Tag Archives: #makered

Reflecting on Becoming a Maker Educator

As I wrap up my work for CEP811, a course focused on the Maker Movement and adapting innovative technologies to education, I took time to reflect on all of the different projects I have worked on over the past seven weeks.

I realized that each project was a piece of a larger #MakerEd puzzle. The thread of making runs through them all and by engaging in each one of them (e.g., remixing, playful exploration, creating lesson plans and assessments, etc), educators can begin to own and embody the mindsets associated with the Maker Movement. Stepping back to look at each project, I reorganized them in a cycle that I think could help educators begin to dip their toes into making and become more comfortable with it before integrating it into their teaching and later their classroom (design) and everyday practice. Although I organized the cycle to be completed as an ongoing, step-by-step process, educators could jump in at any point. Just start with the projects or activities that you are most comfortable with before continuing to the next “piece of the puzzle.”

Designing the Maker Educator Cycle (see below) allowed me to see how the projects I created over the past seven weeks and the readings I have explored, have truly led me deeper down the Maker Movement path. I had an opportunity to more deeply infuse maker projects in my curriculum and explicitly explore making in the classroom in a way that is meaningful and supports students (and teachers) in developing maker mindsets. I think these experiences, particularly designing a unit plan and a maker assessment, reminded me how vital it is to explore how teachers are makers and designers in our daily practice. To really improve and innovate, we have to continually be making (e.g., lessons, assessments, remixes, etc) educational content as well as maker projects (e.g, a robot maze, an LED student response system, etc). I am excited to continue this work as a maker educator and iterate the lesson plans, assessments, and projects I designed to make them even better. If you are an educator using making in your classroom or if you are trying to help an educator start exploring the Maker Movement, I hope the Maker Educator Cycle is helpful and I welcome any feedback on its design.

The Maker Educator Cycle (click to see links)

Creative Commons Attributions

Learn icon-o1 by MCruz is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Personalized Learning)

Paper Blank Pencil by ClkerFreeVectorImages is licensed under Public Domain CC0 (Design Lessons)

Pictogram Resolved by AzaToth is licensed under Public Domain CC0 (Create Assessments)

Remix is a Creative Commons Trademark icon (Remix)

Toolbox by ClkerFreeVectorImages is licensed under Public Domain CC0 (Toolbox)

Two Point Perspective Room by maburaho26 is licensed under CC BY-ND 3.0 (Redesign your Environment)

Wikimedia Deutschland icon explore by Cornelius Kibelka is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE (Playful Experimentation)

Avatar created at: http://www.reasonablyclever.com/mini/flash/minifig.swf

Adding #MakerEd to your Teacher Toolbox

Creating infographics is a great way to check for understanding because a well-crafted infographic requires you to drill down larger theories and the supporting research to key themes and concepts. In the past, I have designed infographics to make data more accessible and to share project information with a variety of audiences. This week, I worked to create an infographic (below) that could summarize the core ideas we have been exploring in CEP811, which focuses on the Maker Movement in education.

The theme that I chose to highlight with my infographic is the value of adding #MakerEd to your teacher toolbox. I wanted to recognize that many teachers already have numerous approaches and “tools” in their toolboxes that help them reach their students and make learning meaningful. I do not see the Maker Movement as something that can “rescue” education or solve all of its problems but I do believe that making is a powerful way for students to learn (Martinez & Stager, 2013, p. 3).

Therefore, it is important for educators to consider adding making to their toolboxes because it can help give students access to many of the experiences that help them to experience deeper learning. Likewise, #MakerEd can assist students in developing skills and mindsets that will serve them not only in the classroom, but in their futures as they start their own careers or even design completely new jobs (A. 2014).

Richard Culatta (2013) speaks to some of the challenges that many classrooms face today and I see the Maker Movement as helping to overcome them because it offers students a higher degree of voice and choice and through collaboration, hands-on learning, failure, and risk-taking, students begin to make connections about how things work and realize their own power as creators, inventors, and innovators (Couros, 2015).

If every lesson was designed with some form of making in mind, I think there would be a lot more cohesion across disciplines and room for real-world problem-solving in schools. Students would be able to constantly reference and build on their experiences because there would be fewer silos where students are told “this is science” and “this is literacy” and they are separate.

I am excited to see what the current generation of students create and how they change the world in the next few years, using everything from a Raspberry Pi to 3D printing skills.

(Click image to enlarge)

Add MakerEd to Your Toolbox - MPowers