STEM and Innovation in Honolulu
I just returned from Ignite Innovation, 2017, a conference sponsored by the Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was held at the Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership. I had the privilege of presenting the keynote, A Makerspace Toolbox, Inquiry-based STEM Labs. I focused on purpose and pedagogy of STEM education, and Maker labs in education.
Hawaii is stunning and the weather during my visit was perfect. Iolani School is a beautiful campus with open spaces, a spectacular makerspace, and large innovative places for collaboration. Iolani provides an excellent model for 21st century learning spaces.
One of the particular joys of working on the island was getting to enjoy the welcoming nature of everyone with whom I interacted. It is not surprising, given the setting, that this Iolani Saturday conference had a full house with enthusiastic, engaged educators.
Innovation was the focus of the day’s work. There were many presenters and much to explore and learn. Our TechTerra team was happy to share high tech and low tech tools for creating. The conference was dynamic and inspiring for the participants. It was a further reflection of educators' desire to add STEM and making into schools everywhere across the US and the globe.
In addition to the conference, our team had the opportunity to work with Iolani primary and secondary students. They were highly engaged and really a great group. I also had the chance to visit my nephew, Daniel Mawyer, in his classroom at Holy Family Catholic Academy. He’s a leader in robotics and inspires his students to strive toward their highest potential in STEM.
This coming month is full with conferences around the country. We kick March off with NCTIES in North Carolina, on to SXSWEdu in Texas and then CUE in California. Aloha and keep up with us at TechTerra Education!
Students from Iolani’s first grade giving Primo Toys Cubetto robot a lot of love
Loving Chibitronics STEAM activity, circuitry and art, dragons too
Iolani Conference educators create with Future Make 3D pen
Iolani Ignite Innovation Conference and member of Iolani’s Education Innovation Lab Patti Nagami, Huge thanks for letting us work with you!
TechTerra playground at Iolani Ignite Conference creating geometric big structures with Pitsco’s Large Structures
TechTerra had the chance to share Birdbrain Tech’s Finch robot with students and teachers
Students at Holy Cross working with the Office of Naval Research building underwater robot ROV SeaPerch
Holy Cross math & science teacher and robotics club coach Daniel Mawyer shares his student’s GameMaker projects
There were many new and really amazing edtech learning tools to be found at January’s Las Vegas’ CES, Orlando’s FETC, and London’s BETT. In fact we found dozens of great learning tools we can’t wait to explore. Here are highlights of some of our favorites.
In the area of robotics there were more codable robots, microcontroller and robotic kits than ever before. We finally had the chance to explore KUBO, the educational coding robot. We’d seen Kubo on Facebook and being hands-on with this robot was a pleasure. Our favorite aspect of this learning system was Kubo’s direct connection to literacy and math curriculum.
Another favorite of ours that we have been using for some time, now available in market, is Primo Toys Cubetto. Cubetto is an amazing tactile coding tool that can be used with children as young as 3. With their cube-shaped robot following the coded commands kids plug into the board, Cubetto has expansive versatility.
We also had time to explore Edbot, an interactive and educational robot that we will be keeping an eye on. This robot is for older students; they’re able to code him in Python and other languages. We are excited that a single Edbot can be shared by a full class of students.
We loved exploring KOOV, Sony Global Education’s connected robotics kit. Coding, design thinking, and robotics make up this kit for student innovation. KOOV has great ease of use and a really cool fun factor as well.
3D printers of all shapes and for all kinds of uses were there in force across these three January conferences. The XYZ DaVinci Nano and the XYZ DaVinci Mini Make are among our favorite 3D printers. At TechTerra we’ve been using the XYZ DaVinci Jr for quite a while. We were excited to see the XYZ DaVinci Mini Make, a smaller printer than the Nano, enter the 3D printing world. We’re confident that the excellent quality and high dependability we’ve come to expect with XYZ will continue with this new printer.
In addition to 3D printers, 3D pens have come into their own. A real game changer for the classroom is the Cool Ink 3D Pen by Future Make. A 3D pen that uses “cool ink”, safer and without the danger of the traditional extreme high temperatures of a heated filament, makes this technology a much better option for kids in the classroom.
Virtual reality was everywhere at each of these conferences. AR and VR are taking off in a big way in many different forms all over the globe. Some of the new VR tools we’re starting to work with include Octagon Studio’s collection of tools like their flashcards and wearables.
In addition to these fun tools, we had the opportunity to host SnapBench, a virtual world for collaborative design followed by physical 3D printing. We are extremely excited about this VR software and the ability students have to make anything they might imagine, and then hold that creation in their hands.
While January kicks off the season for new and developing products in the edtech world, February is just as exciting. Keep following our blog as we travel across the globe finding the best of edtech for you and for our schools!