Rekindling the Spark: It Begins with the MLK Boys Academy

I am currently reading a book about telling stories, so I’m doing a little experiment with my blog posts. Hopefully, they will be a bit more engaging, or perhaps I’ll just learn a bit more about effective communication. I do use AI to help get things started and learn ways of stating things I haven’t thought of. However, I’ve done enough editing of the generated text to call this my own.

Unless otherwise noted, all photos are credited to Sophia Timba

Recently, I was standing in the hallway of the SUNY Brockport chemistry building, watching a procession of thirty some students and a few of their teachers. They were taking part in the MLK Boys Academy, a program for inner-city students from Rochester to acquire life skills and explore various aspects of social and professional development.

My colleague, Carly, and I were tasked with hosting a one-hour workshop for the Academy, aiming to ignite their curiosity and passion for science through hands-on experiences. Since I recently started a Makerspace, “It Begins in Brockport” (IBiB), I wanted to incorporate makerspace resources. One of our recent acquisitions, a Maker Cart from TeacherGeek, provided all the materials we needed for this endeavor.

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Use the force, chatGPT

I’ve been doing a lot of fiddling with chatGPT and how it might be used in academia (as a tool for good). It’s that time of the semester when the pile of grading on my desk is getting high enough that I start coming up with novel ways to procrastinate. (Plus, I just got a filling this morning, and I am not in the mood to read student writing at this moment.)

So, instead of doing the work I should be doing, I decided to do the work I want to be doing, and that is, thinking about what a general education course on lightsabers would look like. With the help of chatGPT, here’s what I came up with. I think it would be fun.

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The COVID on-line transition

As part of my mad dash to transition to on-line teaching, I’ve started making videos. Since I’m not a fan of on-line teaching, I thought I would at least try to make it interesting and play around with some film design. At the very least, I hope that it is geeky/dorky enough to keep students’ attentions for the duration of the video.

I figured out how to embed a quiz into a video, one of which is shown below. What’s really exciting is that the quiz, if it is in a learning management system like Blackboard, can be integrated into the grade center, so I can now use videos as a form of interactive pseudo-just-in-time assessment.