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  • March 07, 2013 11:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The March 5 email newsletter from Open Culture featured "A Master List of 700 Free Courses from Great Universities."  This list contains courses from schools like Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, Harvard and UC Berkeley.  There are courses in Philosophy, History, Computer Science, Economics, Film, Food, Mathematics, Biology  . . . and the list goes on and on.

     

     

  • March 01, 2013 5:20 PM | Deleted user

    This article first appeared in the January, 2012, issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter and is [published in Spark] with the author’s permission.

     

    We all know how assistive technology can help twice-exceptional children reach their potential. One technology many parents fail to consider as they personalize their child’s gifted education is that of mobile learning devices. Leveraging technology to promote self-direction and self-reliance can help advance potential and transform our homes and classrooms into 21st Century learning environments. Mobile technology — mLearning — is one way to do that.

     

    MLEARNING: DEFINITION, BARRIERS, AND BENEFITS


    As it’s generally defined, mLearning involves learning across contexts that include the school, home, and museums. It’s a means of learning with mobile devices while on the go 24/7 in our very mobile society.


    In 2001, I took part in an early adoption of emerging mobile technology. A parent, a university professor, and I collaborated to write and implement a Palm Education Pioneer grant for mobile technology in my third-grade classroom at Quest Academy, a school for gifted children in Palatine, Illinois. That experience, along with current studies and my first-hand experience with mobile technology, has shown me the importance of examining both the barriers to and benefits of using mobile learning devices at home and at school.


    An online blogger for The Training Journal, Martin Addison, has identified these barriers for mobile technology use:
    • Lack of relevant, non-linear, and engaging content
    • Screen size
    • Organizational culture
    • Lack of user sophistication
    • Assessment

     

    Among the commonly mentioned benefits of mobile technology are its:
    • Cost effectiveness
    • Conduciveness to enabling or building and sustaining a one-to­one computer program
    • Ability to meet students where they are in their lives outside the classroom, through texting, gaming, and social networking
    • Role as a connector of learners

     

    ADVANCING POTENTIAL BY PERSONALIZING LEARNING


    Research demonstrates that putting the child in the middle of the learning equation results in a dramatic increase in motivation. It is this sense of motivation that moves the child closer to reaching his or her potential as a learner. In my consulting I use the definition of potential provided by Carol Dweck in her book Mindset. According to Dweck, who focuses on the research behind a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset, potential is “the capacity to develop skills over time with effort.” This definition is a particularly helpful one for parents to consider and teach to their children.


    One example of personalized learning comes from New York City’s School of One. There, according to Joel Rose, the founder of the School of One’s math program, “a learner’s needs, abilities, aptitudes, motivations, interests, skill levels, and most successful learning situations combine to provide a 360-degree view that reveals his or her best pathway for success.”


    Most parents would face challenges in finding a school that could provide such a tailor-made gifted program for each child, a program similar to what the School of One offers as part of its established policy. To address that challenge, parents can learn as much as possible about developing their own home-based program of personalized learning.

    Here is what I see as the essential mindset and core strategies needed to create a personalized learning environment at home and at school:
    • Remember to be supportive, calm, and focused on your relationship with the child.
    • Ask the learner: What is it that interests you?
    • Take a child-centric view, focused on hopes and dreams.
    • Demonstrate a flexible approach that targets the child’s strengths.
    • Accept differences and remove obstacles.
    • Consider the child’s interests, learning styles, and performance preferences.
    • Understand that kids learn with all their senses.
    • Link formal and informal learning.
    • Use distributed resources, blended learning, and learning across life settings.
    • Include on-going or periodic assessments that include reflection as well as portfolios in various formats.
    • Make use of technology-based tools.
    • Incorporate a sense of play and fun.

     

    21ST CENTURY SKILLS: GIFTED CURRICULUM OF THE HOME

     
    Parents need a specific and manageable curriculum framework to structure the personalized gifted home-based program. The framework I suggest is based on the recommendations of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. This national organization promotes merging the 3 Rs with the skills needed to “participate, achieve, and compete” in a global society. Primary among these skills are communication, collaboration, creativity/innovation, and critical thinking/problem solving.

    Visitors to the P21’s website (www.p21.org) will find a two-page summary that illustrates the framework and includes:
    • Core subjects and 21st-century themes
    • Learning and innovation skills
    • Information, media, and technology skills
    • Life and career skills
    The site provides additional detail as well, stressing the importance of five support systems critical to underlying this framework.

     

    THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT: HARNESSING STRENGTHS AND OVERCOMING OBSTACLES

    When it comes to using mLearning at home to implement a gifted curriculum, I offer the advice of popular ed tech blogger David Warlick. He states that “learning is about the experience, not about the tools…The only thing we should be concerned with is equitable access to rigorous, relevant, and irresistible learning experiences that reflect and harness the times, the environment, and the ultimate goals of learning.”

    It is the ability of mobile learning devices to provide not only access to learning but also acceleration of the curriculum. An explosion of mobile apps for smartphones, e-readers, tablets, and game systems has taken place, and the following list represents just the highlights of an extensive mobile app and resource list that I have compiled [and which is posted on the 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter website].

    Communication/Collaboration
    1. Broadcastr — helps create immersive experiences tied to a particular location
    2. Diigo — social bookmarking site that helps you organize and share your bookmarked sites
    3. Google Docs — allows you to create, share, and access documents and presentations from anywhere
    4. Mixbook — versatile program for creating photo scrapbooks and calendars
    5. PicLits — creative writing site with key words that can be added to pictures

    Creativity/Critical Thinking
    1. Animoto — video slideshow service that turns photos and videos into professional looking videos
    2. Drawing Pad — allows you to draw, write, or use stamps and gets rave reviews from users
    3. Mindomo — mindmaps to solve problems and think creatively
    4. Popplet — for creating timelines and flowcharts that can be shared and completed through collaboration
    5. SimpleMind — helps with brainstorming, collecting ideas, and structuring thinking

     

    A FRAMEWORK FOR ADVOCACY

    I encourage parents to become advocates for the use of mobile learning devices at home and at school as tools for exploration, discovery, access, and acceleration for their children and for all learners. My framework for advocacy includes these steps:
    1. Begin at home by examining the barriers and benefits of mobile learning for your child.
    2. Document and reflect on your experience of personalizing learning with mobile learning devices.
    3. Research mLearning in education and how it is facilitating the acquisition of 21st century skills.
    4. Share your discoveries and network in person and online with other parents and educators.
    5. Ask a question and start a conversation in your school to find out just how mLearning might be incorporated as a tool to help personalize the curriculum for all students, including every uniquely gifted learner.

     

    FOR MORE INFORMATION

    References and Resources
    • ASCD (2011, February) Can Mobile Devices Transform Education? Education Update. Vol. 53, 2.
    • Borthwick, Arlene, and Cathy Risberg. ”Establishing an Organizational Climate for Successful Professional Development: What Should We Do?” Transforming Classroom Practice. Eds. Arlene Borthwick and Melissa Pierson. Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education, 2008, 35-48. Print.
    • Boser, Katherine (2010, November/December). UDL, 21st Century Learning, and the Impact of School Reform for Twice-Exceptional Students. Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, 43.
    • Carnegie Mellon University (2010, October 19). Culturally inspired mobile phone games help Chinese children learn language characters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 29, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/ 2010/10/101019121804.htm
    • Dweck, Carol (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House.
    • Fingal, Diane (2010, November). What Do We Mean When We Say 21st Century Learning? Learning and Leading, Vol. 38, No. 3.
    • Goldman, David (2011). U.S. cell phones, tablets, outnumber Americans. CNN Money. Retrieved on October 12, 2011 from: http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/12/technology/cellphones_outnumber_americans/ index.htm
    • ICT Results (2008, October 27). Personalized Learning Puts Students In A Class Of Their Own. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 21, 2011, from: http:// www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027144645.htm
    • Johnson, Steve (2011). Texting our way to isolation. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on November 12, 2011 from: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-12/ emailstory/ct-ent-1114-humanities-sherry-turkle-20111114_1_sherry-turkle-texting-cell­phones
    • Laboy-Rush, Diane (2011, February 4) Lean forward, Pay Attention, and Engage! Pathways to Science. Retrieved on May 21, 2011, from: http:// education.nyas.org/2011/02/lean-forward-pay-attention-and-engage/
    • The John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Re-Imagining Learning in the 21st Century. You Media: Creating a 21st Century Library. MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved on April 27, 2011, from: http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b. 5852863/k.2D95/ReImagining_Learning__YouMedia.htm
    • McLester, Susan (2011, March) Learning Gets Personal. District Administration. Retrieved on May 21, 2011, from http://www.districtadministration.com/ viewarticle.aspx?articleid=2710
    • Mobl21 (2011). Innovate to Educate: (Re)Design for Personalize Learning. Mobl21: Mobile Learning Made Easy. Retrieved on January 27, 2011 from: http:// www.mobl21.com/blog/05/innovate-to-educate-redesign-for-personalize-learning/
    • Nagel, David (2011, May). Principals Call for Mobile and Social Technologies in Schools. THE Journal. Retrieved on May 24, 2011 from: http://thejournal.com/ articles/2011/05/23/principals-call-for-mobile-and-social-technologies-in-schools.aspx
    • National Center on Time and Learning (2011). Technology to Personalize Learning: School of One, New York, NY. Time and Learning. Retrieved on May 21, 2001, from http://www.timeandlearning.org/promisingpractices/technology/ practice_profiles_final/personalized_learning_ at_school_of_one.pdf
    • Oregon Small Schools Initiative (2011). Personalized Learning. E3: Oregon Small School Initiative Retrieved September 15, 2011, from: http:// www.e3smallschools.org/pl.html
    • Risberg, Cathy (2007). From Access to Acceleration: Using Technology to Unlock and Unleash Learning in All Gifted Learners. Illinois Association for Gifted Children Journal 2007.
    • Risberg, Cathy (2009). Empowering the Young Gifted Child: Strategies and Tools for Creating an Emotionally Safe School. Illinois Association for Gifted Children Journal 2009.
    • Rotherham, Andrew and Daniel Willingham (2009, September). 21st Century Skills: The Challenges Ahead. Teaching for the 21st Century. Retrieved on May, 17, 2011 from: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept09/vol67/num01/21st­Century-Skills@-The-Challenges-Ahead.aspx
    • Rubenstein, Grace (2011). Ten Tips for Personalized Learning via Technology. Edutopia. Retrieved on November 16, 2011 from: http://www.edutopia.org/stw­differentiated-instruction-ten-key-lessons
    • Wallace, Patricia, PhD (2011). M-Learning: Promises, Perils, and Challenges for K-12 Education. New Horizons for Learning. Retrieved on November 11, 2011 from: http://education.jhu.edu/newhorizons/Journals/Winter2011/Wallace    
    • Warlick, David (2010) Technology for 21st Century Learning. 2 Cents Worth. Retrieved on November 15, 2011 from: http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/?p=2712
    • Web 2.0 Teaching Tools. Developing Critical Thinking Skills is Vital to Students’ Future Success. Web 2.0 Teaching Tools. Retrieved May 16, 2011 from shttp://www.web2teachingtools.com/developing-critical-thinking­skills.html
    • Woodhill, Gary (2011, August). Barriers to the Adoption of Mobile Learning. The Mobile Learning Edge. Retrieved on August 26, 2011 from: http://www.mobilelearningedge.com/2011/08/barriers-to-the-adoption-of-mobile­learning/
    • Woodhill, Gary (2011, October). Mobile Learning Devices in the Classroom: is this really mobile learning? Float Mobile Learning Blog. Retrieved on November 13, 2011 from: http://floatlearning.com/2011/10/mobile-devices-in-the­classroom-is-this-really-mobile-learning/

    Websites
    http://www.educause.edu/Resources/Browse/MobileLearning/17505 Here is a tremendous help for anyone interested in mobile learning – a list of 134 resources.
    http://www.globalschoolnet.org/gsnpr/ This not-for profit links kids and promotes content driven online problem-solving and global collaboration.
    http://www.p21.org/ The Partnership for 21st Century Skills advocates for 21st century readiness by merging the 3Rs with communication, collaboration, creativity/innovation and critical thinking/problem solving.
    http://www.timeandlearning.org/ This not-for-profit is dedicated to improving student achievement, with a focus on students living in poverty.
    www.web2teachingtool.com A site designed to help teachers provide learning opportunities for students that will develop 21st Century learning through the use of Web 2.0 tools, such as Wordle and Glogster.

    This article is based on content presented by Cathy Risberg, M.A., at the 2011 NAGC convention. Risberg consults with parents, students, teachers, and administrators to identify and provide strength-based strategies to help all students, especially those who are gifted and twice-exceptional, reach their full potential. Find more information at her website Minds that Soar.

    Posted retroactively on March 13, 2015. 

  • March 01, 2013 4:36 PM | Deleted user

    I think of neuroscientists as looking out at the world and seeing people through the lens of neural structures and functions, as though we are all walking brains on electronically wired stick figures.  And indeed, in the past, cognitive science has tried to simplify the process of understanding the brain through use of basic computer based and electronic circuitry models (I’m recalling the ‘80s).  From two-step models to complex connectivity projects, our understanding, tools, and methods for mapping out the structures and functions of the brain has matured over the decades, complementing our understanding of the brain itself (NIH Human Connectome Project, 2013).  Research and understanding of gifted children has also matured.  And today, we have more research that combines neuroscience and gifted than we have in the past.


    There is a population of people who share characteristics that congeal and congregate under the umbrella that we call gifted (Daniels & Piechowski, 2009; Morelock, 1992;  NAGC,  2011;  Silverman, 1993).  And there is agreement within the gifted community on at least one characteristic, ‘potential’ and/or what many call ability (Morelock,  1992;  NAGC,  2011; Rhode Island State Advisory Committee on Gifted and Talented Education, n.d.; Ruf, 2009; Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Worrell, 2012). 


    Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius and Worrell (2012) explain that this potential “implies an ability to perform at the extreme upper end of the distribution in a certain area” (p. 52).  Research on gifted children has utilized tests and assessment to quantify this ability and performance, as well as understand human capabilities.  If you are reading this and have a child under the gifted umbrella, you know that several types of tests are used to determine such potential, ranging from intellectual and academic tests to tests of creativity and demonstrated achievement within a particular subject area.  The types of tests used and the promise of what an assessment offers, as well as the cut-off criteria utilized, varies drastically across programs and institutions. The search for the gifted brain began long ago, and one theorist, Dabrowski, postulated that gifted individuals, as a whole, possess qualities different from the norm (Ackerman, 2009; Daniels & Piechowski, 2009).


    He defined these qualities as overexcitabilities or “superstimulatability” such that “persons may require less stimulation to produce a response, as well as stronger and more lasting reactions to stimuli” across 5 broad domains: psychomotor, sensation, imagination, intellectual and emotional (Daniels & Piechowski, 2009, p. 8-9).


    Dabrowski, to me, seems to be describing neural pathways or systems.


    If we look through the neuroscientist lens at ‘potential’ as the performance of the gifted child through the theoretical concept of overexcitabilities, we can begin to ask, what is it that makes the gifted child’s brain different? And, is the gifted child’s brain different?


    Studies using a scale that quantify overexcitabilities have found differences in the presence and level of overexcitabilities between children identified as gifted and those who are not (Ackerman & Paulus, 1997). Gifted children displayed and scored high on intellectual and emotional overexcitabilities as compared to those who were not identified as gifted (Ackerman & Paulus, 1997).


    Gifted children also evidence anatomical and physiological neuronal differences (Geake, 2008). Those who score higher on tests and assessments differ in the biological make-up of their brains (Cole, Yarkoni, Repovš, Anticevic, & Braver, 2012; Geake, 2008; Koch et al., 2012; Mitchell, 2007; Takeuchi et al., 2011).

     

    Geake (2008) suggests that the current research supports gifted individuals as possessing “more efficacious working memory with an enhanced executive function, focused attention, delayed closure, and evaluation selection.”  The frontal lobe is the ‘executive’ functioning portion of our brains.  It is the manager.  It breaks down complex problems, sequences, and overseas how problems are solved.  Studies have found differences in the frontal lobe of those with higher intellectual abilities, finding higher volumes of grey matter and more rapid growth in the thickness of the cortex associated with those who have higher abilities (Cole et al., 2012; Geake, 2008).

     

    Other studies suggest that people with higher abilities utilize their brain more efficiently due to greater neural synchronization in the brain (Geake, 2008; Koch et al., 2012).  Synchronicity is the ongoing conversations and relay of information across brain areas and this connectivity gives rise to cognitive functions (Koch et al., 2012).

     

    High ability performers have brain anatomical and physiological differences (Cole et al., 2012; Geake, 2008; Koch et al., 2012; Mitchell, 2007; Takeuchi et al., 2011). We call these high performers or high ability children, gifted children. And the research suggests that gifted children may process information faster and “more richly,” just like Dabrowski postulated, due in part to structural brain differences (Daniels & Piechowski, 2009; Hanscombe et al., 2012). These brain differences and greater connectivity/synchronicity do “combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm” (Geake, 2008; Morelock, 1992). These differences result in unique ways of perceiving the world and require unique approaches in education, parenting, and psycho-social development (Morelock, 1992; NAGC, 2011; Webb et al., 2005).

     

    To me, these findings suggest that gifted children have special needs that cannot be accounted for by environmental influences alone. Yes, environment does play a role in enrichment of potential, but there is evidence that those who possess higher abilities have different brain structures than those who do not possess those abilities.  And this, in and of itself, cannot be denied or overlooked.

     

    Have we found the gifted brain?  No, but we have begun the journey, and there is great hope with the advent of the Connectome Project and advances in science and technology (NIH Human Connectome Project, 2013).

     

     


    Catherine Gruener is the founder and owner of Gruener Consulting, LLC, an education program provider offering solutions to both parents and educators. Through its unique workshops and services for gifted children, and positive discipline parent classes and seminars, Ms. Gruener offers insight and tools for parents and teachers in large group seminars, online courses, and private consultations.

     

    Ms. Gruener holds a Master’s degree in neuropsychology and a second Master’s degree in professional counseling from the Adler School of Professional Psychology.  She is certified in Positive Discipline, as a Positive Discipline Trainer Candidate (PDTC). She is a Licensed Professional Counselor candidate in the state of Illinois.

     

    Ms. Gruener has served 16 plus years in the mental health field contributing to neuropsychology, psychological research, community counseling, and special needs advocacy in the United States and in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  She has been an active member of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children since 2009, serving on the Social and Emotional Committee, and holds memberships in several professional organizations:  American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, Positive Discipline Association, Illinois Association for Gifted Children, and the National Association for Gifted Children.

     

    For additional information please visit www.positivedisciplineparenting.com.

     

     


    References:

     

    Ackerman, C. M. (2009). The Essential Elements of Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration and How They Are Connected. [Article]. Roeper Review, 31(2), 81-95. doi:    10.1080/02783190902737657

     

    Ackerman, C. M., & Paulus, L. E. (1997). Identifying gifted adolescents using personality characteristics: Dabrowski's overexcitabilities. [Article]. Roeper Review, 19(4), 229.

     

    Cole, M. W., Yarkoni, T., Repovš, G., Anticevic, A., & Braver, T. S. (2012). Global Connectivity of Prefrontal Cortex Predicts Cognitive Control and Intelligence. The  Journal of Neuroscience, 32(26), 8988-8999. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.0536-12.2012

     

    Daniels, S., & Piechowski, M. M. (2009). Living with Intensity. Scottsdale: Great Potential Press, Inc.

     

    Geake, J. G. (2008). High abilities at fluid analogizing: a cognitive neuroscience construct of giftedness. Roeper Review, 30(3).

     

    Hanscombe, K. B., Trzaskowski, M., Haworth, C. M. A., Davis, O. S. P., Dale, P. S., & Plomin, R. (2012). Socioeconomic Status (SES) and Children's Intelligence (IQ): In a UK-Representative Sample SES Moderates the Environmental, Not Genetic, Effect on IQ. PLoS One, 7(2), e30320. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030320

     

    Koch, G., Bozzali, M., Bonnì, S., Giacobbe, V., Caltagirone, C., & Cercignani, M. (2012). fMRI Resting Slow Fluctuations Correlate with the Activity of Fast Cortico- Cortical Physiological Connections. PLoS One, 7(12), e52660. doi: 10.1371/ journal.pone.0052660

     

    Mitchell, K. J. (2007). The Genetics of Brain Wiring: From Molecule to Mind.

     

    PLoS Biol, 5(4), e113. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050113

     

    Morelock, M. J. (1992). Giftedness: The View from Within. Understanding Our Gifted Open Space Communications, 4(3), 1, 11-15.

     

    NAGC. (2011). What is Gifted?, from http://www.nagc.org/index.aspx? id=574&an

     

    NIH Human Connectome Project. (2013). Human Connectome Project, from http://www.humanconnectomeproject.org/

     

    Rhode Island State Advisory Committee on Gifted and Talented Education. (n.d.). Characteristics and Behaviors  of  the Gifted, from  http://www.ri.net/gifted_talented/ character.html#Myths

     

    Ruf, D. L. (2009). 5 Levels of Gifted School Issues and Educational Options. Scottsdale: Great Potential Press, Inc.

     

    Silverman, L. K. (Ed.). (1993). Counseling the Gifted and Talented. Denver: Love Publishing Company.

     

    Subotnik, R. F., Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Worrell, F. C. (2012). Nurturing the Young Genius. Scientific American Mind, 23, 50-57.

     

    Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Hashizume, H., Sassa, Y., Nagase, T., Nouchi, R., & Kawashima, R. (2011). Cerebral Blood Flow during Rest Associates with General Intelligence and Creativity. PLoS One, 6(9), e25532. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone. 0025532

     

    Webb, J. T., Amend, E. R., Webb, N. E., Goerss, J., Beljan, P., & Olenchak, F. R. (2005). Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults. Scottsdale: Great Potential Press, Inc.

     

    Posted retroactively on March 13, 2015.

  • February 12, 2013 11:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    In today's Fermilab Today newsletter, Fermilab announced the release of its new documentary, "Fermilab: Science at Work."  Per the newsletter, the movie "follows nine of the laboratory's scientists, giving viewers an inside look at their work (and sometimes, home) lives. But that's not to say that the film skimps on the science. It features the installation of part of the MINERvA detector, the construction of the Dark Energy Camera and an animated look at the configuration of Fermilab's accelerator complex."
  • January 23, 2013 10:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The Accelerated Weekend Experience is offered in locations throughout the Midwest for students in grades 5 through 8.  A new session has just been added for March 2 -3, 2013 at Nurturing Wisdom Academy in Hinsdale.  Other sessions in the Chicagoland area include February 23 - 24, 2013 at Elgin Academy in Elgin and March 16 - 17, 2013 at Northwestern University in Evanston.  See the Center for Talent Development web site for complete details. 
  • January 21, 2013 8:55 AM | Anonymous member


    Here’s an explanation of the Arduino from a non-geek. Actual geeks, please cover your ears.

    One of the great things about being a volunteer leader working with kids is that you learn new things, try things you’d never have tried before. With my Girl Scout troops, I’ve done high ropes courses, 35 feet off the ground, including once just three months after having a baby; I’ve done backpack camping; slept in a yurt.  

    I never thought I’d be learning and explaining the Arduino but such is the joy of lifelong learning.As the co-leader of the Hacker Scouts - Near West, so far I’ve gotten refreshers on kinetic energy, sound waves and lots of practice tearing duct tape for kids.



    What’s the Arduino then? It’s a microcontroller. That doesn’t help, does it? 

    I’ve come to the conclusion that what makes the Arduino so hard to explain is that it can do so many things and it disappears into whatever project someone’s built. You see the project and think, “Cool,” but you don’t notice the Arudino.  Basically, and Arduino is this small circuit board doo-hickey that includes a computer chip and some places where you can connect things to it. You program the Arduino by connecting it to a computer and then you send that programming, or instructions to the Arduino.

    Some teens and adults recently took at CGCC class in Arduino at Workshop 88, a Hacker Space in suburban Glen Ellyn.  They did the classic first Arudino project, which is to program it to make an LED light flash.



    So, to summarize, the purpose of the Arduino is take a simple task, like plugging in a light bulb, and make it really complicated and convoluted.  You could use an Arudino to program some motors that you could connect to a robotic vehicle, for example. You could create a message in lights, controlled by Arduino.I should just show some cool projects that people make with them, here are some links.

    20 Unbelievable Arduino Projects
    (try to keep your kids from seeing the flame throwing pumpkin!)

    Here’s another round up post of Arduino Projects, including the twitter-enabled coffee pot: http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Projects

    In addition, you can combine multiple Arduinos in one project. Many of the things you can do with an Arduino, you could also do with Lego’s NEXT, however, price is a huge factor. NEXT is about $280.00, and while it’s a great product and easy to use, that’s a big investment. An Arduino is just $30.00 and you program it with free, open source software. As a bonus, that software comes in mac, pc and Linux versions.

    Here’s a video at MAKEzine that answers, “What’s an Arduino?”

  • January 15, 2013 8:33 PM | Anonymous member
    This weekend tech genius and internet activist Aaron Swartz took his own life. Parents of gifted kids grabbed those kids tightly and wordlessly said that prayer from the soul all frightened parents say over their children. Jen Merrill, our north suburban board member, wrote of Aaron and gifted children this weekend: 

    "It’s more than likely you do not know the name Aaron Swartz; before this morning I did not either. But if you are reading this on a feed reader, he is why. Among many other things, he helped create the RSS feed by which you’re reading this. When he was 14.

    Yesterday he hanged himself."

    You can read the rest of the post at her blog, Laughing at Chaos. 
  • January 15, 2013 11:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The National Girls Collaborative Project  January 2013 E-Newsletter had a link to the EngineerGirl Essay Contest.  Every year, the EngineerGirl website sponsors a contest dealing with engineering and its impact on our world.  This year's contest is titled "Essential To Our Health."  The contest is open to girls and boys in grades3 - 12.  Submissions are due March 1,2013.  Winners receive cash prizes.

  • January 15, 2013 12:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Registration is open for Winter Cascade 2013 which runs from January 29 - February 26.  Topics for this session include:

     

    Color Theory and the Language of Art

    Synthetic Biology:Hacking the Genome

    The History of Rock

    The Ethical Life

    Make No Small Plans: How Chicago Came to Be

    Reading Between the Lines: Introduction to Music Analysis

    Staring Into Infinity

    Psychology: A Brief Introduction to How Your Mind Works

    City Government: Discover the Power of You

    Is your brain lying to you? The truth behind visual perception

    The Philosophy of Death: Why is death badundefinedor is it?

    How to Lead: A Crash Course In Leadership

    When Movies Get it Wrong

    Basic Beginner Jazz Dance

     

     

    Splash! Chicago is a student organization at the University of Chicago that runs free after-school and weekend programs for high school students. Their goal is to introduce students from different walks of life to topics that aren’t approached in the traditional classroom– anything from pirate history and culture to tap dancing and religious cults– in a fun, collaborative setting. Our programs are open to all high school students: there’s no application and there’s no charge.

    We host two programs on the University of Chicago campus: Splash! runs annually on a Saturday in October and is attended by several hundred high school students; Cascade runs Tuesday evenings, fall and winter, and is attended by about one hundred students. Students have the opportunity to explore several different subjects at Splash!, while Cascade offers an opportunity to explore one or two subjects more in-depth!

  • January 14, 2013 11:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Registration for the Tinkering School Chicago overnight summer camp has started.  Registration ends March 1, 2013 so be sure to start on the application soon.

     

    Also, the Tinkering Lab at Chicago Children's Museum opens on February 5.  Dustin, the director of Tinkering School Chicago, will be building, testing and breaking stuff in there every Thursday night and Saturday this spring.

     

About cgcc

The Chicago Gifted Community Center (CGCC) is a member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by parents to support the intellectual and emotional growth of gifted children and their families. 

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