but it took a while for me to follow as there was and is still so much work to be done in the digital area. I needed buy in from my school and although I could see all of the connections myself, but it took a while to grow those for others to recognise.

What I needed to do was make sure that I included digital literacy into every iTime session. Catering to as many as 20 diverse projects in each class can be overwhelming. Using our Apple devices with apps such as Book Creator and Seesaw has helped not only to grow learning dispositions but also to make the learning visible for others to see. Using iPads also gave students access to virtual mentors via videos. This effectively enabled me to help more students at the same time.

This is the first year that I have been a working in a big Makerspace that caters to the whole campus. It is very daunting! Previously, I have worked in a small room which was only able to fit 8 students at a time. The school renovated the library and as a part of that, a Makerspace was built on the second floor.

This year we opened the Makerspace doors to everyone and in that process, we needed to make sure that everyone was catered to. I am so grateful for the support of the homeroom teachers. I learn from these teachers every day as together we try to navigate the demand from our students.

Friday, 8 September 2017

On Being a Maker

I've been thinking a lot about the process that I use to make a project. There is a pathway of sorts that helps me to go from 'Something Imagined' to 'Something Real'.  A big part of my making is in the planning. I don't just randomly make. That is not the way it happens. I can't work from zero.

I get inspired ... 

I might see something online. Or I see it in passing or hear about something in conversation. That's all it takes. Just enough of a hint to light a spark.
The singularly most powerful inspiration for me is when I can see it directly and I can touch it. Something that engages more than one sense. I guess you could think of this as the front loading stage in an inquiry cycle. I need this stage or the spark for inspiration will not happen! After inspiration comes imagination.

I can spend a lot of time in this stage. Being inspired leads to dreaming about what I can make. Sometimes I will actually dream about it - or just daydream about it. Many, many times this will not lead to making anything but when I imagine something and think about it numerous times - that usually means that I need to take action. I never really copy - I hate to copy! I strive to make it my own. To make something copied could never be considered as a proper project. Only as a point of learning to learn a new skill.  The next stage is the planning stage. This can be done on my iPhone, via an online search, by taking photos and mixing them or by making a sketch. I need to see the project to get a clear idea of what it looks like. Whilst this is happening I usually research what it will be made of and how to acquire the tools and materials. Finally I find out what techniques are required. You Tube and Craftsy are my go-to options.Next comes the making stage. If the technique is a new one, I'll make a sampler. This helps me to know if I am smart enough to make the bigger project. At this stage my project might just lose steam if I am not able to actually make it. I am very ambitious and sometimes aim too high. Now I can begin the project. This is the best part. I can get totally lost in this part. Hours can pass and I don't even realise. 
After making part of the project or all of the project the desire to improve it kicks in. This can make or break a project. Sometimes you can go too far in the pursuit to improve something and just end up ruining it. Yes that happens and yes those projects get tucked away never to see daylight again. I should embrace my failures or my projects that become 'over cooked'. 

Well that's something for me to work on ...

Of course I try to share about what I do. I mostly do that via my Instagram. This year I may even blog about it. I need to be quick though because I make stuff really fast. 

Here is my cycle of making

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Starting Up a Makerspace - My Journey

This year I have the awesome opportunity to work in the JIS Elementary Makerspace. The room that will serve as the space is a corner office with lots of windows and light. Here is the room so far ...

There's not much in here yet but there are some robotics kits, Rigamijig, bike construction kits and other odds and ends. It's a start. So I find myself wondering ...What is a Makerspace? How can this space become accessible for all students at PIE? What can be done to get students really interested in making and collaborating in this space? What kinds of provocations can I create to help motivate students?

We have decided to call the space 'Bengkel'. Bengkel is the Indonesian word for workshop. 

Something that I know well is, "People only know what they know and they don't know what they don't know." This is something that I have always told learners who are new to using technology - but actually it applies to all learning. So, how can you know what you don't already know?

How can I trigger a greater curiosity for making?

I am lucky to have a background in making. Back in the 80s I studied a Diploma of Art at the University of Southern Queensland before going on to train as a art teacher. I majored in Textiles and Painting. I have always been creative and have self-taught myself to make. My work in university really challenged me to understand the difference between art and craft. It was hard at times as I was trained to create art first but I was so influenced by Indonesian crafts as I had partly grown up in Indonesia. I really admire the craftspeople of Indonesia and had considered that to be a form of art. My lecturers told me that art is an expression and has message whereas craft is a skilled form and can be quantified. Craft can also be duplicated. 

I know that the very concept of the maker movement is still being defined. If we start with what is a maker, we will find that it is a person who can create, produce, build, invent or manufacture something.

My understanding is that things made in a Makerspace are utilitarian. The things there are designed to be more practical rather than just attractive. Indeed startup companies like Quirky and Kickstarter are equipping makers with access to resources that can help turn an idea into a real life product. I strongly believe that making leads to new understandings and making new connections. An example of this is traditional weavers from Bolivia are being employed to make heart implants that cannot be produced by a machine.

How amazing that these traditional craftspeople are now weaving implants to save lives. It's their skill that cannot be reproduced by a machine. How creative was the Bolivian cardiologist Franz Freudenthal to make such a connection between craft and science.

So where do I begin? How can I turn this office space into a creation station? Over the past two years, my school has been developing an iTime program for all students in Elementary. A typical iTime cycle will run for about 6 weeks and happen about one session a week. Students create a pitch to their teacher which will include their plan for what they want to investigate, their needs (both materials and access to expertise) and how this will help them to become better learners. This Makerspace will support student iTime project work.

And so we begin. I hope to post frequently about how this space and this program develops. My first task is to buy some consumables. I already have students knocking on the door asking for DC motors, felt, wiring, sewing supplies etc. 

I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Scratch Jr - Coding with Junior Elementary Classes

I have been working with children in the younger grades on game creation. Scratch Jr is a fantastic app which is simple, yet it can produce a game with an ending screen.

Today I explored the app a little further to see if I could create a fan version of the popular Geometry Dash. Here is my game.

I thought that I'd share it here for those looking to make a game that is not only popular but quite fun for younger students both the make and to play. You can even airdrop a finished game to another iPad to share with peers.