Education and the Maker Movement

Due to a growing awareness of the computing requirements of the draft Acara Digital Technologies curriculum and the demands of the NSW BOS syllabuses for the Australian curriculum, teachers are looking for ways to integrate ICT in meaningful and authentic ways to meet cross curricula outcomes. Increasingly, teachers in Australian schools are recognising the need to integrate computing into learning but lack the knowledge and confidence to do so in innovative and creative ways. The Maker Movement has great potential to address these issues and it’s potential for education has been recognised worldwide.

MacICT is engaging in the Maker Movement on a state and national level. Centre Manager, Cathie Howe was asked to write an article on Maker Education for the  “WORDS” Magazine and explained:

The current Maker Education movement is a wonderful example of learning that is meaningful. This provides an opportunity for students to engage in active learning involving technological skills that may incorporate computer science, engineering, electronics and robotics. As students learn how to invent, design and create new technologies as they take part in projects hat require sustained engagement and collaboration, they will learn more deeply. In a MakerSpace, expertise is distributed and, on occasions, the lines between teachers and learners become blurred.

Cathie Howe, Meaningful Learning in a Digital Age published in WORDS, The Magazine of School Library Association of NSW No. 1 Vol. 1 Autumn 2014

Cathie also presented a TeachMeet session at the 2014 National EduTech Conference in Brisbane on the MakerMovement. See the short presentation below:

Download (PDF, 2.09MB)

MakerDay C.R.E.A.T.E Workshops at MacICT

Over three sessions between May and June this year, MacICT hosted and facilitated Professional Learning opportunities for NSW teachers on learning through making to meet educational outcomes across both Primary and Secondary schools.

The MakerDay C.R.E.A.T.E! How to Create Reality with Electronics, Art and Technology in Education teacher workshops were first inspired by the growing popularity of D.I.Y. building and tinkering projects that have now reached epic proportions in the United States. Research around this phenomenon has, among other things, highlighted that the art of making is inherently a human activity and one that is very satisfying. And in an age when, ironically, both manufacturing and computer science subjects at schools are waning, there is now a shortfall of skilled programmers and engineers to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world.

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Soldering an electronic circuit to a microprocessor to control a moveable cardboard device.

Soldering an electronic circuit to a microprocessor to control a moveable cardboard device.

Primary teachers show off their creations after a day of hard fun.

Primary teachers show off their creations after a day of hard fun.

John Burfoot showing how to re-engineer cardboard to simulate the movement of a mechanical leg.

John Burfoot showing how to re-engineer cardboard to simulate the movement of a mechanical leg.

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Thanks to a Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) grant offered by Google to successful applicants which this year also included Primary Schools, MacICT was able to fully fund its research and purchase the materials needed to allow the participants to engage in a truly interdisciplinary, hands-on experience, incorporating computer coding (programming), re-engineering cardboard and connecting electronic components. Teacher activities were organised around a series of guided lessons followed by an open-ended task to make something useful for the home out of recycled and reusable materials.While each workshop specialised in unique areas such as microcontrollers for High School, Scratch programming for upper Primary, and squishy electric circuits for lower Primary, each event allowed teachers to learn how to program, build and electrify, as well as create something new to take home.

MacICT are offering more MakerDay C.R.E.A.T.E! professional learning opportunities for teachers during the second half of the year, and are planning on providing similar all-day workshop experiences for students for each Grade band (K-2, 3-6 and 7-10).

Click here to read more about the Teacher Professional Learning workshops.
Click here to read more about the Student Boot Camp excursions.