According to Thomas, “A maker is someone who makes something — from food to robots, wooden furniture to microcontroller-driven art installations. Makers are typically driven by their curiosity for learning and creating new things, as well as by an interest in sharing their work and processes with others,” (Thomas, 2012). Prior to this course I had no background knowledge of what/who a maker is/was. Thinking about makers in the way in which Thomas defines them made me realize that I want my students to become makers, which is why I think the activity designed was a good tool for encouraging them to explore and become their very own little makers. Using the maker kit I received I looked at things from the perspective of of encouraging my students to become makers.
A “littleBit” about my maker kit…
littleBits is the maker kit that I have had the opportunity to explore and become more familiar with. While I think the littleBits are a very cool tool to explore and have fun with, I often struggled to truly see how I would implement them effectively into my own teaching.
Initially I thought my frustration or lack of knowledge stemmed from not being present the day everyone initially explored his or her Maker Kit but after visiting the MSU Surplus store (my adventure is chronicled here.) I thought things made more sense; however, I still was not sure what to do with such tiny circuits, power sources, etc. without tools that were comparable in size. So, after I had these perspectives about the maker kit and my experience to draw upon, it was critical for me not to allow that to transpire into how I would present material to my students with an unbiased approach.
As I think about using my maker kit, littleBits in my classroom, I am immediately brought back to the aspect of TPACK that makes it clear that creativity and technology integration works in tandem. I see the kit in my future classroom as a means of creating small and engaging mini lessons that have some connection to the curriculum but also focuses on less structured lessons but instead allow students to “create their own assignment” and be responsible for their learning.
As a student I think I struggled with this assignment the most because I did not see myself as a “maker.” I am quite embracing of creativity and technology, I just think I may struggle with the idea that I am capable of constructing something of substance; however, I would not ever want my thoughts or personal feelings to affect my students learning because so many of my students seek to understand, explore, and create in an effort to express their thoughts -both personally and academically. overall, I think the maker kit I had has potential, it just needs to be really well thought out and the maker theory is one that is definitely a “game changer.”
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge. (T. Bastiaens, J. Dron, & C. Xin, Eds.)Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9620.2006.00684.x
Thomas, A. (2012, September 7). Engaging Students in the STEM Classroom Through “Making”. [Web log comment]. Retreived from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/stem-engagement-maker-movement-annmarie-thomas