Birthdays and Projects

Yesterday I celebrated my 26th birthday, which was a lot of fun. I was happy so many of my friends were able to make it out to celebrate with me. We went to Tasty Burger in Harvard Square. It was great to be able to relax and catch up with my classmates, some of which I haven’t been able to see as much do to our crazy schedules.

I’m also so happy about the nicer weather. It’s starting to finally feel like spring. The sun is out, the grass is turning green, and flowers are starting to bloom. I had never experienced a “true” winter like I had this year, and I definitely noticed a shift in my feelings once spring came around. I just feel so much happier. I notice it in other people as well when I’m walking outside – everyone is smiling and looks so happy.

There are only 2 weeks left of classes, which I find incredibly crazy. Time has passed incredibly quickly.

I’m really excited about the projects I’m working on. In my Advanced Design Studio course, I’ve been learning Bootstrap and responsive web design. I know so much more HTML and CSS now, and have even learned a bit of JavaScript. For my group project in that class, we are building a website that aims to connect educators and developers in order to promote the creation of quality educational technology products. It’s really awesome to see how much our design has changed over the course of the semester, and how great it is to see our initial sketches finally coming together.

In my Universal Design for Learning class, my group has been working on making a working prototype of UpTell, a project I worked on at the HGSE Hackathon last semester. I’m the media person, so I’ve learned a lot about putting together creative briefs to guide marketing and promotion efforts. I’ve also had a blast learning new video editing programs like Premiere Pro and After Effects. I’m creating a video that showcases our site’s features, as well as other mini videos aimed at creating awareness about our site.

In my Entrepreneurship in the Education Marketplace class, I’ve been learning how to take an idea and create a business plan for it. My partner and I came up with an idea for a math technology product that uses student interests to generate individualized math content. So, basically if a child was really interested in sports, he or she would receive practice problems and simulations about sports. In a couple of weeks we’ll be pitching our product idea to our class at the Harvard iLab!

Finally, in my Transforming Education through Emerging Technologies class, I have been working with my friend Nick to create an augmented reality game for EcoMOBILE. We were able to field test our initial game a few weeks ago, and now we are in the process of revising it to create a finalized version.

Needless to say, this semester has been incredibly busy with projects in addition to searching and applying for jobs – which is why I have been so bad about updating this blog regularly.

I’m feeling so many emotions lately – excitement, nervousness, happiness, sadness – I’ve had such an incredible time here, have met so many amazing people, and now this experience is approaching its end. It’s so surreal!

I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here. It’s been such an awesome year, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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Spring Updates

It feels like it’s been forever since I wrote here, and I apologize to any readers who follow this blog.

Truth be told, the semester was off to a very slow start due to the snow days, and I felt there was not much to share.

I’m happy to report that we haven’t had a major snowstorm in a few weeks, and things are starting to pick up. I’m currently on spring break, and it seems a little insane to me that I’m basically at the halfway point in the semester. Time is passing so quickly!

Here’s what I’ve been working on:

T560: I’m working in a team of three to further develop the UpTell project I had worked on in the HGSE Hackathon. It is a perfect project for the Universal Design for Learning framework. We’re still in the very early prototyping stages, but it’s exciting nonetheless to be going from a Keynote prototype to building out a website. My particular role in the project is media, which means I will be working on marketing materials that encompass our overall brand and mission.

T561: I’m working on the EcoMOBILE research team. My particular project is building out games in ARIS, an open-source platform for creating mobile learning games and experiences. I’m working with Nick again (I believe this is our 4th or 5th project together) to translate their current games into the new platform. We’ve ran into some tech issues here and there, but overall it’s been a fun learning experience.

T565: In this class, I’m working with someone from my cohort on a business plan for a digital K-3 math curriculum that generates content personally geared toward student interests. We are currently in the market sizing and research phase. I’m excited to see how it turns out!

T581: I’ve learned so much in this class, from furthering my HTML and CSS skills and learning jQuery. I’m working in a team of 5 to develop a social media site that connects teachers and technologists in order to improve the quality of educational content. We had originally started out as a social media site connecting STEAM educators, but felt that was too limiting. We’re in the wireframing stage, and will soon be building out our site.

In addition to class projects, I’m also doing an internship as a curriculum designer for the U.S. Department of State’s Resilient, Entrepreneurial, And Dynamic Youth (READY) Initiative. I’m working in an interdisciplinary team to co-design ten gender-progressive, professional development and global citizenship modules. We’ve only recently had our first meeting, but I’m eager to see how our work develops.

I really can’t believe classes are over on April 30th. That’s a little over a month away!

Snow Woes

It’s the second week of classes, and we’re experiencing yet another snow storm. I can definitely say the novelty has worn off for me after having had to dig out our car last week, only to wake up this morning and see it completely buried in snow again.

As a kid, snow seems really fun and magical. It totally is. Until it gets brown, slushy, and gross. Or when you have to shovel it out of the way. I was originally open to working anywhere after HGSE, but now I’m definitely looking at living somewhere warmer, preferably closer to home.

Most of my classes last week were focused on getting to know each other and forming project teams. I’m really excited to see how our work develops over the semester. Today we had a virtual class meeting for T561 (so thankful I didn’t have to trek in the snow to class) and started diving into some of the course topics. I’m really intrigued by the prospects of virtual and augmented reality in education. We still haven’t found out what our project team assignments are, but I’m really hoping I get my first choice of working with EcoMobile and augmented reality.

In other news, I’ve joined the Team Fitness Challenge with some other HGSE students. It starts next week, and it’s basically a competition to see which team accrues the most workout minutes. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of consistently going to the gym these last couple of weeks. I’m hoping being part of a team will keep me motivated throughout the cold weather and busy grad school projects.