It seems weird to reach out publicly like this, but I would really like LEGO Education to help me help them.
Sadly I find myself with zero useful contacts at LEGO, meaning that the current line of LEGO robotics materials are unlikely to be available to participants at the upcoming Constructing Modern Knowledge institute for the first time in 15 years. This is despite the fact that there may be no educator who has influenced more sales of LEGO robotics materials for longer than me.
In 1987, I became a “teacher trainer” for LEGO’s education division and played a significant role in getting their new robotics materials into classrooms across the US and around the world. I wrote dozens of articles, led hundreds of workshops, and LEGO played a major role in my doctoral research. For more than two decades, I collaborated with Seymour Papert, the inspiration behind Mindstorms. I’ve attended meetings at LEGO HQ in Denmark (at my own expense) and am the co-author of Invent to Learn – Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (called the bible of the maker movement in schools and translated into 9 languages). Invent To Learn touts LEGO robotics products.
For 15 years, Constructing Modern Knowledge has been the gold standard in learning-by-doing events for educators. LEGO has always been part of the mix of materials used in the construction of participant projects. LEGO has new Spike sets on the market, but since I have none (and can’t seem to buy them), the educators at CMK are unlikely to be able to experience LEGO’s new product line as a viable option for use in their schools.
While this is disappointing and aggravating, LEGO has more to lose than I do. It seems crazy that I need to discuss this publicly. I continue to operate under the crazy notion that companies care about sales and their most loyal customers. It is bizarre that I need to continuously introduce myself to companies who benefit from my advocacy.
It’s not too late. Constructing Modern Knowledge 2022 starts July 25th. You can read all about it below. We would love to have Spike sets available for use and welcome educators to register!
Constructing Modern Knowledge 2022 is my life’s work. It is the embodiment of all that is possible in classrooms and a celebration of teacher ingenuity. CMK is in the American southeast for the first time in 15 years and we are being hosted by a state-of-the-art facility featuring access to the most amazing technology you may ever experience. Send a teacher you love, an educator team, or yourself to camp this summer at CMK. Your students and community will benefit for years to come.
#1 There is simply no other professional learning event on earth like Constructing Modern Knowledge.
Each summer, educators from around the globe assemble at CMK for four intense days of learning-by-doing with a world-class faculty, mind-blowing guest speakers, cutting-edge technology, social events, and a mountain of materials. These educators often achieve the impossible and demonstrate the remarkable creativity, competence, and capability that may be found in classrooms.
#2 Alfie Kohn
Alfie Kohn was a guest speaker at the very first CMK back in 2008. He is widely acclaimed as one of the leading educational voices of his generation, His best-selling books and provocative talks cause educators and parents to confront their compromises. He is an unapologetic partisan on the side of children.
Two CMK memories of Alfie Kohn really resonate with me. In 2008, he said something to a CMK participant that really aggravated the educator. He expressed his displeasure, but over time reported that he could not stop thinking about what Alfie said told him. A year or two later, the educator was still wrestling with the ideas Alfie shared. Approximately five years later, that educator told us that he now completely agrees with what Alfie shared. How many speakers can stick with you for years?
About five years ago, the great Deborah Meier returned to speak at CMK. Alfie asked if he could attend her talk and even introduce her. How many speakers would come to another speaker’s event just to interact with that speaker? That sort of thing happens at CMK! When Alfie walked into the room, a young teacher recognized him and shrieked with excitement!
#3 A Dream Factory for Educators
Constructing Modern Knowledge has always been a place where educators invent the future by creating “real” projects using cutting-edge computational technology, craft materials, and assorted junk.The things created are learning artifacts, even when whimsical.
CMK 2022 is taking making to a whole new level thanks to our host site, the Global Center for Digital Innovation. The GCDI is chock-full of fabrication hardware in abundance and of a scale that most educators can only dream of (for now). This includes filament and liquid resin 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, embroidery machines, water jet cutters capable of cutting steal, mold makers, power tools, routers, and more.
I cannot wait to see what educators will do with professional quality fabrication hardware and a dose of CMK magic! Check out some of the photos I snapped at the GCDI!
#4 Kate Shuster
We are enormously excited to share author, educator, researcher, and activist Dr. Kate Shuster with CMK 2022 participants! During hard times, students deserve hard history, and Dr. Shuster is helping archives, museums, and research institutions share their primary source materials digitally with school students so they may be historians, rather than being merely taught history. Kate’s participation at CMK 2022 could not be more timely. Learn more about her and her innovative work here.
#5 Peter Martin
Peter Martin is not only a Grammy-winning musician, musical director, and one of the finest talents of his generation, he started a company, Open Studio, that uses the Internet to build community, develop talent, nurture creativity, and teach people to perform one of the most complex acts imaginable, be improvisational jazz musicians. Peter’s entrepreneurship is making high-quality mentoring, inspiration, advice, and instruction from the world’s greatest musicians accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere. We are blessed that he will join us to share his cutting-edge technology, pedagogical innovation, and spectacular musicianship with us at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2022. Learn more here.
“An unbelievable musician with a unique kind of charisma. Not just the technical competence, but the deep kind of penetrating insight into music.”– Wynton Marsalis
#6 Team Discounts
Constructing Modern Knowledge 2022 offers generous team discounts to maximize continuous learning and school transformation once educators return to school. Bringing a team to CMK bonds colleagues and helps shapes a common purpose-driven vision for progress at home. Learn more and register.
#7 Meat on Swords!
The benefits of breaking bread together are well documented and our institute dinner plays a vital role in building community in a quintessential fashion. Over the years, CMK participants have fallen in love with what has been referred to as “MeatFest” or “Meat Night.” As idiosyncratic as it was to find an excellent churrascaria in Manchester, New Hampshire the culinary gods have smiled upon us and this year’s gala institute dinner (included in your registration) will be held at a Brazilian rodizio churrascaria in Chattanooga! (There will be plenty of yummy options for vegetarians and other nutritional needs.) Learn more about the all-you-can-eat gala institute dinner here.
Five minutes from the institute hotels is AT&T Field, home of the mighty Chattanooga Lookouts minor league baseball team. This year’s social event will be a big night out at the ballpark to watch the Lookouts battle the Rocket City Trash Pandas! Your ticket, hot dog, drink, and chips are included in CMK registration.
For the first time in 15 years, Constructing Modern Knowledge is being held in the US Southeast – within a day’s drive of half the US population and even Toronto. The quality and quantity of cutting-edge fabrication technology we have access to at the GCDI is unparalleled. Chattanooga has restaurants, bars, museums, aquariums, Moon Pie emporia, baseball stadium, rock climbing, a pinball museum, riverwalk, biking trails, and axe throwing within a few minute walk of the outstanding and affordable hotels we have organized.
#10 The Future is Now!
Constructing Modern Knowledge depends on you. We have no external funding, vendors, or sponsors to support our amazing institute. After losing so much during COVID-19, the future viability of CMK is dependent on the success of Constructing Modern Knowledge 2022. The future is uncertain in so many ways. If you have ever considered participating in Constructing Modern Knowledge, do so this July!