Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Design A Game With CreatED By Crayola!

There are always things that are new in education and libraries that I just can't wait to get.  I might see them online, at a conference, or a librarian or teacher friend might tell me about them. 

Well, today was one of those days....when a super special package I have been waiting for arrived!  
 It was the Design A Game, a Create-to-Learn STEAM Program from...
 ...createED, Project Based Learning by Crayola. 
A few months ago my friends at Maker Maven told me they were going to be carrying this amazing new product for all of our elementary creators. I couldn't wait to find out more.

At the Maker Maven site, you can find out more, but let me share a few things I learned today too.
Each Design A Game, contains so many wonderful resources to engage and excite every age. 
They include pencils, markers, paper cards, wet-erase cards, sticker sheets for dice, game board and more. 
Everything that your students will need to create their own game is included, which is what makes this kit stand out above the rest!
I am especially impressed with the Teacher's Guide that includes methods and planning guides on how to get started. 
We are going to be using the Design A Game kit with our kindergarten and 1st graders at Van Meter.  They will be not only creating their own games, but also designing game pieces with Tinkercad, viewing them with MERGE in the Object Viewer and printing them on the 3D printers. 

We are so thankful for the chance to bring games to our library and students.  Thank you Maker Maven and Crayola for making this possible with this amazing new kit!  

To find out more, please visit the Maker Maven site here

MERGE Teaching Resources To Inspire Your Learners!

MERGE has been inspiring our learners in amazing ways this year.  

The MERGE cubes and headsets are bringing learning to life in all kinds of ways for our students and it is very exciting to think about all of the experiences we will bring to them in the future months. 
As we plan for lots of fantastic opportunities with the MERGE cubes and headsets,  I have been spending time brainstorming and working on ideas and plans for learning, creating and collaborating between the MERGE resources, CoSpaces, Tinkercad and more. 
One of my favorite places to head is to the MERGE website, where this is a special place for librarians and other educators.
On the MERGE Educators page, I love all of the ways MERGE can transform learning including Bringing Lesson Plans to Life, 
 Bringing Lab Experiments to Life, 
Beyond Books: Immersive Discovery including the importance of bringing MERGE headsets and cubes to libraries for checkout at school and home,
and Bringing Coding and Design to Life.  
At the bottom of the page, you will find a link to Discover all of the MERGE Teaching Resources that are available. 
On this page, you can explore lots of Activity Plans that have been written by educators around the world to help all of us get started with MERGE in our libraries, classrooms and school communities.

First, you will find several for Classroom Teaching in Grades K-5.
 There are social studies, science, reading topics and more. 
Next, you will find even more that tie in Makerspace topics using CoSpaces EDU, Tinkercad and SketchFab.
These MERGE Activity Guides are awesome!  They include everything we need to use these successfully with our students too.
 I love how everything is linked, including the videos...and the Extension Ideas are so cool too!
These are the ones I am really excited about exploring as we are getting ready to kick off 3D printing with three new printers using Tinkercad and MERGE!  

If you are using MERGE in your library or classrooms, they would love to hear your ideas too. 

Let's keep thinking outside of the box with these wonderful products and experiences we are bringing to our students as we change help them change the world. 

Capstone Brings Stories With Iconic DC and Scooby-Doo Characters to Amazon Alexa for Our Readers!

Our friends at Capstone have some very exciting news!

They are bringing stories with iconic DC and Scooby-Doo characters to Amazon Alexa for families and libraries through You Choose Adventures by Capstone.  Currently the project includes 15 titles for ages 8-12, grouped into these four story bundles....
As shared in the news release, 

Families looking for children-friendly content on Alexa will experience interactive audio storytelling with fast-paced, energetic adventures featuring a cast of characters kids love.  

Titles in the reader-driven You Choose format feature action-packed, interactive stories with multiple story paths to keep children reading. With simple voice commands, Alexa users will help the Justice League™, Superman™, Batman™, and Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang foil schemes and misdeeds. With multiple endings, You Choose Adventures represent the best in immersive, educational storytelling with an interactive, audio-only experience.

"Capstone is thrilled to partner with Warner Bros. to bring such iconic DC Super Heroes and animated characters to the Alexa voice-activated platform. New listeners will be introduced to some of the world's greatest Super Heroes and current fans will discover a new venue for listening and interacting with their favorite characters," said Tom Ahern, Capstone CEO.

To begin a You Choose Adventures story, kids invoke Alexa with her name and a key phrase to open a title, and then listen for prompts in the story to vocalize their choices. For example, a user says, "Alexa, open Justice League Adventures" to start their adventure. Each story includes: dramatic character interactions, multiple story outcomes, professional voice actors, sound effects, and music for an engaging, interactive audio experience. The stories are available as part of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited and can be accessed via FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa and on Echo Dot Kids Edition

The full You Choose Adventures library on Alexa includes a collection of 50 titles, grouped into 12 story bundles, from Global Discovery and Space Exploration, to Extreme Sports and Epic History. The 12 story categories represent the best in immersive, educational storytelling with an interactive, audio-only experience. For instructions to enable You Choose stories or operate Amazon Alexa and Echo Dot Kids Edition, go to