Educator Roundtables

Roundtable 1: Curriculum Development I

Location: HM 138
Chair: Gayithri Jayathirtha

Layers of Scaffolding in Physical Computing

Trevor Shaw and Kevin Jarrett

Many school leaders have an intuitive sense that robotics and physical computing are powerful learning and creative opportunities for students, but choosing tools can be a challenge. Highly scaffolded tools are important for novice students because they enable them to build engaging, interesting things with limited adult assistance. However, more advanced and generic tools are important for students to develop innovative and creative uses for components and to understand that generic electronics are not designed by default to work together perfectly. This round-table discussion will explore the types of scaffolding offered by three different tools: the Lego EV3 brick, the BBC micro:bit, and the Arduino microcontroller. All of these devices enable students to sense and control the physical world through electronics and programming, but each tool has unique benefits and drawbacks that make it suited to particular learning goals.

Making Machine Learning a Maker

Nancy Ornelas

Education is changing. New methodologies such as project-based learning (PBL) and making activities have opened their ways into schools. With these new learning experiences, new types of data is being generated: artifacts, with video and pictures of them, project documentation, diagrams, etc. What can this new data tell us about the new learning experiences? How can we interpret the data? This paper is an exploration of what can be done with maker and project-based learning picture data using out-of-the-shelve machine learning (ML). One discovery is that artificial intelligence (AI) can provide educators interesting insights about the learning experiences represented in the pictures, which might serve as a later reflexion and understanding of the different phases of ‘making’ and PBL. Another possible application of this exploration is that it can also be done by students and function as an ML project that provides a window into understanding their own learning.

Of Imagination and Self-Expression: Fusing Creative Technologies With Project-Based Learning

Monica Chan, Catherine Lan and Richard Jochum

Our program is a year-long after-school maker-centric program, hosted in an urban public elementary school in New York City. This program spans from September 2018 to May 2019, thus it is ongoing at the point of presentation at FabLearn 2019. Eleven fifth-grade students participate in our program. Their ages range from 10- to 12-years-old. Two students are White, three are Hispanic, and five are Black. We intend to give a 10-minute presentation during the Roundtable session at FabLearn 2019. We will share our experiences designing curricula and projects that connect STEM concepts and Art fundamentals, and designing different STEAM units that build upon one another to culminate in a major final project that students would have worked on over the course of a year. Our STEAM units include: Circuitry & Mapping, Stop Motion Animation, Introductory Computer Programming with Scratch, and 3D Printing & Game Design.

Roundtable 2: Curriculum Development II

Location: HM 140
Chair: Ofer Chen

‘Making’ in a Virtual Studio Environment

Jessica Briskin and Susan Land

This context for this study is a fully online studio-based course that is a virtual learning environment to support making practices in the digital arts. Although, making practices typically occur in face-to-face informal settings, this study investigates the design of a learning environment to support making activities with students who are only present asynchronously in a virtual space. In this virtual space, through online connectivity and expert and peer support, students successfully produced and shared three artifacts that represented their developing interests and skills in the digital arts. Implications for developing virtual environments to support making, sharing, and critiquing artifacts are discussed.

Creative Coding in Central Texas: Scratch After-School Programs

Emily Blumentritt, Alexa Briones, Analisa Esther and Arlie Wood

Scratch coding programs for elementary students in San Marcos, Texas, led by a team of undergraduate students from Texas State University. Our team, called Families Learning Together, runs after school coding sessions that last for six weeks, and will be expanding to multiple elementary schools in Spring 2019. Our learners are 3rd and 4th graders from a variety of backgrounds.
It is possible to create exploratory and creative coding programs for elementary school children that teach them problem-solving, computational fluency, endurance in working on a long-term project, creativity, logical thinking, and innovation. Children learn a variety of skills through coding that can be applied to any profession and can help them at any stage of life. Our coding programs have been a positive influence in the small Central Texas community of San Marcos, reminding us as educators that all communities deserve access to creative coding and CS education.

Exploring the Complexities of Cultivating Adaptive Expertise in Elementary Making

Riley Meehan, Julia Jacobsen and Brian Gravel

PROJECT NAME is a research collaboration between UNIVERSITY and PBL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, a socio-economically and racially diverse, full inclusion, Title I, project-based elementary school. This paper describes the first iteration of our three-month paper engineering project for fourth- and fifth- grade students. Our goal in this project was to design an environment, activities, and facilitation structures that would support students as adaptive experts –or, in developing skills and expertise to solve both routine and novel problems. In the results, we reflect on the first iteration of the project, make recommendations for a second iteration, and consider the relevance of our findings to the larger FabLearn community of maker educators and researchers. Reflections on the project suggest more research be done to understand the conditions that support youth in developing adaptive expertise in design.

Roundtable 3: Making Accross Curricula

Location: HM 150
Chair: Anna Deborah Amato

Connecting Curriculum to a Meaningful Learning

Paula Oliveira and Diego Thuler

Identifying the increasing need to think about education in a way linked to experience, this text proposes an account of the experiences and thoughts that go through Little Maker’s program and practices, aiming by building authorial projects into learning visibility. Thus, we present here our work aiming the approximation between Maker activities and the curricular contents of the school, focusing on the potentialization of knowledge meaningfully flow to the students.
Thus, we intent to share some strategies we have adopted to promote a fluid learning relationship, through the insertion of Papert’s microworlds, the ideation process and learning reflection during our Maker activities.

Connecting the Disciplines Through Collaborative Problem Solving: Interdisciplinary Design

Kate Tabor, Anthony Shaker and Adam Colestock

We teach at a JK-12 Independent Progressive day school. Founded with an emphasis on learning by doing, the school allows teachers to design learning environments that encourage independent thinking, problem solving, and cooperative practice.
The seventh grade team of teachers is particularly adept at interdisciplinary work, frequently altering the master schedule to allow for longer working blocks, collaboration across disciplines, and attention to student engagement in heterogeneous classes of 11-13 year-olds. Teachers keep the tenets of Maker Empowerment at the forefront of individual class projects, and they have aligned elements of their curriculum for the past five years to facilitate a continuing, interdisciplinary design project focused on environmental or societal challenges.
Giving students real problems to solve and allowing them time to collaborate on solutions has had its rewards. Working on a genuine problem with a diverse team of classmates is both fun and challenging for students (and teachers). Asking the right questions about sustainability and accessibility at school has allowed our students to innovate, collaborate, design, tinker, build, present, and implement their solutions.

Rebuilding an 18th Century Town: Math, 3D Printing, and Historical Empathy

Heather Pang

The Colonial Williamsburg building project has evolved over the past several years to become a staple in the first semester of 8th grade US history. The school is an independent school for girls in grades 6-12. The project is part of their preparation for their November trip to Virginia and Washington DC. The goal of the project is to reconstruct the significant buildings in 18th century Williamsburg in order to examine the architecture and social structure of the city in particular and the 18th century colonial world more broadly. In addition to the historical work, students get the opportunity to apply math concepts they have learned, practice map reading skills, and learn and play with Tinkercad and the 3D printer to create something of historical significance.

Roundtable 4: Mission-Driven Making I

Location: HM 152
Chair: Justice Walker

Design, Making, and Homesteading: Middle Schoolers Address Issues of and Solutions for Food Systems

Tarrence Banks and Scott Wallace

Students in a mixed grade, multi-age classroom engaged deeply in a year-long study investigating the unintended consequences in the food production and distribution systems in the United States. Students worked as consultants and found “clients” in the community who were looking to incorporate elements of homesteading into their homes. Working for and alongside their clients, the students set out to meet their clients’ needs but also to determine if homestead living could potentially mitigate or solve the problems associated with traditional American food systems. This project demonstrates that it is possible to fully integrate a design and maker-centered curriculum that aims to solve problems with environmental and social implications. Additionally, crowdfunding in which the school took on no financial strain made this project possible and community members benefited in perpetuity from the students’ work.

Materials Matter/Designing and Building With Nature

Corinne Takara

As an informal educator working with a range of school makerspaces, libraries and museums, I see a growing desire to engage students in pressing global sustainability design conversations and I believe hands-on biodesign material explorations are a way to develop deep student interest and confidence in exploring challenging environmental issues. The Materials Matters programing I conduct consists of a range of maker activities that introduce biomaterial design and bio-collaborative design concepts to youth (6th grade through high school). I have taught these workshops in the Los Angeles Area and in the San Francisco Bay Area both as workshops and as a week long summer camp.
The future of circular design innovation will be driven by a closer look at the nature around us. How might we reduce waste and design with renewable materials? Surprisingly, our answers might be in humble organisms in often overlooked corners of nature that are low cost and easy to bring into the makerspace. Fungus, kombucha, mealworms, algae and the exoskeletons of crabs and insects might hold some answers. When talking about the future of biomaterials, we must first address students’ existing material bias. Often students come to the conversation with a fear of fungus, worms, algae, bacteria and other living organisms which may be part of future environmental system solutions. My playful Materials Matters workshops break down these fears with creative craft activities that give students hands on experience with grown biomaterials. It is important to note that if we are asking students to solve environmental issues, we need them to feel first connected to the nature in their local communities. Incorporating local natural materials into maker project can build these connections. It is also important to have staggered living cultures growths, careful tracking sheets, and baseline student literacy in local waste flow paths. Longer time frames and tracking logs are needed for biological maker project preparation since working with living materials requires time to grow the material, and a tracking system is needed to identify ideal growing environments and ideal timing for material harvesting.

Wellbotics, Makerspace, Mindfulness Motivation

Pamela Davis

Cancer affects entire households, not just patients. Wellbotics offers five to twelve year old children maker based activities during the troubling times that a parent’s cancer presents. Wellbotics creates mini-makerspaces in Cancer Support Communities. Having these labs staffed with volunteers and professionals in cancer centers allows families to participate in concurrent support services while children “make their way” through 90 minutes guided sessions. What children learn not only ignites intellectual curiosity (which often wanes in times of family medical trauma) but also helps develop self efficacy and supportive peer relationships all while having fun.

Roundtable 5: Mission-Driven Making II

Location: HM 424
Chair: Shiri Mund

Authentic Experiences Drive Change Maker Education at Synapse School

Brian Bicknell and Jim Eagen

Our school is a progressive, project-based, non-profit, K-8 independent day school whose mission is to educate changemakers through innovation, Emotional Intelligence, and leading-edge academics. We hope to share the scope of our Makerspace program and how it applies to authentic experiences that drive student growth and support a greater maker culture and ethic. Our school is unique in the way it integrates social and environmental problem-solving to our greater “maker” experiences. We have a large Makerspace facility that is outfitted with various low and high-tech resources, and we treat it as a space where everyone from a second grader can build a puppet-show set out of construction lumber to a place where an 8th grader can build complex laser-cut models to prototype an invention for an independent study project.

Making for Social Good: A High School Elective Course With a Mission

Matthew Zigler

“Making for Social Good” is a trimester long course at the high school level at a non-profit independent school. The overarching goal of the class is for students to identify a problem in the world, whether local or global and to design, create and share a functional solution. Along the way, students will learn design thinking, participatory research, and digital fabrication skills to help them leverage the power of the Makerspace to positively impact the world. By sharing student examples, resources, and the final product, it is my hope that other educators interested in teaching such a course will be able to propose and implement similar courses at their schools.

Social Changes Through Your Own Reality: A Project-Based Learning Experience

Fernando Puertas, Edison Cabeza and Eduardo Lobo

Área 21 is a creative lab and a methodology that aims to develop 21st-century skills while experiencing and learning new technologies in a project-based learning journey. The project is designed to students between 14 and 17 years old, who live in socially vulnerable situations, in São Paulo city. It is funded by private corporations via government agencies, inside two nonprofit social institutes, Ana Rosa Institute, and CEAP Pedreira, and provides informal education in an alternative school shift, once a week, during a whole semester. From an android app to a anti-theft device, their solutions are amazing and come from their own experience and context, facilitated by the design thinking process, maker culture and 21st-century skills.

Roundtable 6: Mission-Driven Making III

Location: HM 144
Chair: Carmelo Presicce

A Journey of Learning: A Playful Take On Autonomy and Self-Assessment

Rozeani Araujo

This paper describes how methodologies like gamification, SCRUM and design thinking can enhance the learning environment in makerspace lessons. Five different versions of the program were tested in a vocational school in Rio de Janeiro in order to analyze what parts of the process were relevant in the development of the students’ abilities regarding their self-management, motivation and self-assessment. Some of these versions were conducted with the teachers themselves to make them experience and understand firsthand what the methodology targets and what their focus as teachers should be. With this paper, we want to contribute with insights of how to evaluate activities in the makerspace in a more personalized manner and how to enhance and evaluate the students’ self-criticism, autonomy and responsibility.

International Community for Collaborative Content Creation

Shad Wachter and Aj Mannarino

Through funding by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program of the US National Science Foundation, Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology formed the International Community for Collaborative Content Creation (IC4). This “Research in Service of Practice” project consists of participants from Brazil, Finland, India, Kenya, Namibia, and USA. It allows students ranging from upper elementary school through high school to collaborate across cultures and international borders on STEM-focused digital media artifacts to examine current issues in their community or the world. Using a hands-on approach, students are challenged to use their diverse backgrounds and technological resources available at their schools to co-develop innovative solutions and media through their collaborative research, learning, and thinking.

Project_Box Maker: A Look to EJA

Kelvia Ronqui, Patrícia Oliveira and Admir Ferreira

The project “Box Maker: a look to EJA” takes place in the city of Santos on São Paulo State coast, in the segment of Youth and Adult Education (EJA) in the municipal department of education, being in the service of students since the age of 15 years old, with the purpose of solving problem situations and developing prototypes that could help the community in some way.

Roundtable 7: Professional Development

Location: TH 229
Chair: Sawaros Thanapornsangsuth

A Maker Tour to Understand the Role of Maker Education in Public Innovation for Social Challenges

Victor Freundt, Elizabeth Albarracin and Jose Arciniega

PromPeru Lab is the Creativity and Innovation Lab from PROMPERÚ, the public non-profit entity from Peruvian government that promotes exports, tourism and country image. The main goal of the Lab is to strengthen the culture of human centered innovation in, with and for the public servants from PROMPERU through different activities. This document describes the “Maker Tour” experience where male and female co-workers between 23 and 50 years old from different backgrounds visit FabLab ESAN in order to understand what the maker movement is, how it can be linked to their work and the impact in citizens, with (1) a first expectation previous to the visit and (2) brand-new ideas of applications in different social topics after the visit.

Integrating Meaningful Evaluation and Tinkering Learning Through Creative Workshops and Thinking Routines

Julia Pinheiro Andrade, María Del Carmen Sforza Gil, Paola Salmona Ricci, Simone Kubric Lederman, Rita Junqueira de Camargo and Rui Zanchetta

Make Believe Project (MBP) is an initiative sponsored by two Brazilian Creative Learning Network organizations (one private and another non-profit, both devoted to formal and informal education mostly with public schools). MBP was a 4-month project idealized by six educators allowing unmotivated public school teenage students with academic difficulties to explore their own believes, knowledge, interests, and imagination to co-create projects through the Agency by Design Framework (from Project Zero). With the Sustainable Development Goals as background, MBP designed 10 weekly after-school maker-centered learning workshops around the scientific concept of energy explored through hands-on experiments created by teenage groups. As the main result, MBP stimulated the teenagers’ self-confidence by making visible the triadic development of capacities, motivation and disposition regarded both to scientific study and to creative student´s own projects.

Making the School a Constructionist Environment

Solange Lima, Lisboa Coutinho Junior, Joquebede Cacau, Joveniano Vieira Junior and Renato Tavares

Inspired by the constructionist framework, a group of teachers decided to develop an innovative Science Fair. This is the story of a group of teachers and researchers in a low SES public high school in the northeast of Brazil who wanted to reflect upon and innovate within their educational practices by physically building an artefact, an object to represent the application of knowledge. To gain the learning-richness and depth of constructionism, teachers had to experience constructionism themselves, innovating on their practice by planning, making and learning from the fair as they were making it. The lack of resources catalysed an intense collaboration between the teachers to solve problems and opened the school to the broader community. Towards the fair and during it, ideas and initiatives sprouted making the classrooms and the corridors buzz with activity. The teachers were learning about technology because they needed it to enhance the educational experience. Teachers and students’ engagement to make the fair transformed their view about the school potential to change from the ground up, gradually, and collectively. The fair affected the school, and the school affected the community’s perception of the potential of a public school. The fair became a prototype, a micro-world of the constructionist environment that the school could be.

Roundtable 8: Underrepresented Groups

Location: HM 438
Chair: Vishesh Kumar

Badges, Brownies, Building; Applied Constructionism to Promote Confidence in STEM Topics in Girls

Christa Flores

The Asheville Museum of Science, in partnership with the Asheville area Peaks to Piedmont Girls Scouts council, designed and tested a series of two to three-hour Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workshops for girls ages five to ten. The workshops were a response to the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) releasing new badges, the first in a decade, that focused specifically on STEM skills. The workshops were held on Saturday mornings at the museum, most girls were accompanied by their mothers whom worked in collaboration with girls on projects. The curriculum for these workshops was based on three influences; the guidelines published for facilitators by the GSUSA, the tenants of meaningful making set forth by the Stanford Fablearn organization, and the historic under representation of females in STEM. Exit surveys were shared with the parents who accompanied their daughter during the workshop to assess any changes in their daughter’s confidence in the topic they studied during the workshops, either robotics or mechanical engineering.

Making in the Science Classroom: Inspiring and Empowering Underprivileged Minority Students

Rachael Murphy, Agustin Lara, Mandi Weathers, Hector Perez and Elizabeth Deuermeyer

In this educator’s submission, we describe a grant program funded by the National Science Foundation that has brought Maker-space technology into the formal classroom environment. Through this program, we as teachers have been able to see first-hand how our students can grow when given the opportunity to learn Making and engineering concepts alongside with their science curriculum. Over the four years of this project, our students’ worlds have been enlarged as they have the opportunity see themselves as future workers in fields involving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Students who once only saw themselves as Wal-Mart employees now want to be engineers, teachers, or computer programmers. Additionally, this program has given teachers and parents a chance to learn how to encourage young students to dream big, and has turned the teachers in to Makers themselves.

THE MAKER GAP: How Chicago Youth Centers’ Maker Labs Bridge the Achievement Gap and Prepare Children for Success

Steven Willis and Shannon Page

To help low-income students overcome employable and technological skills gaps, CYC created a robust STEAM (STEM + the arts) education program to provide access to technologies, equipment, and expert one-on-one instruction necessary to thrive in a 21st century economy.
The CYC Maker Lab bridges the employable skills gap by cultivating both STEM skills and non-cognitive skills. The Maker Lab is a creative and technical workshop where children become innovators. As they dream, design, and build, they develop STEM-focused technical skills (how to code, manipulate vectors, use a 3-D printer, etc.) and applied skills (how to think critically about complex problems, work in teams, and follow a project from idea to product). Both skillsets provide the framework for successful careers and lives.
In the Maker Lab, our children are artists, designers, and engineers—and the future skilled employees of a competitive global economy. CYC currently has Maker Labs in three of our seven Centers: CYC-Rebecca K. Crown Youth Center in South Shore, CYC-Elliott Donnelley Youth Center in Bronzeville, and CYC-Sidney Epstein Youth Center in North Lawndale.