|Image by James Allen|
Next week is our 2nd annual #KyGoPlay challenge. To participate, all people have to do is pledge to play for one hour. It could be to play to learn or to take time out to play to give yourself as break - and you only have to do it for 1 hour total.
The idea to encourage teachers to play to learn and to try to create some awareness about the benefits of playing came from a #KyEdChat side discussion one night with James Allen, Marty Park and Chris Walsh. The discussion got James and I moving and before long we had some research and an idea.
Finding time to play to learn and share with others isn't always easy when you're teaching all day and managing an after school life. But the benefits can be tremendous. To try to further highlight those benefits, James and I hosted a session at our KLA/KASL Fall conference that just provided librarians with the chance to play. We hauled in a green screen, Makey-Makey, Google Cardboard, Littlebits, Minecraft, and more. We had informal conversations and did demos and gave people space to figure things out for themselves. It was amazing! People were excited and ready to try things.
After that one hour session we decided to try to go bigger. We reached out to some great folks that we know at KySTE to see if we could host an ISTE style Playground where people came with the intent to play and learn. As it turned out, they were already working with Mary Ann Rankin and Ryan Kellinghaus the NKYMakerspace to establish an area in the vendor hall, and before we knew it we had an entire room for an entire day of the KySTE16 conference.
With the help of some awesome educators and students we were able to have live demos of all kinds of things like: a Double robot, augmented reality to
virtual reality including Google Expeditions, to MinecraftEDU on the biggest screen ever. We were also lucky enough to have people demonstrating how to use a Makerbot 3D printer, X-carve and 3D Doodlers and a green screen.
We also had a number of maker style challenges to give people a chance to get their hands on some materials. The button maker, while fairly popular, did keep jamming on us (thank goodness there were people there with tools to fix it a few times an hour). We also had an LED challenge, a Build It challenge that
included Brain Flakes and straws and connectors, a Found Art challenge with Washi tape and Wikki Stix, a ST(R)EAM challenge that encouraged people to combine resources from all the areas - LEDs, Art, Build it etc to create something STEAM + Reading inspired. In the green screen area participants got to hear about how to use iMovie and DoInk to record Green Screen videos. And the NKYMakerspace crew and some great projects available to talk to people about and even worked on creating a sign using collage techniques and a vinyl printer.
With all the variety, the day flew by. I'm extremely grateful to the folks at KySTE and NKYMakerspace for working with us on this experience.
Here's a snapshot of the day and some of the fun things that were happening. Hopefully next week, you'll get out and #KyGoPlay to learn something new:)