In the spirit of summer vacation, the Maker Promise team has compiled a list of must-reads before the start of the school year. From ideas for low-cost maker projects to leading research on educational outcomes in makerspaces, our list covers a wide range of topics to help prepare your maker education approach for the fall.
Spotlight on Maker Champion Shoshanna Cohen
Shoshanna is the Technology Access Foundation Instructional Coach for Project Based Learning (PBL) at Boze Elementary in Tacoma, WA. In her role, she provides on the ground support and professional development, creates real-world connections to projects, and seeks out opportunities for students and families to experience everything the S.T.E.A.M. world has to offer. She is also a part of Maker Ed’s Making Spaces program.
As an educator, both in the classroom and out, discovering interdisciplinary learning has had a huge impact on me. I can now clearly see the connections between subject matters and when those connections are explicitly taught, how our students’ eyes light up. We have had timid students blossom as leaders of their collaborative groups because they now can understand how all the subjects come together to unlock the potential of a real world question. We have had illiterate students step up as the artists or as the engineers because for the first time, they can equally contribute to the learning that is happening in the classroom. Just like learning how to ride a bicycle, teaching with an interdisciplinary approach takes time, practice, support, and many falls. By teaching with an interdisciplinary approach, the students are exposed to academic vocabulary in many different ways, through a variety of subject matter, and in a hands-on, meaningful way. As an educator, there isn’t anything else that you could ask for.
Our latest experience was a school-wide collaborative MakerSpace project called “Bozeville” where each classroom was challenged to design and present a city block of Bozeville. Their city block was to be created based on their knowledge of research from past projects along with what they wish to see as part of their ideal city. Classes designed everything from Star Wars themed amusement parks to new planets! The students worked in small teams, sketched out designs, conducted research, and created using whatever materials they could find in our MakerSpace. Each class had “tour guides” accompany their city blocks to the library and explain to students, staff, and visitors what they created, why, and how. The students and teachers were very proud of the work that was completed. The teachers were able to incorporate science, math, reading, writing, social studies, engineering, technology, and art into their models. There was also a massive amount of student choice and voice in what they were to create and how they would create it. Bozeville was an extremely successful project and one that we hope to improve upon and repeat next year.
Resources and Opportunities