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EC&I 831 weekly reflections, Posts October 2013

Could the Maker Movement be the answer?

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!

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About amandahassen

I have been working in the field of Education for the last 11 years. I am presently working as a Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (CIA) consultant. I am enjoying the research and the collaboration that this jobs entails.

Discussion

7 thoughts on “Could the Maker Movement be the answer?

  1. Hi Amanda. I have to agree that the quality of the guest speakers Alec has managed to secure for this class has been fantastic. It has been so meaningful to hear from such highly regarded individuals. It certainly speaks to the strong relationships Alec has fostered in his PLN. I have had very positive experiences working with students in the area of PAA. I worked with hundreds of students over a 3 year period delivering 1/2 day robotics and electronic snap circuit workshops for Middle Years students. It was always fun to show up at a school with a van full of Lego or circuit kits. Student and teacher feedback for these workshops was always very positive – students were highly engaged and really did seem to develop an understanding of the concepts through their active participation.
    I think it is great that you are looking into planning maker movement type activities with students. Good luck!

    Posted by Dean Benko (@DeanBenko) | October 27, 2013, 4:29 am
  2. Hi Amanda,

    I share your enthusiasm and sentiments of this class. I am in my 10th master’s class, and I still feel excited to learn in Alec’s class. It is one of the more unique classes I have taken as it provides perspectives from so many top-notch individuals. I was also inspired by the Maker movement discussion last Tuesday. I took a lot away from the class, especially ideas for PAA and Science for my Grade 6 class. During the past summer, I attended the ECE Summer Institute on Play and Learning. I was fortunate to learn how important play is during learning experiences. The Maker movement is another way that I can incorporate play into my student’s experience at school. I have not yet used a Makey Makey, although I would love to try. In terms of your question about student retention, I do feel that incorporating more hands-on experiences would promote increased student engagement. What we often do in schools does not match authentic experiences outside of school. I think narrowing this gap would make learning much more fun and meaningful to students of any age.

    Posted by Valerie Yuzik | October 27, 2013, 6:36 pm
    • Valerie, I too had the amazing opportunity to take the ECE Summer institute a few years ago. It is unfortunate that we think play is only for children when really, it is how we best learn. Thank you so. Much for your response!

      Posted by Amanda | October 27, 2013, 7:59 pm
  3. Amanda – thanks for sharing that link to the Roscorla article – really interesting stuff. When I taught in Baltimore (where the Digital Harbor Foundation is located), we had a really strong STEM program, and the students who were involved were definitely extremely engaged and excited about the work that they did in the program. Pretty cool stuff, with a lot of possibility.

    Posted by katiahildebrandt | November 1, 2013, 9:10 pm
    • Thank Katia. Sometimes I think the answers are right in front of us. However, due to different politics they become much more complicated. Let’s get back to play- where we are all better able to learn as a play environment is safe allowing the players to take risks.

      Posted by amandahassen | November 2, 2013, 12:11 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: My Day of Learning – Eco Schools and Maker Spaces | 1B4E - Shivonne Lewis-Young - October 27, 2013

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