I have just returned from the NCGS STEM Symposium where Mr. Geeky and I were on a panel together. We had originally submitted a presentation on the partnership we’ve developed between his students and mine, but we ended up on a panel about the pipeline. It was really interesting and a lot of fun to do. Because we have children that can’t be left at home, we brought them along. We left them at the hotel for the first half of the day, and brought them over in time for our session, the last one of the day. They sat in the back taking photos of us and seemingly listening — hard to tell. At the end, Geeky Boy asked a question about the relationship between teachers and students and got several responses. He’s decided he likes conferences and wants to go to more. We might have a future academic on our hands.
We also spent some time with a couple of teachers and another professor from Wellesley. Mr. Geeky has new computing platform he’s working on that is not only good for college level teaching, but has appealed to K-12 teachers (me among them, of course). A couple of teachers contacted him and we met them for dinner and talked CS curriculum and robotics. They were very nice people and I look forward to sharing resources and working with them. I’m jealous of their positions–they are in a full CS department where CS is required starting in 6th grade! It sounds awesome.
The next day, we met physics professor, Robbie Berg from Wellesley who does a lot of work with robotics and microcontrollers. He helped design the Pico boards I have played around with a bit, and that I’m working on a way to work into some of what I do with my middle schoolers. We got to see his robotics studio, where they have not only a ton of legos and microcontrollers, but a laser cutter, a 3-D printer, and some other cool equipment.
We had planned to hang around the next day and do some sightseeing in Boston, but it started to rain, and we were exhausted, so we decided to just head home. We’re planning to make another trek in that direction, perhaps later this summer. I think this was a good trip for us and the kids. It was really the first time they’d seen us in a professional setting, talking about our work with others. They hear it a lot around the house, and, of course, Geeky Girl sees me in the classroom, but it’s different to see how other people react and to participate in the conversation. They both got a good sense of what college is really like, another bonus to our trip.