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Maker Space In Education Series: 20 Reasons Your Students Should Be Making

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August 4, 2014 By: Michael Gorman

Aug 3

Written by:
8/3/2014 5:30 PM  RssIcon

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It’s  still summer time in the States and I couldn’t help but think of the idea of play, and that of course made me think of Maker Space. I have long  encourage Making in the classroom. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that this idea is now a movement and one that I suggest all 21st century educators Make some room for. I hope you enjoy this series and I encourage you to send me information and resources, as I am also Making time to learn.  First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always,  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Take a moment to contemplate what it would be like if every school had a Maker Space and it was part of the school curriculum. You may wish to dream of the possibilities for essential 21st century skill development and significant content skill alignment. Think about the aura of engagement, flow, grit, perseverance, problem solving, revision, reflection, and satisfaction in that amazing space. Contemplate parents asking the question, “What did you make in school today?” Now sit back and imagine the answer, and further conversations it would bring!

As you are probably already aware, there is a growing Maker Movement across the nation. In fact, you can see Maker Spaces finding room to serve the surging Maker population in both small and large towns alike. I know there is one in my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I looked in on another while conducting a PBL workshop deep in the southwest…  in Tucson, Arizona. On a recent visit to the PBS Network Studios to work with Digital Innovators I saw a large Makers Space on the first floor of the Arlington, Virginia building.

The idea behind the Makers Movement includes allowing people to imagine, envision, create, innovate, play, formatively learn, experiment, collaborate, share, and most of all dream of possibilities. The idea of making is really not a new concept. In fact,the art of making is at the root and mixed into to the very fabric of our culture. I believe that the amazing innovation we have seen in this country is due to a Maker mentality. We have long been a culture set on dreaming up possibilities, and then taking the action to make it happen. The initial growth of technology has somewhat taken some of our creativity and produced  consumption based thinking. We are now past the initial way of thinking, and the Makers movement allows people to finally use the technology to create and make.

It is encouraging to see that Education Maker Spaces are making space in numerous schools including elementary, middle, and high school. This was evident at the 2014 ISTE Convention in Atlanta with over 16,000 attendees and space for Maker vendors, Maker presentations, Maker playgrounds, and Maker possibilities. After all, childhood has long been a time that allows young minds to play and make. It is important to understand that allowing kids to be Makers opens the doors to personalized and authentic learning. Let me share a list that I feel are positive qualities that schools can Make as take away ideas from the Makers Movement.

  • Allow for student intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning
  • Support students in a natural connection toward the facilitation of the 4 C’s
  • Engage students in significant content by allowing for connections to curriculum
  • Immerse students in experiences that promote the idea of flow
  • Provide students opportunities that allow then to fail in order to succeed
  • Emphasize to students and teachers the importance of process over outcome
  • Amplify or introduce to students the components of a school STEM disciplines
  • Provide for student opportunities to enhance Project, Problem, Design, Inquiry, and Challenge Based Learning
  • Promote student literacy through writing, reflecting, and journal writing while Making in specific subject areas
  • Engage students in relevance and connections through a authentic learning experience
  • Promote service student learning by identify and inventing solutions to local and world problems
  • Allow students to see the importance and value of the arts
  • Allow students to be a part of partnerships between school, home, and community
  • Create opportunities for students to be producers of content and products
  • Facilitate to students the idea of entrepreneurship through innovation
  • Provide students an opportunity to connect with college and career opportunities
  • Allow for student mentorship between students and also between community and students
  • Give students the opportunity to learn through kinesetic opportunities
  • Introduce students to the iterative process for problem solving
  • Support student inquiry by relaying the importance of good questions and continued questioning

I started this post out with dreams and imagination of what can be. Some schools are already making it happen. Perhaps your school and students are next? It might just begin with some Maker time in your own classroom… or even after school. It really is time  for you  to… Make it happen. If you already are… please share with me via email. I would like to highlight what you are doing.

I invite you to continue to follow this series as I learn and share more about the Maker Movement and education. I have already started to collect some amazing links to share in this series. I am sure you can see that allowing kids to be Makers promotes so many aspects of what 21st century learning and technology is all about. I really do hope this Makes your week… and of course those weeks still waiting to be Made!

I hope you found this information is something you can use in your school and share with other educators.  As always , I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy Making! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Get ready for more links and resources on this series covering the Maker Movement in K12 Education and also a collection on the connections between PBL, STEM and Technology Integration… first make some time to sign up and follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). –  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

cross-posted at 21centuryedtech.wordpress.com

Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education.  His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more at 21centuryedtech.wordpress.com.

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