Building out the concept of CSTEAM…

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Yesterday I posted the concept of CSTEAM or connected science, technology, engineering art and math. The concept being that you can quite simply connect any STEAM lesson with other groups doing a similar lesson and in the end share.

In my book The Syncverse I talked about the concept of the EDUVerse a place where teachers could go and effectively share ideas, concepts and lesson plans. I built out two good use cases for such an educational system. The first being the assimilation of a young student into a classroom where the student doesn’t speak the native language of the country they are now in. To create a global community based on helping kids be successful as they transition from one country to another. The other use case I built out in the book was around sharing global ideas in the classroom.

I’ve published a few steam ideas over the past year on my blog.

It is in the end a start. The concept of science as more than simply exploration comes from my father. He wrote many years ago a model for teaching students science called the Inquiry Method. The system was about asking questions of the students. I based a number of my CSTEAM presentations over the years on that method. Start off asking really tough questions. Let the the listener guide what comes next.

How will we prevent astronauts from getting bored on a year long voyage to Mars?

In the end the concepts of CSTEAM are about building and sharing ideas. In my case now most of my CSTEAM lessons are as an e-mailer pointed out to me yesterday “Hit and Run” well actually the e-mailer called it seagull education. There is a value in seagull education (sea gulls swoop in, poop and then leave) if the seagull in the end is able to ignite the curiosity of the audience.

What is possible?

In the end CSTEAM encompasses much more than simply building a technology environment (EduVerse) that supports the building and sharing of unique ideas and lessons for students. It encompasses the Inquiry Method and builds on that to add in ascetic or art and concepts. The beauty of art is you can create something that doesn’t exist today. Art can be the first step into the innovations of the world around you.

To answer the question what is possible frankly today more than when The Syncverse was published. Although less than the ideas in the book the EduVerse could be effectively built today. The first component (see lessons above) is to get educators of all ilk’s and level’s to begin sharing lesson plans that encompass all six elements of CSTEAM.

Why hasn’t this happened?

There is an old adage that says “when the student is ready the teacher will appear/” I suspect in the reality of CSTEAM that the same is true. When the world is ready for education that is connected and ultimately creates a world-wide forum for the building and sharing of concepts and ideas we will be able to build the CSTEAM system.

The world-wide crowd funding community is the first step. Crowd funding moves us closer to a shared environment for Technology concepts. There is an organization that today captures great speakers and lectures and shares them via the Internet at no cost. That is another step in the direction of CSTEAM. The last steps are always the hardest.

More to come!!!!

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Taking STEAM to the next level–CSTEAM!

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Many years ago when I was a school teacher I was interested in teaching science (and actually STEAM) to the young students in my charge. We spent hours building and designing Hypercard solutions to both problems we had in the classroom as well as broader school wide problems.

Broderbund released a series of sensors as a kit with software you could connect to your classroom computer and begin a static investigation of the world. Static in the sense that you didn’t move the cart with the computer very far as it was heavy – and tied to an AC cord.

The same (and many many more sensors) are now available for the classroom from Vernier and other companies. (I love the Vernier system – it is simply amazing). You can now take your battery operated system and go anywhere to collect data.

Schools can connect self powered (solar) weather stations and allow students to not only track but predict weather patterns and changes. You can quite easily create sensor systems in schools that let students measure the impact of footsteps and the optimal energy required to launch  a free throw or change the temperature of water by ten degrees. Then in addition you can effectively share that data with other schools and bring in experts to talk about what it is the kids found in their exploration.

STEAM was my dream as an education 25 years ago. Now its CSTEAM. Taking the concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math and connecting that to the great world around the student. A connection that many products already have today. NetATMO one of my favorite connected weather stations already allows you to view the data from every single NetATMO station around you. Why, does the temperate vary by as much as 10 degrees depending upon where you are in a 50 miles radius. Or how does the topology of the land modify the speed of wind. Or when considering wind speed can you see a difference based on the placement of the wind vane? IE behind a house is going to have a different reading in terms of wind speed compared to alone in a field or on top of a building.

The other advantage of connected is the data now can be examined. Many years ago the students in my class conducted a series of Acid Rain experiments. It would have made that experiment even better had we had been able to gather data from schools further South and further North of where we were (East and West as well).

Connected STEAM also allows you to bring in experts via SKYPE and other technologies to see and consult on your project. Experts that wouldn’t be able to travel all around the country to assist two or three schools, but could do a video conference (recorded) for 100 schools. Suddenly giving the students and even better perspective. Weekly conferences with other schools around the country collecting similar data.

In the end it is all about the experience. From an artistic view of the problem such as what would the first landing on Mars look like for humans to a  technology, engineering, math and scientific view of what would it take to land a person on Mars.

CSTEAM gives a great concept, STEAM, even more legs and energy. The simple application of technology to the concept of sharing and connecting makes the reality of STEAM even better. CSTEAM – Its an idea born more than 25 years ago. In the creation of the Society of Dead Teachers a group built with the concept of sharing and connecting teachers around the world. To the concepts and ideas built in the books linked below:

Not just ideological views of the perfect world. Rather expanding the concept of what connection could do not just for STEAM. CSTEAM is but a piece of the dream. Building a world where connections, data and ideas could ultimately flow freely is the concept of the various components of the Syncverse. Not just universal synchronization – syncing and sharing information in a manner that not only supports schools and CSTEAM, but organizations, governments and people.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Violence, hatred and anger in the end solve nothing…

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“Violence is the only path forward for the disenfranchised.” Sandler Boggs

That was originally published in 1982 as part of an essay run in a magazine that well sadly hasn’t existed in many years now. It was written at a time when Sandler Boggs was writing a lot of anti-hate and anti-violence pieces.

IT came from personal struggles with concept of hate.

What does in the end hate mean? Does it mean a automatic rejection of something that fits in the category “hated” without consideration? Does the anger replace the humanity or is the anger in the end a part of humanity?

The last part terrifies Sandler. Its why he wrote a number of essays and articles in the early 1980’s talking about a better path than hate and anger.

But that was then.

Fast forward to a time when we are continuing to enlighten more and more people. But the anger and hate remains. Its closer I think to the surface now than it was in the heyday of Sandler Boggs. He quietly slipped off the literary map in 1989 to for the most part never be heard of again.

Certainly the voice of Dylan Thomas “do not go gentle into that good night” fans the flames of hatred and makes them grow. His words written in a angry time of the world. When hate was the only answer that made any sense with bombs falling in innocent London in the early 1940’s.

Yes I understand and so did Sandler that at times hated is an answer. But I worry and so does my friend Sandler that it is too often the first answer.

Let’s take a collective deep breath. Let’s determine if there is a need for the hatred. Let’s look for those disenfranchised and give them voice. Let them be heard. Let their story be told. To many times our world is wrapped around the legal concept of right and wrong. The world begs for equal opportunity in all situations.

Easy for me to call for sitting safe in my blogging space. But in the end something that could have happened many years ago, and still can happen now. Equal opportunity for all.

“I long for a time when I am not the one voice in the wilderness.” Sandler Boggs.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Market evolution, an interesting concept…

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There is a concept that intrigues and has for years. It is a component of innovation and it is in effect the existence of the market. It is the creation, or capturing of a market during the process of market evolution. There is by the way also a process of market devolution where a market literally fades away.

In my book on innovation I talked about a number of factors that impact innovation but also the three rates at which innovation occurs. The rates of innovation revolve often around the market the innovation is in. There are slow growth markets. Incremental in effect where you add things to your solution because someone else already did. The new thing gets absorbed by everyone in the market quickly. The cellular phone market is an incremental innovation market. The next big thing, becomes last years big thing that everyone has.

But market evolution can occur without innovation. Market maturity can be separate from innovation and can be more risky. If we take the cellular phone market we can see an interesting market evolution. The market originally was dominated by the old style hardware is cheap software is expensive. I suspect if you look at the evolution of the market it forced the change in 2007. The reversed market suddenly made the hardware more costly and the software became cheap. It forced the original market companies to rethink and scramble and frankly in the end the market evolved past them.

You can pick a number of old line companies that in the end have struggled to stay relevant. It happens as a market they are in evolves. We could argue that it also occurs because the company evolves as well – moving further down the innovation chain. In the end today’s market becomes tomorrows forgotten tools.

Many books deal with this topic of evolution in a number of different ways. The Blue Ocean theory deals with the concept of evolving out of the competitive Red Ocean. In how the might fail the book examines the triggers within the market that cause companies to lose ground and eventually lose their way.

Change is a barometer and at times a model. If you continue to change as an organization you run the risk of changing past where the market is evolving. towards. If you don’t change you risk the market evolving around you and in the end past you.

Market evolution is the last thing some companies realize.

Right as they are no longer relevant.

In the end who is next?

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Introducing the concept “Total Addressable Bandwidth” or TAB.

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The concept of bandwidth is a reoccurring theme here on my blog. I’ve talked about the increased need for home bandwidth and the total bandwidth on the Internet. The more I think about bandwidth and match that to what is possible the more I wonder.

Many years ago I was really into home automation. I wanted to be able to shut my garage door while I was away from the house. So I invested the time and effort into installing an X-10 system in my house. It was a fun learning and discovery project.

  • There is only so much distance you can have between a sensor and a receiver
  • What the senor is doing often requires adjustment (or at least it did in the x-10 world).

The reality of that first automation project was first off I was learning as I was doing the project. That isn’t always a good thing. Secondly I was using the low end of the market rather than considering the best overall solution.

Today I run a Control 4 system that was professionally installed in my house. I don’t have the same issues with bandwidth (I did but the team that did the installation worked with me on the bandwidth issues). Between the Control 4 host and the various sensors there is a protocol (and separate airwave) they use call Zigbe. That separation first off frees up the chatter of sensors on my w-fi. We did install control panels in the house and they are connected via wi-fi sot here is still a little bandwidth lost but overall its managed.

In the end using that separate protocol is critical. Why? Because where once my home had 10 wi-fi devices on at times, there are now 30 devices on virtually all the waking hours of the day. Plus now many devices wake up when you are asleep for the express purpose of looking for updates.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote the exceptional book about when a production or idea reaches “The Tipping Point.” It is a good thing when the next great thing reaches that magical moment of suddenly having mass appeal. There is however something to continue worrying about here. The negative tipping point of too much. When do we reach the saturated bandwidth point of tipping?

Personally I know the tipping point for bandwidth is nearer now than it was, but it is ultimately just out of reach. That’s a good thing in the end. The number of home network perimeter devices is growing. Smart devices that control both the internal and external flow of information in your home. Over time those could become useful routers to build and control the total available bandwidth in your home (TAB).

Moving from the just add devices to TAB will be a slow process. But in so doing the home network won’t suffer the tipping point of bandwidth collapse.  We may still have a TAB issue for the Internet overall. The speed of light is a limit rather than a guideline (like the 55 mph signs often are on 495 and 270 in DC as the car blows past you at 80 mph or creeps along with you at 5 mph).

Introducing the concept of TAB is the first step. Getting it into everyone’s homes is the next step. Eventually home TAB devices that offer QOS (quality of service) will be prevalent and will over time cache and control the data in and leaving/entering our homes better. Tipping point hopefully avoided!

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

The portrait of the blogger as an artist.

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I had a conversation with a co-worker yesterday. It’s someone I respect a lot so the conversation rattled around in my head for awhile. It was on the topic of blogs and the changes in writing over the past ten years.

As an avid blogger my initial reaction was no way. She pointed out that at professor of hers had talked about texting, blogging and the new media changing the language around us. That is something that over time has happened many times. Any group of people communicating in a focused on structured manner will be to adapt to new rules generated by that conversation and communication. You don’t spring fully formed onto this planet with a regional dialect, you learn it over time.

Texting has changed writing radically in this country. I myself am terribly bad at writing complete sentences (in the morning in my blog often – and when texting almost always regardless of the time). Blogging on the other hand has changed the country in the negative like texting modifying and altering the grammatical and presentation rules of writing.

But writing like painting and sculpture is also an art form. Blogging gives many more artists the chance to express their art. To steal the old drinking adage (you don’t own beer you borrow it) and apply it tow writing it is the same. You don’t own the ideas that spring from what you write. You own the concept you put on paper and the words you write. But the reader owns the ideas they have and create from there.

Based on that blogging is a canvas. Part of the artists palette. Over the years I have had fortune to visit art museums in many cities and countries. I have looked at some of the great works of art and wondered. Salvador Dali’s work appeals to me. I like the mixture of what is and what well isn’t. The giraffe as a dresser. It is art.

So are many blogs. Certainly there are blogs that give rise to question that statement. Conspiracy blogs at times frankly many at best are examples of what can be done that isn’t art but rather well I will keep my opinion to myself. But you can find those writings in the 1930’s and frankly any part of the last 1000 years. Cheap and easy literature produced for mass consumption not quality.

It isn’t a first amendment issue in the end. Everyone has the right to an opinion. We don’t always have the right to share that opinion (if your opinion is shouting Fire is a hobby and you are in a crowded theater you don’t have the right to exercise your hobby unless there actually is a fire).

Blogging is a spectrum From literary expression all the way to conspiracy theories blogging runs that gamut. It is in the end merely another vehicle for the artist to dream and share aloud.

“In the hallway the women bustle to and fro and speak of Michael Angelo.”

TS Elliot.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

An essay on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math).

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“Ask not for whom the bell tolls. The bell tolls for thee.”

John Milton

Like so many great works of literature I’ve read over the years certain words and authors stick with me year after year. Milton, Blake, Hughes, Pound all bounce words and thoughts off my cerebral cortex into the long term memory banks.

Sitting next to design considerations and concepts of requirements gathering is a single Tyger burning bright in the forest of my mind. Music and literature influence us by enabling us to have a cradle of creativity within us. A burning desire for a moment to reach beyond what is there and consider what could be there.

That momentary burst when it is revealed to us that more was always there. We just hadn’t seen more. We saw only what our limits would allow. Bursting past those limits we could see what had been there forever waiting for us like a loyal companion sitting and waiting at the end of every day.

Oh again to sit amongst those who argue the essence of the universe. To see and hear that which isn’t there. To grasp for a moment of reflection the potential within what could be. To innovate in ways that were not possible before.

What is the change then that we must undergo to open this door? How do we join the group that argues the essence of the universe? It just science. It isn’t just math. Those are far to dry to see the edges that are flaking and here the symphony that is there. For years we chased STEM improvements in schools. To create that moment where the universe wasn’t the only view to be seen.

In the end the art is important as well. There is a poetry within innovation that calls to us. It is as if the moment of innovation is a mixture of science, math and art. Technology included in that but it often rides along patiently waiting for a moment.

It took science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) to build the first Macintosh computer in 1983. It took art to destroy the previous conceptions of computers and in placing that Super Bowl Ad in 1984 change for a moment the course of the world.

Apple isn’t the only company do merge STEM into STEAM most companies do now. But Apple’s core is a mix of all four (Math, Science, Technology and Art). Pageantry and majesty rising out of the ashes to proclaim change.

It is art that in the end rings Milton’s bell.

In the end Mr. Frost it isn’t the road heavily traveled nor the road less taken that we seek. It is the road that mixes all four components to produces the STEAM that moves our creative dreams.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.