At Laboral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, I worked with 6 groups this year from primary school to high school, each one with a different project. Consequently a lot of prototypes are hanging around the fabLAB. In order to keep the lab not too messy I decided to have each group fabricate stackable boxes by modifying a design from thingiverse.
One of the things I like about letting students decide what they need to make for their projects is how much learning takes place between the moment they say "I want to make a model of the Taj Mahal to show how the architecture reflects the way Shah Jahan wanted to memorialize his wife" and the finished project. For me, as a teacher, that is when a great deal of learning takes place.
I'm just loving the variety of posts here! Reading the last few weeks, it really made me think about the role of the teacher/leader in creative, hands-on classrooms and educational spaces. In these posts, we can see that teachers are planners, observers, catalysts, researchers, yearners, gurus, thinkers, and yes - makers! It's such a colorful palette of roles when compared to the perception of the teacher as a content delivery system and classroom manager.
Four years ago at a Young Makers meeting, a parent-mentor told the group, “Following directions is not making.” When I recently saw the same sentiment on a post or tweet, it made me think about our practice at the Lighthouse Creativity Lab and when following directions is making.
One of the most meaningful things that I get to do as a teacher is to watch my students learn. What makes it most exciting and interesting for me is observing this learning through their eyes and their contexts. I have several Flip Cameras located in the classroom long with my Point and Shoot camera and the students will ask me “where is the camera?” “can we use the camera?” “we just did something really cool, can we record it?"
I spent the last 3 years, among other things, working as learning environment designer at Laboral Art Center Gijón, Spain. The art center has a fabLAB that is used for artistic production as well as education and research LAB by several public schools in the region.
What I do exactly is to help teachers from primary and high school to integrate digital fabrication, rapid prototyping, physical/creative computing, design, making etc. in the classroom.
While I realize the "hot off the presses" is not an accurate metaphor these days, it seems appropriate! The recent FabLearn Fellow blog posts have created a lot of room for discussion around the topics of fabrication, making, and design in museums and classrooms. Please comment and add your voice!
A brief overview of recent posts:
Making can be a highly differentiated learning process for students. At times, the adult in the room may feel pulled in 10-20 different directions, if instruction needs to be one-on-one. Rather than viewing the individual learning needs and passions of my students as too daunting of a task to undertake in my curriculum, or an obstacle to a “successful” learning environment, I began to see maker projects for their potential for serious and effective co-teaching.
A "What I am reading and thinking about" post!
Having a positive and playful relationship to failure is an important ingredient in making! I have some very amusing video footage of our youth discussing the process of creating a perfect pressfit cube, advising each other that it takes at least 20 failures to really understand pressfit and produce a perfect pressfit cube. (It usually takes 4 or 5, but teenagers enjoy exageration. Smile.)
Digging out of the happy chaos at the end of a maker program is always a challenge!
I'm finishing up the last payrolls, trying to put the lab back in order after 34 youth teachers produced socially conscious inventions and hundreds of children bounced through making small projects that introduced them to the creative possibilities of STEM, as well as getting youth teachers to write thank you letters and complete reflection surveys.