Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Building STEAM Momentum

We Launched our 3rd annual STEAM Fest this week with a short Animoto teaser.

We love Animoto and have so or year. It lets us create short, dynamic videos on the go with a minimum of fuss.

Now that STEAM Fest has been launched we want to help our kids and possibly inspire them through weekly exposure to cool innovations from around the world. STEAM Fest is about innovating and solving problems and it is also empowering our kids, by providing the opportunities to dream, the tools and support to design, and often the materials with which to create and build their own innovations.

I would like to share our first Innovation Spotlight with you and ask that you encourage your children to not only dream but to discover ways to make those dreams reality through active learning experiences.

Please click here to view the video.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Thinking About STEAM Fest 2018

The 3rd annual STEAM Fest will take place on Friday, March 9th, 2018.
It is time to start thinking about how you will make a difference in your local community or even globally through an innovative project.

Check out our first STEAM Fest Trailer, get inspired and get involved.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Library 2017 Makerspace Conference

The LRC will be presenting a session on STEAM in the LRC, today at the 2017 Makerspace conference. 

This is the link to register, as well as access the schedule of powerful PD sessions for the event.

Do consider joining us to learn how we make the most of free and low cost,  accessible resources in mobile maker spaces, in lessons in clubs as well as outside of lessons. 

The session will be in Spanish and recordings will be available shortly after.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Changes to Our Maker Space

The Maker Space, which we started 2 years ago, has gone through quite a few changes.

This year we moved a few things around and ordered quite a few new kits and tools based on feedback from teachers and students as well as our own observations on how space was used. We have also enlarged the space it occupies to include one of our large work tables with better access to power.

We have reorganised and redefined areas, but possibly the biggest change is the attention the Science Nook is getting. This can be found at the back of the maker space just in front of the ICT Lab. It now sports microscopes, solar panel robot kits, circuit blocks, engineering kits, board games and more. The students also have access to our 3D printer and printing pens and a good selection of appropriate magazines and books for young scientists, engineers, tinkers and thinkers.

The LRC Maker Club has already started and the response has been great. Over the summer we received a long awaited shipment of replacement 3Doodler Pens. We had the opportunity to view them in action and chat with the company representatives at the annual ISTE Conference and were convinced the 3Doodler Start pens were the way to go. They are non-toxic the tips do not get hot and they were 3Doodler, the only company whose pens has stood up to the rigours of our maker space and ICT lessons. We weren't disappointed.

Have a look at some of the initial designs done by the students during their first lesson.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

DVA 2017

The PAC was jam packed and the air crackled with anticipation, as the lights went down and the show began.  DVA 2017 commenced with special introductions and welcomes, two powerful musical performances, videos from across the school and from special guests, as well as three exhilarating dance performances by the 11th-grade circus groups. These were just a few highlights from the evening and then came the winning categories...

The quality of our student video work has skyrocketed in recent years. Each year we share these successes with the ABC community through our annual Digital Video Awards. DVA 2017-Film Makers of the Future,  was a huge success full of amazing student video submissions.

This year's DVA was unique in a great many ways, one being the opening up of the event to participants from other schools. This year it was our honour to host, the American School and Acton Academy, whose students took home quite a few awards in different categories.

G-Suite and DVA
We ran the entire event out of G-Suite including voting forms and folders of videos, which is the reason our student DVA videos are not on our Youtube Channel yet.  The beauty of this system is the low noise surroundings that the G-Suite folders provide and the privacy it affords our students and their work. It is also an internal system which not only allows us to apply certain restrictions to voters, embed video content,  and view the results on the go, as well as when we close the polls.

G-Suite played a huge part in the planning as well. Meetings were run through Docs, to-do lists were managed through Keep and posters produced through Slides. The entire program was a huge Google Doc and the internal structure of the event was contained within a series of shared folders in Drive.

Back to the Event
This year's theme was SciFi so we were able to reuse a few of our props from DVA 2016-Star Wars. Glow sticks and black lighting abounded. The photo booth was topped off by a portal containing a rotating psychedelic swirl and the stage was decked out in fluorescent curtains of dots, somewhat reminiscent of the late 1960s.

This year we brought our 12th grade Film student Victor back as part of the committee and as was the case last year,  he produced the entire main video production for the evening. We introduced a new award this year to honour Victor's Work throughout his ABC journey, the VHS Director's Award. VHS may bring to mind obsolete video cassettes, however, that is a sweet coincidence. The initials also belong to our top Film student, Victor.

It is difficult to describe the goings on of such a large event. Sometimes pictures speak more than words and this is one such case.

Here is a link to our DVA Flickr Album which truly helps one understand the mood of the evening and captures much of the action.

Monday, March 27, 2017

STEAM Fest 2017

Our Anual STEAM Fest was a huge success!

If you would like to read up on the prep, please click here.

This STEAM Fest, our school maker faire, was different in some ways than STEAM Fest 2016, in that the students defined the projects from day one. Last year, was our first attempt and we found that we ended up supplying a list of potential projects for students to sign up for. This year that wasn't necessary as staff and students had been through the process once before and had a good idea of what it is they would be taking on.

This year we tried something new. We live streamed our event to our School's Facebook pages. Several members of staff wandered the various venues with roaming cell phones and filmed, interviewed and talk with participants throughout the day, following a published schedule.

We found this really useful as we were able to open up the event to parents and families who were unable to attend. They were able to tune in o the event at given times to view the action.

Here is a short video from the auditorium, we took using Facebook Live Stream.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words.
Here is a link to our Flickr Gallery from the event. It speaks for itself.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

IT Security in ITGS

The 11th grade ITGS students were learning about security issues this past week as well as how to avoid them and how to deal with them. They were asked to put a short video together to explain these concepts and did so over the course of two lessons.

The first step, after deciding on a focus was for them to identify key terminology and language they planned on using. Next,  they wrote short scripts and began their recordings. It was great to observe the variety of methods and applications they chose to produce their videos.

Here are three out of the many examples, compiled into one video. In these cases the students opted for Powtoon, whiteboards, and drawings, as well as presentation videos, in that order.


Monday, February 20, 2017

A Better World 2017

Each year our 6th grade students take part in the A Better World Project, an ABCICT global initiative.

During the project, students explore global issues, learn about the UN SDGs and engage in research activities, while fine-tuning their research skills. They learn search strategies, evaluate websites and learn how to take notes.

As the project progresses, the students apply their learning in a variety of creative ways.
They choose one global issue per pair and collaboratively write rap songs. Later, they mix music tracks on the iPads and record themselves singing using Garageband.  They create music videos using singing avatars created in Tellagami, Chatterpix and CrazyTalk,  and also record a few live shots, usually in front of a green screen. All of this footage is finally compiled in student produced, music videos. They use both DoInk's Green Screen App and iMovie on the school iPads to edit and render their videos.

All of this work is uploaded at certain stages,  throughout the process,  to student Google Sites and reflected upon.

The project is now winding down for the year, the plan being to have students finish off their sites and reflect this week.

Here is a preview of two student rap songs that we are quite proud of.

Do check back in a few weeks, to view the final project list for 2017.

Friday, February 3, 2017

STEAMing Along on Our Way to STEAM Fest 2017

This year's STEAM Fest is going to be bigger and better than last year's in a variety of ways. 

The number are in and the response has been overwhelming, from our  6th grade to 12th grade students.  Close to 100 students, from across Secondary have now formed teams and volunteered to plan and develop a STEAM project for this year's event. 

This doesn't take into account teachers, nor does it include the hundreds of  Primary students who will be working diligently in their lessons, on their projects as well. Upper Primary will present one final project per class, as well as several ICT projects, at this year's event.

The Logo Competition

Several students from both Primary and Secondary challenged themselves to design a new logo for this year's STEAM Fest, based on our new Motto which is: MAKEe a Difference, Think Globally, Act Locally!  The Logo Competition winners have been chosen and we have two of them.

The design below was created by combining both winning logos. These were selected from a collection of submissions as the ones that best illustrated our new Motto. 

BTW: You may recognise the last part of that motto. It isn't our own, in fact, we have borrowed it. If you would like to know more about this interesting quote you may want to start with this interesting  Wikipedia article about it.

Here is the winning announcement which will go out to students and staff this today.

The Mini Maker Faire: as mentioned previously, was a great success. 
Here is a short video and the link to our photo gallery on Flickr.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

STEAM Fest Mini Maker Meet-Up

Our second annual STEAM Fest event will take place on March 10th this year. In fact, STEAM Fest will officially kick off Science Week instead of closing it as it did last school year.
This year's motto is: MAKE a Difference-Think Globally, Act Locally

While we have been meeting as a core committee over the last few months, and promoted it in various ways around the school, the real action and visible preparatory activities have just gained momentum.

The kids were introduced to STEAM Fest prior to Christmas Holidays in order to start gathering up their ideas and building their teams. Upon return to school in January, student project sign up began for a spot at the Fair. The deadline to fill in the Google Form  was last Friday, January 13th however, we left the intentionally left the receiving responses option activated on the Google Form and it has paid off.  We have had a continuous flow of submissions over this past week as well.

We are taking things up a notch this Friday. The predominately 10th, 11th and 12th grade STEAM Team leaders who have been actively speaking to students across Secondary in Assemblies, will be running a Mini Maker Meet-Up at the cafeteria during lunch time. As soon as the bell rings they will roll down a mobile maker cart and run 2 different activities of their own choice,each.

These activities are designed to capture student interest, imagination and enable everyone to have a  'taste' of some of our newer Gadgets, and design activities as well as encourage additional groups to sign up a project.

Below are the photos from the event.
If you would like to learn more about STEAM Fest 2017 or STEAM Fest 2016 have a look at our Official Website.

Please click here to view the entire gallery on flickr.

Mini Maker Meet-up STEAM Fest Preparation

Join the STEAM Team student leaders tomorrow (Friday) in the cafeteria, at lunch time.