iQ: smartparent 306: The Maker Movement in Schools

on this edition of IQ smart parent your child's classroom may be getting a makeover thanks to the rise of the maker movement see how 21st century students are using high-tech tools do-it-yourself ingenuity and good old-fashioned hands on problem-solving to take learning to a whole new level we are all about the maker movement and how it is revolutionising education so stay with us because IQ smart parent starts right now welcome to IQ smart parent I'm your host Darius Chism we are becoming a nation of makers people who imagine a product and then build it rather than buy it that maker mentality is moving into our classrooms as kids build skills they need to succeed in the 21st century job market our first guests can tell us all about inspiring students through making she is Lisa Rogalla deputy director for the maker education initiative Lisa thanks so much for being on the show thank you for having me so let's talk a little bit about the definition of making that is a loaded question a lot of people define making in various different ways but really at its core it's just creative building and the beauty of making is that and involves a large variety of skills that can be anything from sewing to gardening to woodworking to building complex electronics and 3d printing it's really that all of us are makers it's this innate ability that we have to create and we've been creating certainly through generations but now the focus in the classroom is really on helping children understand just how important that is and when we're talking about facilitating meaningful education how is it that making is is incorporated into the classroom as it relates to meaningful learning well really making is this return to the hand it's a really do it yourself movement and an education it puts the driving force with the students that they're really driving and controlling their own learning that it's a self-directed process and so they want to learn they want to come to school because what they're learning is important to them at that moment in time when we look at particular curriculum and certainly the variety of curriculum in a classroom are certain making projects more incorporated in certain curriculum or is it just across the board there's definitely a focus on stem science technology engineering and math when it comes to making but we see that a lot of schools are really using making in a very interdisciplinary setting and so making is a nice way to help kind of break down those silos that we see in traditional schools and help blend arts with science and different types of learning I even spoke to a teacher recently who said that her German classroom is the maker space in their school and that she uses that hands-on approach to actually teach foreign languages foreign languages that's interesting because that's a bit of a step away from stem definitely but to think about using it in a foreign language class I mean can you describe what that would look like for students in their curriculum so for instance some in that classroom they labeled all the parts of their classroom in German they were doing a project them where they were building pieces in their classroom and they would have to go up and ask for different parts and materials in German so they'd have to say I need three straws and to do this and so it was a really practical use of language and then that really stuck with the students we know this obviously benefits students but when we look at teachers and their ability to really transform their classrooms into maker classrooms do you find that some of them are challenged to do it to think of ways to incorporate making in their curriculum or does it evolve quite naturally yeah I mean we're all born makers so a lot of it is just kind of returning to that playful creative side that we had as a child and remembering that we all have that drive to create and make and we might not think of it in our day-to-day lives but maybe it's a hobby maybe we like to sew or we you know like to build things and on our spare time or even scrapbook for instance right and so really it's in thinking about how we shift the classroom so that it's not that the teacher knows everything but it's really putting the onus on the students that the students are driving the learning and that's really the shift helping a teacher and an adult even a parent right to step back and let a child struggle let them work through the problems on their own and be there as a coach and a facilitator to really help guide them along their process how can teachers though find innovative ways to include making projects in their classrooms particularly for those that are outside of the traditional stem arena reaching out into the community is a great way to do that a lot of schools bring artists and residents or makers and residents into their programs there's a lot of great parents or other community members that have skills that they can bring in so the teachers not comfortable right away they can do that but honestly it's just diving in and getting started a lot of spaces really just start from a champion in that school that has a vision and then once others see how engaged the students are and learning in those spaces and others kind of you know grab on and build the confidence as they go recently President Obama linked the maker education to building up our country's manufacturing industry it's a very interesting link but inform us a little bit about what you think is it relates to that link I think it's a really strong and natural link actually we think about our manufacturing processes today and they're very different from what they were a long time ago and they really are involving these STEM skills and we need a new workforce and we need to increase America's manufacturing plants and we think about in schools the kind of traditional shop class for instance and how that might have been training manufacturers well our maker spaces are now kind of that new evolution and training our future manufacturers and bringing those STEM skills bringing the problem-solving skills the collaboration skills that we need to this 21st century manufacturing workforce Lisa thank you so much for joining us for this edition of IQ smart parent we've got so much more we want to talk about and we are looking forward to showing you an absolutely incredible project made by high school students you don't want to miss this I promise you're going to be amazed by what these kids created but up first it's easy to see how making builds science technology engineering and math skills but take a look at how this innovative educator uses hands-on projects to build a better understanding of poetry in this room you see some of our 7th graders there are making a robot theater where poetry comes to life they get a poem and they must make a roboticized diorama to bring upon twice probably have like daddy standing so we're here and we'll have a motor home to get me for something to knock them over show you falls upon anything poetry can be challenging for a lot of kids they don't like it they don't understand it and so I thought this might be a way to make it more and how do you understand a poem it's the repetition of the reading of the pendant I should understand it so when you build something you have to really think about it they may gleans more meaning from it unless you have children indust is following this is a way to be creative with technology I'm joined by Greg marks of winchester thurston school in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania a strong model of what's possible when we commit to making in the classroom Greggy you are the K through 12 science department chair at your school and you've got some pretty incredible prototypes of artificial limbs that were designed by your students so as we get started and we look at this let's talk about this program and what it's designed to teach kids so thank you for having me the program is designed to give kids an authentic engineering and design experience Avada a lot of our students want to be engineers and they're sitting in a traditional classroom studying taking tests and they we want to give them a chance to design to produce something to show us not only what they know but what they can do how old were these children who created these and in what classes and subjects so for the prototypes you see here her name was Emily she's a senior and the class that she was in last year that I teach again this year is called research science it's an engineering and design course we try to get as many students to take the classes as possible so it's open to sophomores through seniors take me through this so that we're clear as to what's on the table and the process by which it involved okay so we have an artificial limb and this was actually the artificial limb that was donated by an individual he served as a participant in the in the project and we needed somebody to participate so we could eventually try the leg out we needed dimensions to go off of height weight and what we have here is the finished product of the prototype it has a flexible foot that mimics the movement of the feet it has a leg that is designed to mimic the bones in your in your lower leg and then it has a socket and all of these are 3d printed different plastics different colors at different parts what we're able to do is with the Prix de d printer excuse me is a lot of trial and error learning and that's what making is all about this part of the leg ended up being too thin and we tested it and it broke and we saw that it could break there so the final design actually had a thicker segment there that added to the structural integrity of the leg in a similar fashion the goal was to design a foot that mimicked a real prosthetic foot is called a sach foot it has wood on the inside that's hard for support and it has foam on the outside for flexibility and the first foot we actually used this made of a flexible plastic that was too flexible so again we didn't realize that was a mistake until we did it so I'm sorry we're talking about creating each of these elements using a 3d printer that's amazing in it of itself is this expensive to do as a project it's not and that was one of the goals of of this project a regular leg like this depending on your insurance and where you get it from thousands of dollars right around five thousand dollars we were able to print that leg for under twenty-five dollars in material Wow a leg like this takes about a month to make from start to finish and total hours of printing was about fifty so it's a much quicker process a much cheaper process the printer itself it depends on the model there are some expensive models three four thousand dollars but you don't need those in terms of what you might want to do in your classroom you can get away with printers that are four or five six hundred dollars does this ultimately or could it ultimately involve in in lesser cost for the patients when it's all said and done I mean we are we essentially finding a cost-saving measure overall that may impact the medical field entirely yes definitely the the idea of rapid prototyping gets a part out faster and in the back end you're not paying for all of that time in terms of creating that product so for for rapid prototyping for manufacturing it should limit the costs of oral excuse me lower the cost of a lot of products when 3d printing is applied to the earlier devices Emma was thinking to herself how do I use 3d printing use making to help others and that's a really big part of our school we are our credo is think also of the comforts and rights of others so we don't want to just make toys or make products that are fun we want to make things that are going to help people so now they run for the opportunity we've been doing this for a couple years now so a lot of the students who were younger saw some of the other projects that have occurred throughout the years and a lot of them are eager they'll come up to me it's a QA to take research science next year because not necessarily me I like to think sometimes it is but it's not it's because all of the work that the students do the students can create some incredible things and they see their peers doing it and they want to be able to do that as well that would be great because the younger they're involved the more time they have to learn this now you did bring again as you showed us earlier kind of the evolution of this but you have to tell me what that is at the end of the table Bob's a lot of people see 3d printing and they think it is easy to do and it's not to scare anyone but it is to show the reality i mentioned 50 hours so a lot of people think this stuff happens very quickly but that 50 hours was only after many failed prints and this is an example of a failed print as the printer is moving back and forth in we'll see how it functions shortly the part fell off at our 13 and then it continued to print on nothing for two straight hours so that is as much plastic as the printer was extruding in to our but the lesson learned here for kids particularly those that are working on this is that you continue to do it in spite of the failure so we so you can get to the successful outcome that's the thing about the maker movement that I love the most failures are not looked at as a negative things when you get a question wrong on a test that's a negative thing in this case every failure led to new information that made that product that much better so we fail up to make those products as good as they can be that's fantastic well Greg you've certainly brought along the testament to the type of work that's happening over there at Winchester so we're so glad to see that say as we have so much more that we want to talk with you about and we'll hear more about turning students into makers in a moment but up first discover how one public school decided to dream big by building a dream factory for its students this is our dream factory kickoff day at Elizabeth for middle school you can make all kinds of things robots too complex you add it to animation express it fast forwards it if you could redesign every child in our school will come through the Dream Factory in our art area children are able to create products and ideas using art and 3d printing and computer technology in the industrial technology classroom they're incorporating traditional but also incorporating that with plastics and glass and laser cutting and in our computer classes it's creating programming to manufacture products that can move I used to make them real maybe have a charge to provide opportunities for children in our world to learn these technologies this is an idea that I came up with it's an iPad water it's going to be able to stick to a wheelchair it's changed the culture of our school Greg Marx is back and we're joined by two of his colleagues at winchester thurston school in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania welcome Adam Nye and David nassar thanks so much for being here on IQ smart parents are happy you all are doing fabulous things over at Winchester and clearly it's a school that's primarily a college prep but in this case you're incorporating this this maker opportunity on a variety of different levels why is it so important for for the kids and the curriculum there I think it's really transformed our school because you have a certain set of skills you learn in high school but when you start to apply those skills to real-world situations that's when the real learning takes place and so we're not just teaching our students skills at winchester thurston that they can later apply once they leave our school but they're actually able to apply them right right there in the school at a student last year who while driving on the roads realized that there was a pothole problem in Pittsburgh and you want to try to fix it so he 3d printed something that could fit underneath the car and could sense the road and then send data back to a human who could do something about it and so that's that's real learning you have a student who's going out there and seeing a problem trying to fix it how is this working to transform the teachers though the maker movement obviously is all about the kids really integrating and using their hands in their imagination but for teachers this has to be pretty profound good I it is it's transformed the way I I approached a class because so much about how I used to teach was here's the exact material you needed to know because at the end of the year here comes this test that you have to take when we have situations like like this that you see in front of us there really is no right answer there's just better versions of it so not knowing what the answer should be kind of takes down some some of the walls in the classroom of the this is how I know I've learned something and they're able to explore different scenarios they're able to show their ability to be successful in different ways so I have to approach the class completely different because there's no set way to do it and I would say it's teachers it really has makes us have to elevate our game because we have to be ready for a student coming at us with their own problems that we hadn't thought about previously you know you can't go into the script that you're going to read you have to come in each day and face the challenges with the students you've brought some more examples of what can be created through 3d printing and of course this maker movement so explain what we have on the table so this these are all 3d printed models of people's heads this is my profile this is the head of school winchester thurston Gary kneels and this over here is you okay and so what we've done here is shown three different setups with an arduino popular microcontroller and the makeup maker movement and maybe some things you could do with these 3d printed models okay so now we have to talk about how you did this sure has I know what I went through which was really simple but to see this sitting on the table now an hour later is pretty fascinating absolutely I like Greg there you explain so the 3d scanner is very important on the leg that you saw earlier in the show we needed to know the exact shape of the residual limb of the individual the exact shape of the foot and that's hard to model on a computer using shapes like circles squares rectangles so the scanner allows us to get data of the actual object so the scanner that I had was taking images of of your head as I walked around you and it was the exact scale it was the exact shape the exact size of the different features whether it was your hair or your ears or your nose and we're able to get that information and then in the computer somehow mess with it we can 3d print you we can give you a different body we can add things to you we can turn you into an animation we can incorporate you into a prosthetic leg if that was the case so it's a really cool tool to be able to use to to add to the printing to the prototype here we've made some nights so i can show let's let's see how they work yes yep so this first one we'll just show you how if you turn this on this will go through a series of colors showing students how as you mix different colors of light you can get different colors of light and you know just within my profile will show there's different colors of light there and that's exciting but we can make it more exciting I always tell my students so what's the next level up from this next level up would be this one I have next to me which is the head of school Gary kneels at winchester thurston you put this inside this is a true nightlight now we have sensors integrated if I turn this one on a nightlight only should turn on when it's nighttime so I'm going to simulate nightfall by putting my hand over the sensor and that's going to block out the studio lights when I do that the light turns on and I bring it back you know it's daytime light trims off as you can see i bring my hand over that sensor and the light turns on only when the sensor is being blocked and then the last one but certainly not least would be a year modeled area and here if anyone's lived through the clapper commercials from before we can see that I've made a simple clapper for you so if you put this inside here and Greg if you would do me the honors I'd love to when we clap the light turns on clap the light turns off I love it and so this is all fun but what the students do is take these skills and then apply them to real situations I had some students who did a simulation of some traffic flow and so they were able to using a 3d printed model of traffic lights get these traffic lights to light up and at the appropriate times when maybe a car will pull up to an intersection I had some other students last year he took the sound sensor that I used for the clapper and decided that they wanted to use it to monitor the sound in the library and let students know one was getting too loud are they ever intimidated by the complexity of this I'm looking at this and thinking to myself at jeez what what it would take to do it but are the kids intimidated by or i would assume that some of them would be fascinated and eager to learn how to do it yeah i would say excited is more more rather than intimidate at least with our students would you say especially the way we try to introduce it to them so it's not okay everybody has to learn how to use the sensor this way it's come up with a way to use a photo resistor to turn something off or on and then they can be creative with how they go about doing it so in this case it could be like a cool night light for the younger brother or sister it could be to incorporate it into the idea of the traffic signal maybe when the car drives over the sensor get starts the lights go on so we really try to just give them the tools and the skills and then in the spirit of the maker movement how can they use those skills to do something solve a problem that they came up with right so we really want it to be student-centered and that helps engage the students the value of what kids are learning as part of the maker movement in the classroom is just priceless because not only is it really taking and being ingenious and you know coming up with different ideas and watching it come to life through the 3d printer and all of the other technology but it's also as we talked about earlier just teaching them about this process of failing until you get it but also the collaboration of working together in teams and so how important is that in terms of the value that this brings in the classroom I think it's incredibly valuable I mean we through this process of making the students have to work together in a lot of different cases I think also you know they're often working with different experts in the community they're having to work with their teachers this is sometimes unknown territory for all of us and I think the other big piece with with with collaboration is they're having to think about their community how do they collaborate with different different people in their community to have a positive impact on them it's it's certainly applicable they're not just working projects and putting them on a shelf they are literally creating things that people are using and need to use precisely yeah certainly Adam on before you move to your current position you worked in various museums and so how are you taking the work that you did at museums and now integrating that into the classroom yeah so I had the pleasure of being a part of the start of the makerspace at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh as well as a Children's Museum of Texas and through that experience we learned a lot about providing learning opportunities for students to make things as educators we learned about how to be flexible and open-minded so that students who are pursuing these making activities have the opportunity to do so as they choose and I think we apply that a lot in the teaching at WT where we as teachers are trying to be more flexible and open-minded and allow the students to take direction we also learned at the museum that in order for children to be successful in making opportunities it's really important that they have the essential skills so you have to start at the very beginning with some of this work and we're doing that at WT through a partnership with the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and or kindergarten classes where the museum helps us to introduce making with our students at the kindergarten level giving them the opportunity to make things and build on some skills like collaboration how to communicate your idea and actually see it through and children kindergarten or learning those skills and building on that through their schooling at WT so that when they get to classes like Greg and Dave's they're able to actually really make some phenomenal things ain't great well guys unfortunately we've run out of time but this has been fascinating and we appreciate it and thank you so much for being here part of the show creativity confidence and imagination that's the wish list we all want for our children talk to your kids and their teachers about the value of making in the classroom it's one more way we can deliver the inspiring education our kids deserve thanks for being here and we'll see you again next time on IQ smart man want to learn more about IQ smart parent visit us online at IQ smart parent org for more episodes and additional tools and resources connect with us on Facebook Twitter and Pinterest to share your thoughts on being a 21st century parents iq smart parent is made possible in part by the mccune foundation and the grayble foundation you

One Comment

  1. Kenda Hammer said:

    Coaching and facilitating, playing and creating across generations, modeling and communicating, diving in and championing all learners, engaging and building confidence, shifting and taking risks, guiding and innovating, partnering and letting go, evolving (from "shop" classes) and collaborating, making meaning and DIY, self-directing and motivating, crossing disciplines and breaking down silos, blending curricula and using hands-on, interacting authentically and practically for benefiting students and teachers, returning to that playful/creative side we had as a child, remembering that we all have that drive… Hmmmm… Look at this list of descriptive verbs that Lisa Regalla, Deputy Director Maker Education Initiative, uses in talking about elements of the maker movement. How boldly this characterization shouts out with the legacy of high quality early childhood education since the earliest days of established models of early education. One can look to Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Waldorf, Project Approach, just for starters, where the foundational elements of best educational practices across life's continuum of development will be found and awaiting our embrace!

    June 28, 2019

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