This weeks presentation was from Sylvia Martinez on “Maker culture” in education. To sum up what is “Maker” education I found a nice website and definition that helped me better understand what Sylvia was presenting on. The definition is:
The Maker Education Initiative’s mission is to create more opportunities for all young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through making. I found this definition on the web site Maker Ed.
Sylvia showed examples of high tech equipment like 3-D printers and “Makey Makey” Which is an invention kit that can turn everyday objects into a touch pad with the help of the internet. She explained all of these technologies can be used in the classroom and help with students learning. My biggest thought throughout the presentation was cost. How could a school afford to bring this type of learning and tools to our students.
I felt a little bit better after listening to the entire presentation and thought that this hands on learning really doesn’t need to always be high tech technology and doesn’t need to cost a ton of money.
I had many moments sitting in front of my computer screen nodding my head in agreement with Sylvia. She made statements that learning should be hands on, and that kids should be excited to learn by making. One quote that really stuck out to me was “The best way to ensure understanding inside your head is through active construction of share able things outside your head.”
The best way to confirm this quote was that I actually got to experience hands on projects with my students. We participated with the Globe Theater in creating a performance using dance, drama, music and art. The instructors from the Globe theater wanted to incorporate what we were learning in the classroom. We were learning about different cultures in language arts and social studies with a specific focus on the Chinese new year. We decided to focus our presentation on using the Chinese animals. The students choose the dragon, snake, and horse. Each group was responsible for creating a large 3-D art project that they could use for their presentation. Students were given minimal instructions and were given material that was basically consider “scraps” cardboard, fabric, tape, glue and paint. I was really impressed with what the students came out with. My students did need lots of guidance with the construction but the creative art piece was what they came up with all on their own.
Within the past few years our school division has been introduced to PAA (Practical Applied Arts). There is many projects and units that can be accessed that incorporate many subjects and outcomes in the Saskatchewan Curriculum that focus on hands on projects. I tried the kite-building kit, photography and circuit boards. I had a challenges with the circuit boards as this was a very new concept for me! I decided to give it a go and the students were teaching me how to use them! Here is a few pictures of the students hard at work.
I had the chance to read a few other blogs on the presentation we had this week. One blog that really stuck out to me and gave me lots of ideas was from Janine Taylor. She worked with students for a full semester on a hands on project creating a Hip hop presentation where students showcased their learning. Throughout the semester the students created and learned to dance, rap, write, mix beats, and perform. I just love this idea!