Mandatory Book Read: One Nation Under Taught by Dr. Vince Bertram

I have not posted many of the books I have been reading this summer for a couple reasons. First, I have not read much as I have been immersed in action and application. Second, many of the ones I set out to read just were not worth my time.

Until I read this book. This little zinger packs a mandatory read in just 77 pages. This book explores the problem with education but instead of doing nothing but complaining and pointing fingers(which is the case on most books about education these days), Dr. Bertram showcases how things have not changed and how to make it happen.

The book is not a step by step plan, but more of a call to action. It is time that we admit that we need to move. We need to do things that all know must be done. The status quo is not working. Over the last thirty years we have not see the change we need to see. This does not mean starting from scratch. It does not mean that what we are doing is wrong. Rather, it is time to stop being okay with what are doing and pushing things to the next level.

The need for a STEM focus, a change of teaching and learning, and helping to make the irrelevant relevant goes beyond just student engagement. We are talking about our students being able to be qualified for the jobs that are open. We are talking about developing our own citizens to help the country, the budget, and production of life to allow us to continue to be at the top and creating ideas that need creating.

I talk all the time in my Young Engineers of Today class that we are so eager to spend countless hours and unlimited budget for sports, weekend tournaments, equipment, etc. for athletics, but we must be able to help our students see that STEM is what will allow them to find employment, function in life, and be successful. I am not suggesting no sports as I played sports through college, but we must find a balance. Many don’t want to spend time and money on STEM and we need to. It can be just as fun as sports if done right.

I won’t quote all my quotes I marked(I will in future blog posts), but this one stood out to me the most.

The point of this quote is that we get what we praise. It is time we start to honor education like we do celebrities, sports, and entertainment.

Please read this book. It will open your eyes. It will make you think. It will challenge you to step up your game. I will admit I did skim through quickly the Project Lead the Way push in the end chapters as I don’t believe in pushing programs. However, the rest of the book will share simple ideas that we all know needs to be done in education. It is time to step up and quit accepting that we are a nation under taught.

Check out the book here

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (1)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

The World is a Makerspace, Not a Classroom

We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us.

 — Rumi

I have wanted to write about this idea for a few weeks, but just was not sure how to properly format the thoughts and still not sure I am going to do it justice. Here is my feeble attempt before I lose all my thoughts.

I love making. I am an avid tinkerer and have the typical coffee juiced brain where I have a million projects going on and typically don’t finish half of them. I love to create and my brain is always going. I am not sure what would happen if my brain actually slowed down. I have massive LEGO sets and pieces that we build at home and at school(see school challenge), I love Arduino, Sphero, and lately 3D printing.

Naturally, I am working on developing a makerspace in my room. I feel like we need a space like this since the days of industrial tech are no more in our schools. It does not replace the class, but it is something more than desk in rows reading textbooks.

As I have worked to develop this culture of making in our school I realize that not only do I have a long way to go, but I keep missing the students I want. I want more girls involved, I want the athletic kids, I want the kids that don’t believe in themselves.

And then I realized my whole though process is wrong. My mindset was skewed.

Let me try to explain. This summer like every summer Amanda(my wife) has a list of home improvements. We did not get to half of them, but we did get our bedroom done and moved and changed things throughout the house. One thing that she is amazing at doing is drawing inspiration from her hours on Pinterest and converting the ideas into our home. She can see a bit of an idea here and another idea there and see a wall in our house and transform it. It is a gift. I cannot do it. I see what is in the room and cannot see differently.

IMG_0722

She has done three little projects that hit me like a ton of bricks this summer. She does not give herself any credit and really does not think it is a big deal. She is actually not too happy that I took pictures. I always tell her she needs her own board on Pinterest so she can inspire others.

IMG_0713

Here is the key idea: She is a maker. She has taken ideas which is basically the MIT Remix concept and instead of just thinking about it and pinning it on her page, she moved to action. This is the pivotal step. Moving to ACTION and not just THINKING about it. She goes to work. She takes this and that, paints this, moves this, transforms this, and in the end we have this whole new display and decoration. It really is great.

IMG_0723

As I was watching this unfold I came across a great post by Rafranz Davis –http://rafranzdavis.com/the-undefined-makerspace/ where she talks about makerspaces and how we don’t need this defined makerspace to make. We make all the time.

Watching my wife work I realized that we are indeed all makers. Just because it does not include a soldering iron and robotics does not mean it is not “maker”. It is sad that we have to celebrate makerspaces to draw attention to the lost art of being a kid and instilling that spirit to continue to play and tinker to see what happens.

I draw inspiration from my wife because I could probably do more ACTION. Her home is her makerspace. It is great. It is amazing and beautiful.

In education we need to take off the lens in which we view our students, our classrooms, and schools. I think we get pigeoned holed into a tunnel vision where we miss out on the amazing things that students are doing. They are making a difference. They are learning outside of the school day even if they did not turn in your worksheet. They are volunteering and helping others even if they push their friends in play. Sometimes we must remove the veteran mindset and try to see things again as if it is the first time. When we do that we will see that the world is a makerspace and we can all make amazing things. I have changed my view of makers and I hope you do too.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

#coffeechugPLN Summer PD and 2013-2014 School Year Goal

I have been laying low on the blog and other social media websites. Just taking a break from it all to restore my energy, explore new avenues during the summer, and prepare for another great school year that begins in over a month.

This summer I have decided through my reflection, declutter, organizing, and brainstorming days that I will finally tackle the goal that I have had on the back burner for many years. I think I am finally ready to write my first book. This book will be about education. It will be about teaching along with ideas, strategies, and things I have used in the classroom as well as other ideas I have gathered over time.

As I slowly begin to prepare to tackle this massive task I have decided to seek some input from others. I have created a form for teachers to share ideas about what they want to know more about. If you had a chance to read a book to empower you as a teacher what would this book contain? I am very slowly piecing things together in my mind and will begin to outline in July with writing starting in August. I have time to weave in many new ideas and thoughts.

So if you could take just 5 minutes to help share with me ideas I would be forever grateful. This link to the form will ask you four very easy questions.

Thank you so much and as always I will be documenting my journey writing and sharing out various pieces along the way for feedback. I love to crowdsource as I believe it only makes everyone better.

Let the new goal begin!

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)