Saturday: Career Technical Education Expo in Oakland

Laney College is hosting a career tech expo on Saturday, featuring programs from biomanufacturing to culinary arts.

It’s from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 900 Fallon St in Oakland. You can register for the free event and find updates here.


Career and Technical Education Expo


iPads in schools

student_ipad_school - 234
photo from flickingerbrad’s site at flickr.com/creativecommons

Calling all East Bay teachers and principals (from public and private schools): Do you use iPads in your classrooms or hope to adopt them soon? Have they been a valuable tool?

We’re working on a story on the subject, and we’d love to include your stories and insights. Tell us, if you would, what subject and grade-level you teach and how you use this technology — or how you might use it if your school could afford them.

On that note, I’d also like to know your school found the money for these tablets — grant funding? PTA donations? Some other source?

If you’re interested in being interviewed for the story, just send me an email telling me so: kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.


Shop class: Are old school skills back on the cutting edge?

Shop classes (and especially the term “shop class”) have fallen out of fashion in the last couple of decades. But Mark Martin, an engineer who started iDesign-M, thinks that basic manufacturing skills are still relevant in today’s marketplace. He says they are important for careers in design and engineering, as well as (obviously) the well-paying advanced manufacturing jobs that our president is promoting.

I know San Leandro High still offers a thriving industrial arts program. What about other schools?

Here is a video of the free, two-week iDesign-M program that 15 East Bay high school students attended this month. This is the second year of the program, which is heavily funded with private grants. It’s held at Laney College in Oakland. A story about the program should appear in the paper next week, possibly Monday.


Oakland’s “Santa Claus of computer land”

Bruce BuckelewI thought you might enjoy today’s column by Dave Newhouse about Bruce Buckelew. The Piedmont resident and IBM retiree founded Oakland Technology Exchange West, a nonprofit based in West Oakland that distributes free, refurbished computers to schools and homes and training to children and their parents.

According to the OTX West website, the organization has distributed more than 20,000 computers since 1999 — and diverted more than 700 tons of electronic waste from landfills.

Buckelew thinks schools should use computers more than they do now to tailor instruction to each student, based on the child’s skill level.

“Not one size fits all,” he added. “There are schools that are going to 30 to 40 percent online individuated instruction, and 60 to 70 percent traditional interactive teacher-led, and they’re successful. We don’t have that model yet in Oakland.”

Do you agree? How does your school use computers in an innovative way?


A fashion app, designed by teenagers

Fashion Guru Team. Photo courtesy of Patricia Dolan

I can’t tell you much about the mobile app a team of Oakland Tech high school girls designed for the Technovation Challenge. It’s top secret.

It’s been described to me only as “a fashion organization app that will appeal beyond the typical demographic of 13- to 25-year-old females.” Which is encouraging, because I’m over 25 and could certainly use some technical support in the fashion organization department. My closet could, too.

Salina Wittmer, Carmen Zheng and Saleeha Bey will sell this idea Saturday at Google’s Mountain View headquarters. They’re up against teams from Mountain View, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York — teams who, like them, took place in their regional competitions.

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Next week at the Grand Lake: An Acquired Taste Film Festival

A Beautiful Thing. Image courtesy of Jake Mulliken, Bayhill High SchoolRomantic Comedy. Image courtesy of Jake Mulliken, Bayhill High School

An Acquired Taste Film festival — noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 24 at Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater — will showcase an eclectic group of student-produced films: noir, horror, romantic comedy, comedic spoofs, surrealist films and documentaries.

You can check out the trailers for yourself, on the festival’s website.

Jake Mulliken’s film students at Bayhill High School, a nonpublic school in Oakland (off Lakeshore Avenue, near Lake Merritt) for students with language-based disabilities, made the movies and designed the festival, itself.

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Oakland to offer new media program

Oakland International High School filmmakers (photo courtesy of KDOL)

This fall, Oakland students will have the chance to produce news magazine-style video journalism and documentaries about life and issues in Oakland in a new R.O.P. class supported by KDOL, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and local filmmakers.

Jeff Keys, the fine arts chair and new media teacher at Head Royce, will be coming to OUSD to direct the Media Enterprise Alliance.

To get a taste of the kind of projects they’ll do, check out this 12-minute piece about Oakland International High School. OIHS students worked with documentary filmmaker Pam Uzzell and UC Santa Cruz film program graduate Chris Guevarra to produce the segment.

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Kids: Want a crash course in astrophysics? Juggling?

photo courtesy of Shuai Chen, co-founder of Splash

If you know a middle or high school student who has a free day this weekend and might be interested in, say, neuroscience, dancing, artificial intelligence, juggling, or painting, keep reading!

More than 100 Stanford University students are playing teacher for the weekend in a marathon learning session on the Palo Alto campus. It’s called Splash, and it runs Saturday and Sunday. The full price is $40 for both days (and $20 for siblings), but the event organizers say that participants who can’t afford the fee can just say so and they don’t have to pay anything.

You can learn more about Splash, and its (literally) 209 course offerings, here. This is the third time students have organized the event, and they expect up to 1,000 kids to participate. Those who haven’t registered online can just show up on Saturday or Sunday.

Can’t make it this weekend? They’re planning another one in April.


Oakland high school teacher heads to Capitol Hill

Yumi Matsui, a Life Academy and Bay Area Writing Project teacher, heads to a Congressional briefing Monday to talk about digital storytelling — specifically, about the immigration-focused project she and another teacher led at their East Oakland school, and how the medium helped students become better writers.

Interested? Check out this 7-minute video about the Life Academy project, produced by the Pearson Foundation:


Free digital textbooks are up: Any takers?

Remember Arnold’s digital textbook initiative that we discussed in June?

Well, a review of 16 of these newfangled `books’ came out yesterday, and the materials — all free — are posted online.

It looks like they’re all for high school math and science: geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, calculus, physics, chemistry, biology/life science and earth science.

Ten of the textbooks reviewed covered at least 90 percent of the state content standards for the subject, and four met all of them. Only three of the 16 really bombed the review. (Step it up, Earth Systems!) Continue Reading