Maker Education: Reaching All Learners

>>Pam: One of the things that we’ve
discovered is that Maker Education with kids gets them engaged, gets
them passionate about the work, gives them opportunities to pursue
things that they’re interested in. And as a result, it really raises the
level of work that kids are doing, and it starts to make sense. School makes sense.>>Ali: This is actually my
first year at this school. I thought this would be a great
program that they’re doing here, letting you build your own stuff, and
have more freedom than other schools. I feel like I’m learning
way more doing this.>>Ira: When we tell students what to do, all they’re learning
is to comply with us. But there’s nothing more powerful to
build that sense of intrinsic motivation than making something that
really matters to you.>>Nick: And these are your analog pins. This is my Pitcher Helper. It has eleven lasers
right here on your side, and seven lasers on the
bottom right here. And they both shoot up into
some photo resisters right here.>>Terry: The sixth grade,
we really struggled. He struggled in science and
math a little bit last year.>>Nick: Usually, I just
wake up, be like, “Well, why do I want to go to school? All we’re going to do
is sit in the class.” Mr. Redder in the Technology Room
says, “Learn with your hands.” And I built the entire code by myself. I’m pretty proud, because I
didn’t think I could get anything of this caliber done.>>Terry: That really
lit a fire under him. I knew he had it in him, I just
didn’t think I’d see it so quickly. You know, it’s kind of open
your eyes a little bit. Like there are other
ways of doing things.>>Ira: He’s just learning because he’s
doing something that matters to him. And that’s what we believe in.>>Pam: Making provides a
different pathway to learning. And one off the things that we
know as we watch our kids make, they oftentimes are bringing in
all of the different content areas. But what it’s doing is giving
them a context for learning.>>Eric: Right, it’ll be
a little bit shorter.>>Eric: I had a girl last year who
was redoing some stools for us. And we were measuring the circles,
and as she’s cutting them, she goes, “This is the thing we did in geometry!” That she did fine on her
homeworks, got an A in the class. But not until she was making this really
beautiful stool did she say, “Holy-moly! This makes sense!”>>Karen: What I think is
probably the most impactful to me is watching the students
who come in in a classroom who haven’t felt really
successful in school. All of a sudden, these kids who
might struggle with reading, but who are really strong at
building something with their hands, where they can kind of envision things
three steps ahead, they’re starting to be looked at by other
kids, like, “Wow! I didn’t know you could do that!” Because just they had not had an
opportunity necessarily to show that kind of strength that they had.>>Student: We need to make
that a little longer than that.>>Kendra: We were able to see some
kids that were building aqueducts. Well, last year this time, four of those students were having
major behavior problems about this time of the school year. So it just shows the
power of engagement. The power of choice. And Maker allows for that.>>Pam: The choice in the kinds
of projects that kids do is one of the things that we
believe is really critical. That kids should have a
chance to really think about, “How do I want to show what
it is that I’m learning here?”>>Jack: We’re building
a coliseum from Rome.>>Alexis: I really like architectural
structures, and hands-on things.>>Jackson: Minecraft is a game that
you use blocks to build things. So we’re building a Roman
coliseum in Minecraft.>>Pam: What we try to do is
to give the kids the tools. And that can be as simple as cardboard,
or as sophisticated as 3D printers, and music production studios, and
basically say, “Let’s turn people loose and unleash the potential to make.”>>Kolion: What I do with my
school work, is I rap everything. I started writing music to
my homework assignments, and then now they say I can
write my music to projects.>>Kolion: I would never
have a grade by me. Get in a couple bands now, Making me so
lifting my grades for a couple of fans.>>Kolion: There’s one way
of learning things is listen to somebody else explain it to you. But if you do it yourself, look up
your own research and everything else, you start getting it by yourself, and it helps you progress
and remember it better.>>Kolion: Because I’m
working hard. My stress is finally running out.>>Pam: And so for me, it’s not
about the cardboard or the glue gun. When kids become agents
of their own learning, when they embrace their own learning,
when they own their future, that, for me, is giving kids a lifetime
off learning that will carry them through job after job; through learning
experience after learning experience into workforce; into
post-secondary education; into their homes; into
their communities. It’s all important.>>Student: Wrapping these colors.>>Student: Like all of them together.>>Student: I think so.

1 Comment

  1. Beth Poss

    September 20, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Love these ideas. What a great way to truly engage students in learning and help them make connections between education and their lives.

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