21st Century, Creativity, Innovation, Inspiration

Curiosity Abounds!

The landing of Curiosity on Mars was beyond amazing.  Here are five cool finds to share the awesomeness and bask in the wonder of Curiosity:

Mars Panoramic

Click on the image to access the interactive, panoramic photo

EDS Systems have stitched together a high-resolution interactive panorama of Curiosity’s landing site from where she’ll soon embark on at least two years of research and investigation of the red planet. (via Colossal)

7 Years in the Making

Thanks to Samaritan Blog, I watched this video is produced by an engineer working on JPL NASA’s Mars Rover.  In Mark’s own words:

I was able to work on NASA JPL’s Curiosity Mars Rover for 7 years. This video is an attempt to capture what it felt like to have 7 years of your life vindicated in the 7 minute landing. Honestly one of the coolest moments of my life so far.

All the pictures of hardware you see in the video are things that I worked on designing or testing or building. I got to work on the Sky Crane for 3-4 years then with some hardware on the Rover itself for the rest. My background in school is Mechanical Engineering.

We’re NASA and We Know It

A great take off of a well-known tune.  I think I like this one so much as it makes me think of the video my kids made last year of this song!  Very clever!

Words from the President

Upon hearing the news about the landing of Curiosity, President Obama spoke with the engineers at JPL and NASA.  He thanked the people for their “passion and commitment that is making a difference”. I love that. Imagine being thanked by the President for the passion and commitment you show in your place of work – your classroom!  President Obama concluded his conversation with these words:

“Really what makes us best as a species is this curiosity that we have and this yearning to discover more and more, and to push the boundaries of knowledge, and you are a perfect example of that.” – President Obama

Bobak Ferdowsi

Bobak who?  You may know him as “the mohawk guy”.  The guy admired by the President and parodied in the NASA and We Know It video.  Meet Bobak Ferdowsi and hear the story behind the hairstyle!

Creativity, Design

The Ideas Will Be Bouncing Off the Walls – Literally!

For a little over a year, I have been a fan of IdeaPaint.  IdeaPaint is a dry erase paint that turns virtually any surface into an erasable canvas, giving you the space you need to collaborate, interact and fully explore your creativity. Popular for homes, businesses and schools, IdeaPaint opens up any surface to the possibility of becoming a platform for generating ideas.

This week, IdeaPaint ran a competition to win a kit of IdeaPaint CLEAR – a transparent paint to transform surfaces into an “erasable canvas”.  The competition was in honor of National Bad Poetry Day  and limited to the 140 characters of a tweet.  In the wee hours of the morning, I composed my entry and today, discovered I had won! The poem is really bad – but it made my husband and the people at IdeaPaint chuckle – and won me and my students a Clear IdeaPaint kit – hooray!

So, what do with it?   From the IdeaPaint website, they offer the following suggestions:


  1. On your chalkboards – IdeaPaint lets you improve what you already have by transforming old blackboards into high performing dry erase surfaces that increase collaborative square footage, while eliminating the health risk of dust.
  2. On desks and tables – Any surface in your classroom is fair game, especially those that get a lot of 1-on-1 attention. Turn desks and tables into interactive surfaces that let students work through their ideas without wasting paper.
  3. On lockers – Newly painted lockers at the Kiel School in New Jersey have been a huge hit because they let students take ownership of their personal space and act as a message board for friends and teachers.
  4. In hallways – The hallway sees more foot traffic than anywhere, which makes them the ideal place to communicate with IdeaPaint. At the iSchool in NYC, painting the hallways increased students interactions and made an instant impression on visitors to the school.
  5. On doors – IdeaPaint turns anything into a message board. A coat of CLEAR can turn a door into a place to post schedules, assignments, while maintaing existing aesthetics!
  6. In offices – IdeaPaint has many applications outside of the classroom too. Use it to create a seamless think space where teachers and administrators can collaborate, or create a handful of smaller spaces that help maximize the area in your offices.
  7. Anywhere else! The truth is, IdeaPaint can be used on any smooth surface. Every time we see it in schools, there’s a new application – in cafeterias, to create story boards, even on the floor!

IdeaPaint has been used at many schools and colleges around the US and the World.  One of those schools is MIT:

As I was looking through more of the work on the IdeaPaint website, I came across a combo IdeaPaint/Evernote innovation.  I was excited having set my class up last year with Evernote and having planned to do the same this year. I love the ideas encompassed in this video:

The possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to explore them!

On behalf of my kids at Riverstone International School, thank you IdeaPaint!