Our research focuses on the impact of ‘MakerEd’ on the formal curriculum, but as an educator I’ve wanted to incorporate tools and chances for students to recognise opportunities outside of school which can also impact on their learning.
Opportunities, perhaps, to offer collaborations which support progression of learning or meeting role models. In Leeds there’s an ever growing maker and digital creator community which can be accessed by these 12-14 year old students (sometimes with family members) and for which we share upcoming events.
Inspiration and programmes from the tech and craft/maker communities are examples and some students have shared times of family learning and intergenerational conversations and discussion of ideas.
Project ideas, plans, designs, personal notes and evaluations have been uploaded by students using the SeeSaw App tool.
For some, and definitely not all, this has given the chance to continue with their designs and reflections beyond school and share with family members or peers.
Extended learning opportunities also emerged for some students when new resources and tools were added to project possibilities.
Examples with the Jumping Clay air-dry modelling resource or adding ‘more tech’ such as using Codebug with a Raspberry Pi mini-computer were engaging factors for the group; moreover different inspirations for different students’ interests. For those intending to use their wearable device outdoors and to be secure, then introducing Sugru as a Maker tool helped to develop ideas – particularly those with a cycling focus.
Still with a wearable tech focus, additional ‘low tech or no tech’ tools extended creative ideas and discussions about Art or Textile projects becoming STEAM or e-Textile activities. In turn that became conducive to exploring MakerEd in the formal curriculum; wherever the students think that may be.