Pre-conference Institutes

Pre-conference Institutes – February 26, 2014

There will be two Pre-conference Institutes (Full day).

Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom

Sylvia Martinez and Dr. Gary Stager

Join colleagues for a day of hard fun and problem solving — where computing meets tinkering and design. The workshop begins with the case for project-based learning, making, tinkering, and engineering. Next, we will discuss strategies for effective prompt-setting. You will view examples of children engaged in complex problem solving with new game-changing technologies and identify lessons for your own classroom practice. Powerful ideas from the Reggio Emilia Approach, breakthroughs in science education, and the global maker movement combine to create rich learning experiences.

Participants will have the chance to tinker with a range of exciting new low- and high-tech construction materials that can really amplify the potential of your students. The day culminates in the planning of a classroom project based on the TMI (Think-Make-Improve) design model.

Fabrication with cardboard and found materials, squishy electronic circuits, wearable computing, Arduino, robotics, and computer programming are all on the menu.

Bring a laptop and your imagination. We’ll supply the rest (craft materials, art supplies, construction elements). Invention is the mother of learning!

This workshop is suitable for all grades and subject areas.

The Distracted Mind: Learning to Attend Amidst External and Internal Noise

Dr. Larry Rosen

This preconference workshop will present the most up-to-date research on distraction and attention from the perspectives of neuroscience, psychology, and education. We know that technology is engaging, which is why many schools are opting to incorporate some forms of technology as learning tools. What we also know is that technology is very distracting. The sensory signals—auditory, visual, tactile/kinesthetic—are certainly alluring as evidenced by the prevalence of Phantom Pocket Vibration Syndrome among other distractions. But we also know that technology, or at least what it portends, is also distracting from within our brains. This workshop will present a model for understanding how and why technology (and life) distract us from our current goals and what we can do to ensure that our students remain as focused as possible. Research will be drawn from a variety of fields to paint a comprehensive picture of what happens in our brains when students are learning and how distractions retard our ability to take in, assimilate and retain information.


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