By Michael Clark, TAG member, Southwestern Middle School, Deland, FL
I became a teacher because I like a challenge. I enjoy working in an environment that keeps me on my toes. I'm constantly searching for new approaches to deliver content that will prove more effective to and reach more students than ever before. I get excited learning about the latest and greatest educational technologies because it just keeps getting better. Technology is driving education in new directions, and I love being there for the ride!
Google SketchUp is a powerful tool resource that I use frequently in my classroom. I've used this program for a few years now with my sixth-grade STEM classes where students create 2-D and 3-D representations of their ideas. It's been useful in providing a visual road map for students as they work toward a solution to a given problem. We've also used SketchUp to design 2-D house floor plans, 3-D house models, prototype models, and .STL files for 3-D printing. Did I mention that it's free?
Issues tend to arise with 3-D Printing; therefore I've had to find some economical solutions. For example, printing student projects on paper is costly, antiquated, and doesn’t allow much room for collaboration. Padlet.com, a place to post projects in digital format, has become a staple in my classroom! What I like most is that it is free, is engaging, and promotes interaction among students. It's become my “traveling bulletin board,” housing an array of student work in a portfolio style format that can be shared easily with a single link.
Being a TAG member has been great because I get to collaborate with like-minded individuals that have a passion and drive for “all things STEM” from all over the country.
I’ve provided some of the first input on new Pitsco products and have really felt like a part of a team. Being a part of the Pitsco team has been an extension of the core principles I teach in my very own classroom – collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
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