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Water Interviews

As our Learn Deep Fellows kick off their first project this fall, we’re recruiting candidates who can meet in person or on-line for an interview with one of the teams of students from MPS and Glendale/River Hills middle schools involved in the effort.  Students participating in the project will explore what “clean” means to those who use or value water for specific purposes. This could include anyone concerned or excited about water quality, access, or technology, green infrastructure, urban agriculture, the health of the Great Lakes or Milwaukee watersheds, or other water issues.

For students, its a chance to understand both how water is used across the community, as well as the broad range of careers and interests that intersect with water access, use, delivery, and treatment. From the interviews collected, students will share stories of what clean water means to Milwaukeeans.

If you’d like to participate as an interview candidate, or know someone who make a good one, we’re collecting contact info and availability in a Google form here: https://bit.ly/LDFwaterInterviews

 

Collab Labs Return for Season Six!

Season six of our Collab Lab Series kicks off on October 14th. This year we’ll be back in-person at a new location– MSOE’s STEM Center.  The center was host to our STEM Studio sessions with the Learn Deep Fellows in August. The ample whiteboard space and standing tables of the Center’s Lab work well for collaborative efforts, and on-street parking should be much simpler.

Collab Lab 42, our first session of the season will focus on the series of water related projects the Learn Deep Fellows developed over the course of the STEM Studio sessions that they will run over the course of the 2021-22 school year.  Subsequent sessions will provide further occasions to explore with the Fellows the challenges and opportunities that come with engaging students in hands-on collaborative work focused on real-world challenges.

November – Prototyping/testing ideas
December – Working with community partners
February – Student experience
March – Connecting projects across grade levels
April – Fellows experience (what have we learned/how do we want to adjust)
May – Welcome Cohort II

Collab Labs will run from 5:30 to 8:00 pm on the 2nd Thursday of each month from October to May, with the exception of January.  They are free to attend, but space is limited, so we’ll ask you to register ahead of time.

We’ll be following MSOE’s Covid protocols for on campus meetings. At this point, that includes masks for all attendees, regardless of vaccination status.  As that policy changes, we’ll provide updated information in the details for each session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn Deep Fellows – Water Projects

Our Learn Deep Fellows wrapped up the STEM Studio workshop on Friday with a presentation and discussion of their projects to colleagues and program partners.  The projects developed over the course of the past two weeks focus on water, but are aimed at the much larger goals the fellows have for their students– that they can see a broad range of career possibilities, that they can see themselves as creators and that they think of themselves as someone who can make a difference in their community.  Those three goals led to a sequence of three projects which flow together over the course of the school year.

Our Water Our Stories

Students will talk with each other, people in their lives, and others in the broader community involved in the provision or use of water and tell the stories of what clean water means to our community.

Our Water, Our Design

Students will collaborate to design and build a prototype or model of a device to test water for qualities they care about.

Our Water, Our Community

Students will identify a location in their community, how it uses or is impacted by water, the issues posed by the current systems,
and propose an equitable, sustainable solution.

 

What’s Next?

Across the arc of the three projects, Fellows identified points in each project where students can collaborate with and support the work of their peers at other schools. While the timing will vary by school, Fellows will get students involved in the first project come October.  We’ll be working to build up pool of interview candidates that represent a broad range of perspectives on water and how it is used. If you’d like to participate as an interviewee, we have a sign up form for you here: https://bit.ly/LDFwaterInterviews

STEM Studio kicks off at MSOE

The STEM Studio sessions for our Learn Deep Fellows kicked off today at MSOE.  Over this week and next our Fellows will work together with input and support from community partners to design of real-word challenges focused on water.  Today’s work began with a focus on goals Fellows have for the program.  Through repeated cycles of asking “Why?” we saw those goals grow from tactical hopes for the skills students or teachers might development to visions our Fellows have for their students — that they can see themselves as creators, citizens, individuals who can make a difference in their community. We’ll use those much loftier goals drive the vision for projects knowing that we can hit the initial, tactical ambitions along the way.

We are grateful to MSOE’s We Energies STEM Center for hosting us over the next two weeks and look forward to covering any available surface with ideas and plans to engage students over the coming school year.

Welcome the first cohort of Learn Deep Fellows!

We’re excited to announce our inaugural cohort of Learn Deep Fellows! Both the participating teachers and their schools reflect the energy, passion and diversity that is Milwaukee. We look forward to learning with and from these teachers how to design Learning Experiences for every student in Milwaukee. They will be supported in their work by a great group of community partners from higher-ed, industry, and non-profits. That work kicks off in a couple of weeks with a workshop to surface ideas for innovative and challenging collaborative projects focused on water.

With a drum roll, please welcome:

Andrew S. Douglas Middle School (MPS)

  • Michelle Young – 6th, 7th, 8th grade; GE Innovation Lab
  • Stanley Levells – 7th & 8th grade Math

Audubon Technology & Communication Middle School (MPS)

  • Adrian Wade – 6th, 7th, 8th grade; GE Innovation Lab Instructor (6 – 12 schoolwide)
  • Amanda Glunz – Grade 8, 9-12 Computer Science

Glen Hills Middle School (Glendale/Riverhills)

  • Lalitha Murali – 6th 7th, 8th grade Enrichment classes
  • Jennifer Clark – 8th grade; Science and Green Team
  • Sarah Lapp – 6th grade Science
  • Chloe Stuesser – 7th grade Science

Hayes Bilingual (MPS)

  • Miguel Ramirez – 6th 7th, 8th grade; GE Innovation Lab

Rufus King International Middle School (MPS)

  • Susan Kridler – 7th grade Science/PLTW; GE Innovation Lab
  • Connor Morris – 7th grade Math

Wedgewood Park International Baccalaureate (MPS)

  • Elkin Hernandez – 6th 7th, 8th grade STEM
  • Theresa Johnson – 6th 7th, 8th grade PLTW and Computer Science
  • Jessica Buckley – 6th 7th, 8th grade Advanced Science/Social Studies/Science

Collab Lab 36: Recap & Notes

Last Week’s Collab Lab gave us a chance to share some updates on two projects we have running with students and the impacts we’ve see running those in a distance learning environment. That set up a longer conversation about what educators need as they look to engage their students in a real-world challenge.

Several of the concerns we talked through were issues prior to the pandemic:

  • How can I connect and work with local professionals who can offer domain expertise?
  • How can I figure out who I need to know in Milwaukee (beyond domain experts) to execute the project?
  • How do I get students to the point of figuring out what they want to explore?
  • How do I assemble a real audience for students to present to?
  • How do I get students to recognize that their teacher is not the audience?
  • How do I give students the experience of doing work in the real world?

Distance learning has imposed new concerns in taking on new challenges. Chief among these is gaining student engagement, but educators also struggle as the find effective ways to use distance learning technology. That this is so new to educators means that everyone is trying to figure things out at the same time. There is no colleague or expert to turn to for a definitive answer.

This, and the conversations that continued after we wrapped up the formal discussion, suggests to us that the key need for educators who want to engage their students in real-world work, particularly in a time of distance learning, is a network of colleagues who can offer support, ideas, and connections.

Collab Lab 35: Recap & Notes

We kicked off our 5th season of Collab Labs on Zoom last week with a discussion focused on what educators were running into in the early weeks of the school year. We started the conversation by asking about what folks are seeing themselves or hearing from other educators:

  • Stakeholder involvement pushes teachers and school leadership to learn fast
  • When we lose control, we latch on to what we can control, e.. following the rules
  • Star testing on Chromebooks without reliable internet/devices does not work
  • If students aren’t in synchronous session they miss out
  • How do you reach the students who don’t come back to engage? Students feel they are so far behind that they can’t catch up.
  • teachers are overwhelmed, too many subjects to go deep, how do you check for understanding?
  • One week before start of school, we were told we will be using PBL with our students.
  • Lack of student perseverance – checking out when it gets to be too difficult
  • how do you replicate observation in the classroom?
  • fear of making mistakes?
  • students go to community centers during the day– how do they help kids when kids have so much work to do. The partners need to understand what is useful to learning.
  • frustrated trying to get content across, frustrated with attendance. Cuts across city & suburban districts.
  • kids at same grade level show up at same daycare, all with different assignments.

That prompted some further discussion around getting above a tactical level…

  • we’re still trying to deliver curriculum rather than learning.
  • Rethink what is accountability?
  • how to use tech tools to level the playing field and create empathy among students?
  • how to use synchronous and a-synchronous teaching in a structured way.

…and what teachers/schools need to make this work:

  • creating ‘digital citizen culture’ for using technology to learn together
  • Why is presence needed for learning?
  • How do we use tools strategically
  • How does a person demonstrate learning?
  • How does a person demonstrate learning?
  • Lots of time up front how to use tools of virtual platform.

We wrapped up with the recognition that post Covid, schools will end up somewhere new:

  • Systems have been cobbled together overtime. Now we are starting fresh. Can we think about how we ought to fix this?
  • Can we create a new framework for learning experiences that gives students a choice of opportunities to pursue?

STEM Studio: Adopt a Storm Drain

Over the summer we were able to pull teachers from Golda Meir’s Middle School and Escuela Vieau together on Zoom with partners from Sweetwater, Caravela IoT, and MMSD for the design phase of our STEM Studio Adopt a Storm Drain project. We used a modified version of a customer journey map to map out the experience we wanted students to have, touch points with community partners, and connections back to curriculum standards. The project will kick off in the next few weeks as participating teachers have students monitor storm drains near their school or home to begin the research work that will prepare them to take on one of the following challenges:

  • How can we reduce the volume of litter and debris that collects near storm drains?
  • How can we leverage IoT sensors to detect when litter and debris has collected at a storm drain?
  • How can we safely remove litter and debris that has collected at a storm drain?

With teachers, curriculum specialists, and partners in on the design process from the beginning, we were able to map out an approach for a collaborative multi-disciplinary effort that will also give students a chance to explore computational tools. The program guide produced for the project provides an overview of the project structure, timing of project events, and links to resources the team wanted students to be able to leverage. That includes a simple model of waste collecting near, and washing down a storm drain we put together using Starlogo Nova that students can manipulate and revise.

This STEM Studio effort is made possible by a grant from Northwestern Mutual

Progress Report: Student-led Tech Support

We’ve been meeting weekly with students and staff from Golda Meir and Washington High School since we kicked things off this summer. The teams put together a quick survey that went out to students at both schools to capture issues their peers ran into during the first week of school. Those results confirmed a lot of what we heard from students over the summer, with a large percentages of students reporting issues connecting for class, getting their assignments, or having distance learning technology work as expected with at least one class.

The team from Golda is now working on two parallel paths– the first has been to define a process where students can step in to offer help. Most calls now run through a tech lead at the school. She’s been logging the types of issues folks are calling about so that we can get a sense of the volume of support requests. She will also be handing off a sample of those calls for students on the tech team to respond to. This will help us understand how well the support process envisioned works, and what students will need to have in place to respond to help requests.

While those experiments are running, we are using the Lean Startup Canvas to capture the team’s vision for effort. Our first pass focused on defining the customer, identifying what customer problems the team will address, the unique advantages a student-led team brings to bear, and the value proposition for the endeavor. At this week’s meeting we’ll take what we’ve learned from student’s experiments taking support requests to flesh out and refine the model in greater detail. Stay tuned!

Student-led Tech Support at MPS

What if students took a lead role in understanding the issues families face as they adapt to distance learning?

What if we invited them to work with school and district technology staff and industry mentors to design and implement systems to support them? 

What if this was done, not as a one-off exercise, but as a student run enterprise that could operate over the long term and evolve to support changing needs?

For the past several weeks we’ve been working with students and teachers from MPS’s Golda Meir middle school and Washington High School to explore what student-led tech support might look like.  Over a series of Zoom calls, we’ve talked with students about the issues they ran into as the district moved to distance learning last spring, what the experience was like for peers and family, and where they see opportunities to help make things betterfor all students.

While purely technical issues like an inability to upload files, access video, or the stability of a video call session were certainly present, what stood out were issues related to the use of technology.  For example:

  • The need to constantly check if new assignments had been posted
  • Competition for use of a device or internet bandwidth with a sibling
  • Finding a distraction free place in the home to work from
  • Having access to technology when the student is cared for outside the home.

Student Generated Solutions

As the start of school approached for MPS, the team put together two things to help prepare for distance learning this fall.

The first was a video by the students at Golda Meir in which they talked through several issues they ran into last spring and what simple actions their teachers might take to help address those. That video was shared with Golda staff who were appreciative of the opportunity to hear directly from their students.

Second, the team put together a survey to go out this week to capture the type and frequency of issues students ran into with the first week of distance learning. The data from that will inform a larger effort this fall to identify where and how a student-led team can provide support.

Interested in getting involved as educator, sponsor, or industry adviser?