When I'm not busy working on our teaching websites, I can usually be found playing Lego with our children! It's an incredibly creative toy, but it can also be used to support work in a number of different curriculum areas. Here is our HUGE list of ways to use Lego in the classroom. Many of these ideas have been contributed by our wonderful Facebook community. If you have any other suggestions, please add a comment at the bottom of the page.
Don't forget that many of these activities could use Duplo too!
Why is robotics awesome? Because it can fit ANYWHERE in the curriculum. It’s problem solving, critical thinking, cooperative learning, collaboration, play, exploration, creativity, and grit… all in one. It’s often thought of as an afterschool program or an enrichment. But robotics should be part of the everyday classroom. Why? Because it has so much to offer.
As I’ve mentioned in some other posts, I come from a background in Experiential Education (yes, it is a specific professional discipline). I’ve also discussed reflecting on the learning activities to increase the chances of extracting learning as well as transferable skills and knowledge from the activities. This is an integral part of experiential education – see my previous posts, Where is reflection in the learning process? and The Maker as a Reflective Practitioner.
Another concept common to Experiential Education, that also increases the chances that transferable skills and knowledge result, is framing or frontloading the activities as part of introducing them.
Frontloading is making clear the purpose of an activity prior to actually doing it. The idea is that if participants clearly understand the purpose or lesson upfront, that lesson will repeatedly show itself during the action component. (http://chiji.com/processing.htm)
It helps participants use the upcoming activity to build on prior knowledge and experience It helps participants set purpose and intention for the activity It distributes expertise to the participants before the activity begins, as opposed to the facilitator or instructor being the only expert (http://experience.jumpfoundation.org/what-is-frontloading/)
Some of the general themes and ideas for frontloading making activities include:"
Stewart Middle Magnet is a STEM magnet school, and part of our curriculum comes from Project Lead the Way, including classes in engineering, robotics and aerospace. The Design Process is an important part of that curriculum. It also ties in beautifully with what we do in our makerspace. So it made sense for me to partner up with one of our Project Lead the Way classes to teach our students about the basics of the design process. While this was a lesson with a specific class, it could easily work with small groups, after-school clubs, or any group that you bring into your makerspace.
“The context of making is playful,” Dougherty said. “At the high school level that’s when it stops being fun.” It’s that playful spirit that gets kids engaged, not a set curriculum or even access to technology. Kids have to feel invested and passionate about something to care about it for the long term. “If we are really about STEM, how do we make it fun, how do we make it engaging, how do we keep it playful?” Dougherty asked.
Parents are even starting to recognize the motivating power that this movement has on kids. “I think kids are going to be the drivers of change in this,” Dougherty said. “They’re going to be the ones asking for this, and asking if their parents can support them in this.” Dougherty knows many young people ready to go to high school who don’t see their passions being supported there. A lot of high schools got rid of classes like shop and metal work that were the “maker spaces” of a previous era. Parents didn’t see a use for those skills and they were gradually phased out.
The Padagogy Wheel is designed to help educators think – systematically, coherently, and with a view to long term, big-picture outcomes – about how they use mobile apps in their teaching. The Padagogy Wheel is all about mindsets; it’s a way of thinking about digital-age education that meshes together concerns about mobile app features, learning transformation, motivation, cognitive development and long-term learning objectives.
The Padagogy Wheel, though, is not rocket science. It is an everyday device that can be readily used by everyday teachers; it can be applied to everything from curriculum planning and development, to writing learning objectives and designing centered activities. The idea is for the users to respond to the challenges that the Wheel presents for their teaching practices, and to ask themselves the tough questions about their choices and methods.
What are MakerSpaces? Makers build, fix, and create. They are students, teachers, tinkerers, cooks, technology buffs, architects, crafters, performers, hobbyists, builders, artists, engineers, scientists, and writers. They use the MakerSpace to solve real life problems with access to tools and materials. A MakerSpace is not confined to a school setting but can also be a community space like a public library where community members off all ages, means, and abilities can design, prototype, and create original works. On March 18th and 19th, we celebrated New Jersey Makers Day, and I had the opportunity to visit a number of different Maker events in various communities. These are some themes and big ideas that I noticed in my travels. Perhaps these big ideas will inspire you to create your own MakerSpace makeover in your own classroom, school, or local community.
I love the idea of making, inventing and tinkering. Just watch kids who are immersed in the activities and you can see the engagement. But is the learning authentic and relevant?
I presented three sessions at the Free Maker Movement event at One Work Place on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 with some amazing educators who presented hands-on activities. The event will took place at our Oakland Center for Active Learning .
I decided I needed to spend some time researching where the Maker Movement was happening and find examples of authentic learning. This gave me the opportunity to talk to several of my friends and share how they have transformed learning spaces to Makerspaces. Everyone I talked to made a point that it is about creativity not consumption. Yet when I went to different Maker events, I saw activities that an adult set up, purchased a kit or provided directions for activities. They were all fun, but I was having trouble seeing the connections to real learning or any ownership from kids.
Over the past couple of years we have reviewed a number of very good web tools and mobile apps you can use with your kids and students to get them engaged in creative drawing projects. We spent sometime today going through our archive and curated for you the list below. Whether you use iPad, Android, Chromebooks or simply the web, you will definitely find something that works for you from this chart. Also, some of these applications, especially the web-based ones, do support 3D drawing, others can be used for doodling and sketching. We invite you to check them out and share with us if you have other suggestions.
How can schools prepare students to be the designers, innovators, and entrepreneurs our economy needs for future success? That was a key area of focus at the 2016 South by Southwest Education (SXSWedu) conference in Austin, Texas, March 7-10, and a number of ed-tech companies and organizations demonstrated possible solutions.
It might have been the banana piano. Or perhaps the bongos, made from lemons that students had plucked from the citrus tree at school. Elizabeth Little, who teaches middle school math and science, doesn’t know exactly which of the hands-on projects she introduced to her remedial math class turned the class around. But by the end of the school year, all her math students, not just those needing extra support, were clamoring for more math.
Who can now deny that, in the internet, we have the greatest educational tool ever conceived by mankind? Surely no Open Culture reader would deny it, anyway, nor could they fail to take an interest in a new startup aiming to increase the internet's educational power further still:
I really can’t describe how amazing this technology is. You have to get one and see for yourself! What is it? Google Cardboard is a virtual reality headset which immerses you in the video or picture so you can see a 360 degree view of an image or video. Put on the headset and you…
"The maker movement and maker education are becoming very popular in school and after school settings, libraries, and community centers. If making is to go beyond something that is just fun to do while doing it, then reflection can and should be used to help insure that the knowledge, skills, dispositions, attitudes, and values learned through individual making sessions are transferred to other settings."
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