These are project options and ideas for students working in our "Maker Studio." In STEM class students alternate working in the Maker Studio and learning in our STEM "Learning Lab." Maker Studio projects are also available for students in our after-school Maker's Club.
s a professional artist, deepening the ways in which seemingly disparate objects and processes are interconnected through locating, and mapping their intersections has been one of the main elements of my studio practice. The Fab Lab tools and working processes create an environment that is well suited to investigating those types of intersections.
In an effort to integrate Fab Lab tools centered on craft, and studio-based processes into the classroom, I have been working to implement a Mobile MakerCart at a project-based K-8 charter school. In addition to introducing craft-based physical computing projects to the children, a guiding principle behind the MakerCart is to give teachers the opportunity to develop familiarity with the MakerCart’s tools and processes in order to be able to envision the ways in which they might be able to develop their own curriculum for use in the classroom.
Computer programming has become the new "literacy" that many teachers and school districts are implementing to help students exercise critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students of all ages gravitate towards creating and implementing programs--large and small--that they create digitally. Our technology department recently purchased two MaKey MaKeys for every elementary ITRT to use when collaborating with teachers on special projects that involve computer programming.
As maker fever hits America’s makerspaces, libraries, museums, and schools, the focus is often on tools and products: what we bought, and what people made with it. These are important data points that validate purchases and provide tangible evidence that our efforts have borne fruit. But, there are more maker stories to be told: about access, diversity, and agency.
Code and programming may not be the most important topics on the planet but it is an area of study that sufferers two major problems. one: an industry with millions of unfilled job positions and two: a world where not enough teachers feel confident to run programming projects. The iPad can offer a solution in these situations.
Creativity is at the heart of a makerspace. The possibilities are endless and the supplies in a makerspace can spark ideas. One of my favorite creativity-fueling components of our makerspace is a Makey Makey, or as they're known as - an invention kit for everyone. The Makey Makey comes in a simple box with very little instructions. For non-techies, the wires and alligator clips could scare people from exploring. So, let’s break this down, because there is no reason to fear the unknown.
The Makey Makey comes with a circuit board (your home base), a USB connector to connect to your computer, and alligator clips and wires (these help you connect and create). All of these components allow you to connect back to your computer to control what’s happening on screen through the USB cord. You can connect the wires in any combination you'd like to work with different programs on your computer."
Sometimes it’s just great to recommend cool stuff for your peers. Here, Social Media and Educational Technology specialist Scott Hayden and teacher / e-learning coordinator Rachel Jones discuss their favourite free resources for the classroom.
There is obviously no one-size-fits-all answer for all the dilemmas that first-time STEM educators are facing this fall. If I could sit down for a few minutes and share some basic things with all the folks out there who are under the gun, I think these are the six points I would make:
Jim Lerman's insight:
Excellent links and suggestions for STEM teaching/learning, regardless of how much experience a teacher has under her or his belt. Definitely worth a look. Don't miss the link to "Real World STEM Problems."
For at least a decade now, the driving force behind education reform has been data. We talk about collecting data, analyzing data, and making data-driven decisions. All of this data can certainly be useful, helping us notice patterns we might not have seen without aggregating our numbers in some way, looking for gaps and dips and spikes, allowing us to figure out where we are strong and where we need help. In terms of certain academic behaviors, we can quantify student learning to some extent and improve our practice as a result.
And yet, we know this is not enough. We know our students bring with them so many other kinds of data. So many other factors contribute to academic success: the atmosphere in their homes, the demands of their out-of-school school schedule, the physical concerns that distract them, the passions and obsessions that consume them. These things are much harder to measure, so we don’t even try, focusing instead on the things we can convert to numbers.
"Today was Dr. Davey's first Maker Day, and an amazing one at that! Here's a look at our day.
All of the Grade 1-Grade 7 students participated in today's Maker Day. Students attended two of seven different sessions based on their interests: Minecraft/Coding, Collaborative Art, Beautiful Junk, Positive Graffiti, Making Music, Lego/Blocks, and Egg Drop. Staff members paired up together to facilitate the learning at each of the sessions, and the students directed most of the learning based on their interests. I (Aviva) worked with an amazing Grade 4 student that led the Minecraft/Coding session, and even worked with small groups of students on coding the Arduino. It was really quite incredible! After two sessions, students reflected on the day and on their learning, and then extended the "Maker Learning" back in the classroom. Today was all about the Learning Skills, problem solving, creativity and critical thinking. As you can hear in our video reflection, there were also links to our classroom learning includingScience (Structures) and Math (shapes, figures, and non-standard measurement). There was also a lot of Arts learning today (with creating music and creating works of art including the elements of design). What an amazing day!"
We've looked at how to use online tools to create databases, edit images, and improve your productivity – but something we've never investigated is how to create professional diagrams and charts by using nothing more than an Internet connection. Contrary to popular belief, diagrams and charts are not solely the domain of office workers and…
An Instructables user by the name of ‘Joehan’ shared a 3D printable solution for what is perhaps the only component that is more important than the actual wind turbine itself - an electrostatic motor that can reside within the wind turbine.
Imagine a world where resources were limited to what was found in the classroom or the school closet known as the "Curriculum Materials Room." Picture a world where students wrote letters with pen and paper to communicate with other students and adults outside of the building. Due to postage costs, the teacher either sent the letters in bulk or paid for stamps out of his or her own pocket. Can you recall a time when student interests like skateboarding or video were never used as part of learning curriculum because the tools needed were either too expensive or not yet conceptualized? Do you remember a time when non-traditional learners struggled, and absenteeism meant a high likelihood of students doing poorly in school, and possibly having to retake the course?
If you experienced none of these scenarios, then you live in a world of possibility because you grew up with the many social media tools available to support all learners. If any of these scenarios bring back memories as a teacher or student, then you understand that we have many more tools today to ensure that learners succeed despite struggles, because students and teachers have so much more available to meet every learner's needs.
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