Mark Schreiber's Blog

Earth Day- Free Upcycling Curriculum

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by Mark Schreiber -

Earth Day 2015 is coming this month! So, celebrate by having your students do an upcycling activity. To help you out, I'm giving you a free upcycling curriculum.  

Here are the 4 easy steps:

  1. Download the free Design Case Curriculum PDFs using this link. (I'm making this opensource under the creative commons now so feel free to pass it along) and unzip it.  (see quick start below)
  2. Go to your local bike shop, climbing wall, upholstery shop, etc. and ask for some of their hard-to-recycle items like rubber tubs, old ropes, discarded fabric, corks, burlap, etc.
  3. Use the activities in the Design Case Curriculum to help your students create a new upcycled product.
  4. .....
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Global Space Balloon- Engaging Kids in Something Big

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by Mark Schreiber -

It may be snowing right now but that doesn’t mean that my kids are idle by any means…. We’ve only got 6 weeks left until we launch a balloon to space!  Yup, that’s right its Global Space Balloon Challenge time!  If you haven’t heard about this great project, or just want to know more then read on. 

Global Space Balloon Challenge is in its second year this year and has gained significant traction since last time this year.  I think part of the reason is that they have made it really easy to get started with an amazing set of resources on their main site.  There are also great prizes this year like, Best Photo, Best Experiment, Best Charity and on and on.

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Make a Techno Ugly Christmas Sweater Project- Part 2

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by Mark Schreiber -

Let me let you in on a little secret… that ugly sweater from the Part 1 guide was my sweater from last year.  Yup, that right. I’ve had a year to refine, learn and hack a new sweater.  And I have to say that I’m pretty proud of this little project and so I want you to be able to make one as well!

Here is the executive summary of the project along with a video of my upgraded (read “awesome”) ugly sweater.  The core of this project is a cool sequencer called Vixen, an AdaFruit Flora (with a FastLED library), and a bunch of NeoPixel stips (or other digitally addressable RGB LEDs) Grab a gift bag, load your laptop, some speakers and tissue paper - you are set!

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The Techie Ugly Christmas Sweater Project: Part 1

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by Mark Schreiber -

Ugly sweaters seem to be pretty hip these days.  

Wal-Mart sells them, Target sells them.  There‘s even a shop in my town where you can “uglify” your very own Christmas sweater.  And yes, we have an ugly sweater contest at our school (that I plan on winning by the way). Last year I made a pretty nifty one and this year I made this project the final in my class. 

Yep, right now my advanced engineering class is pushing toward the completion of some pretty sophisticated ugly sweaters.  Some blink, some play music, some might even look like the Grizwolds house.  One has car horns on it and yet another, a Christmas trivia tree!

Read on for the steps on how to Technify your ugly sweater this year with a little Makey Makey magic!

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Make Space: Read it.

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by Mark Schreiber -

I’ve been reading Make Space lately and this book has some great ideas on how to layout a design lab.  I have especially enjoyed the authors ideas on what type of furniture to put in the various spaces.  Modified Z-racks, cocktail height prototyping tables and flip-top storage/brainstorming tables have all be inspiring.  I’ve actually taken on redesigning our lab and have modified some of our spaces to be more modular as well.  Currently I am repurposing some old A/V carts using Brog

Reflections on Freire: Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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by Mark Schreiber -

To be quite honest, I really had a hard time getting into the Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire.  Maybe it was my mood, maybe my brain was just full from all of my other projects but it was initially a tough read.  I felt a bit oppressed myself as I slogged through chapter 1... but then, I got to chapter 2 and Friere's earlier thoughts started to come into focus. 

 

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Salty, Messy Fun: Mindstorms Reflection

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by Mark Schreiber -

Seymour Papert was definitely ahead of his time when he wrote mindstorms in the 80s.  Unfortunately he still seems to be ahead of his time some 30 years later.  Instead of hands-on and minds-on education, the current trends in education have pushed us towards accountability, standards and a common framework for education.