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I often read via social media about the importance of student centered, student-driven instruction. My blog post is called User-Generated Education for a reason. I also believe one of the roles of an educator, in the context of maker education, is to scaffold learning experiences so the end result is students becoming self-determined learning. Thinking about the importance of learner autonomy and independence reminded me of my early career when I did counseling work with at-risk youth in wilderness settings, taking them on 2 to 3 week wilderness trips.
We did what was called Huddle-Up Circles. Everyone stopped what they were doing to gather in a circle to discuss the problem and generate solutions. Needless to say, the instructors were the ones who most often called and facilitated the huddle-ups at beginning of our trips. Our goal, as instructors and counselors, was to have the young people run the huddle-ups themselves. We knew we were successful when we asked to step out of the huddle-ups by the young people because they wanted to run their own huddle-ups.
During these times, we would stand outside of the huddle-up circles and silently observe their processes, only stepping in upon their request. The results not only included the development of skills and strategies for their own social-emotional development, but their success with their earned independence boosted their self-esteems.
This is how I approach facilitating maker education activities. Direct instruction is provided through structured and prescribed activities with the goal of learners then being able to eventually go into self-determined directions. There has been some criticism leveraged against out-of-the-box maker education kits, programmable robots, and step-by-step maker activities. In response, I created and proposed Stages of Maker Education:.
I use a full spectrum of activities starting with direct instruction associated with the Copying stage, then assisting learners to move through the Advance, Modify, and Embellish stages by providing them with examples and resources, and finally, encouraging them to move into the Create stage. Sometimes I show them examples of possibilities for the Create stage.
I show such examples to spark and ignite their creative juices. Because almost all of my learners have not had the freedom to create, these examples help to get them motivated and going. My ultimate goal is to have students drive their own learning and I want to help them learn skills to be successful in their self-determined learning. Posted in Maker Education. Tagged with coding , creativity , Experiential Education , experiential learning , learning , maker education.
I absolutely love all of the new robotics toys that have been coming out for elementary age learners. I have been using them for my summer maker camp, with my gifted education classes, for my upcoming Saturday morning program, and for my summer camp. Collecting them has become a major hobby of mine. I am an advocate of student-centric learning and giving them choices as to which instructional activities they would like to engage.
After going through a series of coding activities, I give them the following choices with their goal of using five of the robotics to complete five of the tasks provided. The craft activity involves letting the students make a stylish necklace for themselves, where their names are spelled out in binary using black and white beads.
Several board games that teach children computer coding concepts have been brought out recently. They make a good complement to online learning games and enable techie kids to have some fun family time away from a computer screen. We are caught in an infinite loop! Someone has re-written our classroom code and we are stuck. We will keep having the same day over and over unless we can find the correct code to de-bug the system. The correct code has been locked in the Breakout EDU box — once we figure out the combos, we will can escape the loop and move forward.
Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra. As an introduction to robotics and computer science, do a few hours of tutorials via Code. The site, itself, offers a number of different tutorials, within their Hour of Code page — https: Feel free to do the ones that look interesting to you. Each card features step-by-step instructions for beginners to start coding with Scratch.
The front of the card shows an activity kids can do with Scratch—like animating a character or keeping score in a game. The back shows how to put together code blocks to make the projects come to life! Along the way, kids learn key coding concepts, such as sequencing, conditionals, and variables. After creating an account at CoSpaces using your school gmail, create a scene and use their Block coding to animate the people and objects in your scene.
How-to directions can be found at https: Osmo Coding uses hands-on physical blocks to control Awbie, a playful character who loves delicious strawberries. Each block is a coding command that directs Awbie on a wondrous tree-shaking, strawberry-munching adventure. Kids love music, right? Play each game for 30 minutes and use each of the types of coding blocks during that time period.
Sphero is robotic ball that connects to your smartphone or tablets over Bluetooth. It has built in multi-color LEDs that gives it light effect in combination of colors. It is waterproof, too.
The free SPRK education program which can be used with both Sphero and Ollie has series of lab exercises to teach kids programming and robotics concepts. Program the Sphero or Ollie with the SPRK Lightning Lab app to navigate your own original maze made out of obstacles and materials in the learning environment.
To complete this challenge, you must gather data about the best route through a maze and figure out how to build a program so Sphero can successfully navigate through the mayhem. More about this lesson can be found at https: Using a large piece of paper, different types of finger paints, the Sphero with the nobby cover, and the Lightening SPRK app, create a Jackson Pollack type painting.
The full lesson plan can be found here — https: With a partner, create a Battlebot out of the Sphero or Ollie, cardboard, Popsicle sticks, and skewers. Challenge another team or two to a Battle. Last team with a balloon intact wins. More lessons can be found at https: Using free apps and a compatible tablet or smartphone, kids learn to code while they make these robots sing, dance and navigate all around the house. Sensors on the robot mean they react to the environment around them.
Using the Blockly app, complete the Dash and Dot Robots: Rolling for Code activity as described in http: Using the Xylophone and Xylo app, program Dash to play at least three songs. The Bits components snap together with magnets, for quick alterations on the fly.
Chock full of motors, wheels, lights, servos, and more. The kit boasts 13 littleBits and instructions for 16 inventions. Download the Invention Guide — littlebits-ggk2-invention-guide. Control Ozobot with colors! Draw OzoCode color codes on paper or a tablet and Ozobot uses optical sensors to respond—spinning, speeding up and more at your command.
It comes with an OzoCode chart and over 20 games and activities. Color coding masters can move on with free Ozobot apps and the OzoBlockly editor, which introduces block-based programming. After playing with the Ozobot color based coding , learn how to use Ozoblocky — http: Teach two other learners how to use it.
Quirkbot is a microcontroller toy that anyone can program. Let your creations express themselves and interact with their environment through sound, light and motion. Go through the tutorials found at https: Parrot Airborne Cargo Mars is a robust, impact-resistant minidrone that can be customized in an instant.
Quick flights and unlimited scenarios! Our nifty drones are packed with all the fun in the world and additional interactive opportunities: To use Parrot Blockly — https: The Finch is a small robot designed to inspire and delight students learning computer science by providing them a tangible and physical representation of their code.
The Finch has support for over a dozen programming languages , including environments appropriate for students as young as five years old! The Finch was developed to catalyze a wide range of computer science learning experiences, from an entry into the basics of computational thinking all the way to writing richly interactive programs. Use S Programming to, first, do the basic tutorials at http: Using the MaKey MaKey you can make anything into a key just by connecting a few alligator clips.
The MaKey MaKey is an invention kit that tricks your computer into thinking that almost anything is a keyboard. This allows you to hook up all kinds of fun things as an input. For example, play Mario with a Play-Doh keyboard, or piano with fruit! Program the Makey-Makey with Scratch to read a poem — attach Makey Makey to four drawings made by pencil that represent that poem. With one or two of your classmates, do one of the projects found at http: You can use your BBC micro: This little device has a lot of features, like 25 red LED lights that can flash messages.
There are two programmable buttons that can be used to control games. For this advanced option, do two of the projects featured on http: Circuit Playground features an ATmega32u4 micro-processor with contains within it: You can power and program it from USB.