The Philadelphia School is exploring joining the First Lego League (FLL) for the 2016-2017 season. This year will mark the inaugural year for the after-school club, which will be the exploratory cohort during the 2015-2016 exhibition year. Two members of the Technology Department enlisted in FLL coach training to learn the best mentoring tactics, helpful robotic-building tips, and computer programming advice. Penn's world-renowned GRASP Robotics Lab hosted the event on August 1st where soon-to-be coaches were instructed on the specifics of FLL missions, projects, challenges, and strategies.
Elijah Beale, TPS's Technology Support Specialist, participated in the Bootstrap Workshop, a three-day event where teachers learned how to create video games using the scaffolded concepts of algebra. The intensive courses, which were also held at Penn, pushed teachers to try activities and participate in staged classes from the Bootstrap Curriculum. The workshop offered time to speak with other teachers, discuss gamification pedagogy, and test out materials as well as software. Elijah collaborated with other teachers to create his own video game based on the lessons each teacher completed.
Matt Murray, TPS's Technology Integrator, attended the first-ever Edcamp-DVIS held in Penn's Cohen Hall on August 6th. Edcamp professes the power of PD in the guise of the "unconference" model where teachers, administrators, and students alike interact and learn from each other in volunteer-led breakout sessions. Voice and choice are emphasized as anyone can start a conversation or share a talent. Matt, who acted as one of the social media marketing coordinators for the event, found the day's worth of discussions to be illuminating. Engaging topics such as teaching with cultural relevancy, harnessing the power of Google apps and extensions, and filming five-minute movies in 50 minutes were all inspiring moments that Matt hopes to share with his fellow teachers.