As a STEM educator, I’ve been doing some research into the Maker Movement. In the past few years, I have been looking at various tools such as 3D Printers, littleBits, MakeyMakey, Squishy Circuits, and Arduinos as a few examples. These are all tools that did not exist when I was a young learner and often I feel as if I’m learning about these tools at the same rate my students are. There are a few things to be said about how the Maker Movement can enhance your classroom.
Inclusion of a community of collaboration where failure is ok. The STEM fields shouldn’t be taught in isolation just as student learning shouldn’t happen in isolation. If we want to model what real STEM careers and projects are like, they should experience how they are in the real world. Students should think beyond themselves and see their place in the community. The Maker Movement values all contributions with the goal of improving the community in a variety of ways.
Projects are student centered, and students walk through the design process as they would in a professional design studio. Although valuable assessment can be drawn from maker experiences, the spark of creativity and motivation can be diminished if the makerspace and making activity is too constrained. Free exploration should be a driving force when incorporating this philosophy in the classroom.
We are preparing students for a digital age that doesn’t exist yet. It is important that they know how technology evolves and changes based on the needs of society. Take a look at the infographic linked below. It was created in Piktochart, an amazing free tool that can be used for presentations, brainstorming, mind-mapping, time-lining, and whatever other visual tools you can think of!