Friday, January 29, 2016

Why We All Need Time to Tinker With Tech

This was a good article on many levels. The last paragraph captured most of the main ideas:

"Tinkering is not about the product, it’s about the process. Enjoy the journey and don’t focus so much on having a spiffy product that can be presented or showcased. There is a time and a place for presenting, but true integration is about the journey and what was learned along the way. Tinkering is messy, but fosters deeper learning because learners are doing the thinking. Embrace it. Find balance. Find relief in the fact that you do not have to have all of the answers."
In the engineering and electronics design classes I teach, they may not finish their final projects. So the question becomes, "how do you assess?"  I focus more on a presentation of how students have developed their projects. I want them to dig into topics and building things that interest and challenge them, more than having prescribed, artificial due dates. Yes, during the course they are required to finish some prescribed projects in a time-frame and there is the need for kids to learn project management skills in any class. But the last one is for them. For each project they present the Design Process they followed (see previous post on a diagram we follow and design presentations about), and reflect on what worked, what did not. It was nice to see some validation from another corner with this philosophy. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Career Day

So our school recently had career day. About 40 professionals from the professional world came to talk to students in various sessions that students attended. A very worthwhile morning was spent learning about engineering, nutrition, law, medicine, event planning, radio and a host of other occupations. Through it all, common themes seemed to come from all of the speakers though.
Get to know people- network. Another was approach and manage and solve problems in a organized manner- project management. This one made me think of how engineers approach and solve problems and develop solutions. In my tech department we are testing a design process model that we are using to help assess this process that students go through to help give them a strategy to solve problems and build things. Here is the model, a life skill model, which is directly related to aspects of our Profile of Graduate- problem solver, creativity and communicator we are trying to develop in students. Any feedback is welcome! It got me thinking about if it was possible to maybe develop a problem-solving model for every class that is taught. Writing courses use a writing process....Science has the Scientific Method....Library/Research as a variety of research methodologies...Social Studies has inquiry models....but what are the threads that are common in all of them? Basically problem solving, communicating the solution somehow, and project management/work habits.