[Here’s an Edsurge posting by my colleague, Justin Aglio, that shares the incredible energy and success behind the recent Remake Learning Days in Pittsburgh. Justin’s school district, Montour, hosted a Design Workshop with the LUMA Institute, a Human Centered Design firm in Pittsburgh, that I attended. If you’re looking for an example of a school district that has begun to rethink learning, take a look at Montour.]
Brainstorming from Remake Learning’s Maker Ed Affinity Group Meet-up
About a year ago, on Monday, June 15, 2015, the White House hosted a Maker Education Roundtable discussion with over sixty educators, innovators, White House officials, non-profit organizations, foundations and more. And although all areas of the country were represented, the city of Pittsburgh had the largest presence—and the White House noticed.
Fast-forward to now, and on May 9, 2016 at Google Pittsburgh,Thomas Kalil, deputy director of policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told an audience of local Pittsburgh dignitaries, philanthropists and educators, “You really are a model for the country.”
So, what sets Pittsburgh apart? It’s a event called Remake Learning Days, a week-long celebration showcasing maker projects throughout the region.
“From coding to stop-motion animation videos to sewing, the maker movement is becoming more and more popular with kids and adults.
Maker culture is a movement that embraces do-it-yourself tinkering with electronics and physical objects—it focuses on learning and trying out new practical skills, building a community of resources and experimenting.
Robotics and electronics are two hallmarks of the maker movement (electronics explores using electronic circuits, while robotics combines circuits, movement and sometimes software to create a machine or robot). Projects can be as simple as a making a light blink, or as involved as building an entire robot.
“Light switches, electronics [and] toys seem very closed off…The average person doesn’t realize they can make or impact them,” says Jennifer Turliuk of MakerKids in Toronto. MakerKids is the world’s first and largest makerspace that’s just for kids; it offers many different maker programs for children.
“In [robotics] programs, kids start to understand how these simple machines work. They can even make their own light switch,” Turliuk says.”
[It’s no longer just the content that matters; it’s now about the process. In this Edsurge article there are great examples from Arizona State University where designers have a new toolkit of technologies to better meet the needs of learners. Here in Pittsburgh through the Remake Learning Playbook we’re sharing similar success stories from K-12, higher education, and out-of-school programs.]
Imagine you’re in Florence, standing in front of Michelangelo’s “David.” Now imagine you’re at the Louvre, looking at the “Mona Lisa.” The experience of engaging with these two famous pieces of art is very different—“David,” larger than life, demands to be seen at all angles, while the subtleties in the “Mona Lisa” require a closer, more stationary view to appreciate. While the subjects may be similar (a person) in both works, the media (sculpture, painting) are the primary driver of how an individual experiences the works.
The same is true in education. Previously, the “what” ( content) was both the main objective and the measure of learning. From an early age (parents asking “What did you learn in school today?”), the accumulation of facts is center stage, with the “how”—the medium—taking a back seat. However, the “how” of learning is incredibly important: it can impact if students understand a subject, how much information they retain, and their ability to extend their learning, drawing connections to other areas of academia or to the real world.