Scratch 3.0 Coming Soon…..

Update from ISTE18: Scratch 3.0 FAQ’s

A highlight of the Makerfaire this past May 2018 was this talk:

Meet Scratch at it’s inception from a users perspective: Making art with Scratch allows for collaboration. Remixing in Scratch is a powerful element. Scratch is an online community not just a coding program. Ipzy Studio offers other creators her artwork. She created tutorial for backgrounds. Never imagined kids would do tutorials. Scratch creators wanted to give kids a voice. It’s programming & coding with writing. Per creator Mitchel Resnick, just leaning to code is not enough. We need to develop kids to be creative thinkers. 4P’s:

projects
passions
peers
play

“You don’t develop your own voice if you solve a puzzle.” says Mitchel Resnick.  “Kids learn best when they can work on a wide range of projects. Not all kids learn doing the same project.”

Most learning happens in collaboration with others. Play is ratified toward engaging with the world. 200 million people interacted with Scratch last year. A 5th P: purpose. Creating projects that are important to them.

“Scratch is a really open place. “ says Jinho.

What’s next with Scratch 3.0?

Kids can create things connects to voice commands. & it will work with LEGO Wedo.

Scratch bit will take Scratch into the physical world. Integrating open API’s.

They wants kids to develop into critical thinkers. Not coders.

Projects in Scratch are covered by Creative Commons. Use anything you want but reference the creator. Scratch 3.0 will be HTML5/Javascript based.

No more Flash needed.

Students will be able to author on tablets beyond ScratchJr. Not ready for smartphones yet.

Keep on scratching.

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What’s Your Intention?

I have been a district administrator for more than 14 years. In four different districts, I have been a part of systems change efforts with a variety of teams and skill levels. Every district, just like every school site, has its own unique culture. From office staff, to kitchen staff, noon duty supervisors, bus drivers, teachers, administrators, parents, community, board members, and students, the list of stakeholders can go on and on.

And yet, I have found the most effective way to guide my daily work is to be very clear about my intentions. I try to keep it very simple “Is this good for kids?”

Any member of any one of the stakeholder groups may say it’s not that simple. I have found in the many years wearing many different hats as a leader that for me it works very well. My intentions as I work my way through daily operations in the many special and challenging moments that occur during a school year and summer that being very mindful about who I am serving guides all of my decisions easily.

I work in education for students. That means on any given day my focus might be any member of the stakeholders mentioned above. And if I serve them well, students needs are met. I am a firm believer in the interconnectedness of all of us and our intentions.

Parents may say they have to make tough decisions for the children. There are moments as a district administrator that I make tough decisions for students. Any of the stakeholder may not believe in the moment that that is what is best for students, and yet I do my very best to try to meet their needs with students in mind.

It’s not always perfect, it’s rarely tidy and yet I believe by keeping it that simple that I am making a difference in students educational journey.

If you happen to be one of the lucky individuals that gets to work in education, and I really do mean that, what your intention? I want to challenge you to contemplate and reflect on what adds value to your daily Compass as you walk serving students. When all of us are clear about our intentions to serve students, our schools are highly effective in doing just that. Students win.

“It Starts In IT”

Recently, I was listening to a CheckThisOut podcast and the statement was made “It starts in IT.” In the year 2017 schools are still struggling with technology integration. The notion that was presented by Brian Briggs was that in order to implement technology fully in classrooms related to hardware selection/management, “It starts in IT.” If your IT department does not have a level of comfort innovating you will find yourself extremely limited with what can occur in classrooms today.  IT departments in schools too often get stuck with the toolset they know and the tools they feel confident managing.

When I leave my own district and I’m out with teachers I still often hear, “We cannot access that, we’re told we can’t use that, and it’s blocked.” In 2017, we are still held at bay by our IT departments too often. I have been an IT professional for well over 20 years, and hearing this is still heartbreaking and often true.

My recommendation is that classroom teachers + parents + students rally and challenge administration to challenge IT. If you have IT professionals that lack the skillset to innovate or the will to innovate, there are ways that you can train them and educate them around the new value that they can offer just by being risk takers.

What devices are used-what standards are followed with projection and doc cameras and laptops and Chromebooks.  What operating systems are supported still drive classroom instruction. For IT departments that want to better meet the needs of their classroom teachers, there are very inexpensive ways to innovate without putting the organization at risk for potential intrusive challenges. There is a happy medium that we can reach with classroom teachers in IT. The willingness on the part of the IT staff has to be to give up a little bit of power and control. If you are in a position where you manage the IT staff, you can easily make it part of their evaluation.

In classrooms, to support teachers that want to innovate, IT departments have to evolve and innovate themselves. Yes we have to follow laws. Yes we have to follow industry standards. Yes it is easier to manage only one type of hardware. Does that best meet the needs of our classroom teachers, I say no. I challenge IT leaders to stretch their own thinking around how to best support classroom teachers.  If IT leaders are not “in classrooms”, they cannot see what a hindrance they are to learning.  Invite them into your rooms. Encourage them to observe.  Share this blog post and ask they reach out.  #cueadmin is full of innovative IT Leaders.  @CETPA has certified CTO’s that take courses in EdTech.  There are avenues. There are support mechanisms.  Nudge them.

Mincraft EDU: Fall 2017 Update

Update: I’ve watched districts all across the country struggle with how to use this new platform due to technical constraints requiring WIN10 and/or MACOSX means all of us with Chromebooks have to wait. It’s fall of 2017 and we’re still waiting.  I am 100% ready to go go speedracer once they make it Chrome agnostic & grosslt reduce the licensing fees.  & not without a technical work of magic with dumb terminals….

Blog Post Way back when….

Microsoft acquired Minecraft and made the announcement in December of 2015 & then Microsoft announced the acquisition of MinecraftEDU. They have rebranded it and it is now called Minecraft Education Edition (MinecraftEE).  For many of us in education that have invested in MinecraftEDU it begs the question, what now?

During the annual bett http://www.bettshow.com/ conference in the UK in 2016, Microsoft had a large booth set up and opportunities for people to explore MinecraftEE due out this summer worldwide. Sessions were offered and mentors were available to assist teachers and administrators alike in previewing the new version.
I followed the http://www.bettshow.com/ conference on Twitter and had an opportunity to ask a couple questions of key people at Microsoft. My first big question was what programming language is the new version of MinecraftEDU built on. MinecraftEE is built on C++. The current version of Minecraft and Minecraft EDU are both created in JAVA. What does this mean for education? C++ will be less of a beast to manage in IT departments. It still has yet to work on a Chromebook, but will work on tablets like the current PE (Pocket Edition) does.  With the new platform, there will be increased functionality and a new interface that will allow for personalization and student profiles.

Here’s the before and after for MinecraftEDU:

In the current version of MinecraftEDU, I can buy a license for $14. That license can be installed on the computer and have as many users as I would like to have rotate through that environment. The + for that is budget. The – is that students cannot save their local projects very easily  due to a lack of a unique signin.

In the new version of MinecraftEDU, I will spend five dollars per student annually. This new pricing structure, will be difficult for many districts if they want a districtwide utilization of this new tool. Students will login with the unique identifier and be able to keep all of their work under that credential. It will be interesting to see if this tool will work in a pure web-based interface or if there will be a need for a client install. We will know more on this topic. In the coming months. 

In the current version of MinecraftEDU, users can create custom mods that essentially modify the game. That part of Minecraft & MinecraftEDU has had great appeal with users as it feels very much like an open source community based application.

In the new version of MinecraftEDU, mods are not currently available. We will have to see once the platform is released how much control users will have at the code level. Can they modify the code and reimport like they can now? Will there be as much sharing in the Minecraft community that we currently see where there is no limits to the users creativity?

Many programmers will tell you that C++ is a far more reliable platform then JAVA. From a programming perspective and a user experience perspective, this may be an advantage. We will no once we have a chance to experience the new version.

 

For classrooms, schools, and districts that are considering MinecraftEE need to weigh the pros and cons for the budget, the ease of use, and a comparison of the functionality prior to making a decision. In my district, I have essentially 100 licenses of the current version. Beginning this summer, Minecraft EE will be available to my district for free for one year.

 

 My strategy is to continue to use the current version (MinecraftEDU), and compare it to the new version (MinecraftEE) prior to making the budget decision to move all students to the more expensive version of MinecraftEDU. I feel confident within a year our students will tell us which platform they prefer. The Microsoft version of MinecraftEDU is going to be a more expensive deployment then the current version of MinecraftEDU. Budget will not be my main data factor, but it should be yours if you are brand new to the tool and considering the deployment in the next year. Check back for updates as the story unfolds. In the meantime, happy world building in Minecraft EDU.

The Power of Partnerships: Part Three

Disclaimer: It’s been far too long since my last post…..

In January 2017 while we were bombarded with daily news of negative imagery across our country I attended a full day MakeyMakey certification training that restored my positive outlook. During this training Tom Heck from MakeyMakey he shared a concept that I latched onto and have not stopped since. He saw an opportunity for using MakeyMakey in special ed classrooms serving students with physical disabilities. He teamed up with students from a local high school to solve a real world problem. The high school students went into the special ed classroom interviewed and observed the environment and got feedback from the special ed students. They then began to draft a proof of concept to provide assistive technology with makerspace materials and the MakeyMakey.  Tom Heck from MakeyMakey shared this video on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dln_5kYDU00

I immediately went back to my school district and requested a meeting with the Assistant Director of Special Education Department, Jennifer Chiarelli. She and I talked about the possibility and she agreed to allow me to bring my team in to meet with Dublin’s Special Ed teachers. We began with demonstrations showing teachers the potential of this tool meeting the needs of their students in classrooms.

Fast forward to next week & we will begin our first evaluation in A special Ed classroom with the goal of creating assistive technology with recycled materials that will have realized cost savings for the district. In addition to the financial benefit, my department will be able to solve a real world problem, and mostly the students will win with reliable assistive technology that can be repaired and/or replaced for pennies on the dollar.  This partnership that we now have with the Special Ed Department is another example of how powerful partnerships can be across departments at district levels in meeting the needs of students in a very direct manner.

Check back for updates and I will keep you on our journey as we continue to be awesome every day.  

If you have not MakeyMakey utilized  in your classroom, Power UP! Simi Valley_TBONDE I built for a recent training I did in Simi Valley. Please share and let’s make more teachers even more awesome than they are every day.

Space & Time 

Teachers, administrators and students alike need space and time to explore new concepts and experiment with new ways of doing things.

In Dublin Unified, the format for this years EdTech Coaches monthly meetings are interactive playgrounds-opportunities to try new technologies and concepts, and see other schools within the district.

Now most teachers do not like to brag about what they’re doing. But when given an opportunity to demo something, often they are more willing and not as pressured.

At this month’s EdTech Coach meeting, we met at Wells Middle School in Summer Chrisman’s science room. It was the perfect vibe to explore MakeyMakeys.

Brandon McCoy from my department came and did a fabulous demonstration utilizing a MakeyMakeys and items bought from a local dollar store. Need LED lights and don’t have five bucks to buy a very small number? Go buy an LED flashlight for one dollar and busted in half. You’ll see in one of the pictures that types of materials he bought for today’s demonstration.

The demonstration was a brief 10 minutes The next 45 minutes was a hands-on playground environment with the dollar store materials provided. To appreciate the scope, watch any of these brief videos: