Wednesday, November 4, 2015

#20PercentTuesday: Week 4 reflections

I wake up on Tuesdays pretty excited to see what's in store for the day.  I believe my students are also looking forward to #20PercentTuesday.  The past few weeks have been great, but it was clear that it took a little time to get into a groove.  I think we may be past that!  The kids are starting to come in ready to work on their projects.  The routine now starts with me taking attendance and asking the kids to share with me what they plan to work on.  I ask them to be specific. The answer is not just 'my 20% time project' or 'Project Spark', but rather a specific goal for their progress for the day. My intent is to help them start the period with some degree of focus.  For middle school students, taking a minute to think about what they plan to focus on is a good thing. Come to think of it, for a 46 year old teacher, taking some time at checkpoints in my day to think about what I want to focus on is a good thing.

The buzz around the room is exhilarating. I shared some tweets with the #20PercentTuesday hashtag and my wife came back with a couple of great tweets...

I think we all need some 20% Time in our lives!  The truth behind the idea is to let passion drive the learning.  Isn't that what truly inspires creativity and joy in learning?

The kids were very excited.  It was fun to walk around and see what they were doing and provide some degree of support. Quite honestly it was more about celebrating learning as I wandered around checking out what they were doing and talking with the students about their projects.

Most kids were working on the "Watch it... Build it" activity at this point.  The first task is for students to find videos or print tutorials to learn from as they get started working with the technology or tool they chose. One of our quests in 3dGameLab asks students to reflect on why they chose the particular tutorial they did.  Here are some of their responses... 
I would like to do the oculus rift and create a cool room that I can use as virtual reality. I want to use the oculus because I love virtual reality because I have seen many videos of it and I really want to experience it too. 
I chose this activity because virtual reality has become so much more popular thanks to the oculus rift. It would be very cool to experience using this because everybody has told me about it and I have seen videos of gameplay on the oculus rift and the rooms/games people create are just astonishing. I would love to create my own unique room because that would be really cool to think to yourself that you created your own virtual reality room.
I'm going to try to create quests for my game. I will use project spark to create simple quests that give small rewards when completed. I chose this activity because I will recreate a Legend of Zelda game. All Zelda games have small quests. Interacting with the players unlock quests and moves the story forward. The more quests I make, the more the story and the game structure will be similar to a Legend of Zelda game. 
The project I chose to recreate through 'watch it build it' was programming python to say me name and age in rasberry pi. I found it really cool to try and do this. I have always been interested in progamming, so this was something I could that was awesome.
I am planning to make a house that we can walk through with the oculus. I am watching videos about SketchUp and Unity to learn more about the programs to continue my mission of making a house. I chose this activity because I know im going to love it and I think it is so cool to do this too.
How to play minecraft on the oculus rift
Because playing minecraft while being inside of minecraft like its real life is the coolest thing ever
I can't think of a better way to wrap up this blog post than by sharing some pictures and video from our day.

Learning Project Spark from an online tutorial

Getting ready to apply new knowledge in Project Spark
Creating a game world in Disney Infinity
Creating a game controller with the MakeyMakey and Playdough
Working with Redstone in Minecraft
Testing the game controller with the MakeyMakey and Playdough
More Redstone in Minecraft
Further crafting the game controller design
Almost done!