The Maker Movement and Studying History | FCIS 2016 Miami

As promised, here is a copy of my presentation this afternoon, The Maker Movement and Studying History. It is packed with other resources and links, so please grab a copy and do with it what you will! I would love to hear your feedback and comments on what worked for you.

Using 3D printing and other advanced technologies requires a bit of training and a learning curve. It is important to also note that if your school is thinking of adopting these types of resources, they also need to have an expert staff in place to help guide the students on their usage. Our iLabs at Pine Crest are well-staffed and managed and this has been an excellent resource for us as teachers and helping us innovate our practices.

Also, here are some of the resources that I mentioned in my presentation that could get you started:

  • Tinkercad – web-based CAD program to design your 3D images
  • Thingiverse – web-based CAD program and online repository for 3D projects; check out their education section
  • Ponoko – outsource for your printing needs
  • Shapeways – outsource for your printing needs; inspire with various projects
  • Inventables – a marketplace for all things encompassing the maker movement
  • Makerbot – 3D printing needs, hardware; also has digitizing hardware
  • Minecraft – you can also read about some of my early experimentations here

Google Certified Educator Level 1

I’ve always been a bit of a tech lover and being in education I have felt the need to fine tune my skills so that I can better meet the demands of my students. In a world where information is becoming increasingly available at our fingertips, it is how we interact with this information that will prove to be one of the critical skills for our students moving forward. How will they know the information they come across is credible? How will they work with others in solving problems? What will the canvas for that interaction look like?

These are all questions that as a teacher I have remained focused on answering and one of the best ways to keep my finger on the pulse of educational technology is to keep pace with a giant in the field, Google.

Google has expanded its offerings not only to private users and businesses, but it has been making strides in the education sector for some time. Remember Google Wave? I was a beta user for that system, trying to think of ways to apply it in my classroom. I was even an early invite to Gmail, back when you had to get an invitation to get Badge-GCE-Level1your Gmail setup.

With Google Docs and Sheets came Google Drive. Then Google Classroom. All of these are tools that are highly collaborative and allow for teachers to take their classrooms as far into the 21st century as they wish. So, in order to really see these options and investigate them for what they are, I have started training with Google and recently wrapped up my Google Certified Educator training for Level 1. I can even rock the badge to show off the skills.

It is important that in our profession we are constantly reflecting on our practices and looking for ways to get better. Doing this with Google helps inform my teaching approach on many levels and will ultimately benefit my students.

Fluency in Geek Presentation Slated for ACL Institute 2013 Memphis, TN

On June 28th I will be presenting, along with Zee Ann Poerio and Cindy Caltagirone, a technology session entitled “Fluency In Geek: Growing Classical Studies Programs Through Technology”.

It will be a 90 minute workshop which will show teachers how to review technology resources (using the 5 C’s of Technology we wrote about over at AFireKindled) and which critical resources they could make use of right now in order to build their programs.

We are faced with a serious dilemma in Classical studies – we are faced with finding our subject eliminated from school curricula across the country for financial concerns and fears over relevancy. In order to revive the importance of our subject, we need to find innovative solutions – and utilizing technological resources is a part of that program. I will be reviewing resources that will not only help students expand their knowledge of Latin vocabulary and grammar, but also deepen their background knowledge of its culture and history through the use of available resources.

The presentation will be in the morning on June 28th and will focus on key resources and strategies to help teachers make the most efficient use of not only their time, but of their students’ time, too. And having a little fun along the way certainly can’t hurt!

The ACL Institute is being held at the University of Memphis’ Fogelman Conference Center. For more information about the 2013 ACL Institute in Memphis, TN, follow this link.

Gamefying Education: Using Minecraft to Reconstruct Ancient Rome

Students love to game. They love to spend hours on end playing video games, usually working towards a goal of some kind such as achievements or maybe just to complete the game or its various tasks.

If only we could get students to do the same with the classes we teach.

Well, I’ve been experimenting with it a bit, actually. I opened up the idea for my students to create a Roman villa of their own – they could either build a model, or use various software to construct a virtual model. I suggested Google Sketchup, Minecraft, or Terraria.

I felt that the software route would be very advantageous as students who were accustomed to plopping down in front of a computer would be excited to do so for class. The goals would remain the same – to construct a model of a Roman villa, thus reflecting their understanding of how the structure worked.

It was very successful. Students who used Minecraft were heavily invested in the success of their project and relished the chance to show off their projects in front of their peers. Now, we have also created another project – to recreate ancient Rome using Minecraft on our very own server.

The students involved in the project are really motivated without any grade-driven award. They are quickly organizing and formulating a plan to gather supplies and set up various roles and tasks for each member. They are engaged in team-building, and have clearly defined several short term and long term goals. All of this in order to construct a virtual model of ancient Rome.

Keep updated on our blog Minecraft Romae. We also have a group forum area where students can create discussion threads and plan out strategies to overcoming various obstacles along the way. Stay tuned!

Presenting at AP Annual Conference in Orlando 2012

I’ve recently been accepted to make a presentation at the AP Annual Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida this year. My session is entitled Using 21st Century Skills to Look at the Past and will deal with how AP teachers can utilize the power of social networking to help students study various topics of historical concern within our courses.

I built my own website with a social network component, RicardAcademy.info, which I have used to help serve my students from simple things like keeping track of exam and quiz dates to creating opportunities for collaboration and community-based learning in the form of discussions on various topics. I will reveal some of my insights and experiences that should help any teacher regardless of level of technology or familiarity with the resources in the field. The session will be on Saturday July 21st from 9-10:15 am and is under European History and Technology.

Here is a copy of my abstract:

The scope of AP courses is massive and could be daunting to both students and teachers. Using the tools and resources available on the Internet, discover how to make lessons more compelling and dynamic for both groups. Employing social networking and Web 2.0 features, learn to build a community of lifelong learners through collaboration while also making the subject matter more navigable. Participants can increase interaction among students by using specific tools to make the content come to life. Doing so creates a more efficient manner of evaluating student achievement.