Wednesday, December 7, 2016

20% Time - Assessment


You may be wondering how I’m going to grade the 20% project. I want to de-emphasize the grade because extrinsic motivators like grades tend to discourage the innovation and creativity I’m looking for in this project. Read Drive for more on this. I want you to be inspired by the project itself, not by the grade you’re going to get on it. 

That said, I am going to assess you on the algorithmic (objective) elements of the project. A significant portion of your Computer Applications grade will be dependent on the following elements with rubrics. 
  • The Proposal (Is the proposal on-time, and does it address the required questions appropriately?)
  • The Blog (Does the post meet the required length, address the required topic, and submitted to the form on-time? Do you post regularly?)
  • The Product (Did you successfully move from idea phase to production phase, and do you have something to show at the end of the year?)
  • Productivity (Are you spending your 20% time by actively and passionately working on your project? If not, we need to quickly adjust the project so you are working on something that is intrinsically motivating. This is less objective, but if I see students not being productive, I will intervene.)
  • Final Presentation (Does your presentation meet all of the required elements?)

What if my project is a failure?

In this class there is a place for perfection.  Perfect English. Perfect punctuation. The 20% Project is no such place. 

The world’s best entrepreneurs embrace failure. Read Wired Magazine’s issue on the topic of “failure.”

The only truly failed project is the one that doesn’t get done. I want you to strive to show off a successful product at the end of the year, but I don’t want the quest for perfection to lead to an incomplete project. I want you to follow the advice plastered on the wall of Facebook’s headquarters.


This policy doesn't work in all work-related environments. I wouldn't want to see this poster in the dentist's office or the parachute packing assembly line. But for creative projects where we're trying to innovate, I find this idea compelling. For more on this topic read The Done Manifesto.  

If you feel that your project is a failure, I want to hear about it. What did you learn about it? Think about your science fair project. If your hypothesis was wrong, was your project a failure? Watch Kathryn Schultz’s TED Talk: “On Being Wrong.”

Don’t strive for failure, but don’t be afraid of it either!

 I can’t wait to be amazed, surprised, and inspired by the innovative projects this semester's freshmen will produce in the 20% Project.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

20% Time - The Work


Some projects may require (or benefit from) an adult mentor who can help guide and inspire it. I hope parents will play a role in finding an appropriate mentor for this project. The mentor will serve to offer advice, provide informal leadership, and follow the progress blogs. You don't NEED to have a mentor, but if you find one, document that in your proposal and blog reports.

20% Days

Throughout the remainder of the semester, you will have one day a week (Friday) to work on your project. If you need to be off-campus to work on your project, you'll need to do that on weekends or afternoons and use the scheduled 20% time as a productive tutorial period, meeting period, or writing period.

The Final Presentation - TED Style

At the end of the year, each individual/(team) will give a five-minute presentation to students, teachers, and community members where they will show off their work. This will be carefully written, choreographed, and rehearsed to produce the best presentation they’ve ever given. These TED-style presentations will be delivered and recorded in the Media Center Theater. Here is a two minute video of highlights from another school’s presentations.  

20% Time - How Does It Work?

How does the 20% Project Work?


At the beginning of the project, students will begin brainstorming ideas for a project proposal. I would prefer, due to the limited time we have allotted, that students work alone on a project that REALLY interests YOU!  But, I will consider proposals to allow you to work in small teams, no larger than 3 students. 

While brainstorming, I will encourage you to make the project “Product Focused.” At the end of the semester I want you to have made something that is a completed product. It could be a physical product like a graphic novel or a balloon that takes photos from the stratosphere. It could be an organization or service as someone might choose for an Eagle Scout project. It could also be a digital project like a short film or video game. My point here is that I want you to quickly move from the idea phase of this project to the producing phase. 


Once the individual (or team) has an idea of what project they want to pursue, they begin writing the proposal. This is how the team will “pitch” the project to me. In this proposal, students will answer the following questions. Proposals are due to be emailed to me by Thursday December 8th @ 10pm. 
Share a Google Doc.(Make sure I have rights to comment, at least!)

  • What is your project?
  • Who will work with you on this project?
  • Who is the audience / user base / client base for this project?
  • Why is this project worthwhile?
  • What do you expect to learn from this project?
  • What PRODUCT will you have to show at the end of the project?
  • What sort of expenses will be involved in your project and how will you cover them?
  • What sort of equipment will you need and where will you get it?
  • What is your timeline for completing (or launching) your project?

The Blog

Each week every member of every team is required to write at least one public blog post where students discuss their progress. They write about what happened over the past week, what they learned, what challenges they faced, and what they anticipate in the future. Each blog post must be at least 150 words written in Standard American English and contain a related image that is posted without infringing on anyone's copyright. 

20% Time - What?

Before I get into the details of the project, I want to explain why we’re asking you to participate in this activity. For over 20 years a trend in education has been gaining momentum that suggests the role of the teacher ought to shift away from an industrial model where the teacher stands in the front of the classroom to dispense knowledge through lectures, and the students sit to consume the information. Rather than being the “sage on the stage” as some pedagogical experts maintain, teachers increasingly ought to play the role of the “guide on the side.” In this role, the students play a much more active role in how the content and knowledge is acquired. In this model, teachers provide resources, ask questions, and suggest projects for students to explore their content. While I will play the “sage on the stage” role in much of this Technology class, the 20% project is one place where I will be the “guide on the side.” Put simply, this is a student-centered project rather than a teacher-centered project.

Another crucial element in designing this project is the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About what Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. I can’t recommend this book enough. You can get a taste of it by watching this twenty minute video in which he argues for providing employees more autonomy in business. The book explains why the same principles apply to education.

The Hour of Code - Let's Do This Thing!

Spend (at leastthe first hour coding, then do the other work you need to do!

Pick anything on the page that interests you!
(Or, pick one of the Scratch Activities below to get started on something we will learn more about)
(Instructions are on the right - workspace is on the left)

How many lines did you code? 
(Comment here, when you're done!)
Here are three activities for using Scratch in this year’s Hour of Code™!
Hide-and-Seek Game

Create your own hide-and-seek game with characters from Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears.
Animate Your Name

Make the letters of your name come to life by adding motion, sounds, and music.

Dance, Dance, Dance

Code an interactive dance scene, combining music and dance moves.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Outsource Help Requested

Please help, if you can:
Requester Name: JacobC_SSA
Request: I would like if someone can act to buy some wearable technology or if you have some, show some of the features of it. (15-20 secs)
This video request is outsourced to: Anyone from Group 6C
Hyperlink to Video:
Date Received:

Requester Name: DylanB_SSA
Team: 5C
Request:  10 second clip of someone google searching " Artificial Intelligence"
Date: 12/2/16
This video request is outsourced to: 
Hyperlink to Video:
Date Received: