MinecraftEdu Build Challenge – Robots!

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WSSU Bridges Afterschool

Two of my WSSU Bridges Afterschool students decided to have a friendly robot build competition in MinecraftEdu. These screenshots are from last session.

3….. 2…. 1…  Go!

This took place in our “Horses Yay!” world Build Challenge area. It started out as a 15 minute competition, but we ended up extending it to 20 minutes. I spectated, and it was a fun build challenge to watch.

The boys decided that they did not want to see each other working, so we put up the pink wool wall.

Screenshot of two students flying around and building robots in MinecraftEdu. Here they build the feet!
Bridges Afterschool MCEdu Build Challenge – Oliver and Devon begin!
Screenshot of Oliver and Devon building robot bodies.
This is Devon’s robot
Screenshot of Oliver building his robot, working on the body.
This is Oliver’s robot
Screenshot of Devon making progress. The arms seem to be firing at his opponent.
Getting interesting now! Pew, pew, pew!
Screenshot of Oliver the arms are set and now getting closer to building the robot head.
Hmm what will this end up looking like?

Screenshot of the two robots with the heads almost complete.

Screenshot of Oliver flying in front of his robot. Spikey head dress takes form.
Oliver is almost done! A change of plans with the robot’s head, instead of a red top we have an antler like antenna.
Screenshot of Devon's bot complete with antena and blazing arms and eyes.
You can almost here to thumping of the giant bots as they come to life! Here is Devon’s all complete.

Interiors

I do have a shot of the interiors!

Screen shot of the interior of Oliver's robot. There are levers buttons, redstone torches and Minecraft paintings.
The interior of Oliver’s robot.
Screen shot of the interior of Devon's robot. There are buttons for firing arrows, and Minecraft paintings.
The interior of Devon’s robot.

Who will be victorious?

It was not easy to judge the best build, they were super close! Each robot also included an interior with some Redstone (Minecraft energy source) components and even decorations. Redstone allows you to build mechanicals and circuits in Minecraft. In this case the Redstone provided some lighting and firing mechanisms.

Oliver was the victor!

So very close too!

I had to choose, difficult as the choice was! Both builds were dramatic and well executed.

Tearin’ up East Street – Continued

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The Big Cat and No Parking

Progress continued with Tearin’ up East Street (continued) and the dig up and pipe replacement. In reality this has been an all summer project. The street will probably be repaved at the end of August.

What a view!

I actually got a kick out of the machinery. These pics are from June 28th to July 7th.

Picture of equipment on July 1st.

Picture of work on June 30th. There is also work up Keith Ave and Turkey Hill

Picture of the street with the big cat parked in front of us.

Picture on July 29th that shows alot of work at the fork up the street.

Picture of a fellow directing traffic on the street to stop, and go slow!
Our friendly traffic control! Safety first!

Economic Impact

This is the NO Parking sign in front of my place on July 7th. I have only done an informal study, but this has been tough on business.

Picture on July 7th of no parking sign and cat in front.

We are now halfway through August and there has been work going on off and on through last week. Now there is something of a lull which is great!

It has been difficult on residents and businesses wherever this work has been going on. We know it has to be done, and certainly this is far better than having pipes fail in the winter. Still, I can certainly say that I will be happy when all is back to normal!

Tearin’ up East Street

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Northfield gets much needed water main upgrades

It was June 26, 2015 at 7:00am and workers are commencing with replacing water pipes that had been installed way back in 1906. Several other locations are also being worked on this summer, all of are important to the community. Now, early in the morning I can see the workers digging up the street at the intersection of Route 12 and East Street. They look like a small crowd of yellow jackets!

We knew this was coming, and had also received a reminder notice from the Town Manger, Jeff Schulz. At the other end of East Street the road forks into steep Turkey Hill and also King Street. King Street happens to lead to the Memorial Park. (Town swimming pool and baseball fields) Pipes will be replaced going down these streets as well. The Memorial Park was unavailable for some time and also Turkey Hill could not be used. I don’t know how they could of done that any other way though. The town did have an emergency medical rig available just in case someone needed help while Turkey Hill was not passable.

Another intersection shot, now the bit "Cat" is doing it's digging.

Looking down the other way I see this big metal thing. Still don’t know what it is called, but it looks like a trash bin.

I don't know how to describe this large metal thing. It's a giant trash bin.

A couple of days later…

Now it is July 29th at 9:30 AM and up “my” street they came, steadily progressing along, tearing up the pavement with care.

06.29 930 3

Picture of the street at mid morning, you can see workers, pipe and equipment all along the way.

Close to 5:00 PM and quite a bit of digging, replacement and then packing the street back down has occurred.

Picture of workers carving out a dig in the street.

Two felllow who seem to be discussing specs and plans.

Big ole Cat "digger".

My impression so far is that this kind of project is not always a simple process and of course you can run into unexpected difficulties.

It was occasionally rather loud when they were using the cat and then covering the pipes back up. This sent vibrations through the buildings that reminded me of a thunderstorm, but with more shaking! It was really something you don’t experience everyday and seemed a bit bizarre since I spend alot of time down there.

I didn’t take pictures every day and the project progressed in stages over a month or so. After about three weeks there was a lull and then they came back and dug the street up again to hook up the pipes to the buildings.

The workers were very nice and they entertained my occasional questions about the process.

More pictures later!

STOP STEALING DREAMS: Seth Godin

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What is school for? We must find a new purpose for school.

What is school for? This is the question and Seth weaves a story to explain how we got here and why we must be courageous enough to confront the reality of our school system as it currently exists.

One of the most striking points in this talk is how we have been taught to fear being wrong, to comply, to be obedient so that we will be employable for an industrial society. Obedience is not the same thing as being respectful to ourselves and to others. He also speaks about the impact of technology in education, technology “links us all” by making knowledge accessible to all.

It is time to stop teaching children as though they lack the ability to think and problem solve in new and interesting ways. This video is from 2012, and the work of transforming our world continues to unfold.

HoloLens – Your MC world on your table

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E3 2015

It’s time again for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo known as E3 for short. The annual expo will be running June 15-18, and you can check it out at E3 2015. This is the place to unveil the latest in games and gaming technologies.

HoloLens demo of a Minecraft world

Microsoft put on a demo of their HoloLens technology to show what it can do with the popular sandbox game Minecraft. The demo happened only yesterday, and I think it best to offer you a video that will do a better job of explaining.

Apparently, you can run around with your friends in this dynamic virtual world that is also being represented in your real home.

Picture of a man wearing the HoloLens on his head gazing down at a hologram of a Minecraft world. He sees his tiny friend standing on a tower in the game.
Zack gazes down at Lydia in a holographic Minecraft game.

Microsoft promises to have more information by the July Minecon. It all make me wonder if the purchase of Minecraft by Microsoft was in part that Minecraft is ideally suited for use with HoloLens.

What else?

HoloLens is not only about Minecraft, the technology suggests possibilities far beyond gaming. This brings virtual into the physical world and allows people to then interact or modify objects. Apparently a 3D print design can also be made into a hologram.

I can only imagine how helpful this would be for engineers, architects and interior designers.

Want to really see what some furniture would look like in your space? HoloLens can show you, or will show you as it is not quite ready for public use. It is also tied into Windows 10 which should be available this July 29.

Take a look at the Microsoft HoloLens website, which I might add is quite polished and effective in giving one a sense of the possibilities.

First the Apple watch and now this! Times are a changing, or rather, devices are a changing.

Leaders who inspire me.

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Human beings who inspire us.

Regular human beings who inspire us are all around.  Some are quite famous, while some are not. They include our neighbors who live courageously, who seek authentic lives everyday despite those barriers that spring up in the road.

My go to list of famous inspirational people has changed over the years. Here are my current favorites below. Well known by many and yet they truly are “regular” human beings. I think it is that sincere quality of authenticity which makes them so wonderful to read and listen to.

Photo of Seth standing outside smiling and with a big smile.

 

Headshot photo of Margaret Wheatley, curly hair, smiling and wearing glasses.

 

Headshot photo of Gar Alperovitz speaking, He is speaking into a mic and gesturing with his right hand.

I do recommend them! Check out their podcasts, books, blogs, and videos. All are working steadily on changing the world for the better with intelligence, perseverance and courage. Each of them have traveled down very different pathways and yet they are speaking about the same core work. They continually ask the difficult questions and engage others in conversation. How can we discover and build a new world together based on human values right next to the old crumbling world? The work of creating change and making a difference wherever possible, while being quite human about it all. It is nothing less than saving our planet and preserving the future of humanity.

I have always thought that it’s okay to be a regular person. 😀

littleBits

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Circuits that snap together!

These circuits snap together with magnets! The neatest thing in electricity by Ayah Bdeir. I don’t recall ever using the word cute to describe circuits. Well, these are cute. They are also fun, and inspiring, which bodes well for learning.

What an easy way to introduce circuits with no  breadboards, solder, or screws required. Modular.

littleBits

Kids are going to be asking for these. 😀

Super Bowl Commercials: 2014

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In case you do want to watch the 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII commercials again. Saving these for later. From what I have seen the sponsors have outdone themselves again.

The 2014 NFL Super Bowl Commercials

Everyone seems extra fired up about the Super Bowl this year. I will be supportive but I don’t have quite the zeal as “most” of the people I know. That’s okay! 😉

Seahawks won 43-8 over Denver. Seems like a trouncing.

supporting community with technology