Our special interest group (SIG) further researched the Maker Education
Movement in order to produce an academic poster and present at the GREAT16 conference in Galway, Ireland. As part of this process, I created the Google Doc for our group to brainstorm. Then, we all talked about what our focus questions would be for this specific project and all searched for articles related to the Maker Movement. Through this research and discussion, we became the experts or more accomplished novices who then had more knowledge and understanding of the content than the audience to whom we were presenting.
In “How People Learn” it is discussed that, “One of the earliest studies of expertise demonstrated that the same stimulus is perceived and understood differently, depending on the knowledge that a person brings to the situation.” This directly relates to the work that we did in our SIG. At the beginning of our learning process, we questioned everything and wanted to know more. The idea of not questioning as much as you learn is also talked about in “A More Beautiful Question” in the context of being a questioner in order to learn more. While we in no way claim to be experts on the Maker Movement now, we do know more about what it is and how to integrate it into our classrooms. At the GREAT16 conference we were able to answer both U.S. educators and Irish educators’ questions about the Maker Movement and how they could implement it in their classrooms.
Overall, we worked very well as a collaborative group. Sara and I wrote the Abstract and Statement of purpose together. I wrote the summaries of the 3 “pillars” of the Maker Movement both on our poster and on the wiki. I researched and added the low tech tools for making on the wiki and wrote the example explanations. We collaborated on the main
points that we wanted to get across during our presentation.
Through this process, I learned that making in the classroom aligns with the new science
standards. I am thrilled that my school is moving to the NGSS and that the making that I already do in my classroom aligns with this. I learned that making can be as low tech or as high tech as you want it to be. I can have my students use recycled materials to create something that we are learning about or I can use computer programs to have students create on the computer. I learned that without the maker mindset of sharing, collaboration, being allowed to fail, but learning from it making will not be as successful as it can be in the classroom. This will help me shape my classroom culture. In order to foster the maker mindset, I will need to allow my students to fail. They then need to rethink/redesign their project in order to learn from their mistakes. Then I would have them share ideas with each other, and support each other in their making.
Presenting and attending an international educational technology conference was not only a great honor, it was exciting, inspiring, and rewarding. Not only did we have a chance to share our research and knowledge with others, but we attended sessions that gave us more tools and strategies to take home and hopefully implement in our classrooms. Warren Berger talks about how, making not only increases student knowledge in the classroom, but “they’re learning to create, experiment, build, question, and learn.” These are all aspects of life. By exploring the Maker Education Movement, I am thoroughly convinced that making is not only an important educational tool, but builds life skills in students as well.
Donovan, S., Bransford, J., & Pellegrino, J. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php? isbn=0309070368
Berger, W., (2014) A More Beautiful Question. New York: Bloomsbury USA.
Photo Credit for Featured Image: Megan Katzenstein