Pedagogy and Theory

STEAM, STEM, and Making

Fellow

by Tracy Rudzitis -

What do these words mean? How are they interpreted by teachers, by administrators, by students, by politicians? 

 

In the past few months I have been a part of a number of discussions surrounding this question. The conversations are genuine and in most cases have the best interests of students and learning in mind. There is one thing that I have noticed, there can be a wide range of perspectives and responses to these questions.

 

Making and the Reggio Emilia Approach: Making the Connection

Fellow

by Christa Flores -

Our task is to prepare children socially, emotionally, intellectually and morally to further the advancement of our culture: a righteous and heroic task! Countries such as the oft-cited Finland (there are three different links here), and methods such as the Montessori Method (only one link) involve would-be teachers in a rigorous selection and training process. The teacher must be a perfect observer, attuned to the interests of the student and their developmental needs, ready to deliver the gift of an appropriate learning prompt to each student or student group. The teacher must also be a skilled documentarian, documenting and assisting the child to self-document the learning process. Sufficiently thorough documentation of learning in process can be one way to lead away from direct assessment and avoid a bias toward focusing on the product or artifact.

"Technological Disobedience" in Cuba and informal making education

Fellow

by Susan Klimczak -

The FabLearn Fellows have been talking a lot about decentering the history and definition of making, makers and maker education.  

I ran across this video on "Technological Disobedience" in Cuba that sparked my imagination.  

 

http://youtu.be/v-XS4aueDUg

The description says:

"Why I am not a Maker" by Debbie Chachra: Toward problematizing what it means to be a "Maker"

Fellow

by Susan Klimczak -

I really liked this article "Why I am not a Maker" by Debbie Chachra from our own Olin College outside Boston, which is doing the most difficult and amazing work of transforming engineering education. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-mak...

I added some comments to the article that I paraphrase here:

An interesting article on "Culturally responsive computing: a theory revisited"

Fellow

by Susan Klimczak -

Among the FabLearn Fellows and at the Fab Learn Conference this past October, there has been a focus on thinking about how to put youth of color, young women and youth living in families with low incomes at the center of the maker education movement. 

As part of my own research for a current project at the South End Technology Center @ Tent City, Dr. Nettrice Gaskins, the Director of the STEAM Lab at the Boston Art Academy High School, recommended I read this excellent article that she cited as part of her dissertation.  I wanted to share it with the community.  

The Buzz Words

Fellow

by Tracy Rudzitis -

Education is filled with acronyms and buzzwords, some invented by educators and others borrowed from industry and psychology and even popular culture memes. Why is it that an experience as basic as learning has been so sliced and diced into so many pieces that it has become unrecognizable? School vision statements are peppered with the buzz words of the day, false testament that these things are occurring on a regular basis within the walls of the school.

 

Making for Making Sake? or STEAM for 21st Century Job Skills?

Fellow

by Christa Flores -

Thank You Sylvia Martinez of Invent to Learn for this Conversation

According to Educational Philosopher Gert Biesta, professor of educational theory and policy at the University of Luxembourg, “Education debate tends to be based on a truth about the nature and destiny of the human being, a truth about what the child is and what the child must become.” Is anyone else out there daunted by this task? Some of us feel we are at a precipice in education that is fueled by a growing interest in MakerEd, and with this shift has come a lot of questions. Lets start with a recent question offered by Sylvia Martinez to our MakerEd community through her blog on November 20th. In this, Sylvia asks, “Should schools embrace Making because it develops job skills?” Paulo also addressed this in his keynote speech at FabLearn in a slide title “jobs versus powerful ideas.” “Making for making sake!” should be our mantra!

Or should it...and who gets to be part of that conversation, because like it or not, it will determine who gets hired to “teach” making at your schools and it will drive other funding issues as well. Can we dream about such an educational climate without first addressing how our current economic or political models support the adapting philosophies of MakerEd? I turn to my colleagues for answers, especially that of new STEAM Director (aka Maker in Residence) at the St. Gabriel’s School in Austin Texas, Patrick Benfield to help me map the landscape for our schools. For further inspiration, I have been learning how to speak Tiny Dutch words to stay informed by the Netherlands.

 

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