Thursday, April 24, 2014

Future Entrepreneurs

Our student 'companies' have been formed and students applied for positions such as President and VPs of Design, Manufacturing and Finance.  I have been using this website to pull articles for my students to read and learn about aspects of starting a company such as naming their company and creating their logo.  We studied a variety of company's logos to see trends, patterns, and colors.  They then worked on designing their own company logo initially through sketching and then in 3D on Tinkercad.  The product ideas have been incredible.  One company is creating a tool to undo too-tightly-tied shoelaces and called their company 'Untangled.'  Another is working on candy sugar sculptures and dub themselves 'Sugart.'  One is working on creating ways to carry i-devices AND other belongings and call themselves 'I-Keep.'

The process of 3D design has been interesting.  It hasn't been as easy as we thought to transfer ideas to a new way of viewing the world.  In the case of I-Keep, the students struggled with the idea of how to make the backpack attach to the letter 'I' until one of them came in and thought of attaching a ring through the spherical 'backpack' and connecting it to the 'I.'

Student company logo souvenir

It's been incredible to see just how our ideas can come to life with technology.  Innovation is possible on a completely different level.

Student logo souvenirs printing two at a time on Makerbot Replicator 2

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Celebrating Students

Code.org is highlighting students who are changing the world by coding and this week, one of my students was honored as their "Student of the Week."  His interview and links to his apps and creations can be seen at this link.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Oh, the things you can make!

We started this week with our new project-based learning unit with the driving question:  What makes businesses successful and innovative?  Along with this, we'll be diving into the entrepreneurial cycle, innovation, and much more.  Integral to all of this is students working in 'companies' to create and design a new product, protoyping it using a 3D printer, the Makerbot Replicator.  To introduce the whole concept of innovation, I had the students brainstorm the differences and similarities between innovating and inventing.  So interesting - one student responded with an analogy - "Well, inventing is like creating a program in Scratch and innovating is like remixing someone else's program."

I then showed them two short videos to review how Makerbot replicator and digitizer works and had them write the steps down - practice functional text applications.



After this, I showed them three videos from Makerbot's site about explorers who have used it to invent, create, refine, and benefit humanity.  We talked about how people collaborated from different continents to create.  How Makerbot facilitates the design process.  How it is so easy to 'tweak,' 'remix,' and try out new versions of the same design.  How they used Makerbot to solve problems and create solutions.  How they are inspired to do the same in their lives.  One student came up to me after class and asked me how much a Makerbot cost because she wants to print prosthetic legs for a family friend who lost limbs in a war.  In the words of one my students, "Makerbot is the door to opportunity."