Makerfaire 2016: Educator MindSet Changer

September 26, 2016

  

 

I cannot help but get excited around Maker Faire. How could I not? It was at the Maker Faire three years ago thatmy professional career changed forever. Shortly before that Maker Faire, I spoke with my neighbor, a 3D printing guru, and learned about the 3D printing process, and all it can possibly do for society. I was intrigued and, being an educator, immediately started brainstorming ways in which I could bring this technology to schools. Nothing was coming to me though. I just couldn't see the ways that this exciting technology would fit within the world of schools. As I walked through the Faire grounds later that year, it all became clear to me. My mind was twisting and turning, full of ideas and inspirations. At the Maker Faire, I instantly felt connected to the maker movement, and it was in this movement that I began to see the potential links between exciting technology like 3D printing, the DIY ethos, and student learning and growth. These initial moments of inspiration would, with a bit more development, ultimately be the basis for the Union City Summer STEM Camps program. Union City, New Jersey, is an urban school district with most of its students coming from low socio-economic backgrounds. Our students, because of limited funds, are often natural tinkerers and makers. When money is an issue, you turn to doing things yourself. Whether it's making a basketball hoop out of a milk crate, or wiring up your own scooter to make transportation less physically stressful, our students are naturals when it comes to making and tinkering! With the Union City STEM Summer Camps, we channeled their natural tinkering abilities into an exciting STEM learning program. The Union City Summer STEM camps are broken into 3 parts: Making/Coding, Sharing and Documenting Learning, and Sustainability and Energy. Each one of these strands comes with an iBook full of videos, lesson plans, resources and links. Students also receive a digital workbook kept on the iPads throughout their camp experience. In developing this program, I was able to bring the ideas of the maker movement that inspired me at Maker Faire into the classroom. ​Using a design thinking philosophy, students are free to explore, tinker and create. The STEM camps include 3D printing, CAD, coding, app making, energy experiments, robotics, urban farming, movie making, LittleBits making, toy re-making, and much more! In running these STEM camps, I was able to see amazing growth in both students and teachers. Learners were able to explore and experiment with many ideas and topics that deal with real- world issues. At the same time, educators learned to step back, take on the role of facilitator, and give students opportunities to become the teachers. It was a truly amazing transformation to watch. So, with that in mind, I encourage all educators not to miss out of the opportunity to attend a Maker Faire.

 

 

 

Whether it’s the ​World Maker Faire​ in New York, or a ​local Mini Maker Faire,​ these events offer a ton of amazing opportunities to connect with other maker educators, and learn about the amazing ways that making can positively impact your learning environment.,./I cannot help but get excited around Maker Faire. How could I not? It was at the Maker Faire three years ago that my professional career changed forever.

Shortly before that Maker Faire, I spoke with my neighbor, a 3D printing guru, and learned about the 3D printing process, and all it can possibly do for society. I was intrigued and, being an educator, immediately started brainstorming ways in which I could bring this technology to schools. Nothing was coming to me though. I just couldn't see the ways that this exciting technology would fit within the world of schools.

As I walked through the Faire grounds later that year, it all became clear to me. My mind was twisting and turning, full of ideas and inspirations. At the Maker Faire, I instantly felt connected to the maker movement, and it was in this movement that I began to see the potential links between exciting technology like 3D printing, the DIY ethos, and student learning and growth. These initial moments of inspiration would, with a bit more development, ultimately be the basis for the Union City Summer STEM Camps program.

Union City, New Jersey, is an urban school district with most of its students coming from low socio-economic backgrounds. Our students, because of limited funds, are often natural tinkerers and makers. When money is an issue, you turn to doing things yourself. Whether it's making a basketball hoop out of a milk crate, or wiring up your own scooter to make transportation less physically stressful, our students are naturals when it comes to making and tinkering! With the Union City STEM Summer Camps, we channeled their natural tinkering abilities into an exciting STEM learning program

 

 

.

The Union City Summer STEM camps are broken into 3 parts: Making/Coding, Sharing and Documenting Learning, and Sustainability and Energy. Each one of these strands comes with an iBook full of videos, lesson plans, resources and links. Students also receive a digital workbook kept on the iPads throughout their camp experience. In developing this program, I was able to bring the ideas of the maker movement that inspired me at Maker Faire into the classroom. ​Using a design thinking philosophy, students are free to explore, tinker and create. The STEM camps include 3D printing, CAD, coding, app making, energy experiments, robotics, urban farming, movie making, LittleBits making, toy re-making, and much more!

In running these STEM camps, I was able to see amazing growth in both students and teachers. Learners were able to explore and experiment with many ideas and topics that deal with real- world issues. At the same time, educators learned to step back, take on the role of facilitator, and give students opportunities to become the teachers. It was a truly amazing transformation to watch.

So, with that in mind, I encourage all educators not to miss out of the opportunity to attend a Maker Faire. Whether it’s the ​World Maker Faire​ in New York, or a ​local Mini Maker Faire,​ these events offer a ton of amazing opportunities to connect with other maker educators, and learn about the amazing ways that making can positively impact your learning environment. 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts

TED Innovative Educator Weekend: Celebrating the TED Movement

December 14, 2016

1/2
Please reload

Recent Posts
Please reload

Archive
Please reload

Search By Tags
Please reload

Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square