Monday, October 3, 2011


KABOOM! That's how I would describe my evening tonight. It came in two parts.

Part 1- Trying to Get PowerSchool to Work for Outcomes Based Reporting

I was happily working out how I can get Powerschool to do outcomes based reporting and having some great discussions on Twitter and Facebook about it. Here's what I was up to:

Yes I asked elementary teachers. They do standards based reporting better than most teachers. 

Basically I was crowd-sourcing my research. If you haven't done it, I highly recommend it. If you don't think you'll get a response, ask a Twitter high roller like @courosa or @shareski to retweet it for you. Those guys get results.

Some great advice and conversations came from this so I fashioned a diagram of what I want PowerSchool to do for me. Isn't that how these programs work? Teacher centred? :P

(Click image to enlarge)

What I want from Powerschool is to adjust the scale type so I can use a method of communicating the skills/competency based outcomes from the CTS curriculum. Almost all of them have some sort of verb that can not always be assessed at a percentage in the traditional sense of grading. 

With frequent blogging as their primary source of reporting their learning, along with daily team meetings,  project meetings with each student,  and knowing the outcomes WAY up front in the unit, I hope that this final piece of reporting their 'grade' will be a small portion of their learning. Student will review their blogs with me and we will go over each of the outcomes they have reported on in their blogs. 

More on that in another post. 

Part 2- KABOOM! Holy $h!t! This is amazing! 

I just started to follow @bre on Twitter. Bre Pettis is the co-founder of Makerbot Industries. If you haven't heard of them, check them out online. They've basically taken 3D printing and made it accessible and affordable for almost anyone. I've ordered 2 makerbots with funds a generous donation from Imperial Oil to my classroom. The plan is to use the bots (two or more are affectionately known as a farm) and learn 3D modelling and printing along side the students. Just check out this video where a makerbot user has created a dual extrusion model that is a scannable data matrix. You could actually print a QR code in physical plastic! 

What's amazing about this is that I'm going to get to bring some cool ideas to my class in terms of organization that I've been contemplating recently. One such idea is giving students 20% time on Fridays to pursue modelling and design projects of their own interest. 

Tonight @bre tweeted something FREAKING AMAZING. 

There is a wonderful person named Liz Arum who has created a Makerbot curriculum that is aligned to NY state standards. This wiki has tons of great project ideas for use with the Makerbot. I'm going to have to spend a while searching through it to see how the projects could align with the Alberta Ed CTS courses, but what a find! 

This was my response:

On her blog Liz wants to build up a community of teachers who can share ideas and lessons. I'm so impressed by her willingness to share that I now feel compelled to, and I look forward to contributing to the cause once we get rolling in my class! 

Now if I can just get to sleep after all this!