Sunday, August 23, 2015

Visit to Hillel Day School Part 3 -- Places to Make & Create

This is a third reflection on my visit to Hillel Day School and how it impacts my thoughts on redesigning major spaces in our building such as Mercy's Media Center. The first post focused on the marriage of design and innovative instruction. The second focused on collaboration and student agency.

This post reflects on the "maker spaces" provided for students by Hillel. The maker movement is one of the hottest in education. As explained in the Harvard Education Review:

The learning that occurs through the experience of making and the learning that occurs through instruction in new media share an unexpected pedagogical kinship. As Groff (2013) points out, we are reaching a period where it is just as easy for young people to produce. . . .The phenomenon that some have termed the “maker movement,” which describes the wave of interest in constructing and sharing personal inventions and creative artifacts, reconfigures the learner as a producer rather than a consumer. -- Harvard Education Review.

Hillel has assorted areas throughout the building for students to engage in self-directed "making" or the creation of products for projects. It is an ideal environment for the the kind of Challenge Based Learning Mercy students have done in the past. Students have access to cameras, power tools, 3-D printers, and a rich variety of assorted gadgets which they can use in areas like the green screen room, maker space, learning studio and Da Vinci Room.

At Mercy I am intent on reclaiming a space for making, the focus being the use of multimedia equipment. It would be a place where an individual, group, or club (iWizards, Robotics Team, etc.) could have access to equipment that was not tied to a course or a specific academic department. Below I have shared a design with which we are working. While is relatively small it would give us a toe -hold on our own maker movement. I expect to initially equip it with a portable or painted green screen, cameras, mics, MacBooks, and iMac and a 3-D printer. We are writing a grant application for this venture....But if you are a wealthy alumna reading this post, perhaps you would like this room named for you!

I will be writing more about these projects as they develop. . . . And I am hoping to visit the Hillel 7th/8th section with my principal when it is finished.

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