This article shares the story of Albermarle County Schools’ experience integrating maker education throughout all the schools in the district. In particular, snapshots of Agnor Hurt Elementary and Albermarle High School are spotlighted. I recommend diving into this article and considering how Albermarle’s experience and ideas can impact your classroom, school, and district. Here are just two nuggets I gleaned from reading this.
“Making shouldn’t be isolated. We want to get away from that idea. Makerspaces and classrooms are one and the same.” — Andrew Craft, Elementary Teacher
“When people make, they get back to the basics of who they are as humans. Making puts the learner at the center of the work — and when that happens with our kids, the content makes sense to them.” — Pam Moran, Superintendent
“A Maker is an individual who communicates, collaborates, tinkers, fixes, breaks, rebuilds, and constructs projects for the world around him or her. A Maker, re-cast into a classroom, has a name that we all love: a learner. A Maker, just like a true learner, values the process of making as much as the product.
“Making holds a number of opportunities and challenges for a teacher. Making, especially to educators and administrators unfamiliar with it, can seem to lack the academic rigor needed for a full-fledged place in an educational ecosystem. However, project-based learning has already created a framework for Making in the classroom. Let’s see how Making could work when placed inside a PBL curriculum unit.” — Patrick Waters
The following is an excerpt from an article in The Journal by Mike McGalliard and Anne Wintroub. It’s too good not to share. I encourage educators and parents to read and consider the ideas and recommendations presented in the full article.
“Educators and business leaders have more in common than it may seem. Teachers want to prepare students for a successful future. Technology companies…have a vested interest in developing a workforce with the STEM skills needed to grow the company and advance the industry. How can they work together to achieve these goals? Play may [be] the answer.
“We’ve assumed that focusing on STEM skills, like robotics or coding, are important, but the reality is that STEM skills are enhanced and more relevant when combined with traditional, hands-on creative activities. This combination is proving to be the best way to prepare today’s children to be the makers and builders of tomorrow. That is why technology companies are partnering with educators to bring back good, old fashion play.
“In fact many experts argue that the most important 21st century skills aren’t related to specific technologies or subject matter, but to creativity; skills like imagination, problem-finding and problem-solving, teamwork, optimism, patience and the ability to experiment and take risks. These are skills acquired when kids tinker. ” — The Journal
Edutopia defines Marker Education as “a unique combination of artistry, circuitry, and old-fashioned craftsmanship” (source). This type of making is not a new idea but, until a few years ago, has not been in education and has been growing in implementation ever since.
What is Maker Education?
Several terms are involved with Maker Education such as tinker, hack, create, modify, build, and invent (source). This basic concept involves changing the traditional lecture style of education to a more engaging hands-on environment where students are learning through active projects. This style of learning does not have traditional assessments but uses the finished product as the assessment; thus, completely flipping the traditional style of learning.
Why implement Maker Education?
The following four mindsets show the benefits of implementing Maker Education into the classroom.
Implementing Maker Education within your classroom does not have to be difficult. Start with one project and allow students to build or create something tangible. You can use Pinterest or Instructables to find handy DIY projects for the classroom simply be searching. You will soon become hooked on the idea and will begin to modify your own lesson plans to include more making.
Kaylah Holland is currently a Middle School Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching coding, app development, and robotics; she has a vital role of assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom through ample research, lesson planning, and training. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology and is in the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer. She is passionate about building an innovative culture for learning.
Prezi introduces a new way to share life’s little moments, in a nutshell.
Combining the simplicity of photographs, the compelling nature of video, and the fun of animated graphics, Nutshell uses Prezi’s new storymapping technology to create short, shareable cinematic narratives that can be shared easily and instantly.
Besides creating fun social media updates, Nutshell opens the door for all sorts of unique messaging opportunities when videos feel like too much of a production and plain photos just are not adequate for capturing life’s moments.
3 Easy Steps
Snap three pictures.
Choose graphics and let Nutshell turn it all into a shareable cinematic story.
Library of free animated graphics that you can use to create short cinematic stories
Instant sharing to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
Send nutshells directly to friends via email, text messages, and WhatsApp
Full camera support for iOS 8.0 and above
Provides students with a creative alternative for submitting reflections, journals, etc.
Share engaging news and announcements with students and parents.
Integrate with standards focused on communication: personal expression, propaganda techniques, etc.
Enables creative ways for students to share their interpretations of poems, stories, books, plays, and other works of art.
Empower students to collect evidence of their thinking during a lab or group activity.
The finished product can serve as an artifact of learning, potentially making thinking visible in your classroom.
There are many other educational connections. Please share yours in the comments to this post.
“Boss Level, a special time built into the school schedule at Quest to Learn, enables teachers to plan project-based learning units that can happen outside of the classroom. For students, Boss Level is an opportunity to participate in a design challenge while taking on the role of an artist, filmmaker, chef, or any number of other real-life jobs.
“And for teachers, Boss Level allows us to bring our own interests and passions to the job. I’ve been a mathematics educator in New York City’s Department of Education for ten years, and I joined the Quest to Learn staff three years ago because I was drawn to the game-based learning approach and the amount of autonomy and creativity that teachers were empowered to bring to their curricula.
“Watch students engage in hands-on projects to practice real-world skills, and learn five steps to design classroom challenges” (Source).