SEED Workshop for Students and Teachers
SEED Workshop for Students and Teachers
Collecting a sample of the school's drinking water for testing
Building a GoGo Board
Wiring fire alarm in a model building
2-4 December 2003 [Reynosa, Mexico]
SEED team members, MIT graduate students and fifty students and teachers from three SEED schools came together December 2 to 4, 2003 in Reynosa, Mexico for the second in a series of SEED Workshops for Students and Teachers.
These workshops are very special events. Participants and facilitators gather to learn together, explore their curiosity and build with their hands. SEED workshops encourage participants to develop projects that have a personal interest to them. In this particular workshop, they were challenged to address the quality and availability of water in Mexico.
The participants include both students and their teachers in approximately equal numbers. They work together on projects in a collaborative way that is not common in their formal schooling.
At the opening of the workshop, the facilitators introduced what was going to happen over the next few days in order to help people chose what they wanted to do using a variety of technological tools: HDL, GoGo boards, and MicroMundos.
These software and hardware tools have their roots in the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is famous for it’s cutting edge learning technologies. Michael Tempel, SEED Educational Programs Manager, has been affiliated with MIT for many years and has seen the significant impact that learning technologies can have on a classroom environment. “I think that adding in these experiential, discovery-based tools for learning has a transformative impact on students’ understanding and knowledge development”.
HDL is an electronic publishing tool developed in the late 1990’s. Students can go online, access a server at the Media Lab, put their stories in baskets, fill out forms for the content they would like displayed, place names, titles, images and with the press of a button the whole presentation goes online. It is used around the world to ease the process of web publishing.
Students took pictures of the various workshop activities and projects, documented their experiences and the learning processes they went through. Students were excited to use HDL as a tool to share their projects with students and teachers who were unable to be part of the workshops.
“The first time we used HDL,” said Carla Gomez of MIT, “we expected them to use it as a diary but to our surprise, they used it in a very structured, goal-oriented way to create presentations that could be delivered to a formal audience.”
The GoGo board is a small computer that is mainly used for educational projects. Learners can use the board to control robots, sense and log various environmental data, create game controllers, build interactive art installations, and so much more.
MicroMundos is a computer program that participants used for creating simulations animations and presentations. With MicroMundos they can explain and present their ideas from concept through to completion. Students identify a problem, come up with scenarios to solve the problem and then model it using the software.
The technological tools were set up in different rooms throughout the school and students were able to choose what they wanted to explore.
– Jorge Garcia
– Simone Amber
– Silvio Bresciani
The robotics lab was high energy. Students were involved and engaged. The lab was crowded and bustling with activity. One group of students built a robot to take a water sensor down a well to check its level and quality. They also built a robotic house and added on an alarm system and fire alarm.
In addition to using the GoGo boards in their projects, participants could, if they wanted to, build a GoGo board for themselves. The idea of actually constructing a working computer was very compelling. And to have the components all fit together and then work, was fantastic! Student Pedro Dimas, after experiencing the workshop said, “it’s up to the student to find the answers. I learn more this way than when someone tells me. GoGo boards can create amazing things, I never thought a robot could do whatever you wanted it to do…they tell you a problem and then send you off to find the answers and give you clues but it’s up to you to find the answers. And my robot worked!”
Participants also used MicroMundos to construct a model, animate it and tell their stories. Playing with their ideas creatively seemed to open up student imagination. One project was an animated presentation showing the collection and testing of water samples from a well by a robot.
In another project students proposed recycling water from the chemistry lab instead of just dumping it down the drain. The Reynosa workshop built on projects developed at an earlier workshop in Villahermosa on the theme of water. SEED provided water quality testing kits that were used to test the drinking water in the school.
After the Workshop
Following the Reynosa workshop, some teachers decided that it would be powerful to engage other teachers in their school. They set up a three-day mini-workshop in MicroMundos during their winter break and invited teachers from their school who had not been at the SEED workshop to attend. Teachers came to experience a different learning environment, use MicroMundos and learn from their fellow teachers.
The seed has been planted and students and teachers are taking the ideas, concepts and techniques they learned to the next level, continuing to develop their projects and share them with other students and teachers in Mexico and in SEED schools around the world.
SEED Workshops for Students and Teachers began in September 2003 when the initial workshop was held in Villahermosa for participants from the seven SEED schools in Mexico. Since then, follow-up workshops have been held in Reynosa and Mexico City. A second national workshop is scheduled for November 2004.
The program has expanded to other countries as well with a workshop in Cairo, Egypt in June 2004 and another planned for Mumbai, India in November 2004.