Saturday, March 12, 2016

Student Led Connections For Teen Tech Week

Mr. Brian Johnson and I have been friends for many years. He is a library media specialist at Lakeside Jr. High in Springdale, Arkansas. Our schools are more than 200 miles apart! One of the things we enjoy doing is connecting our students via Google Hangouts several times each year. A few weeks ago, Brian contacted me to discuss bringing our students together for the upcoming Teen Tech Week event. We are always for promoting great student led presentations. The potential to add a Google Hangout with our friends at Springdale's Lakeside was icing on the cake!

Google Hangouts works great for distant planning visits
How We Planned The Events

We met on a Friday afternoon via Google Hangouts to discuss our plans. Misti, Ray, Peggy, and I discussed the possibilities with Brian for about 20 minutes. We proposed 3 different sessions on the Wednesday of Teen Tech Week. The next step was to begin recruiting student presenters.

We decided to ask our EAST facilitator, Coach Leighton Hardin, about some of his students presenting some current technology projects. He had 3 young ladies who had created a hologram video and were willing to present. Another two students wanted to share some of their wax special effects. (They were very good at making the wax look like various injuries.) The special effects students hope to work with our Sports Medicine program to help create educational injury scenarios using this cool makeup technology.

I also asked our robotics facilitator, Mr. Matthew Balcom, if he had any students who wanted to present. He had two presenters that were working on a windmill project. Misti and I also approached two female library regulars, Kristina and Jordan, to see if they would share some cool tech. They both agreed to demonstrate robots for us.

The Big Day

The day of the event went great. During the first session, three EAST students presented the hologram video followed by Brian's student who had coded a "pong" style game using a Finch robot as a controller. Our other two EAST students presented the special effects.

The second session consisted of Brian's student who had coded a different game. (She was very knowledgeable about coding.) Following this, our two robotics students presented about their windmill project.

The third session featured Brian's students showing how they programmed a Finch robot to negotiate a maze. They did a great job! After this, our students demonstrated a Sphero, Mip robot, and a Meccano robot.

The hologram video

The "Pong" style game from Springdale Lakeside

Special effects Makerspace
Robotics windmill project discussion

Springdale Lakeside demonstrates their "maze runner" Finch
Jordan shows the Sphero to Springdale Lakeside

Kristina demonstrates her Mip and Meccano robots

Next Steps

We discussed the possibility of connecting again this semester. Brian and I thought it would be great if our learners could share coding programs for their Finch robots and our library Sphero. We even discussed trying to replicate the mazes that the Springdale Lakeside students had created. There are many possibilities for the future!
The Hoverboard was a hit the following day!

Our students were so excited about this event, they wanted to continue playing with technology the next day! One of our presenters, Jordan, brought her Hoverboard to demonstrate it for the library lunch crowd. Kristina brought her Mip and Meccano robots to demonstrate them again. Other students built with Legos and Jenga while another disassembled old broken computers at the deconstruction station. Teen Tech Week was a great success at both Lakeside schools this year! I wonder what our "Lakeside Squared" connections will produce next time?

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How we connected four Spanish classes together during a "Lakeside Squared" Google Hangout!

How we had a book club meeting with our friends at Lakeside Jr. High in Springdale, Arkansas (over 200 miles north of us!)

This is how one of our seniors read to young student friends at Titan Hill Intermediate School in Iowa via Skype!

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  1. Really love this. Please share on the School Librarian's Workshop FB group.

    1. Just saw this Hilda! I do not believe I ever shared it? I sure can though! Thank you for this encouragement, friend!