Open-ended questions are at the heart of maker education. Whether the “question” comes in the form of tinkering with random materials or, more literally in the asking, these questions let learners explore possibility, guide the narrative, and experiment. Yet supporting open-ended learning can be challenging in an environment focused on “right answers” and outcomes. This is especially true for “packaged” educational materials, which can provide much needed access to project -based education and, at the same time, stifle the creativity of open-end learning. Given this tension, how do maker educators, and the maker community more generally, develop novel resources for project-based learning with built-in opportunities for the kind of open-ended questions that promote curiosity and innovation?
By design, the Make: Education Forum was created to celebrate these questions and find solutions for their application. This September 23rd and 24th, we’ll be joined by maker educators who are pushing the boundaries of curriculum across subjects, testing new project-based learning models, and helping their students innovate by giving them the freedom to ask the questions they want and the time to discover solutions.
Here are some program highlights that are being featured at the Make: Education Forum. Be sure to check out the full program listing before the event!
Matt Zeigler - Imitation, Modification, Innovation: Three Steps for Teaching Making
We’ll be joined by teacher, artist, and maker Matt Zeigler, who heads up the Innovation Lab at Bullis School in Maryland. Matt notes, “Many maker educators struggle with the idea of prepackaged “kit” projects, and many students struggle to come up with ideas when given open-ended prompts and creative freedom. What is the value in a design challenge that leads to impossible or unrealistic solutions? Has a student who followed step by step instructions really built a robot?”
In this session, Matt will discuss three modes of making; imitation, modification, and innovation. Each of these three methods teaches different skills and requires familiarity with the others to be successful. He will also share example of these three methods, what can be learned from each, and how to assess student performance in these tasks.
Michael Carroll - Get Scrappy With Circuits
Michael Carroll of Scrappy Circuits, whose work demonstrates how simple materials can create truly excellent learning opportunities. Learn about using Scrappy Circuits, simple household supplies, to help teach circuits to kids. Explore the simple art of DIY switches as well as using creative switches to interact with code in fun ways like body movement, DIY controllers, and wireless options.
Joan Horvath and Rich Cameron - Making Math!
Math mavens Joan Horvath and Rich Cameron, authors of Make: Geometry and the soon-to-be-released Make: Calculus books, will present how to teach math subjects with innovative hands-on projects. 3D prints, coding, and other hands-on exploration have very natural applications to mathematics visualization and experimentation. Their interactive session will introduce the techniques they use through representative models and projects.
Lucie deLaBruere - Code You Can Touch
Coder/educator Lucie de La Bruere, asks how might we learn computational thinking by creating and making physical objects? Why does this approach help bridge the equity gap we often see in computer science? You’ll leave the session with a digital file you can use with a 3D printer, vinyl cutter, laser cutter, embroidery machine, or other maker tool to create a physical object that includes code you can touch!