2015 Talks/Panels

The Art of Making Prosthetics

Dr. Mark Geil
Associate Professor, Kinesiology and Health, COE, GSU, Atlanta, GA

Dr. Mark Geil was the winner of the Research Award from the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, and in 2007 he published ground-breaking research on the use of computer digitization in prosthetics. Subsequently, he has become an informed voice in the suddenly complex and controversial debate on the use of 3D printing in clinical prosthetics. This will be the topic of his presentation at STEAM3 2015.

By combining fundamentals of engineering and physics with an understanding of how the human body moves, Dr. Geil and his team work to improve the lives of children through better mobility. His numerous publications and extensive research is predominantly focused on this goal.

Continuum of Learning – Creating a Shared Vision for Cradle-to-Career Learning Transforming STEM to STEAM education

Ken Higa
Marketing Director, Senior Associate, Perkins+Will

Rohit Malhotra
Executive Director and Founder, Center for Civic Innovation

Ken Higa and  Rohit  Malhotra will talk about the 2015 Continuum of Learning Symposium and Perkins and Will’s continued partnership with CCI and their reflection upon future approaches to space and environments for learning.

Education is a journey – a lifelong experience. Much more than a series of grades and graduations, it is the entire continuum of learning that educate the whole student. To promote long-term success, we must ensure that students are developmentally on target at every key transition point along their journey. The event the implementation of interactive learning practices to create an enriching educational experience.

Ethnomathematics: Indigenous Mathematical Knowledge Systems

Alesia Danielle Mickle and Kimbeni Mansion
Doctoral students in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Mathematics Education in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Alesia and Kimbeni ("Kim") will discuss the power of applying ethnomathematics in mathematics education. Ethnomathematics is the study of the relationship between mathematics and culture. Often associated with "cultures without written expression", it may also be defined as "the mathematics which is practiced among identifiable cultural groups". It refers to a broad cluster of ideas ranging from distinct numerical and mathematical systems to multicultural mathematics education. The goal of ethnomathematics is to contribute both to the understanding of culture and the understanding of mathematics, and mainly to lead to an appreciation of the connections between the two.

Learning Under Your Own Steam:
The Importance of the Conative Domain

Professor Emeritus Thomas C. Reeves
The University of Georgia

Immersive 3D Games, Multimedia Simulations, Social Networking, Augmented Reality, Intelligent Tutoring Systems...these and other cyberlearning technologies have enormous potential to enhance the outcomes achieved by 21st Century learners, especially with respect to the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits encompassed in the science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) movement. “But what are these outcomes and what evidence is needed to warrant that they have been achieved?” This presentation addresses this question and other important issues such as: 

  • What is the conative learning domain, and how does it related to the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains?”
  • “How are today’s learners different from and similar to previous generations?” 
  • “What blends of pedagogical strategies and technological affordances are most effective for learners engaged in STEAM learning?” 
  • “How can enhanced assessment strategies employing authentic tasks be used to assess a comprehensive range of 21st Century STEAM outcomes?”

Make Magic - STEAM in design and practice of innovative curricula

Courtney Bryant and Jeff Mather
Drew Charter School, Atlanta

Make unpredictable magic.  Genuine STEAM curriculum is: messy, unpredictable, lateral leaping, and very rewarding for all involved.  Learn about our TinkerYard project: an alternative playground, environmental art project, and a cross-curricular teaching tool.  Our elementary students stretch out with open-ended Design Thinking as they designed, built (picture a 1st grader sanding pin-ball machine parts) and utilize the TinkerYard. Join us for your own hands-on exploration and composition with TinkerYard parts and pieces.    

Meet the Musical Robot: Shimon

Gil Weinberg
Professor of Musical Technology at Georgia Tech and director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology

Shimon is an improvising robotic marimba player that is designed to create meaningful and inspiring musical interactions with humans, leading to novel musical experiences and outcomes. The robot combines computational modeling of music perception, interaction, and improvisation, with the capacity to produce melodic acoustic responses in physical and visual manners. Real-time collaboration between human and computer-based players can capitalize on the combination of their unique strengths to produce new and compelling music. The project, therefore, aims to combine human creativity, emotion, and aesthetic judgment with algorithmic computational capability of computers, allowing human and artificial players to cooperate and build off each other’s ideas. Unlike computer- and speaker-based interactive music systems, an embodied anthropomorphic robot can create familiar, acoustically rich, and visual interactions with humans. The generated sound is acoustically rich due to the complexities of real life systems, whereas in computer-generated audio acoustic nuances require intricate design and are ultimately limited by the fidelity and orientation of speakers. Moreover, unlike speaker-based systems, the visual connection between sound and motion can allow humans to anticipate, coordinate and synchronize their gestures with the robot. In order to create intuitive as well as inspiring social collaboration with humans, Shimon analyzes music based on computational models of human perception and generates algorithmic responses that are unlikely to be played by humans. When collaborating with human players, Shimon can therefore facilitate a musical experience that is not possible by any other means, inspiring players to interact with it in novel expressive manners, which leads to novel musical outcomes.

Shimon has performed with human musicians in dozens of concerts and festivals from DLD in Munich Germany through the US Science Festival in Washington DC to the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle WA and Google IO in San Francisco.  It also performed over video-link with conference attendees such as SIGGRAPHAsia in Tokyo and the Supercomputing Conference in New Orleans.


Cris Orfescu
Award-winning Scientist and Artist, Founder of NanoArt 21

NanoArt is a new art discipline at the art-science-technology intersections. It features nanolandscapes (molecular and atomic landscapes which are natural structures of matter at molecular and atomic scales) and nanosculptures (structures created by scientists and artists by manipulating matter at molecular and atomic scales using chemical and physical processes). These structures are visualized with research tools like scanning electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes and their scientific images are captured and further processed by using different artistic techniques to convert them into artworks showcased for large audiences.

NanoArt should not be confused with photomicrography which is performed using an optical microscope with a photographic camera attached to it and renders flat images at low magnification. The depth and three dimensions achieved in NanoArt sets this imaging process apart from Photography where images are created by photons (particles of light) rather than by electrons (electrically charged particles) as in NanoArt. The electrons penetrate deeper inside the structure creating images with more depth, more natural 3D-look than the photographic images. Due to the quality of images obtained by studying the nanostructures, most people perceive them as artistic objects. One of the aims of creating NanoArt is to communicate with students and to familiarize people with the omnipresence of the nano world and raise the public awareness of the impact of nanotechnology on our lives. There are legitimate concerns about nano products from health and environmental point of views, and nanotech companies should develop their products responsibly. NanoArt can be considered one of the best vehicles to promote a responsible scientific and technological development to the general public

Some artists alter the scientific images using traditional painting or sculpture, animation, digital drawing (Chris Robinson), and paper collage as well as video (Hugh McGrory), installation art (Victoria Vesna and James Gimzewski), etc.  

At STEAM3, Cris Orfescu will have a mini lab set up in our Interactive Playground's "The Living Classroom" area. He specializes in using multimedia as well as fractals, digital collage, digital painting and manipulation. His structures are visualized with powerful research tools like high-resolution scanning electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes and their scientific images are captured and further processed by using different artistic techniques to convert them into artworks showcased for large audiences.

Ninety Miles an Hour Down a Dead-End Street: Technology and Education in an Era of Incredible Change

Dr. Stephen Harmon
Professor and Chair of the Learning Technologies Division in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University.

The rate of technological change is increasing at an exponential rate, yet education, for the most part, remains mired down in an industrial age model that seem inadequate to meet our current challenges, much less those we know are on the horizon. This session will examine some of the driving forces in today’s rapidly changing technological environment, and will explore how education is, and is not, responding to these changes. It will present a model to help educational institutions prepare for an uncertain future.

Systems for Transformative Learning

Phil Komarny
CEO, Robots and Pencils

Phil Komarny, CEO Education of Robots and Pencils, will show how they, in partnership with the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning, built a system of engagement on top of many systems of record to vision TEx: Total Educational Experience. This competency-based learning platform is the first of its kind and uses the iPad as a constraint to produce a beautiful, personalized, student-centered and mobile-first experience. Phil will give an overview of the strategies and technology that are driving this next generation learning platform.

Using Drama and Story to Design Shows that Teach the Big Ideas of Science

Holly Walter Kerby
Instructor, Chemistry & Creative Writing/Drama - Madison Area Technical College; 2012 Community College Faculty Member of the Year (ACCT)

A growing number of people believe that science is too hard, too boring, and too foreign to learn.  This notion undermines the economic health of the nation and has prompted a call for innovative teaching methods that use the arts to promote science learning.  Drama and story have demonstrated success in engaging the public in the human side of science, but not in teaching science itself.  Enter Fusion Science Theater (FST), a small group of scientists, educators, and theater artists funded by the National Science Foundation.  FST fuses elements of drama and chemical demonstrations to create science shows that are exciting, inquiry-based, participatory, and verifiably educational.  In this talk, FST Executive Director Holly Walter Kerby will show video clips, present evaluation data, and share methods used to develop this innovative, drama-driven, performance-based model.