Archive for July, 2016


Nationwide protests are a logical outcome of the recent seemingly unprovoked attacks on black people by police.  But in too many cases, these protests have become violent.  This violence diminishes the impact of the protests and takes the focus away from the purpose of the protests in the first place.

This generation of protesters should explore the history of non-violent protests during the civil rights struggles of the 1960’s.  By refusing to be baited by those who wanted us to “mind our own business,” we ended up winning some major battles.

I remember my involvement in helping blacks getting registered to vote in southern Illinois in the late 60’s.  When confronted by those who disagreed with us, we held our


The epitome of non-violent protests

ground and sang songs (“I shall not be moved” was a personal favorite) as we were hit with axe handles and had urine thrown in our faces.  We were taught to shield our bodies as best we could, but not to strike back.  Even as the German Shepherds dragged us to the police cars where we were arrested for “disturbing the peace,” we continued to sing and never once tried to strike back.

Looking back on that time, I believe to this day that we made a difference – and that this would have been diminished if we struck back.  Today’s protests will be far more effective if the protesters are non violent – no matter what the provocation may be.

Like a tree that’s planted by the water
I shall not be moved.


This year’s ISTE conference in Denver was quite interesting. Norma and I spent most of our time in the HyperDuino booth showing our new CubeSat using Roger Wagner’s HyperDuino system. This CubeSat was the subject of my recent Instructable that received thousands of visits almost as soon as it was released!

The main activity at the booth, though, involved visitors learning how to use HyperDuino as a tool for student projects. After learning how to do it themselves, they were encouraged to show someone else how to do the same thing, at which point they would received a full HyperDuino kit to take home. Even though the booth location was near the back of the exhibit hall, it was packed three-deep with people most of the time.


HyperDuino booth on a slow day

A brief tour of the hall showed that there were a few other booths (e.g., Fablevision) that were similarly packed, and a large number of booths with few attendees. The well-attended booths engaged people in learning through the building of artifacts, and the sparsely attended booths focused on telling people about a product or service.

It quickly became obvious that verbs were more important than nouns – that “doing” was more popular than “knowing.” In some ways this is reflected in the popularity of Maker Faires, and ties in with Dewey’s quote that he didn’t care what a child knew, but what he could do with what he knew. Dare I think this means we are finally ready for progressive education? I think so! The Next Generation Science Standards represent a tectonic shift in pedagogy, and – consciously or not – this year’s ISTE attendees seemed ready for it.