I cannot believe that after 7 weeks of participating in EC&I 831 how much I wait with anticipation for the next class. Each week the information I learn surpasses any expectations I had for this semester. We have been blessed to be connected with Alec Couros and his online personal learning network. This being my 6th class of graduate studies, I have not had the same opportunity to learn from such a variety of professionals in other classes as I have with this one; and all of this learning was done via internet from the comforts of my home.
This week I had the pleasure of learning from Sylvia Martinez. She taught us about The Maker Movement for educators in which educators are encouraged to provide students with materials that will allow them to explore, tackle problems, and make what they imagine into a reality.
The Maker Movement for all intents and purposes is inquiry based learning, something good teaching practices have been encouraging for a long time. In fact, many of our early learning sectors have built their entire program around inquiry. Children are naturally curious and inquisitive. It is through sharing discovery, creating, questioning, playing and working with others that children learn best and retain information (Harcourt & Wortzman 2012, p.3). Additionally, exploration and inquiry situations provide children with environments where they are able to practice self-regulation skills needed to function successfully in settings such as school.
I am delighted to discover that there are more and more educators who believe that this inquiry approach, this play and exploration approach, is not immature. In fact, it is a necessity if, as Andrew Coy, executive director of the Digital Harbor Foundation explained, society wants people who will be able to produce and make websites to learn instead of relying on websites to learn (Roscorla, 2013). Perhaps, if more educators were to follow the Makers Movement, we would have more students graduating grade 12 as they would be actively engaged in learning and creating, as opposed to passively receiving information.
I am pleased to say that I was able to convince my colleague responsible for science and technology that we needed to order a MakeyMakey starter kit to enhance our inquiry based projects with more opportunities to explore and create with technology outside of researching information on the internet and creating YouTube videos. I was able to prove how MakeyMakeys could be used not only to meet some of the Science outcomes and indicators but also to strengthen Math concepts and creative writing skills.
Do you use MakeyMakeys, and if yes, when, why and how?
What have your students shared about their experiences?
Do you think if more teachers used an approach like the Maker Movement, we would have more students staying in school and graduating?
I look forward to hearing from you!