“This is an empowering, thoughtful week to examine your own practice, collaborate with other educators in authentic ways, and challenge you to think beyond the small world you live in.”
On the morning of Day Five of our summer institute, based on feedback from participants, we started out exploring different types of making facilitated by participants and Maker Ed staff members. Participants taught others soldering techniques, built scribble bots out of motors and recyclable materials, and made binary bead bracelets. We also used our sewing machines to discuss history and math, made zines, explored computational tinkering with micro:bit, hummingbird, and scratch, and had a chance to use our vinyl cutter to cut out vinyl stickers and vinyl heat transfer patches.
This open exploration time was inspiring for folks as they continued creating the resources and solutions they had started on Day Four. Some projects we worked on were:
- Creating a Pop-Shop culture that leverages the rich cultural currency of community college students by allowing them to utilize the makerspace to create products to sell at pop-up shops.
- Creating different databases of project ideas and resources for teachers to use based around technology, digital fabrication, and samples of science units using the three approaches to curriculum integration we introduced, and lists of tools and maker skills.
- Exploring ways to help hook stakeholders, particularly teachers embedding maker education into their curriculum, and collecting data/evidence of successful lessons.
- Working with grade-level teachers to design content-related maker activities to create a deeper culture of making for next year.
After working all week on identifying resources around curriculum integration, program development, and assessment through the lens of equity and sustainability, we had the opportunity to share and present all of our work with each other. Participants had unique, insightful, and thoughtful solutions to the needs they had identified in their communities.
For our last equity session, we reflected on the question, “What world do we want to create with our students?” We created equity maps in order to represent what actionable next steps we can take in our own learning environments using the three levels of the culture tree and the Ready for Rigor framework readings from Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain.
As we wrapped up our week together, we closed with a community circle where we collectively committed to shifting our practice in order to transform teaching and learning through maker education. We are grateful to have had 32 educators from 8 states commit to spending five days collaborating and reflecting with us on ways to attend to the real needs of their learners and community. We are excited about all the ideas, projects, and inspiration that emerged and looking forward to how these educators and institutions will implement their ideas into their practice!