“People are seeing through the eyes and the hands and the screens of children what’s possible, and it’s re-energizing progressive views of education.” Gary Stager, co-author with Sylvia Libow Martinez of “Invent to Learn”, in How to Turn Your School into a Maker Haven (MindShift)
Maker Faire Orlando is inviting educators to “Harness the Maker Movement in Your Classroom” with a special Educators session September 13th (registration required) that will feature Dale Dougherty, founder and CEO of Maker Media, Inc.; Jay Silver, Founder/Director of JoyLabz/MakeyMakey , and Mark Greenlaw , Vice President of Digital Engagement at FIRST. All three are founding board members of the Maker Education Initiative (MakerEd) that seeks to create more opportunities for all young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through making.
“Making is a stance about learning,” Sylvia Libow Martinez co-author of Invent to Learn, recently told MindShift, “It’s the landscape you create in a classroom or any kind of learning space where kids have agency over what they do and a large choice of materials that are rich, deep and complex.”
At Maker Faire Orlando, there will be several interactive educator workshops, including Mixed Reality teaching, digital literacy for educators, innovative ways to explore math, and a look at FIRST youth robotics in the classroom, as well as a healthy complement of maker education resources that all provide “rich, deep and complex” learning opportunities.
Ampersand School is one of those resources, a K-12 Maker School, in Longwood, FL that aims to be “the school we all wish we could have gone to when we were students. ” It is a school based on the principles of learning by doing, on making to learn. The school has three main outcomes they hope for their students:
- Happiness – To learn well, the school believes their students should be happy in their learning environment
- Confidence –As learners and as citizens, Ampersand believe that confidence is a necessary character trait.
- Action – Being action-oriented will help students accomplish their greater goals.
The school strives for these outcomes in the maker tradition so aptly described by Martinez, by encouraging students to play. Shydonna Tossie, Managing Director of Ampersand School, says the school allows students to explore their passions, while assisting them in finding purpose.
“We want students to be proud of who they are and of their unique abilities, apart from any labels. This means we accept and make allowances for students’ individual learning styles. We also give students the opportunity to spend a larger than average proportion of their time working in the subject about which they are most passionate. Not every student needs an equal grasp of mathematics, or history, or chemistry, for the simple reason that not every adult equally draws on these subjects in their respective careers.”
But every student, says Martinez, can become a capable person. “Perhaps one of the most inspiring results of the Maker Movement is the creative confidence young people are developing. “The best thing that happens is a student completely exceeds your expectations.” said Martinez, in MindShift. “We want kids to approach any challenge in the world and say, ‘Cool, I can figure it out.’
You can see how kids are figuring it out, and ways you can help your kids figure it out, too, at Maker Faire Orlando, September 13 & 14.