Posts Tagged ‘experiential learning’
For the past two summers, I have gotten the marvelous opportunity to teach maker education camps to elementary level students, ages 5 to 12. Each week has a different theme and each theme meets for the five weekdays from 9:00 to 12:00 with a half hour break. Our first week’s theme was on Toy Making and Hacking. Here are the webpages of resources I aggregated on these maker activities:
- DIY Science Toys – http://www.makereducation.com/diy-science-toys.html
- Toy Take Apart – http://www.makereducation.com/toy-take-apart.html
Below is a list of activities completed with the students along with descriptions and my reflections on the degree of success with these activities.
- Stomp Rockets
- Colorful Gears
- Candy Gobbler
- Small Toy Take Apart
- Portable Gaming Devices Take Apart – Invent a New Game
- 1/2″ PVC Pipe (cut into 36″, 3 x 12″; 6″ segments – one set per participant.
- 1/2″ right angle joints – 3 per participant
- 1/2″ cross joints – 1 per participant
- cotton balls
- transparent tape
I made some minor modifications of plans presented at http://www.instructables.com/id/Paper-Stomp-Rockets-Easy-and-Fun/. For the camp, I had each camper make his or her own launcher. One or two launchers, though, would have been fine for this activity.
I was excited to begin our week together with this activity as it is high impact. I did stomp rockets before with this age group a few years back. What I didn’t anticipate was the difficulty the campers would have making their rockets. They had trouble rolling the magazine pages around the PVC pipe and taping everything together. I was actually a little baffled that they couldn’t do these not too difficult hands-on tasks. As such, their rockets didn’t perform as they should off and several campers were very disappointed.
I would like to do this activity again in the future. If so, I would (1) do it later in the camp week, and (2) concentrate more on making the rockets insuring that the kids build fairly functional rockets.
- business cards
- cell phone motors
- double stick tape
- transparent tape
The following plans were developed by Howtoons and can be found at http://www.howtoons.com/?page_id=3475
The maker campers really loved this activity. They all were successful is getting their Gami-bots to move. They even invented a game using the floor tiles whereby they placed all of their Gami-bots inside the tile and the last Gami-bot left inside the boundaries of that tile won. I had one of the campers’ mother ask if I could do maker activities for her son’s birthday. This was one of the projects she requested.
- laser cut gears of assorted sizes
- magnets (6x6mm 1/4″X1/4″)
- magnetic boards
- permanent markers
I had seen something similar at an EdTech conference but out of wood. Instead of wood, I laser cut the gears out of acrylic. I used http://geargenerator.com/ to get the size of interlocking gears I desired and sized the middle holes to be a little bigger than 1/4″ to fit the magnets. This site produced files I used with the laser cutter at a local makerspace. I had the campers color their gears with permanent markers and then attach them to magnetic boards using the magnets as pivot points.
I was really excited about this activity. I think gears are lots of fun. I also thought that by having the campers color and create their own patterns would increase interest. I was wrong. They did the activity, seemed to like it okay, but were ready to move on once they did a single gear connection. I attempted introducing group collaborative creations as can be seen in the right photo above. A few were interested but not with overwhelming enthusiasm. I probably won’t be doing this activity again.
Mad Monster Candy Snatch Game
- 2 liter bottle
- Doorstop spring
- Aluminum foil
- copper tape
- 5 MM LED lights
- Batteries and terminal connections
- Double sided alligator cables
- Candy or prizes for the gradding
I modified the plans presented at http://makezine.com/projects/make-41-tinkering-toys/monster-candy-game/.
I simplified this design by creating parallel circuits to have the LED eyes light up if the Tweezers touch the wired mouth (similar to a DIY operation game – see http://www.makereducation.com/operation-game.html).
I knew this would be a difficult one and warned the campers of the high difficulty level. Most kids had some problems getting their gobble monster to work so I asked them to reflect on their learning experiences:
Last summer I asked the campers to make Operation Games. All were successful so for future camps, I’ll stick with the Operation Game.
Toy Take Apart and Create Something New
- Small Toys-Electronics (bought from the Dollar Store)
- Handheld Games (bought a box from ebay and from local thrift store)
- Screwdrivers-hammers to take the toys apart
- Hot Glue and/or Solder to create new toys
See http://www.makereducation.com/toy-take-apart.html for information and resources about doing toy take aparts and hacking. My biggest rule for doing toy take aparts is that the kids need to create something new – a new invention, a new toy, something to make the world better. It isn’t just about taking things apart, it is about using those parts to make something different . . . new . . . better. Below are a few of the maker education campers explaining their hacks:
Toy Take Aparts are always successful. The kids sometimes get frustrated trying to take the toys apart but with a hammer (used by me), we can break apart the most stubborn of toys. I love seeing the kids reactions as they find out what’s inside of an electronic toy and seeing them use their creativity to make something new out of the parts. This is a keeper!
Maker education is currently a major trend in education. But just saying that one is doing Maker Education really doesn’t define the teaching practices that an educator is using to facilitate it. Maker education takes on many forms. This post provides an overview of how maker education is being implemented based on the teaching practices as defined by the Pedagogy, Andragogy, Heutagogy (PAH) continuum.
Created by Jon Andrews
Traditionally, Pedagogy was defined as the art of teaching children and Andragogy as teaching adults. These definitions have evolved to reflect teacher practices. As such, andragogical and heutagogical practices can be used with children and youth.
PAH within a Maker Education Framework
The following chart distinguishes and describes maker education within the PAH framework. All teaching styles have a place in Maker Education. For example, pedagogical practices may be needed to teach learners some basic making skills. It helps to scaffold learning, so learners have a foundation for making more complex projects. I do, though, believe that maker education projects and programs should go beyond pedagogical oriented teaching as the overriding goal of maker education is for learners to create something, anything that they haven’t before.
- Pedagogy – How well can you create this particular maker education project?
- Andragogy – How can this prescribed maker project by adapted and modified?
- Heutagogy – What do you want to make?
Overall Purpose or Goal
- Pedagogy – To teach basic skills as a foundation for future projects – scaffolding.
- Andragogy – To provide some structure so learners can be self-directed.
- Heutogogy – To establish an environment where learners can determine their own goals, learning paths, processes, and products for making.
Role of the Educator
- Pedagogy – To teach, demonstrate, help learners do the maker education project correctly.
- Andragogy – To facilitate, assist learners, mentor
- Heutagogy – To coach, mentor, be a sounding board, be a guide very much on the side.
- Pedagogy – Use of prescribed kits, templates; step-by-step directions and tutorials.
- Andragogy – Use of some templates; learners add their own designs and embellishments.
- Heutagogy -Open ended; determined by the learner.
- Pedagogy – A maker project that looks and acts like the original model.
- Andragogy – A maker project that has some attributes of the original model but that includes the learner’s original ideas.
- Heutagogy – A maker project that is unique to the learner (& to the learning community).
This presentation, prepared for the Global Maker Day virtual conference, provides some background information on maker education, being a reflective practitioner, documenting learning, the roles of the maker educator, and resources.
As I’ve discussed in numerous posts, I am an experiential educator. I believe in and promote learning-by-doing and hands-on learning. I approach experiential learning from a cycle of learning which includes reflecting on and analysis of things done through learning-by-doing.
Reflection, as part of the experiential learning cycle, is often as or even more important than the making itself.
A recent research study published via Harvard Business Review concluded that:
- Learning from direct experience can be more effective if coupled with reflection-that is, the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience.
- Reflecting on what has been learned makes experience more productive.
- Reflection builds one’s confidence in the ability to achieve a goal (i.e., self-efficacy), which in turn translates into higher rates of learning. (http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/7498.html)
I am excited about the current trend towards maker education but I believe it needs to embrace a full cycle of learning including engaging in reflection. Reflection within the maker movement and maker education can occur through a process of documenting learning.
Documenting learning can take on many forms:
- writing a blog
- doing a photo essay which includes
- creating a video
- making a podcast
- doing a class wiki
- doing a backchannel through Twitter with a hashtag or a platform like TodaysMeet
- making Sketchnotes and/or mindmaps
- using apps such as Seesaw or Educreations
The key is to offer the learners choices. This builds in and honors more personalized means of reflective learning.
As I’ve mentioned in some other posts, I come from a background in Experiential Education (yes, it is a specific professional discipline). I’ve also discussed reflecting on the learning activities to increase the chances of extracting learning as well as transferable skills and knowledge from the activities. This is an integral part of experiential education – see my previous posts, Where is reflection in the learning process? and The Maker as a Reflective Practitioner.
Another concept common to Experiential Education, that also increases the chances that transferable skills and knowledge result, is framing or frontloading the activities as part of introducing them.
Frontloading is making clear the purpose of an activity prior to actually doing it. The idea is that if participants clearly understand the purpose or lesson upfront, that lesson will repeatedly show itself during the action component. (http://chiji.com/processing.htm)
The practitioner tells or guides participants before the experience on how what they want them to focus on in the activity. It is about guided attention before the activity. (http://www.aee.org/tapg-best-p-matching-facilitation-strategy)
What are the benefits of frontloading?
- It helps participants use the upcoming activity to build on prior knowledge and experience
- It helps participants set purpose and intention for the activity
- It distributes expertise to the participants before the activity begins, as opposed to the facilitator or instructor being the only expert (http://experience.jumpfoundation.org/what-is-frontloading/)
Some of the general themes and ideas for frontloading making activities include:
- Using and Reviewing Essential Questions – explicitly discussed prior to the maker activities. For example –
- What are the attributes of having a maker mindset?
- What skills do you need to be an inventor? an engineer?
- What are the steps to the design process?
- How do inventors, engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and/or artists solve problems? How do they overcome challenges?
- Using Scenarios – for example –
- You have been hired to create a new invention to bring kindness into the world. This invention will be shared with all of the kids in the United States.
- The kids at the local shelter would love to have one of the latest and greatest of toys. Make them one of these.
- Specifying Standards – the Next Generation Science Standards include some good examples. The educator can introduce the standards and explain what they mean in terms of the upcoming maker activities. For example:
- Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
- Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
- Asking Questions Related To Personal Skills – for example –
- The following maker activity will draw upon your imagination, creativity, and innovative mindset. What do you consider your strengths in this area that can be used during your maker activity?
- Asking Questions to Help with Scaffolding and Sequencing the Activities – the facilitator can review previous activities and then ask participants prior to the next learning activity –
- In this next activity you will be ask to do _______________, what skills did you learn in the (previous activity) that will help you do ____________ in this upcoming activity?
- Asking Questions Related To Using Peer Support-Working Collaboratively – for example –
- How might you use your co-learners support if and when you get stuck or reach an impasse while working on the next activity?
I have done-am doing full day workshops on The Maker Educator both at ISTE 2016 and EduTECH in Australia. What follows is both the description-goals and an overview of the workshop’s learning activities.
Workshop Description, Goals, and Outline
Being a maker educator requires developing a new mindset; a new set of skills and roles. Discover, through this workshop, first, a process for reflecting on making through creating circuits and hacked toys, and second, through a self-assessment, the mindset characteristics of an educator who is embracing making education. This workshop is designed for educators who are and want to integrate maker education into their instructional settings.
By the end of this workshop, participants will learn and be able to apply:
- new maker activities that can be brought to their own educational environments
- a process for reflecting on making for the purposes of increasing learning following each make
- the characteristics and qualities of an educator as a maker educator: (lead learner, safe environment manager, relationship builder and enabler, process facilitator, resource suggester and provider, normalizer of ambiguous problem finding and solving, technology tutor, feedback facilitator, tour guide of learning possibilities)
- an assessment tool for evaluating the maker mindset of educators,
- a process for identifying goals to increase one’s potential to be a maker educator.
- Short Introduction to Maker Education – Video
- Frontloading and Framing the Maker Activity
- 1st Make – Paper Circuits and LED projects
- Reflect on the Making Process
- Develop Personal Goals for Next Make
- Introduction to 2nd Make: Maker Education and Social Emotional Learning
- 2nd Make – Toy Hack or Soldering Project
- 2nd Reflection on the Making Process
- Personal Assessment of Mindset of a Maker Educator
- Review Characteristics of the Mindset of a Maker Educator
- Group Drawing with LEDs – The Maker Educator
- Develop Goals for Making in One’s Own Instructional Setting
Introducing Maker Education
- Watch Adam Savage Maker Fair Talk for 10 minutes starting at 6:05 and ending at 16:55 https://youtu.be/kdLky-YkOVw?t=6m5s
- Visit The Perfect Storm for Maker Education Thinglink
- Visit Make STEAM Thinglink
Frontloading the Maker Activity
Making Paper Circuits and LED Projects
Reflecting on the Making Process Through Playing “A Maker Reflection Board Game” & Developing Personal Goals for Next Make
Documenting Learning and Developing Personal Goals – Participants will document, reflect on their learning, and develop goals for their next make either through a shared Google Presentation or a Shared Wikispace.
Introducing the Second Make: Maker Education and Social Emotional Learning
Doing a Second Make: Toy Hacking and/or Soldering and/or Sew Electrics
Reflecting and Documenting a Second Time
Exploring the Characteristics of the Maker Educator
Creating a LED Enhanced Educator a a Maker Educator Poster
Developing Goals and Strategies for Bringing It Back to One’s Work Setting
- Maker Education Website – http://www.makereducation.com/
- The Educators as a Maker Educator ebook – http://www.amazon.com/The-Educator-as-Maker-ebook/dp/B016Z5NZ6O
Workshop Slide Deck