Initial Post for Week 9
EDET 677 Robotics
Week Nine: What would you need to coordinate a “Maker Day” for your school?
What is a Maker Day?
It is a pre-planned day of making. There may be some students showing projects they have completed, but unlike a traditional science fair, there is more making and a lot less show and tell (Libow & Stager, 2013). Participants create thoughtfully, they use design thinking and problem-solve. The event is supported by others who may have completed a similar project and attend to their needs to promote confidence. “There are four distinct yet related elements:
- Design thinking
- Design challenges or problem sketch
- Collaborative prototyping of a design solution
- Process to encourage group reflection” (Crichton & Carter, 2014)
Piktochart Infographic & Opening Activity
For those who have access to internet emails on their phones or computers, this Piktochart Infographic I made can be sent to parents as an invitation to Maker Day:
Please visit this site—as it has many, many uses in the classroom for teaching students to create their own infographics across subject areas:
By upgrading in Piktochart, the school could pay for the feature that would allow this to be downloaded as a PDF handout or poster for advertisement at school, the store, post office and community center.
Participants work together or individually, learn about design thinking, questioning, and use kits that have been thought out purposefully for each material needed to complete a project. Along with kits, are extra commonly used materials that may be added in (Crichton & Carter). As I read in Libow & Stager, I really like their idea of setting the tone of the event by giving participants white stickers with decorative items like “ crayons, pencils, paint, glitter pens, feathers, googly eyes” (p. 180) to create their own name badges.
A Maker Day needs to be well planned before purchasing items to put together kits for participants. According to Crichton & Carter (2014), there are seven steps to consider in Design Thinking. In my opinion, these steps provide a planning structure for setting up a Maker Day event. Below, I will list each of the seven categories, but with only one or two courses of activity to take under each.
After agreeing on the audience (including how preschool students will be supervised), and providing a glossary of terms that may be commonly used at school but not at home, the planner(s) need to research.
Consider obstacles; such as planning ahead on orders, where the budget for this will come from, and having a presentation with planned handouts ready for the school board (though leaders’ opinions). Also, find out what corporation funding might be available and where to seek grants for supplies and more expensive equipment.
Brainstorm ideas with a group on what making activities would motivate participants; additionally considering how to gain the interest of both men/women young/elders.
While in the Makerspace, encourage people to make prototypes as part of the making process; encourage group members to give each other feedback for refining ideas, and as a facilitator try to stay as neutral as possible so participants will not be persuaded to just wait to be told what to do by the “professional.”
Keep the main objectives in mind, such as the ideas mentioned above in this list. Discourage ownership of ideas; rather sharing with each other without taking over.
“Make task descriptions.
Though many times we may forget this very important step, we need to ask for specific feedback from makers. This will need to be at different levels, such as for very young children, adults, and multi-lingual or with an interpreter to write for them. This information can be gathered in a google document to share with the planning team for the next event. Also, collect data on what was most popular, on most popular supplies utilized, and what supplies were missing.
It is also important to create a Checklist for Planning a Maker Day, according to Crichton & Carter (2014). Things to think about follow: start early; reserve the place (at our school this means secure the gym on a day that does not conflict with sports use); set up a budget and keep track of spending; make sure there is a plan for greeting and registering people who come (sign in for evidence of popularity when seeking out monies for future events), setting up coffee breaks and plans for people to make food/snacks at the event; create a list of volunteers and who will facilitate; make sure each helper knows their what their responsibilities will be (writing it out); decide who will open the session while referring to safety posters and general supervision expectations; and set aside a time near the end for feedback.
Further, it is important to group participants by interests ( maybe by having people take a brief gallery walk of kits, first ); kept small groups between 4 & 6 so that people may pair off to work together as well. To pre-plan projects, it involves developing problem sketches, training of facilitators, deciding who will make photocopies and making sure each group has enough of certain common materials.
Always, consider who will be responsible for the clean-up of the venue. Should all the participants be involved in this to a certain degree while facilitators take on the final organizing of equipment for future use (Crichton & Carter, p. 17)?
At the dschool.stanford.edu site, I found some good points to consider for Maker Day preparation. One thought is when planning space for making, leave some open for unexpected making. Once the Maker Day is underway, take pictures (with participant permission—or just focus the picture on the project) to capture stories, take notes of stressors or apprehensions people are having. To empathize with your maker participants, participate in activities at the site as well as prior to presenting a project for others to try..
This same PDF from Stanford explains that it is important to take on a beginner’s mindset during the activities.
- Don’t judge.
Observing makers does not include adding one’s own value judgments regarding “their actions, circumstances, decisions, or ‘issues’”
- Question everything
A four year old might repeatedly ask “why,” so one way to handle this is to ask “why” back. Look at things from the perspective of the maker.
- Be truly curious.
Also, be filled with wonder, even if the circumstance presents as uncomfortable or familiar.
- Find patterns.
What are some themes or threads that seamless crossover in interactions between participants or their project making.
As leaders, we plan for events. This may become a deep-rooted and fixed mindset. Be open to what partcipants say—avoid jumping to advise.
In this same article, there are tips for prototyping.
- “Start building.”
Pick up materials and start creating; even if still deciding what to make, it helps the maker get started.
- “Don’t spend too long on one prototype.” Sticking to one way may stop the potential creative process beyond the prototype.
- “Build with the user in mind.”
- “ID a variable.” Identify a specific, clear-cut question when it is found to be dependable, reliable and safe.
The reason it makes sense to just get started with prototyping is it awakens the problem-solving process started. Crichton and Carter (2014) referred to Mayer and Wittrock (2006) on page 26 as stating that “problem solving is cognitive processing directed at achieving a goal when no solution method is obvious to the problem solver.” Five kinds of knowledge that our students need to build, and that are important to emphasize at a Maker Day event as what our students get out of making are: gathering facts, learning concepts (like “categories, principles, or models”), strategies (like learning how to break down problems into solvable parts), procedures (learning the steps to follow), and beliefs (such as a having a “can do” positive mindset). This is a summary of why Maker Education is important; and how we can use something like this (made with our own students–with permission to film for the Maker Day event:
It is so important not to forget fun! In Libow & Stager (p. 184), my favorite Maker Day project ides to get things going in a positive and fun way is to provide kits (items purchased and put into bags) for LED throwies to create a show of lights. In our gym, we can dim down the lights for a few minutes to play with these. Another activity I think would be really fun for people who love colorful art (most people!), the Glow Doodle software that invites painting with light with a time lapse picture of a light source (p. 185). Why not use this for senior prom?
Crichton, S. (Dr.) & Carter, D. PhD (2014). Maker Day 2014–Final Maker Day Toolkit Erin Johnston, Industry Training Authority British Columbia. Faculty of Education, Okanagan Campus ita Your ticket.. The University of British Columbia.
Libow, M., S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. (Chapter 11) Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.
Marionvators YoungMaker Day Facebook Page for Science Technology Engineering Arts Math
Makers Day with Arduino: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Makers+Day+2016&view=detailv2&&id=489033515FBBDFBD8D3F26460F47B2B37457F953&selectedIndex=2&ccid=r7I6haD5&simid=608028685699515715&thid=OIP.Mafb23a85a0f909055db88a048ea34232o0&ajaxhist=0
Piktochart Infographic I created as a brochure to send to parents:
Stanford’s d.School: http://dschool.stanford.edu/dgift/
Retrieved July 11, 2016. (Link embedded in Crichton & Carter article).
Gear Up!: How to kick off a crash course: Retrieved July 11, 2016. http://dschool.stanford.edu/dgift/#gear-up