Week 11 Reflection

This week’s essential question had me reflecting on what I have been doing to keep current with 21st century skills. After reading the blogs of my peers I was reminded that I had forgotten to include some of the tech tools I use in my week 11 blog posting. Cindy shared that she uses Edutopia and Twitter to stay current with 21st century skills. I too have found Titter to be a useful tool for technology and teaching resources. Scott’s blogged that he would like to take a leadership approach to professional development. I think that it’s a great idea that he wants to share what he is learning in the UAS master’s program with other teachers. I feel it’s important for teachers to share and collaborate with one another just as we would expect our students to.

In commenting on the blog’s of my peers I tried to share resources. I shared a video on Cindy’s blog that I saw during a conference I attended. This week I am working on getting my Makerspace proposal finished and working on the last few Arduino projects.

#uasrobotics Week 11

Essential Question: How have you, and will you continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?

Obtaining a Master’s in Educational Technology has definitely helped me stay current with 21st century teaching skills. Before entering the UAS Ed. Tech program I sought out professional development that would help me stay current with teaching and technology trends. When I taught in a rural village in Alaska I was fortunate to attend many different teaching conferences. Thoughtful Learning lists 21st century skills as:

Learning Skills

  • Critical Thinking
  • Creative Thinking
  • Collaborating
  • Communicating

Literacy Skills

  • Information Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Technology Literacy

Life Skills

  • Flexibility
  • Initiative
  • Social Skills
  • Productivity
  • Leadership

As an educator I try to do my best to foster all theses skills in my classroom. Taking UAS courses has helped a great deal. Last year being an instructional technology teacher I learned a lot about integrating technology and technology tools from my colleagues.

Most of the responsibility of staying current with 21st century skills is on the teacher, however I believe that administration, school board members and community members also have a responsibility to help teachers stay current. Districts need to integrate time and money into quality professional development that allows teachers to learn 21st century skills. My district was looking at budget cuts for the 2015-16 school year. Last year the district planned on a new laptop roll out for teachers for 2015-16. It was decided that because the district needed to cut the budget that teachers would not be getting new laptops. One idea that was presented to the board was having teachers share their laptops. A comment was made that some teachers only use their laptops for checking email and entering grades. Along with other cuts the district decided to make cuts to instructional technology teachers. The instructional technology teachers taught lessons across grade levels to ensure all students received equitable technology opportunities. They also coached teachers and helped with technology troubleshooting issues. My point is, if we can’t get stakeholders i.e. administration, school board members and community members to understand the importance of technology then how can we expect teachers too.

According to Martinez & Stager (2013), “Failure to embrace the kids’ competence, capacity, and creativity leads educators to deprive children of opportunities to achieve their potential. Worst of all, it cheats children out of the rich 21st century childhood they deserve.” I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I believe that it is important as a teacher to stay current with skills. Not only because it will make me a better teacher, but most importantly it will positively effect my students and prepare them for their future. As stated by Stevens (2011), “It’s up to educators to find the best ways to integrate technology in fulfilling curriculum requirements.” I will continue to do my best to incorporate technology into my classroom and seek out professional development, while collaborating with educators in the hopes to stay current with educational and technological trends in education.


Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Stevens, M. (2011). 21st-Century learner. National Education Association. Retrieved July 28, 2015, from http://www.nea.org/home/46989.htm

Thoughtful Learning. (2014). What are 21st century skills? Retrieved July 28, 2015, from http://thoughtfullearning.com/resources/what-are-21st-century-skills

Week 10 Relfection

Another great week for getting information and ideas from my UAS colleagues. This week’s essential question asked us to align our makerspace with our district’s technology plan. In my comments this week I mentioned one or two things I agreed with or liked from their blog posting. Megan shared how her district uses an art camp at the end of the year to motivate students to come to school. I know I always feel exhausted in the last few weeks of the school year. Students seem to misbehave because they are also ready for summer break. The snow starts melting and students and teachers want to get out and enjoy the weather. Having some sort of camp i.e. art or maker would be a good way to focus students, after state testing and in the final few weeks of school. Theresa shared a makerspace video that I enjoyed watching. It was neat to see students share why the makerspace was important to them. It was also neat to see the makerspace coordinator, the school librarian, share tips for makerspace ideas and organization.

I am working on my makerspace website and this week’s blog will be added to my website in the hopes that FNSBSD admin understand the importance of my makerspace.

#uasrobotics Week 10

Essential Question: Why does “YOUR SCHOOL NAME HERE” need a makerspace?

The mission of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District is to provide an excellent and equitable education in a safe, supportive environment so all students can become productive members of a diverse and changing society.

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District

Mission Statement

The Fairbanks school district’s mission is to encourage students to become productive members of society. Incorporating makerspaces into schools can prepare students for future skills and careers. As stated by Schwartz (2014), “Kids want to make an impact on the world and very often they are more motivated by contributing to the common good than to anything else.” Makerspaces encourage students to collaborate, create and share in skills and concepts. Makerspaces is where authentic learning and problem solving take place. According to the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Technology Plan, one of the district’s goals is to prepare students for a world rich in technology with appropriate 21st century skills and knowledge. Objective 1.5 in the FNSDSB Technology Plan is to investigate new technologies to support student learning and achievement (p.4). Makerspaces encourage students to use and create new technology while learning. Objective 1.7 in the FNSDSB Technology Plan is to investigate and develop educational structures to optimize the use of technology to improve student learning (p.4). Makerspaces are educational structures that can be used to teach rigorous problem solving concepts as well as encourage the use of technology.

Mrs. Gryga’s Makerspace

Mission: To allow students to create, learn and collaborate with their peers. Students will build activities/projects based both on curriculum and student interests. The Makerspace will be aligned to state, district and ISTE standards.

Students will be given 60 minutes once a week on Fridays to plan and design projects.


  • Foster creativity and confidence in each student.
  • Develop educational contexts that connect making to curriculum and state standards.
  • Promote a creative space within which significant engagement and idea sharing takes place.
  • Encourages open dialogue and collective contribution

Creating a classroom makerspace is an opportunity to give students ownership of their own learning as they explore their own passions.

Martinez & Stager (2013)

Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom

School makerspaces encourage students to become teachers and share their knowledge with others. As stated by Martinez & Stager (2013), “We have an obligation to build upon the technological fluency the students bring to us, expand learning opportunities, and amplify human potential.” North Pole Elementary School needs a makerspace to encourage students to obtain/promote essential skills that will prepare them for their future and encourages them to become productive members of society.


Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved July 21, 2015, from www.k12northstar.org/about

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. (n.d.). Technology plan 2014-2017. Retrieved July 21, 2015, from http://www.k12northstar.org/sites/default/files/fnsbsdedtechplan2014-2017_0.pdf

Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Schwartz, K. (2014, September 4). How to turn your school into a maker haven. Retrieved July 21, 2015, from http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/09/04/how-to-turn-your-school-into-a-maker-haven/

Week 9 Reflection

This week I hit a wall with my Arduino projects. I was having issues with getting them to work. Then I realized that the few projects I have left to complete in the book require a 9 Volt battery, which I did not have. I went to the store and purchased some 9 Volt batteries, so that I can try those projects during the next maker Google hangout.

This week’s essential question was a little overwhelming for me. One, because I am not sure what the school I will be working at will have as far as resources and space for a maker day. And two, because I don’t feel confident enough to fill a whole day with maker activities. For my first issue I decided to base my ideas as if I was working at my prior school and in my maker day plan I didn’t go into a ton of details about my activities. I mostly planned the structure of what I would want and why. For my second issue I decided it would probably be okay to start small (baby steps), so for my comfort level I think I would actually do a maker night about 2-3 hours of making rather than a full day. In a few years after experience and comfort level increasing then I could try and host a whole day of making. I also think it would be great to eventually host a maker day for teachers as professional development. In Scott’s blog he shared a video where teachers were taking part in a maker day as professional development learning about the importance of making in the classroom. If we want teachers to try and incorporate “making” into their classrooms, they will need exposure and training. Megan blogged that she wanted to try a few different coding activities as part of her maker day, but that she wasn’t sure what to use for her primary students. I shared some coding app resources with Megan that I have learned about and used over the past year as an ITT.

Lastly this past Saturday the public library had a celebration for their summer reading program. They had tables set up with different crafts, hand tattoos, and cookie decorating. As I watched my kids go from station to station, I thought…they could do this with “maker” activities. One table could have robotics, one could be building with blocks/Legos/K’Nex, and one table could have arts and crafts supplies. It would be a great way to get the word out to the community about “maker” spaces and the importance of them for students.