Teaching the Maker Mentality: A Conversation about Project Based Learning in K-12 Education

Sunday, September 18 / 2:45pm–3:30pm / JBL Theater

Moderator: Lisa Castaneda (CEO, foundry10)

Panelists: Dr. Lauren Bricker (Faculty, Lakeside School), Jen Fox (Education Team, SoDo Makerspace), Colin Katagiri (Instructor, Foundry10), David Locke (Brighton School), Thomas Phillips (Founder, Aspire Tech Bus), Jeremy Thomas (Faculty, DigiPen)

We are in the midst of an education, creative, and technological revolution. With new and affordable tools and ways to share information (i.e. robotics, 3D printing, wearable technology, microcontrollers, computer-controlled fabrication tools, etc.), there are powerful possibilities for student-led project-based learning. This panel will discuss how education is changing and how students are learning more by making.

About the Panelists

Dr. Lauren Bricker was hooked the first time she programmed an Apple IIGS in in high school. Although her undergraduate degree was in Theoretical Mathematics from the University of Michigan, she started her career in Seattle as a software engineer and manager. She concurrently received a PhD from the University of Washington Department of Computer Science and Engineering, with a focus on Human Computer Interaction and Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. She began teaching Computer Science at Lakeside School in 2007. She doesn’t think of herself as teacher, but more a river guide; giving the students tools and techniques to find the right resources so they can accomplish what they want to do. Her ultimate goal is to see more girls in computer science.

lisa_castanedaLisa Castaneda is Co-Founder and CEO of foundry10, an organization that does research on non-traditional learning. In particular, Lisa is interested in developing opportunities for students and teachers to be creative through a variety of programs and projects. She has a master’s degree in Education and taught in grades K-8 for 10 years.  Her current research focuses on learning with video games, virtual reality, vocational technology, and the arts in the hopes that we can all expand our understanding of what it really means to learn.

jen_foxJennifer Fox is a maker with an incredibly diverse and broad range of experience in both industry and education, ranging from a researcher for a dark matter detection experiment, to a project engineer for an environmental engineering firm, to a Hacker in Residence for SparkFun Electronics.

Jennifer’s educational background is in physics (B.S., Occidental College) and mechanical engineering (M.S., UCLA). She has taught folks of all ages and experience levels in physics, engineering, electronics, mathematics, renewable energy technology, making, and project design in nearly every setting imaginable (one-on-one, small class, large class, lecture hall, etc.).

Most of Jennifer’s time in the past two years has been inventing, designing, and prototyping a wide variety of projects, which she publishes under open-source licenses on her website (jenfoxbot.com), making science educational videos on YouTube (JenFoxBot – Maker Quest), and running a technical consulting business, FoxBot Industries. To contact Jennifer about workshops, consulting, or with general questions, you can reach her via e-mail at jenfoxbot@gmail.com. makeitlocally.org

colin_katagiriColin Katagiri is an outdoor educator, environmental scientist, and tinkerer. As a recent graduate from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Oceanography and minor in Marine Biology, Colin is interested in the advancement of environmental science and marine technology. His passion for technology was inspired by science fiction and the immersion of society in modern technology. To foster this passion, he helped design and build competitive underwater remotely operated vehicles with a team that he co-founded at the UW. Colin’s passion for the environment extends into his recreational life as an alpine skiing and rock climbing instructor in the Pacific Northwest for over eight years. These experience have shaped him into a dynamic leader that can react to variable teaching and learning styles. As he is always learning, Colin is humbled and excited to be part of this talented team.

David Locke is an active member of the Arduino Maker Community and is the developer of the Chapters Programming Language which allows children as young as Kindergarten to wire and program Arduino microcontrollers. David has a Bachelor’s in Education from the Oregon College of Education, a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Oregon, a degree in School Administration from City University, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Washington.  He has 15 years’ experience in the high tech industry as a programmer, project manager, and the co-founder of two tech startups—4myCommunity and VoiceBox Technologies—as well as 20 years in education as a teacher, principal, and head of school. Currently, David is Head of School at Brighton School in Mountlake Terrace.

jeremy_thomasJeremy N. Thomas, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at DigiPen Institute of Technology, and a Research Scientist/Engineer at NorthWest Research Associates, both in Redmond, WA. Previously, Jeremy was a founding faculty member of Bard High School Early College in Queens, NYC. Jeremy believes that curricula should be student-centered and embedded within an engaged, collaborative community that understands and teaches the broader, societal implications of academic work. He aims to achieve this through the design of project-based and experiential K-12 and university curricula. Jeremy’s research is in space physics and electrical engineering, including atmospheric electricity, radio wave propagation, and digital signal processing.  He receives external support through grants from agencies such as the Toshiba America Foundation and the US Geological Survey. He has authored more than 25 peer-reviewed publications, including several with his students.

thomas_phillipsThomas Phillips is a QA Engineer at Amazon with an insatiable desire for knowledge. Thomas is a Detroit native, and is passionate about technology, education, and uplift. Thomas is the founder of Aspire Consulting & Engineering, and Aspire’s first project is The Tech Bus, a school bus renovated into an Agile mobile tech lab, where high school students will learn web development.