It’s All About the Impossible

Check out ImpossibleHQ for a free download of a great educational eBook: 50 Quotes to Inspire You to Do the Impossible. A few choice ones:

To the timid and hesitating everything is impossible because it seems so — Sir Walter Scott

The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible — Arthur C. Clarke

It is either easy or impossible — Salvador Dali

This is not only a great resource for helping students to see past limitations, it is a useful model for the kind of project that should be well within the capability of today’s well-technology-equipped students.

Rather than just taking inspiration from reading a book like this, students can publish their own book with quotes they find particularly inspiring. (And note the careful attribution of all the images used — another good example set.)

We’re already mentioned BoomWriter as a great resource for collaborative writing projects. It would be a good choice for a book with more of a story or narrative focus. Glogster we have also mentioned a s good resource for creating posters — including those of the inspirational variety. For a full-on eBook, the best bet might be Google Office suite. There are also some fantastic iPad apps for creating this sort of thing, although those will all involve a certain amount of cost.




Making Stuff

A while back we took a look at Maker Camp, an online summer program that gives kids the chance to make their own toys, games, and other gadgets. Like augmented reality technology, maker activities provide a shared creative space for students to learn and interact while interacting with the real world…with the added benefit of actually making stuff! programs like the Maker Corps are working to integrate maker spaces into public school classrooms and after school programs. At the same time, libraries are getting in on the act and providing these kinds of spaces not only for students but for patrons of all ages.

Often these programs are set up in partnership with a third-party company or nonprofit. A good example is the collaboration between Sparkfun and the Jefferson County libraries in Colorado:

The idea behind the collaboration was two-fold; it would serve as a way to provide open, equal community access to tools and kits that might otherwise be out of reach, and it would offer libraries a way to upgrade their relevancy as a centerpoint for large-scale literacy, in a world where books are losing currency to emerging tech & new generations. The leaders of the Jefferson County libraries were extremely enthusiastic about the program, so we set out supplying Belmar – the first of four JeffCo libraries to adopt the makerspace-model pilot program – with SIKs and other kits, as well as training, to get them set up to offer the same tools and classes to the public.

There are a lot activities that come to mind when we think of libraries: reading (obviously), studying, book clubs, other kinds of discussion groups — but how many of us think of soldering when we think of the local library? How many of us think about designing and building circuits? That’s now part of what kids are doing in the Belmar library. We can expect to see a lot more of that sort of thing both in libraries and in the classroom.