Increase Student Engagement through Tinkering, Making, Building

LEARN’s hands-on Open Creative Spaces workshops introduce educators to fun resources that bring creativity into the classroom. Makerspaces, ArtHives, Genius Hours, and Passion Projects are some of the current models available that are engaging and fun to introduce in any discipline.

Grounding alligator clips

Grounding alligator clips

The “Maker movement” creates opportunities for students to engage in learning through “tinkering, making, and building,” regardless of discipline. Many kits are supported by software that adds sound and movement to classroom projects using Lilypad micro-controllers for textiles, Makey Makey, and littleBits circuit boards.


“We encourage educators to come and experiment, get their hands dirty and try new things together.”


Does that sound confusing so far? Don’t worry—the LEARN team is there to get you started and provides support throughout the day. And for those who prefer “low tech,” there is an abundance of cardboard, popsicle sticks, glue guns, paper, colours, Lego, and other neat materials to use in new creative ways.


Art work

Art work

Move from station to station to
explore different materials.


With all this stuff available to “make” things, you might wonder why some of these educators are sitting around a table stacked with laptops and heaps of wires. Well, this group is using green screen, animation, and iPads for film production, or they are into programming with Arduino, EV3 lego Mindstorm, or WeDo Lego kits. Not your thing? Go to the next room!


Trial and error helps us move forward.


Robots are big these days. Remember when they were called remote-controlled gadgets? At an Open Creative Spaces event, you can try your hand at a variety robot kits. Or you can just create something that doesn’t move at all, doesn’t make a sound, and is not wired to anything—the possibilities are endless.


Making robots

Making robots

Try doing Shakespeare in Language Arts with animated claymation.


The February, March, and April 2016 workshops were huge successes, and another has recently been added for May 27.

Christine Truesdale, Pedagogical Services and Educational Technology, says, “We encourage educators to come and experiment, get their hands dirty and try new things together. It’s not a traditional workshop, in that it is very open-ended. You can spend all day working on one thing or move from station to station to explore different materials. It’s not always easy. It can be challenging for anyone to be confronted with new things, but trial and error helps us move forward. It’s important for us as educators to keep that in mind and be aware of ourselves as learners.”


Tinkering, making, and building is
no longer all about the sciences.


Cardboard and-mix-article

Cardboard and duct tape windmill.                                          Dancer on a battery.

The LEARN team leads by example, offering ideas and encouraging self-learning. Chris Colley, Pedagogical Consultant for Elementary and Secondary Science and Technology, says, “Try doing Shakespeare in Language Arts with animated claymation.” Or you can make a piano keyboard for the floor for students to play with their feet, combining music, hopscotch, and giggles. Tinkering, making and building is no longer all about the sciences.

 

LEARN’s Open Creative Spaces

Plan on a full day for this hands-on experience. It is free of charge, and lunch is provided.

To learn more or to register for May 27, 2016, go now to the LEARN site for teachers, then go to “Professional Development” where you will find the link to “Open Creative Space,” or you can click here.

 

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