My first assumption of what a makerspace is, was mostly incorrect. I thought it was just an online forum where people came together to try to market some new gadget or idea they came up with. I was excited to learn the real meaning, which can include low or high-tech items and use any physical space available, when set up in a logical (useful) way.
An article posted by educause.edu (April, 2013) states that “a makerspace is a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build.” The location for this meeting can be anywhere from a school classroom to a local library but creativity and inventiveness drives the activities completed in Makerspaces.
Once I had a firm grasp on what exactly a Makerspace was, I flipped right over to some straightforward plans on how to start a Makerspace in my classroom. Jennifer Cooper, a Makerspace designer and avid blogger at edtopia.org (September, 2013), has many amazing ideas for getting areas set up for tinkering and topics in which the Makerspace could be utilized if one was wanting a more structured approach. J. Cooper mentions woodworking, robotics, electronics and digital fabrication as just a few high-tech options in which to provide a “space” for students to gather and create.
Another article I found at ISTE.org by Nicole Krueger (June, 2014) also provides just 3 easy steps to getting started on a Makerspace.
N. Krueger shares those simple steps:Step 1:Secure some space.
In order to have a successful Makerspace, you will need to start with finding a space that has room for what you want to accomplish in the room. The room does not need to be a large space but enough that it can house the supplies needed and the ability for students to move around.
Step 2: Put stuff in it.
Ideas and supplies for a Makerspace would be endless as there are thousands of toilet paper rolls and buttons thrown out often. Like mentioned above, the supplies do not have to be expensive if that is not in your budget.
Step 3: Invite kids to play.
Having just empty space IS a waste of space. Invite the kids into the space and create whatever comes into their brains. These are pretty easy steps to follow if there is hesitation in creating a Makerspace.
While searching for the meaning of a Makerspace, I stumbled on to this site-http://renovatedlearning.com/makerspace-resources/ by Diana L. Rendina. There is a vast supply of resources such as how-to videos, TED talks, blogs to follow with more amazing resources, and a good description of the Maker Movement. Also, the Lewis and Clark Elementary School of Liberty, Missouri (https://lc-lps-ca.schoolloop.com/MakerSpace) has great resources of what activities/apps they have presented in their school and another long list of resources to look into for your own use. Happy surfing!
Cooper, J. (September, 2013)Designing a School Makerspace Blog posting retrieved from Edutopia:What works in Education (2016) George Lucas Educational Foundation
Krueger, N. (June, 2014) Create a School Makerspace in 3 Easy Steps. Retreived from http://www.iste.org on June 7, 2016.
No Author(s).educause.edu/ELI.(April, 2013). 7 Things You Should Know About Makerspaces. Retrieved from https://net.edcause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7095.pdf on June 7, 2016.
Rendina, D. L. (nd) Renovated Learning:Building a Culture of Creativity and Discovery in Education. Retreived from http://renovatedlearning.com/makerspace-resources/ on June 7, 2016.
I do very much enjoy reading everyone’s ideas of how to use GH, MOOCs, and “Flipped” versions of classroom resources.
In my Blog posting, I went with GH as an appealing resource as of the current time. Many of my peers agreed that having the students pursue a passion project would keep their motivations high while allowing creativity to run wild. I did not find many people with negatives about GH other than the teacher not knowing where to start to get something like GH rolling in their classroom.
The neatest phenomenon I found was needing to choose one that is most appealing but how all three of these emerging technologies (Genuis Hour, MOOCs[Massive Open Online Course], Flipped Classroom)kind of run hand in hand (and hand).
Like I had mentioned I chose GH (geniushour.com) as the tech that seemed most appealing. Through the research I had done on learning more about GH, I stumbled upon a MOOC to learn the steps of getting started. After you feel comfortable with GH and open this resource up to your students, the flipping of your class can begin. If the students working in the GH apparatus have truly picked a passion to pursue, they will be looking for resources on their own time to fulfill the requirement for their project that started in GH! Thus making all of these great resources, within each other.
I am enjoying learning many new ways to bring more education into my classroom through technology. The flipped classroom model, in my opinion, seems like it would be difficult in a small, multigrade classroom. A teacher would need a lot of parental support to keep their students motivated at home to preview the information before the next class. Many students, just like handing them regular homework, would still not complete it. Then you still have a few sprinkling of students who did not preview the lesson, making it harder to just jump into the project/activity. However, I have never tried “flipping” my class and would be willing to try with a set of older students.
My interest lies this week in Genius Hour (GH). According to geniushour.com, this type of program is a choice based educational format. Students think deeply, with graphic organizer aided notes, about something they are passionate about and would enjoy learning how to create. It can be a tool like an app or a game but it can also be something more personal like learning a different language or creating a how-to video. The amazing thing is that the possibilities seem endless. Whatever the imagination can dream up and how far a student is willing to go in their pursuit of knowledge, will lead to some great learning outcome.
A.J. Juliani mentions in his video on geniushour.com that “[traditional education] is like getting all kids up a single mountain. Genius Hour gets kids to climb their own mountain.” The idea is that if students pursue a topic of high interest, the project will show student ownership and engagement as the intrinsic motivation kicks in to create something they wanted to create verses being told what to create.
A.J. Juliani goes deeper into the research behind having students learn from inquiry based projects on his website ajjuliani.com/research. He makes many valid points but the paragraph on meta-cognition jumped out at me.
My first few classes in college were based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (see below for resources). I learned how I learn best. Thinking back to those first few classes, I was astounded to figure out my learning style. I am glad that those classes came first in my college career as they not only justified why I struggled learning one way and excelled at others but it also has allowed me to understand my students learning styles better. It certainly seems that anyone reading this, teacher or not, could say “Of course people learn differently.” But when you see it in action in your classroom and it is up to you, the educator, to adapt the learning for all students to learn, it is great to have those tools in available. GH is a project in itself to get students learning in new ways.
I believe the Mr. Juliani and the creators of Genius Hour and other sites that are promoting inquiry based education, are really onto something. I am excited to see where I could take GH with my own class.
Kesler, C. (2016) Genuis Hour. Retreived from http://www.geniushour.com
Juliani, A.J. (n.d) Intentional Innovation. The Research Behind Choice and Inquiry in Education. Retreived from http://ajjuliani.com/research/ on May 31,2016.
RESOURCES for Multiple Intelligences please visit:
Open learning seems to be on everyone’s radar and this week I have learned many interesting and new things about up and coming technologies. What took me by surprise was the fact that I have used open learning tools and never gave one extra thought as to them being such a big deal. I ,of course was excited about having access to a free language learning tool and Khan Academy is another good tool for practice with older students within my classroom.
Open learning resources seem like a great tool to have in your teacher’s tool box but there needs to be a conversation about student safety online and validity of information presented through the open learning resource. These two expectations of safety and validity have always been a part of a teacher’s daily ritual. We, as teachers, are in the classroom to provide safe and thought provoking activities to engage our students to become successful citizens. With many things in the world, not just with technology, in a stage of constant change, we need to teach (as well as learn) what the real meaning of flexibility is. Open learning is just another avenue to get our students involved in their own learning in a way many students communicate every day.
Open learning has been a useful tool in my classroom. I have not used it much as I teach mostly K-3 students but have had some experience with its usefulness. I have enjoyed its use in my personal life and do believe it has advantages when used in meaningful ways.
Our reading for this week is showcased from academia.edu which states that Open Learning “occurs in a shared and transparent manner in which others can reuse, revise, remix, and/or redistribute the evidence of learning with others.” (O’Byrne,Roberts, LaBonte, Graham,n.d). My version would simply say open learning is another place where information is shared and adapted by many users for anyone to use. Having a resource that is easily accessible and, in most cases, free would be invaluable if it was a resource that could be added to my students learning goals.
O’Byrne and associates go on to say that open learning “encourages collaboration, networked learning and interdependence between educators and learners.” Online platforms are full of collaboration by bringing many people together on the same topic. Everyone involved can “hear” where the other participants stand on certain issues or can give valuable constructive criticism on an essay. One issue that can be argued is it is more difficult to keep students safe in an environment where not all people are known as well as their face-to-face peers within the regular classroom setting.
But why such a large jump from traditional, face-to-face classrooms straight into open learning resources? Let us not forget about the buzzword of the times-Blended Learning. In my opinion, blended learning is just the gateway to gaining a more open source learning environment and educational toolbox. As more districts/teachers/researchers test out which types of learning apparatus will suit the needs best, more information will become public and mainstream.
While seeking out information on open learning, I stumbled upon many articles about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). An article presented from a MIT Technology review delves into a little bit of research based on open learning classes at college level. The article states that “90 percent of students drop out from these MOOCs.”(Pope,2014) This would be a staggering percentage of dropouts but it seems there may be more to the story pertaining to who is actually taking these courses and to what purpose are these classes labeled? The article covers many interesting topics within the scope of open learning. I had enjoyed reading through it simply to know what kind of research is being conducted, even at college level.
Another amazing (and long) article I fell into was Blurring Boundaries in Education: Context and Impact of MOOCs. (Loeckx,2016). This article goes very deep into the different aspects of open online learning to show how culture, society, technology, and economy can be affected but mostly how they are all interconnected. This article provide advantages and disadvantages from each subtopic above. Like I said, it is a pretty deep read but it may further cement some ideals you may have had before about open learning or may change your whole outlook.
Just a side note while searching for other resources to include within this post, I had not read much of a concern for validity when dealing with open learning. I am sure those articles are out there and I wanted to keep my post to have a more positive spin as I do support open learning. It is inevitable, however, to always pitch advantages and fail to mention possible disadvantages to open learning tools. It has been my experience through many college classes that would not want an open learning site such as wikipedia to be among the references in a paper for the possibility of not being completely valid information if just anyone, professional in a field or not, can alter the contents.
Loeckx, J (april 2016) (vol.17,n.3) Retreived from www.irrodl.org/
O’Byrne, I., Roberts, V., LaBonte, R., & Graham, L. (n.d) Open Learning in K-12 Online and Blended Learning Environments. Retreived from www.academia.edu/10311797/open_learning_in_k-12_online-and_blended_learning_environments
Pope, J. (2014) What are MOOCs Good For? Retrieved from www.technologyreview.com
Technology seems to be in a constant state of adaptation and is still being tested for validity. The term emerging, in my opinion, means the current technology being presented may not be used to its fullest extent. It is a way of labeling a technology that is coming into its own time. A large learning curve comes with new or improved technological tool. Educators want to make sure any emerging technologies brought into their teaching/learning environment will be beneficial to their students’ learning goals as well as continuing to provide a meaningful education, in this fast paced, digital world.
The NMC Horizon Report (Johnson & Adams, 2015) delves into the types of trends most noted in the world of Emerging Technologies (ET). The first, short-term trend, states the use of blended learning for the students with the integration of technology into teacher professional development trainings. The short term trends seem to fade into non-existence if not made mainstream. Mid-term trends are still around and effecting decisions made by educational stakeholders. The current long-term trends are affecting decisions of what school districts and state governments are looking to be taught in schools. The term “trends” seems to jump out as a descriptive word through this article as a trend is something that comes and goes and may come back only to go again.
Can all Emerging Technologies be so cut and dried to fit exactly into one of these categories? I believe it would be most difficult to sort some emerging technologies into these defined trends. Veletsianos (2016) notes a characteristic of ET as not being caught in “hype cycles”. Understanding the reason in the emergence of a technological improvement, shows a large amount of information as to what type of trend, as stated earlier by the NMC Horizon Report, that a particular ET could be placed.
Social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become an avenue for communication across the world. People can share ideas and thoughts, collaborate with others and gain differing perspectives on important topics. It could be stated that these platforms were solely created just as a quick and simple way to communicate great distances. People like to communicate and will do so more often if it is convenient and easy to use. Why would schools not jump into a similar platform if one has already become “mainstream” and used by so many people?
I have found a few great articles about using social media within a classroom environment. (www.edutopia.org/blog/making-case-social-media-in-schools-jim-asher, 2015) Within an educational context, there are many opportunities to communicate with others around the world. Students are able to communicate anywhere with their classroom quickly through the simple use of the internet.
Here is another good article about policies within schools pertaining to the use of social media.(Varlas, 2011) This is a springboard article to read if looking into proposing a change to your district for more technology usage.
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2015) NMC Horizon Report:K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Varlas, Laura (2011) Vol.17,n.4 Can Social Media and School Policies Be “Friends”?”
Veletsianos, George (November, 2016) http://www.veletsianos.com/2008/11/18/a-definition-of-emerging-technologies-for-education/