Bringing the Maker Movement to your school

08
Dec 16

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When I first visited a school Maker Space I was unimpressed and saw it as a typical educational trend; expensive, transitory and having few benefits. Over the past two years however, I have become a convert. In fact, my Barossa Valley school has included a purpose-built Maker Space in a technology focused building, opening on the first day of 2017. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, here’s an excellent definition (which, coincidentally, was written by me!)

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“The Maker Movement is what we (or I at least) might call a “multi-car pileup” of vehicles that includes DIY, hacking, arts and crafts, engineering, coding, electronics and even hobby modelling. But that is just a few of the many “sub-cultures” involved. In an educational setting, making is a technology-driven response to the widespread absence of doing in many classrooms. In essence, it’s what Piaget and other “constructionists” see as experiential learning.”

(From the article “Maker Movement Gathers Steam” which appeared in the TechnologyEd Magazine, Issue 17, November 2015)

Some of you may already be familiar with the many gadgets that have emerged as “maker mainstays” such as Makey Makey kits, Sphero, Bloxels and Raspberry Pi. The good news is that you don’t need to spend up big, nor do you need a permanent space. Indeed, you can get started with a YouTube clip, some PVC tubes and a packet of marshmallows. Honest! And, making has its benefits in every classroom and subject area; it’s not just for the STEM and STEAM advocates.

I am delighted to have been added to the program for Criterion’s Improving STEM Education Conference in Sydney in March 2017. In keeping with the stated aim, if you attend my “Creating a Maker Space” session on Day Two, you will “walk away with a tangible set of ideas, resources and inspiration.” You will have the ideas, resources and plans you need to get started in your own school on a restricted budget.

STEM 2017

Submitted by Simon McKenzie

Simon McKenzie

Simon McKenzie is Digital Advisor: Teaching and Learning at Faith Lutheran College. Find him on Twitter @connectedtchr

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