Somewhere in this kind of social context comes Made With Code, a project by Google, Mozilla, Girls Inc, MIT Media Lab, and others to encourage girls to use code meaningfully to address problems and express ideas that are important to them.
We started Made with Code because increasingly more aspects in our lives are powered by technology, yet women aren’t represented in the roles that make technology happen.
If we can inspire teen girls to see that code can help them pursue their passions, whatever they may be, then hopefully they will begin to contribute their voices to the field of technology for the benefit of us all. (DOWNLOAD PDF)
It’s tough to be amazed when everyone in the class is churning out the same project. Conversely, I’ve found it impossible to not be constantly amazed by the work students do when given choice and the opportunity to create something new! One of the most rewarding experiences for me is to see the moment when the synapses fire and a student suddenly sees something that hadn’t been there before.
As trends to do, these are changing almost yearly. Consider how quiet iPads in the classroom have been recently, whereas three years ago they were going to replace teachers and were (unsarcastically) compared to magic. While mobile devices like the iPad can indeed parallel a kind of magic in the learning process, it obviously has to ‘fit’ into a progressive supporting ecology of assessment, curriculum, and instruction.
With that in mind, we’ve created a list of 15 (the graphic plus 3 bonus items below) new ideas every teacher should try. Not all will fit or work–again, it depends on the ecology of the classroom, school, and so on. But each of these ideas below–some learning models, some concepts, and some technologies–can be transformational for students, and your teaching.
Last spring, I gave my after-school Makers Club a challenge – create a unique, interactive project that guests can interact with at our 2016 Maker Fair. We had held the Cardboard Challenge earlier in the school year, giving my students lots of ideas on how to use cardboard as a medium. So it was no surprise to me when a group of students enthusiastically told me that they would be creating a cardboard Maker Cave for our MakerFair.
Students can experience new cultures, history, and understand the world in better ways with virtual reality, augmented reality, and wearables. Teachers are using these technologies to send learners on virtual field trips or getting students to keep track of their steps, cardio, and health with fitness bands. These technologies help engage learners by providing sensory learning and sparking curiosity and imagination.
Fancy a 3D printed robot for your home? Here’s a list of the best 3D printed robots you can print in one go, assemble or even buy as a kit.
Robots! We just love them: 3D printing and robots are a match made in mechanical heaven. So, we’ve made a short list on the best 3D printed robot projects you can find out there. This list is divided into two parts.
Working programmable 3D printable robots that are programmable, move and actually do things. They usually have to be assembled, which takes some basic knowledge of electronics and 3D printing. Their “brains” usually are powered by an Arduino, Raspberry Pi or other microcomputers. Start right here. Printable 3D printable robots (without a function) for your shelf, desk, etc. They can be 3D printed in several parts or one go. Jump here to see them.
"Flashy spaces and shiny toys in makerspaces are enticing, but it takes time and explicit scaffolding to develop a true Innovator. Building and providing the space for Making to happen is one thing; nurturing a mindset that gives students the mental tools to engage with said spaces is a much larger, and timely, endeavor.
Best defined by the research and work of Carol Dweck, Jo Boaler and Eduardo Briceno, growth mindset is the recognition of the brain as a muscle that—with practice, effort, and nurturing—can continue to grow and develop. When you think of an inventor or innovator, past or present, what descriptors come to mind? Creative. Persistent. Curious. Fearless. Passionate. But educators know that most students don’t show up to your class on the first day of school exhibiting these qualities.
So how do we provide not only the physical tools but the mental tools to Make? Here are the essential pieces:
1. Give students permission to play
2. Build those Maker muscles
3. Reflect often
4. Have some accountability
5. Cultivate an appreciation for failure
6. Use role models to inspire students to become Makers"
Despite the popularity and trend of the term “makerspace”, educators have to search hundreds of articles, websites and books to determine what this term is, how to begin, where to locate materials and determine the educational significance. Another complication is that the resurgence of this DIY movement found its grassroots in the public population and is just starting to make its way back to education. This makes navigating materials from an educational lens even more challenging. Makerspace for Education, is a collaborative digital space for educators to explore how to create and use makerspaces in their own environments and will help to transform pedagogies of individual educators through immersion in the context and the support of a community of practice.
There’s no shortage of ways to use PhET simulations in (or out of) the classroom. Effectively, any time you’d use a static PowerPoint slide or textbook image to demonstrate a concept, it’s worth checking PhET to see if there’s an interactive version. Chances are high there is already one on the site. There are also virtual versions of common lab experiences, and it might be worth using the simulation if you’re short on class time or resources. Even if you have really great videos of experiments, the interactivity of these simulations will contribute so much to your lessons that it’s hard not to use both.
While not new, project-based learning has become a popular method to try and move beyond surface-level learning. Many teachers are trying to figure out the right ingredients for strong projects that interest and engage students, while helping them meet required learning targets. But implementing project-based learning well isn’t easy, especially when many teachers are more accustomed to direct instruction, when they can be sure they’ve at least touched on all the topics in the curriculum. On top of the push toward projects, some educators are also embracing maker-education, a distinct but often overlapping idea.
“There’s a lot of research out there about integrating making into project-based learning to ramp up what students are learning in the core content areas that they’re going to be tested in,” said Michael Stone, an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, who taught high school in Tennessee.
Since creating my makerspace and more recently, since publishing my book on makerspaces, I have had the honor of having conversations with, as well as working with, people all across the world. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that….
In some instances, research illuminates a topic and changes our existing beliefs. For example, here’s a post that challenges the myth of preferred learning styles. Other times, you might hear about a study and say, “Well, of course that’s true!” This might be one of those moments. Last year, Dr. Karlsson Wirebring and fellow researchers published a study that supports what many educators and parents have already suspected: students learn better when they figure things out on their own, as compared to being told what to do.
Stoodle is a free online collaborative whiteboard tool hosted by CK12. On Stoodle you can create a whiteboard space and invite others to use it with you. Registration is not required in order to use Stoodle. In the video embedded below I demonstrate the features of Stoodle.
While the Maker Movement continues to grow, it hasn't yet gained its greatest traction, which currently sits untapped in the minds of the students in front of us. Through forming partnerships with community makerspaces or building a school makerspace, educators and decision makers everywhere have the rare chance to help bring this truly all-inclusive learning experience into their schools, districts, and communities in order to help all students. Here are four ways that the "new industrial revolution" will help your students succeed and help breathe life back into your craft.
June 7, 2016 marked the first annual MakerJam event. This event was created by students at our school, for students not only at our school, but for children across the country and world as well. Footage of the day, along with student creations, can be seen at #MakerJam2016. During the event, I touched base with several of our students to ask them:
What does making mean to you? Their responses serve as an important reminder that making is a deeply personal thing to those who experience it. Most students view it as an opportunity for the individualism to shine. We as educators cannot possibly try to define making as one thing, nor try to define what it means for our students. The educational makerspace is based on student ownership of what making and learning means to them. Some of the student responses can be viewed below.
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