New Jacksonville Beach ‘maker space’ opens up technology to kids, including Drone School

Max Armstrong, 12, is a connoisseur of summer camps.

Last week he attended one in nondescript office space in a small Jacksonville Beach industrial complex. He was a few blocks from the ocean but never went outside. Despite the atypical camp location, he gave it rave reviews.

What’s not to like about a camp called Drone Pilot Race School?

“It’s awesome,” he said. “Definitely my favorite summer camp.”

Drone School is one of the summer and after-school classes offered at the newly opened Bolts & Bytes Maker Academy, a fully equipped educational “maker-space” for youth ages 9 to 16. Other current classes include 3D printing, skateboard design, spy lab, silk-screen printing and escape-room building. Camp costs are generally $150.

“Technology is more accessible than it has ever been before,” said Reed Beaubouef,. founder and president. “A maker space is just a place to build stuff. … Kids really want to build stuff.”


At Drone School, 10 youth ages 9 to 16 spent five afternoons learning to pilot, race and repair micro drones called Tiny Whoop class quadcopters. They learned aerial maneuvers, crash avoidance, control systems and basic repairs and tested their new skills on an indoor aerial obstacle course they designed themselves.

Initially they crashed the quadcopters into the floor, wall, ceiling and each other as much as they kept them in the air.

“The first day it looked like I kicked a nest of hornets. Just crazy,” Beaubouef said. “They were bouncing off everything.”

That’s why they also learned how to repair the drones, which are tough but “certainly not indestructible,” he said.

By week’s end the campers were able to smoothly maneuver the tiny drones through an obstacle course of gates, poles and tunnels made of PVC-pipe and toy hoops. They even mastered landing them on a fellow camper’s outstretched palm or on their own shoe. They also graduated from piloting basic micro drones using controllers and their own eyes — the “line of sight” method — to using FPV, or first-person view, goggles and controls to fly upgraded drones equipped with tiny video cameras.

FPV-style, Beaubouef said, “can be disconcerting at first. You can’t see above or below you. I kept hitting the ceiling.” A drone camera view showing the drone’s own pilot can be particularly odd, he said.

His charges figured it out.

“I’m going to ram into myself,” said Melvin Jones, 10. He also navigated the drone to the top of his head.

Beaubouef watched them like a proud parent.

“Nice turn, nice move,” he said, watching their flying skills. “Slow, steady, easy. No ‘berserker’ style.”

Jessie Cimino-Durden, 9, said she was surprised to find herself the only girl at the camp. One day she wore a T-shirt that proclaimed, “In a field of horses, I am a unicorn.”

“My mom said I should be proud. I am proud,” she said. “I was interested. I already had a drone.”


Beaubouef hadn’t flown a drone until about 18 months ago when a friend offered him a test flight.

“I was immediately hooked,” he said.

Drones fit right in with his plans for the academy, which he said combined his fine arts, education and “tinkering” background. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Beaubouef has been a director of online advertising products at and of educational training at the University of North Florida.

Project-based learning, he said, is ideal for the preteen and young teenage group but can be lacking in schools that are focused on assessment tests. Also, opportunities in so-called STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — “dry up about that age,” he said.

“I want to make the kind of place that I wish I could have gone to when I was growing up,” he said.

He found the office space, began renovations in January and opened a few months later with after-school programs, four weeks before the beginning of the school year. He feared no one would come, but they did. And many of the summer camps are already full. Some parents drive their kids to the beach site from as far away at San Marco and Riverside.

Yidelka Anzalota is the academy’s “director of making it work.” She joined Beaubouef after a 14-year mechanical engineering career in the oil and gas industry, which she said required too much travel and relocating and time away from her family. She later taught at local youth enrichment nonprofits.

In the academy programs, the kids learn more than tinkering, she said.

“They get so excited when they get an idea,” she said. “They don’t really know it, but they’re learning trouble shooting, problem solving.”

Watching the “bulbs” go off in their heads is gratifying,” Anzalota said.

One of the campers said, to no one in particular, “Life is a drone, my friend.”



In the modern world, pure mathematicians unfortunately do not make that much money because they are perceived as ‘useless’, working purely in the strive for a beautiful proof or an elegant derivation. I feel as if many areas of mathematics have gradually pushed their way into the realm of art, since they exist purely for […]

via Prime Time — The Nexus



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Drug Use. The use of drugs and the choice to drop out of school may share the same precursors, which could explain their relationship. Students who make these decisions typically demonstrate less of a commitment to school and family, and are characterized by lower psychological well-being. They experience poorer relationships with parents, stronger ties to their peers, worse grades, low self-esteem, and more negative attitudes about school (Mensch & Kandel, 1988).

Looking at this notion from an event history analysis may allow researchers to understand the characteristics that precede dropout and help them to control them in the future. Dropouts report a higher rate of drug use than their peers who choose to stay in school. Specifically, the use of cigarettes, marijuana, or other drugs at any age increases the likelihood that a student will drop out of school. As students become more frequent drug users and develop networks of friends who are also drug users, they become more likely to develop a lack of interest in academic issues. When they continue to associate with the same peers, they reinforce this belief system and lack of conformity to traditional institutional values. During this process their drug use may be further impairing their cognitive functioning and motivation, having a further negative impact on their commitment to school (Mensch & Kandel, 1988).

Race. Race is a strong determinant of a student’s likelihood to drop out of school. Minority students are more likely to leave school early than other students (Bloom, 2010). They are also more likely to experience contact with the legal system (Hirschfield, 2009). Further, minority students are more likely to be exposed to high-rates of crime and violence, compounding their circumstances, increasing the chances that they will become victims themselves (Black, et al., 1998).

Student Mobility. High levels of student mobility vary among students and schools, with the highest degrees of prevalence being from large predominantly minority districts and students of low SES. It is related to student misbehavior, youth violence, and can negatively impact student academic performance. Overall, transient students achieve on a lower level than their counterparts (Rumberger, 2003). There are many events that can be classified under the school mobility concept. These events include student being placed in special services then returning to his home school, expulsion, or involuntary transfer to another school then returning to the home school or another school attended in the past. (Osher, Morrison, & Bailey, 2003).

Exceptional Student Education Students. Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students complete high school at a lower rate than their counter parts. After school, they also are exposed to a higher possibility of negative adult outcomes (Kortering & Braziel, 2002). Learning Disabled (LD) students are especially susceptible because their intelligence and achievement levels suggest that academic success is not easy for them. Data supports the notion that there is an interrelationship between antisocial behavior, academic failure, and school climate (Kortering & Braziel, p. 187). EBD Emotional & Behavioral Disabilities (EBD) students fit into this category with their data demonstrating a similar trend. Seventy-three percent of EBD students who choose to drop out of school are arrested within three to five years (U.S. Department of Education, 1994; as cited in Osher, Morrison, & Bailey, 2003).

School and teacher influence plays a role in this process. Students who experience social supports that develop incentive and meaning, nurture personal skills, and provide adequate access to resources increase the likelihood that the student reacts positively to events in their lives. When those ties are weak, the student is more vulnerable and more likely to react negatively to chance events. Specifically, these actions include student placement, method of special education delivery, teacher bias, the degree and access to opportunities and resources, student involvement, academic rigor, and vocational options (Rojewski, 1999).

Poor Academic Performance. Student performance on competency exams indicates a relationship between their performance and the decision to drop out of school. These exams tend to have adverse effects on disadvantaged, at-risk students. Further, there is an inter-relationship between a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA), performance on competency exams, and a student’s decision to drop out of school (Griffin & Heidorn, 1996).


from Patrick Capriola – Dissertation

Teachers: At what are you an expert?

Mr. Shauver - Learner Educator

This is the second in a series of reflections that came out of a fantastic sit-down with #MichED -ucators Melody Arabo (@melodyarabo) and Jeremy Tuller (@jertuller). Melody asked a question that followed up by mentioning that teachers have a really, really hard time answering: What parts of your professional work would you consider yourself to be an expert?

You see, the teaching profession makes it’s members uneasy by self-promotion. And it’s understandable. Teaching is a complex skill set. Teachers are renowned for having very, very broad sets of abilities as posters like this indicate:

Just a teacher

Technology adds even more lines to this poster. So, with so many different nooks and angles to the work, it can be very understandable that teaching is a profession that makes it’s practitioners feel as though their efforts are stretched a mile wide and an inch thick. It’s hard to feel like an expert at anything under…

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The Reality of Finding A Job


I just thought of writing about one of the new chapter (finding a job) in anyone’s life because I have so many experiences to share about it. So, to start, I graduated last May 2013. I graduated with an art major. Yes, that’s right. How am I suppose to find a job when I “only” finished a degree in art? Whew! That’s tough! To tell you the truth, before I started college, I really didn’t know what I truly want. I was not even sure if I still wanted to study but of course, living here in the Philippines requires you to have a college degree to find a decent paying job. And so, I went to college and took the art course (By the way, it’s a four-year course). I had no idea why I took that course. I just went on with it. 2nd Year, I thought I…

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Quixotic Reimagining of Standardized Tests (Part 2)


If you remember, Part 1 was here and my goal is to construct a theoretical system of standardized tests that I would be satisfied by. Here’s what I’ve got. As usual, because of the daily posting streak I have openly committed to, standard disclaimers apply.

  • We’d have a first-tier test like the SAT, except this will be explicitly designednot to distinguish among the high performers.

    The goal of the test is to assess basic proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics. Nothing else. Most good students, those who have a shot at “good colleges” and know it, will be able to ace this test with minimal effort and can spend their time studying for other things or engaging in other pursuits. Students who don’t will still have to study and it will probably be boring, but the hope is that, especially if you’re motivated to get into a good…

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Teachers Transform Lockers into Book Spines by Sonia Weiser

The Midnight Writer

Story via

Teachers Transform Lockers into Book Spines by Sonia Weiser


School might be out for summer, but teachers at Biloxi Junior High School in Mississippi are already preparing for the fall. A group of teachers and volunteers are turning the 8th grade English hallway into an “Avenue of Literature” by painting the 189 unused lockers—which had been sealed shut for security reasons for more than 15 years—to look like the spines of popular books.

The teachers are hoping that by surrounding their students with books of all genres—including classics like Gulliver’s Travels and Moby Dick, and newer titles, like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and The Hunger Games—they’ll inspire them to explore and love literature—no matter which book they choose. Elizabeth Williams, one of the teachers working on the project, toldWLOX, “We want students to come back to school in August and walk on…

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Patrick Capriola – 3 Minute Parent-Teacher Conferences



hourglass-patrick capriolaParent-teacher conferences are quite an event at a particular high school in Manhattan. In response to having many students and only a short time for conferences, teachers must adapt to accomplishing their meetings on a very tight schedule. A New York Times article contains photos of a parent-teacher conference day at Stuyvesant High School. You can see parents gathered together marching up the steps to their assigned slots after a tape dropped at specifically 1pm. During time slot changes, some were even running across the school to make sure they made it to their appointments on time. Conferences were limited to only three minutes each.

Stuyvesant students were assigned the task of watching the clock for each conference. Once time concluded, the person seated outside the room would wave to signal it was time to change classes. Other students across the school used kitchen timers and even cowbells to indicate time was up. Parents find value in these short meetings because they want to get a sense of their children’s teachers. However, if there is a problem, another longer meeting will follow.

Other schools have developed different approaches. In some schools, advisors lead the conferences with parents. The West Side Collaborative Middle School, also in Manhattan, leaves it to the students to lead the conferences. Teachers then serve as supervisors for these situations. Parent engagement is an important part of student education. Some parents have even devised their own strategies for these meetings. One always makes a point to show a photo of her daughter to ensure the information is accurate. A parent shared a story about how her entire three minute session was indeed about the wrong child and there was nothing she could do, as time was up.

To learn more about New York Public School parent conference, visit the NYTimes article here.

The post 3 Minute Parent-Teacher Conferences appeared first on Patrick Capriola.

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Patrick Capriola

A Little Positivity: NY Teen Who Lost Home In Hurricane Sandy Accepted To 7 Ivy League Schools

WOLB Talk 1010

In the face of tremendous obstacles, an 18-year-old Long Island, NY student has been accepted at seven Ivy League colleges, according to ABC News.

Daria Rose tells the television news station that she applied to seven of the eight Ivy League colleges, and on March 31, all the schools posted their decisions online.

?I couldn?t believe it,? she said in the ABC interview. ?I thought I?d get in maybe one or two.?

News of the acceptances couldn’t be sweeter for Daria, who accomplished great academic achievement in the face of adversity. She told the news outlet that Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 forced her family to evacuate their beloved home in Baldwin, NY, after it was completely destroyed by fire.

The family was forced to…

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How to save a lot of money on your bachelor’s degree (consider community college first) – Part 3 of a 4 part series

Kent Micho

Continuing my short series on the role of community college in education, I wanted to address an area that many may not consider: That community colleges in Colorado can give you the same first two years of education you would get at a four year college, but at a much lower cost – 1/3 or less.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education has aligned the first two years of many classes across all public higher ed institutions in the state.  What does this mean for a student?  It means that if a student takes (example) “English 101” at any higher ed institution, it is the same class and if it’s a part of the Guaranteed Transfer Pathways, it will be accepted by any public higher ed institution as a transfer credit.

What this means for the student is that there is a very cost effective way to get their first two years…

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