|Awesome classroom makerspace from |
What is a Makerspace?
Makerspace describe a makerspace as community centres with tools. Makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, community, and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone. These spaces can take the form of loosely-organized individuals sharing space and tools, for-profit companies, non-profit corporations, organizations affiliated with or hosted within schools, universities or libraries, and more. All are united in the purpose of providing access to equipment, community, and education, and all are unique in exactly how they are arranged to fit the purposes of the community they serve.
Makerspaces represent the democratization of design, engineering, fabrication and education. They are a fairly new phenomenon, but are beginning to produce projects with significant national impacts.
Whilst Edutopia provides this description which I really like for it's simplicity:
A makerspace is not solely a science lab, woodshop, computer lab or art room, but it may contain elements found in all of these familiar spaces. Therefore, it must be designed to accommodate a wide range of activities, tools and materials. Diversity and cross-pollination of activities are critical to the design, making and exploration process, and they are what set makerspaces and STEAM labs apart from single-use spaces. A possible range of activities might include:
Building bicycles and kinetic machines
Textiles and sewing
I think we can explore Makerspaces on a number of levels. We can think about how we can utilise better the various community makerspaces popping up all over New Zealand (see the list down the bottom for starters). We can consider how a makerspace can be developed within a school community - maybe by revisioning the technology department (and making it available for all students and teachers) or maybe this could be part of how we revision the school library - Auckland City Library run a Makerspace...so why not your library?? We can also consider how we might create a makerspace in the corner of the classroom (see the great on in the picture above - that's the corner of a Life Science class in the US). If you have a makerspace in your community, school or classroom that you would like to share - please let me know!!!
So why do we need to thinking about makerspaces? Personally I think all teachers and all classes should be looking to develop one. The reason I think this is simply - they develop 21st Century Skills (particularly critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and problem solving) and provide students with opportunities to engage in constructivist/deep learning. Look at our New Zealand Curriculum and I also see many opportunities within a makerspace environment to engage in effective pedagogy and for students develop a wide range of competencies.
I also really like this explanation provided in the Edutopia post 'Creating makerspaces in Schools'.
We are constantly bombarded with the idea that the U.S. is "behind" the rest of the world in STEM education, that our students need to be able to think critically, problem-solve and collaborate in order to succeed in the future they will inhabit. (Forget the fact that critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration are part of what schools should be designed to support in the first place.) Makerspaces provide creative time and, well, space for people of all ages to build prototypes, explore questions, fail and retry, bounce ideas off one another and build something together. These spaces don't always include technology, since some prototypes and designs can be built out of anything or may include various stages of design that move from analog to digital and back again, but many do include technology. In the 3D printing and design thinking session, I was lucky enough to see how students might create a 3D design using CAD software, only to discover that their scale was off or that their prototype just plain won't work
How can you set one up in your school (or even classroom)?
If you are thinking big and looking at developing a community or school makerspace, I suggest you check out these resources from Makerspace - they look like pretty bloody thorough start up guides for a uber makerspace! I will also be interviewing Richard Fortune from Makercrate and Makers Org NZ about how it can be achieved on a smaller scale (and budget) as well.
But if you are thinking of going #hackyrclass styles then check this blog out. I love the idea of a makerspace in the corner or maybe even a really big box. I know as an English teacher I would love access to a 3D printer, sewing machine, playdough, glue gun, wood, nail, hammer, robots to make thinking, debating, creating come to life. One of my best teaching experiences was getting my Year 13s to create wearable arts pieces to explore the themes and motifs in 'The Piano' - the products were stunning, the thinking and exploration the students engaged in was epic!
Would love to hear your thoughts this week on how you think you could develop a makerspace in your class and how you see it as an opportunity to enhance teaching and learning in your own educational context. Remember to share on twitter with the #hackyrclass #makerspace hashtags.
Remember, even if you can create one on site, their are community makerspaces popping up all over the place.
Makerspaces around Auckland (let me know about ones around NZ and I will add them)
When: Wednesday and Friday 5pm - 8pm, and Saturday - Sunday 1pm - 4pm
Where: Central City Library Makerspace, Level 1
A "makerspace" is a place where people can collaborate, innovate and create using information, resources and tools provided.
You can play, tinker, explore, and meet others with similar interests to share knowledge and make connections with.
Come and experiment with the help of library staff during our free-use hours. The space will be equipped with computers using free open-source software, a 3D printer and robotics kits are available to use.
The Mind Lab by Unitec is a collaboration between Unitec Institute of Technology and The Mind Lab. It draws on the education expertise of both organisations to provide teachers and their students with the opportunity to learn how to integrate technology, enhance digital capability and activate new teaching practices in the classroom.
Tangleball is an Auckland-based "Makerspace" or "Hackerspace". We provide a place for creative people to collaborate on building their ideas and aim to nurture both technical and artistic ideas. The best way to get in contact with us is by coming to the space on a Tuesday evening, from 8pm.
I found lots of great reading around this topic. Make sure you check out some of the following:
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014
What is Design Thinking?
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown, president and CEO
Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy. This approach, which IDEO calls design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges.
Design thinking is a deeply human process that taps into abilities we all have but get overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. It relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols. Nobody wants to run an organization on feeling, intuition, and inspiration, but an over-reliance on the rational and the analytical can be just as risky. Design thinking provides an integrated third way.
The design thinking process is best thought of as a system of overlapping spaces rather than a sequence of orderly steps. There are three spaces to keep in mind: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Inspiration is the problem or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions. Ideation is the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas. Implementation is the path that leads from the project stage into people’s lives.
Under this system, IDEO uses both analytical tools and generative techniques to help clients see how their new or existing operations could look in the future — and build road maps for getting there. Our methods include business model prototyping, data visualization, innovation strategy, organizational design, qualitative and quantitative research, and IP liberation.
All of IDEO’s work is done in consideration of the capabilities of our clients and the needs of their customers. As we iterate toward a final solution, we assess and reassess our designs. Our goal is to deliver appropriate, actionable, and tangible strategies. The result: new, innovative avenues for growth that are grounded in business viability and market desirability.
If you want to learn more, you could do the Stanford Design Think Crash Course here:
If you want to learn more, you could do the Stanford Design Think Crash Course here:
For me personally, my interest in design thinking as a learning design model was born out of a visit to Nueva School and meeting Design Thinking guru Kim Saxe. At Nueva School Saxe has taken the D. School design thinking model and has re-visioned it as a learning design model which sees students undertake inquiry in a way that insures they have an empathetic real world context. Below is a copy of her model and an excerpt from my blog post following my visit.
At HPSS we, in a sense, began with the Stanford and Nueva School design thinking model, then the 'Specialised Learning Leaders' went through a process of 'deconstructing' or 'hacking the NZC' looking for the learning design model that existed within it. From this process the above learning design model was born. Visually it looks somewhat similar to the Nueva School design thinking model (and it was inspired in part by this) but look more closely and you will see that all of the words are actually pulled from the New Zealand Curriculum.
For me it is key to creating a more student directed model of teaching and learning, encouraging a way of teaching that is about students actively seeking knowledge rather than passively rote learning screeds of information.
So how do you see design thinking aligning with how you you approach inquiry? Is inquiry central to your teaching practice?
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
If so, we need you.
HPSS Code Academy is seeking industry professionals that might be keen to 'adopt' a coding student. Don't worry, there is no feeding or watering involved!
What are we looking for?
Basically we are seeking professionals who are willing to invest just a little time and effort in nurturing a young coder. This might range from a bit of encouragement via Twitter through to offering opportunities for a little work experience...even if it is just via Skype or a Google Hangout.
All the students are in Year 9 (13-14 yrs old) and are either beginners or recreational game/web developers. They are all super excited at the prospect of meeting 'real coders' and we are assuring they get the time and support at school to pursue their passion for coding.
Can you help? Or know someone who can? You needn't be NZ based, as we don't expect mentoring to take place f2f. If this sounds like you, or someone you know, please get in touch via Twitter @claireamosnz or email me at email@example.com
Monday, May 12, 2014
This week we look at how we can get to know our learners better so as to ensure we are 'hacking with purpose! Remember to share your thoughts here on Twitter using the hashtags #hackyrclass #knowyrlearner #hackchat
Sunday, May 11, 2014
With all this talk about having growth mindset about change and hacking the classroom and curriculum it is important that we are actually 'hacking with purpose'. We need to ensure that we are innovating to improve the learning experience and not simply innovating for innovation sake. In order to do know we are doing that, there is something we do very well - know thy learner! And I mean really KNOW THEM. Sit back right now and consider a class you teach. Reel through your class list. Do you know their PAT/AsTTle levels (irregardless if you teach them English and/or Math), their ancestry, their culture, their interests, their pass times, their learning style, favourite book, musician, 1D member? If not, why not? Can we truly personalise learning without truly knowing the learner?
So what should we know about each and every learner? Well here are few suggestions to get you started:
What do we know about each student's:
- prior learning
- ethnicity/culture (Ko wai? No hea? - Who are you? Where are you from? eg. hapu/iwi/country of origin)?
- linguistic background/languages spoken?
- interests/hobbies/community involvement?
- aspirations/goals (both student and whanau/community)?
- skills, knowledge (including prior cultural knowledge) and understandings?
- expected levels of progress in your learning area
Why are these questions important?
Our two national curriculum documents The NZ Curriculum (NZC) and Te Marautanga Aotearoa place the learner at the centre of teaching and learning. In order to effectively "attend to the cultural and linguistic diversity of all students" (NZC p34), teachers need to develop a rich knowledge and understanding of who their students are, what they bring with them, and their learning strengths and needs.
Now there are many dry ways we can get to know these facts. Yes some of this information will be on a SMS somewhere...but fishing through that doesn't really build a relationship does it? How else can we do it? How can we move beyond the questionnaire or letter to the teacher??
I love these #hackyrclass friendly suggestions from 21st Century Icebreakers: 10 Ways To Get To Know Your Students with Technology
- Have students create a Pinterest board with 10 pins that summarizes them.
- Ask students to create a 30 second podcast that introduces themselves. Then allow students to present them or play them on separate devices as an audio gallery.
- Create a classroom blog and ask each student to write a blog post introducing themselves to the rest of the classroom.
- Have students create a quick comic strip to describe themselves or to recreate a recent funny moment in their lives.
- Use PollEverywhere to ask students interesting questions and get to know them as a class, like their favorite subjects, bands or TV shows.
- Use GoogleForms or SurveyMonkey to survey students about their interests, academic inclinations, and background info – a 21st century alternative to the “Getting to Know You” info sheet!
- Have students create word clouds to describe themselves and share with the rest of the class.
- Have students go on a QR code scavenger hunt in teams to get to know each other and learn about your classroom rules in a fun, engaging way.
- Ask students to create their own Voki avatars that introduce themselves to the class. Encourage them to be creative with the backgrounds, characters and details of the avatar to reflect their own personalities and preferences.
- Have students create graffiti online that speaks to their interests and personalities and share with the class.
What are your ideas for getting to know your learners...hack style! Share your tweets with the hashtags #hackyrclass #knowyrlearner
Also remember to share your blog posts both on Twitter and on the Hack Your Class Google + Community as well!
If you fancy some more serious reading on this topic, I heartily recommend this piece of #hackyrclass reading extension: ASCD - Know our students as learners
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Realising the Future of New Zealand Education - an open 'video' letter to NZ Educators (and Minister Parata)
Claire Amos: Realising the Future of New Zealand Education from Festival of Education on Vimeo.
Oral Submission to Education and Science Select Committee
Education Amendment Bill (No 2)
Areas I would like to highlight are:
lack of teacher representation
lack of a democratic process
expanded functions of the Educational Council of Aotearoa New Zealand
changing the Code of Ethics to Code of Conduct
expansion of the Limited Authority to Teach
Lack of Teacher Representation
The lack of teacher representation (Section 380 and Schedule 22) is a major issue. The complete absence of elected teacher positions marks an absolute departure from democratic process. I believe this undermines teachers as professionals and suggests that teacher voice is not valued in decision making related to EDUCANZ.
Look if you will to the Medical Council of New Zealand:
Medical Council of New Zealand
We are governed by a 12-member council appointed by the Minister of Health.
The Council comprises:
four doctors elected by the profession
four doctors appointed by the Minister of Health
four laypersons. Note: a layperson is someone who is not registered (or qualified to be registered), as a health practitioner.
By law, the majority of Council members must be doctors.
Nursing Council of New Zealand
The Nursing Council itself is an organisation established under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act. The board of the Council is made up of nine (three of which are elected) members six of these are nurses and three are laypeople. The work of the Council is supported by the Chief Executive/Registrar and staff.
Veterinary Council of New Zealand
There are seven members. Three of these are elected by veterinarians. Two are lay people appointed by the Minister for Primary Industries. One member is a veterinarian also appointed by the Minister. The seventh member is the Academic Programme Director of the Faculty of Veterinary Science at Massey University.
Of these examples I would suggest a similar process to the Medical Council for appointment and spread of representation would be far more equitable, representative and democratic. So often we hear the need for teachers to be treated as or regarded as “professionals”, similar, one would hope, to how doctors are regarded. I would suggest that having a similar approach to Council formation, would be an excellent start.
Remember, teachers are in fact the people who fund the Council, surely, it would only seem fair that the Council made possible by teacher registration funds was at least in part elected by the teaching community.
Expanded functions of the Council
Another area of concern (at least without further information) is the expanded functions of the Council. It would seem that Council is going to have an increased leadership role over the profession. It would also seem that the Council will be disseminating best practice and fostering development of the profession. Whilst best practice and professional development is integral to raising teacher performance, it is also incredibly important that this leadership comes from within the profession and not from an external body. If the Council was definitely made up of at least eight highly regarded current practitioners this would not be of concern. However, at present, the make-up of the Council looks like it will not be representative of the teaching community at all. We are professionals, we have a vast pool of expertise within our community. Teachers must be represented, they must be recognised and they must be the people who lead their peers.
If, as you state in Section 382, the functions of the Education Council are as follows:
- to provide leadership to teachers and direction for the education profession:
- to enhance the status of teachers and education leaders:
- to identify and disseminate best practice in teaching and leadership and foster the education profession’s continued development in light of research, and evidence of changes in society and technology,
then you will need the Educational Council of Aotearoa to have mana, to have gravitas amongst New Zealand educators. This will only be achieved if educators have a sense of ownership of the Council.
Changing code of ethics to code of conduct
Another area of concern is the change of Code of Ethics to a Conduct of Conduct. Ethics is integral to the teaching profession, a shift to focus on conduct, or rather behaviour is simply insulting. It would suggest we as a profession need our behaviour monitored, rather than abiding by a set of ethical guidelines. This to me is preposterous. Again, we are professionals who deserve to be treated in the highest regard. In an age where the rhetoric of the classroom is shifting away from conduct and behaviour and is engaging increasingly in dispositional curricula that looks to develop ethical, world aware young people it seems almost absurd that the Council would like to move backwards in their language and approaches.
We need to ask the question, why the change of language needs to take place. Looking at the definitions of each word, it would seem that ethics is inclusive of the notion of conduct. This seems an unnecessary shift.
Definition of ethics
Moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity: medical ethics also enter into the question
The branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles: neither metaphysics nor ethics is the home of religion
Definition of conduct
The manner in which a person behaves, especially in a particular place or situation: they were arrested for disorderly conduct a code of conduct for directors of listed companies
The manner in which an organization or activity is managed or directed: the conduct of the elections
Other models existing:
New Zealand Medical Association maintains a Code of Ethics - http://www.nzma.org.nz/sites/all/files/Code_of_Ethics.pdf
Limited Authorities to Teach
A final area of concern outlined in this bill (Section 365) is the changes in provisions for Limited Authorities to Teach which will mean that someone “with specialist skills but not a teaching qualification” can be authorised to teach for three years at a time without the employer having to prove that they have tried unsuccessfully to fill the position with a trained and qualified teacher. Whilst I believe it is becoming increasingly important for schools to partner with the wider community and to access the expertise of a range of specialists, I do not believe that this change is necessary.
The present model does suffice:
At present LATs can be issued for:
Up to Three Year LAT's will be issued for:
qualified to level 6 or above relating to role AND:
part time (up to 0.5) specialist teachers (such as a language specialist)
guidance counsellors (with teaching responsibilities)
applicants participating in initial teacher education programmes (only until the qualification is complete).
Up to Two Year LAT's will be issued for:
Māori medium settings
alternative education centres / special character settings / in a school in support of secondary-tertiary partnerships
isolated rural settings (using MOE criteria).
Up to One Year LAT's will be issued for:
day to day relievers
positions for which it is currently difficult to secure a registered teacher.
The amendment bill states:
Section 365 Purpose of limited authority to teach
The purpose of granting a limited authority to teach is to enable employers to have access to skills that are in short supply and to enable those with specialist skills but not a teaching qualification to teach.
All this will do is undermine the very profession that you suggest you are trying to elevate. It infers that registration and even teaching qualifications are not valued, or even required. If the government believes that the present teaching qualifications do not provide the skill set needed in schools, I would suggest you redirect your focus to those delivering the qualifications and not undermine an entire nation of registered teachers.
What is the actual reason for this?
There are three things an educator must be able to do: know the learner, know the New Zealand Curriculum and know what effective pedagogy feel like. That is why we must employ trained and qualified teachers, and look to simply ‘engage’ specialists.
If the issue is that the present skill set of teachers is not meeting the needs of the schools and students, then we need to address this in other ways. We can not simply undermine trained and qualified teachers with what equates to a ‘workaround’.
In summary, I have a number of real concerns about the aforementioned changes to the Education Amendment Bill. It is absolutely essential that the Council is representative of the teaching community, and that a democratic process is used to establish it. Without this representation, the increased functions of the Council is deeply concerning. The change of the Code of Ethics to a more menial Code of Conduct is also deeply troubling. This compounded with the elevation of “unqualified teacher” suggests an incredible lack of trust and low regard for the registered and qualified teachers of New Zealand. I would like to finish this submission by repeating my earlier refrain - teachers must be represented, they must be recognised and they must be the people who lead their peers.
Put bluntly, if this bill goes through as is, you are condoning the establishment of an educational autocracy. In a country that values democratic process I can only imagine the proposals outlined in the bill are actually an embarrassment.
Notes from oral submission by Claire Amos
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Week One: Developing a growth (and hacker) mindsetThis week we will aim to explore the idea of developing a 'growth mindset' and how it can help to support teachers becoming more innovative and moving towards 'adaptive expertise'. Below is an explanation of the concept of 'mindset' from mindesetonline.com.
What is Mindset?
Every so often a truly groundbreaking idea comes along. This is one. Mindset explains:
- Why brains and talent don’t bring success
- How they can stand in the way of it
- Why praising brains and talent doesn’t foster self-esteem and accomplishment, but jeopardizes them
- How teaching a simple idea about the brain raises grades and productivity
- What all great CEOs, parents, teachers, athletes know
Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference.
In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.
Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships. When you read Mindset, you’ll see how.
Another great explanation of fixed vs. growth mindset is this often shared one:
There is a great article on brain pickings that supports this info-graphic here:Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Livesby Maria Popova
Keen to explore this concept more? Why not take the TEDEd lesson created by Tutor Training using video from The NCEA YouTube Channel.
Watch the video and complete the lesson here: http://ed.ted.com/on/UA77FlTc#review
Whilst the video focuses on the impact of students having a fixed or growth mindset, it is easy to translate this to the context of teacher learner. If we value looking clever, will we be as willing to take risks and learn more. I like the message that it is better to praise 'effort' than 'cleverness'. This will be our aim this term, to praise each other for effort. To encourage those taking risks and learning something new. We should expose this side to our learners. If we want them to have a growth mindset, shouldn't we be modeling it? Make sure you share your learning with your students, or even better, let them teach you!
So if this is a 'growth mindset', what makes for a 'hacker mindset'? Let's look first at the work 'hack'.
When we talk about hacking in the context of education, I think we actually mean a combination of the first two - we take education and 'cut, chop, hew', and we 'gain unauthorized access to data in a system', the system being that or the 'industrial age education system' which break into and shake up. It could be argued that one needs a 'growth mindset' if they wish to 'hack your classroom'. This video, again from the perspective of a learner, demonstrates beautifully how and why we need to hack education.
For me personally, the ideas of 'growth mindset' and 'hacker mindset', is simply adopting the Richard Branson mindset - 'screw it, just do it'. What's the worst that can happen? We can fail and move forward. But more importantly, what's the best that can happen? You can engage your students, raise student outcomes and you can learn something new along the way.
Finally as we move through the #hackyrclass project I think we can learn a lot from Henry Ford...
And just for the record, I think you can!
Remember to share your blogpost and tweets, with the hashtags #hackyrclass #growthmindset
Bring it on! Hack your classroom is go! The plan is cover a range of topics over the next nine weeks. Here is a tentative timeline.
NB. I am very keen to include guest posts or share your blogs as well - just email your post or link at firstname.lastname@example.org
Week One: Developing a growth mindset
- Developing a growth mindset
- Turning a growth mindset into a hacker one
Week Two: Putting learners at the centre...hacker style
- Getting to know your learners - hacker style
Week Three: Intro to Design Thinking
- Bringing design thinking into the classroom (I don't pretend to be an expert...you can learn with me)
- Evolving design thinking - from Standford, Nueva to HPSS via the NZC
Week Four: Intro to Maker Culture
- Making every classroom a maker space
Week Five: From e-learning to blended learning to deep learning
- Ideas for blending leaning without 1:1 devices (or even wifi)
Week Six: Hacking teaching to meet the needs of diverse learners
- Intro to Universal Design for Learning for all (Again. I don't pretend to be an expert...you ca learn with me)
- Intro to differentiation in a blended age
Week Seven: Handing the power over to the learners
- How to let you students co-construct a unit, a course, a task without your HOD kicking your butt!
Week Eight: Going free range and developing robust self-direction
- Tips for going free-range within the confines of a cage...
- and anything else you suggest...or takes my fancy along the way.
Week Nine: Developing adaptive expertise and making 'hacking your classroom' infectious!
- Sharing ideas about what to do next...
- How we can shift others?
- How can we keep evolving?
This may evolve throughout the term. If you are keen to write a guest post on any of these topics or something related, please get in touch!
If you are joining the #hackyrclass project and have a blog, please email me your blog address and I will add a #hackyrclass blogroll to spread the love.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Senior Leadership Team
Specialised Learning Leaders
Learning Team Leaders
Project Learning Team
Professional Learning Team