Maker Monday v5.9

Design Thinking, PBL, & Other Tinkering: News from d.lab

Making in the Media

Valuing Process Over Product

This week's featured article offers a brief overview of the Maker Movement, including its origins, features, and common questions, plus a collection of recent essays, books, and research on its place in education.

This piece also touches on the key tenets of making in an educational setting, which it defines as activities that support "academic learning and the development of a mindset that values playfulness and experimentation, growth and iteration, and collaboration and community."

It also goes on to describe making as "creating a physical or digital artifact, and sharing that product with a larger audience. Often, such work is guided by the notion that process is more important than results."

These two ideas are at the heart of our School Maker Faire last Tuesday, as well as our participation in Maker Faire Austin. Innovation is messy, iterative, and involves uncertainty, risk, and the real possibility of failure.

However, the "maker mindset" that SGCS students are developing embraces these aspects (rather than avoiding or mitigating them) and emphasizes the whole process of creation, not just the artifact itself.

Community Events

School Maker Faire - Skills Come From Struggle

Thank you everyone who attended and participated in our very first School Maker Faire! It was exciting to have so much support and enthusiasm from our community - special thanks to Staci Peterson and Will Loconto for sharing your time and work with the students.

At first glance, the artifacts exhibited may have seemed simple, but they were in fact the culmination of a dynamic process that included learning new concepts, skills, and methodologies.

Each project represented deep, interdisciplinary student learning that contained many instances of "desirable difficulties," a term used by a researcher in the following article, who suggests that "when people learn something rapidly, they often learn it superÔ¨Ācially" and conversely, that "we learn better when the learning is hard."

This idea of depth versus breadth, championed by Harvard's Graduate School of Education Project Zero, is also echoed by the "Slow Education" movement (a nod to the Slow Food movement) and is discussed in the article below.

When our students are creating, innovating, and learning, they're not concerned with defining was a "maker" is. They are Makers.

Maker Faire Austin - Design. Make. Play.

As noted earlier, sharing both the process and product with a larger audience is an important component of Maker Education and other forms of project-based learning (PBL).

This past weekend, SGCS participated in Maker Faire Austin, an annual event that showcases local creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A huge thanks to the parents, students, robotics team members, and staff who all took time out to support and celebrate our students' amazing work!

Along with amazing exhibits, activities, and merchants, there were a number of panels that featured experts, industry leaders and community members, including an education panel that discussed the exciting possibilities (as well as challenges) of making in schools.

Looking Ahead

Here are the grade level projects and activities, both in and out of d.lab:

  • K: touring the d.lab and exploring Ozobots
  • 1st: visiting the d.lab to begin exploring Ozobtots
  • 2nd: learning new tools for a geography project,
  • 3rd: continuing to learn how to use the Ozobots color language
  • 4th: creating costumes for an ELA project
  • 5th: combining Scratch and Makey Makey for ELA
  • 6th: designing and building water powered rockets
  • 8th: continuing its trebuchet project