Okay, we're not really "making code." But, we are working to add in a coding aspect to our Invention Convention exhibition. This exhibition currently allows families to make and tinker with common objects in order to solve challenges as well as learn and apply techniques in a more focused setting in our Inventors' Workshop and Maker Annex spaces.
In the quest to create an authentic student-driven learning experience I find myself thinking a lot about the role of a maker educator as facilitator. If I were to distill what that ideal is for me, it would be to provide an environment where students could find their own way creatively, all the while gaining skills they could take into the world to make new things.
I have been thinking about STEAM. STEAM supporters believe STEM should be updated to include creativity, innovation and aesthetics. Are we thinking of this like a Venn diagram, merging form (from the artistic side) to function (from the scientific side) or an extra component to add to the mix, enhancing work in STEM? Either way, arts are valued as the components that “round out” the technical.
Drawing is like writing, using pictures instead of words. It is a form of communication that can be useful, expressive, descriptive and observational. It provides form to visual ideas. Including drawing as part of the process of making things is fun and provides a good framework for understanding 2D and 3D design.
Enclosed is a list of drawing approaches that are used most in the Engineering and Design lab.
Several years ago while while teaching an upper level drawing class I noticed that some of my students were struggling to understand 3D space on the 2D drawing plane. In an effort to help these and future students, I reimagined a way of keeping track of studio projects based on where they might be organized by their 2D-3D “ness” on a spectrum, and identifying the sorts of visualization that would be involved as they cross into other spatial forms.
Every teacher in every classroom contemplating a project plan faces the question of how much guidance, how many constraints, how much help to give students. I have been thinking about this problem in particular for history projects where the content is specific, for example the invention of the telegraph and its effects on American society. But I have also been thinking about it in terms of the larger movement, and the role of kits in teaching and learning.
Sometimes a technology skill building activity takes on a life of its own, and this time a simple inkscape tracing project turned into a collaboration with math and a spring board for several related activities.
I wanted to share a cool museum experience from my travels. The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England was one of the most interesting museums I've visited in a long time. It's organized so differenty than anywhere else - by theme, rather than by time, culture, or other more common organizing principles. So when you walk in, you see massive glass cases with titles like, "Treatment of the Dead" with items from all around the world, different time periods, etc. Then the next case was "Treatment of Dead Enemies"! It's a middle school dream ;-)