Maker Centered Learning

Maker Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape their Worlds (2017) is one of a few new “maker” resources here at the Doucette.   Making is becoming a hot ticket item in the education field with many publishers and manufacturers jumping on the making wagon.

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Having read some of the literature beginning in late 2014, there seems to be a definite  change in tone and content in this later literature.  Looking back at the Maker Movement Manifesto from 2013, it really was all about the gadgets:  3D printer, soldering, circuits, copper wiring.  It was about setting up a place in which to make with tools that were purchased, usually beyond the budget of the average school.

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There is new hope for those educators who wish to make in their classrooms.  Maker Centered Learning dwells on the benefits of having students make with whatever you have and where ever you are.  Instead of embracing the Makerspace in schools, educators are more openly embracing the maker mindset in the environment they work in.

Although having a dedicated maker space in a learning commons or library is a very desirable location in a school setting, newer literature is encouraging teachers to take what they have to situate making in their learning spaces. In addition, the re-designing of these learning spaces  to make them more flexible for different uses including making and more hands-on activities is showing up more and more in the writing.

Meaningful Making: Projects and Inspiration for Fab Labs and Makerspaces was also received in the library recently and is comprehensive in looking at projects with how-to’s, additional websites and curriculum connections.

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There are many new resources to support making in learning environments. There is a definite change in the focus from buying and equipping a Maker Space to including making in a classroom using what is available.  The emphasis on the hands-on learning aspect of making is coming to the fore and not a minute too soon.

 

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Awakening the Maker

Having maker minded people in a maker space makes for a more interesting learning experience for students.  You may invite experts to help on occasion or have students who have more making experience facilitate classes.

Another way to promote a creative atmosphere in a learning space is with browsing materials.  Students make connections through the visual browsing of books and magazines.  Of course, Make Magazine is the first resource that comes to mind.  These magazines focus on projects, makers and ideas. Keeping back issues on tables would be a great idea.

Two new books that have recently come into the Doucette Library also make for wonderful maker browsers.  First, Things Come Apart, by Todd McLellan, a book containing 175 colour illustrations and 21,959 components and 5 relevant articles.  The author has dismantled a variety of items like a stapler, a sewing machine, and a two-seater light aircraft.  He has arranged the component parts in an organized photo display and also photographed the pieces as they dropped through the air, sometimes layering several images to complete the picture.  Articles like, “The Repair Revolution” authored by Kyle Wiens, co-founder of iFixit extolling the valuable learning gained by “tear-downs,” the disassembling of electronics are also featured. Let’s face it, though, the real charm in this resource are the amazing photographs.  Set it beside your Take Apart Station for greatest impact.

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DK has published the “Smithsonian Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects” a resource aimed at the elementary and middle school maker space where definite recipes for project outcomes help students to experience hands-on making and gain essential foundation skills that they can later apply to more creative making.  Photographs show step-by-step instructions and the sidebar always shows “How It Works” to reinforce the science behind each maker project.

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Choose carefully but surround your makers with various resources that they can browse in their own time.  Ideas can come from the exposure to what other makers are doing, creating or photographing.

Visit the Doucette Library to take these and other books out to showcase making in your space.

App of the Week – Litsy

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Cost: Free

Size 26.2MB

Version: 1.4.1

Type: like Instagram for books

Litsy is an app discovered by my co-worker that is very much like Instagram for Books. A Book Riot review of the app is called, “If Goodreads and Instagram had a Perfect Baby…” And you would have to agree this app is a great combination of both of these sites.

Litsy speaks to our creative side by allowing us to pose books for photographs.  Using kits and materials in the library (or from home) we feature books in great environments.  If you would like to follow us our name is Open Sesame – Portals to Teaching Resources.  We thought it was very catchy.  Search us by Doucette_Library as well.

Users have a Litfluence score that appeals to students who are gamers to begin with.  Your litfluence score is based on how many people are following you, how much you post and if people are liking what you post.  Although we are not competitive, some students may find an appeal in this aspect of the app.

We are using the app to feature great resources we would love to see in classrooms and to talk about how we can creatively use books to connect to curriculum or to create a great classroom atmosphere.  We get to pick icons that suggest a good pick, so-so, pan or bail.  Ours are mostly picks since we want you to see the resources we really like.  We also get 451 characters to tell you everything you need to know about this book.  That is sometimes a challenge.

The app would also play well in a classroom for students to use to feature what they are reading, if they like it and if they would suggest it to classmates.  So our use of the app is showing you how you could use the app.  A win-win in my opinion.

Read some reviews about the app and join us to see what we are featuring.  The first books I posted were the ones I reviewed recently in a blog post on creating wonder in the elementary classroom. My co-worker has been busy posting back to school finds and some other great resources.

Join us or do some posting yourself or use it in your classroom.  Get the word out about what you are reading or follow us and see what you great resources to pick up for your classroom or practicum.

The app creators are responsive still to feedback on what you would like to change or see added to the app.

Join the fun and visit us on this book-loving social media app.