Friday, January 31, 2014

The evolution of affordable 3D Printing.

3D printing is already making waves. Soon it will be a part of each of our lives, and eventually maybe the way we purchase and create most of our things. Just like the dot matrix days, it all starts with a simple product that can deliver a reliable result. From there the industry takes off and eventually you have an affordable technology with many improvements that we see with color laser and ink jet printers today. MakerBot has given us that dot matrix printer, and now we are starting to see technology branch out in many directions from that one brilliant idea.

Here are some ground breaking advancements in 3D printing that I believe will keep moving us towards large scale, multi use, personal fabrication machines.

Stratasys, has begun work on multi-color, multi material machines. While these are built for the professional currently, it is easy to see that this might become part of our homes.

The construction of houses might never look the same. Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis has been working on a project to allow a 3D printer to construct a house in just 24 hours. This could be a wildly amazing technology that will transform architecture in a big way. Imagine neighborhoods of houses constructed by methods that can build designs and shapes that were simply not possible with past methods of construction. That will give designers a great deal of power in the years to come.

Printing in plastic is one thing, but in order to build really useful items a bit more strength is needed. MarkForged is working on a project that will bring us the first Carbon Fiber 3D printer. This technology would allow designers to build using a material that has the strength to be used for all sorts of projects.

And finally the 3D printed pizza. Its true, cooking might not be the same. You might be able to engineer your foods, print them with needed medicines and healthy ingredients, and make them into all sorts of fancy shapes that where never possible before. This really could change how people eat all over the world, and on mars.

Top apps for learning to code.

When I am working with teachers and staff members of schools that have embraced technology, eventually I am asked which apps are best for teaching students how to code.  There isn't a quick and easy answer to this.  There are lots of resources for different age groups, and some of the best resources actually are not apps at all.  Here are a few applications and websites that I think can be utilized in the classroom to help students learn the fundamentals of computer coding.

Move The Turtle. Programming For Kids - Next is Great

Lightbot - Programming Puzzles - LightBot Inc.

Kodable Pro - SurfScore

Hopscotch: Coding for kids, a visual programming language - Hopscotch Technologies

Treehouse: Learn Programming and Design - Treehouse Island Inc.

Koder Code Editor - Fauzan Hamdi

Codea - Two Lives Left

Textastic Code Editor for iPad - Alexander Blach

Cato's Hike: A Programming and Logic Odyssey - Hesham Wahba

Hakitzu Elite: Robot Hackers - Kuato Games

CodeToGo - Nathaniel Herman

Code Monkey - ToolUsr

Codosaurus - Grilled Bacon

CoffeeScript At Once - Tatsuya Tobioka

Diet Coda - Panic, Inc.

Jsany - JavaScript Anywhere - Tatsuya Tobioka

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pre-Requisite Skills Using iWork Pages for iPad

Free is always a good thing in education, and now that Apple has released apps like Pages for free, teachers and students everywhere will be using it more often.  It really is a great software application.  For students it is a great solution because it offers no frills quick document editing that allows them to get right to the work, instead of the word art.  Those of you who have tried to work in office know what I mean. ;)

The following video is a quick walkthrough of all the features of the new Pages app.  Teaching your students how to use the app is a key step in having them be productive using their technology.  Once you learn the basics and give it a try, you will find that it really does work well and is a very valuable tool for education.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Apps for Kindergarten Counting and Cardinality K.CC.A.1

There are lots of apps in the Apple app store.  Sometimes it is very hard to find an app for a specific purpose.  Over the next few weeks I will be highlighting some apps that are aligned specifically to meet Common Core Standard objectives.

A complete alignment of apps can be found in the Common Core section of this website.  In particular Kindergarten math applications here:  While my project to align apps to the Common Core is far from complete, over the next couple months there will be significant work done to help teachers everywhere use technology more effectively through these lists.

For this first post I would like to highlight three math apps for counting to 100 by ones and by tens.

This is a very basic free app for kindergarten counting.  It assosiates the number with an image and allows students to visualize the numbers when they click on them.

This is a great little free app that uses the Hundred Board to get students to sequence numbers by finding them and counting along.

This next app is all about drawing your numbers.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Why teach 3D Printing Skills?

In order to really live a fulfilling life I believe you have to create, not just consume. In a world that has become great at selling us things, 3D printing is starting to give us the ability to create without limitations. Put this technology in the hands of people, and there is no limit to what they will create to make lives better.

In this video, Project Daniel headed up by Richard Van, makes a difference using 3D printing. This is an amazing time we live in. Technology has made it possible for one person to make a difference by creating something that just wasn't a possibility in any other time throughout history.

So why is it important to teach 3D printing skills? I believe it is essential to expose students to working in three dimensional space because that is the world they are going to grow up in. They need to have practice designing and working with objects beyond coloring or drawing ideas on paper. There is a better than good chance that students in school today will not have limitations on their ability to create. By giving them real challenges, and the tools to develop skills, you will be surprised by what this next generation will do for the betterment of society.

In early grades they should use apps that work with 3D objects. Apps like 123D Creature, allow students to make 3D models almost like working with clay. Later on Google Sketch up, Blender, and apple like AutoDesk 360 Mobile, can give students the opportunity to build just about anything they can think of.

By exposing students to this technology, they will build skills that will enable them to be innovators in this next era, where 3D printing will become just another part of our lives.