Generations planting seeds

My earliest memories of me and my Dad were driving in an old Dodge Dark, listening to “hit the road Jack, don’t ya come back no more no more”. We went out to a garden plot where he would make a golden rod bow and arrow and he would garden.

When we lived in a house, we had a backyard garden, which I helped in when I had to. Other than the carrots that you could eat with still a bit of dirt on it and the peas right out of the pods, I did not like much of what came out of the garden. I did not inherit his green thumb.

Now that I will be coaching teachers on hydroponics, I guess I better get some wisdom from the experienced. Dad came into the school. It was not the way he left it! So much tech. Despite all the high tech, learning how to germinate seeds goes back a long time and perhaps the most complex machine in these little seeds. We set up 3 or 4 pods of different seeds just to see what happens.

Ideally, we would get good enough at this that we could have these along the hall and students could pick their lunch!! We will see.

It has been a week and a half. Some are well on their way.

First Coding with Brilliant Labs

There seems to be lots of demand for hydroponics kinds of things and a desire to help automate them. I have never really coded anything before. “But Mr Fogarty, your projects have lots of coding in them!” My response is,” I have students who learn to code.” My job is not to do the thing, but to create opportunities and make things happen. I should know lots of things, but not everything.

But now I am going to be the one people are looking to. I better start to learn!!

After a 12 hour day, another 12 hour day, a 14 hour day and a 12 hour day (what a start!), I might have something. I felt like I did in grad school. Let me try this one last thing and then I’ll go home. What about this one last thing… It is addictive!!!

I finally have a code to turn the lights on and off.

The big problem is that people forget the towers and the pumps run low and break. So I wanted to use a float switch as an automatic emergency shutoff. After almost 87 tries, I think I finally have it, thanks to help from Josh Keys, who did to me what I praise him for doing with students. Gives a little hint, asks questions, provides a bit of background every once in a while. Frustrating!! and what a sense of pride when you get it!!

Then he sends me a description of a state machine. I am tired and so I will put that learning off for another time. I feel like my sons felt when we build the shed. I needed to learn if the boys were trades kids or not. So we built a shed. At first I handed them a hand saw, then I brought out a skill saw. The next day we used a hand drill for hours, then we used an electric drill. Everyday was the same.. a bubble level and plumb line, then a laser. It was a great learning experience, but frustrating. While you are learning, it is about the process less about the product. Josh made me feel similarly. But I have a code that works. When I learn State machines, I am sure it will be better.

I’m switching to the Brilliant Side

Last week, I started a secondement from Anglophone East where I have been teaching Chemistry, Physics and Math for 25 years. I will be working for Brilliant Labs with a focus on NB high schools. The timing is fortunate because NB is embarking on high school renewal with lots of chaos. It feels like the start of the universe when everything is a mixture of choas and things have not yet started to solidify. I hope I can bring my international network to bear. I am excited to learn about the cool things that schools are already doing and curious to explore next steps. I think there is lot of potential with students being able to receive credits outside the school and the idea of mini-courses. Maybe now, kids can get credit for things like Current Generation.