Final Blog Post:
In 4100S, we used various tools for making. On the first day of class, we were assigned a project in which we explored one specific tool. I learned how to control and program a Sphero. I really liked this tool, and I know it would capture the interest of students, but it didn’t work when we tried to use Spheros at Barrow. There are a wide range of apps, programs, and activities associated with Spheros, just like any of the tools we used to make. Such variation enhances creativity and makes ‘making’ even more interesting. Some other tools used include Green screen, Legos, duct tape designs, and straw mazes. Technology is a very effective tool for making, in which students can tinker and build using tools like Blokify, LittleBits, and 3D printing.
I liked using the hands-on tools best, such as duct tape designs and straw mazes because I’m used to it from my K12 education. My personal project was origami, and that further represents my enjoyment for arts and crafts. The kids at Barrow though are more interested in technology to create, which emphasizes the importance of STEAM education. I liked LittleBits the least because I had a hard time figuring out what to make with the various pieces. I could get a light to work, but never any of the other purposes like the sound. I wish I had the chance to use Makey Makey and Shrinky Dinks because they seemed to be very popular tools in Makerspace! Overall, I plan to use some of these tools I am familiar with in my future classroom.
Throughout this semester, I learned that creativity and tinkering develops a great maker. All of the activities used in Makerspace allowed me to experiment and learn more about math, science, and engineering. STEAM education is growing in popularity within the school system, and as a future educator, I’m grateful to be able to have a class like this one to introduce me to this concept. I learned that one activity can incorporate all different subjects. An example of a STEAM activity is Blokify. Students incorporate science and technology into their own creative building, learning more about landscapes. They use math by having to know each dimension or wall and knowing the number of blocks on each side. Students develop a plan and brainstorm as they tinker and fix their creation. That makes them an engineer as they tinker and improve their plan. Art is a component in every STEM activity because students are creating and designing their own product.
The days my group went out to Barrow for Makerspace were my all time favorite! I learned a lot about myself and how I am around children. This class reassured me that I want to become an elementary school teacher even more by my continuous engagement in their work. I also learned that children learn best when they are engaged in project-based education. When students want to learn, they take in so much more information than a lecture-style class. All students need Makerspace time to spark their creativity and get a break, while still learning so much. As I learned more about myself in Makerspace, students also learn about themselves as well and what they are capable of. For example, students got to make straw mazes. They each had their own way of starting the their mazes, and their own way of creating their course. Some mazes were smaller and more detailed, while others were large and simple. Regardless, each child made a successful maze. Instead of strengths and weaknesses in certain subjects, students in MakerEd have a chance to all be makers and be experts at it.