Makers and Making

While school traditionally separates art and science, theory, and practice, such divisions are artificial. The real world just doesn’t work that way. Architects are artists. Craftsmen deal in aesthetics, tradition and mathematical precision. Video game designers rely on computer science…The maker community brings children, hobbyists and professionals together in a glorious celebration of personal expression with modern flare. (Invent to Learn: Making Tinkering and Engineering in the Classroom by Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez)

Michelle Jensen  kindly invited me to An Evening with the Makers at the Engine Room last night. Andrew Stone guided us to enjoy our new Raspberry Pi kits. It was a good laugh and really got me thinking about my personal pedagogy, learning preferences and prejudices, especially after having the day being stimulated by David Christian and others at the Big History Conference.

I was hopeless as a kid at mechano, really struggled with circuit boards in Year 7 electronics and often avoid making practical things. I prefer words. I’d much rather read about something, or write, than work with my hands making something. This is very personally limiting prejudice but has been part of the artificial divisions in our educational system for a very long time. It is a similar problem to the balkanisation of the school curriculum that Big History explores.

I need to think about this much more. We so need to have an integrated, coherent approach to learning and the organisation of schools. It is essential that students are able to make choices about what they lear at school but to have a much more holistic approach to the experience of learning at school.

Maker culture is growing in Australia and it is wonderful that teacher-librarians are interested in exploring, practically, what this means. Evan Predavec blogged about the evening too and his positive impressions of the event.  Dominik Fretz was very helpful and Bruce Tulloch had some excellent insights into where our education system needs to change. You can check out the twitter hashtags #slanswmakers #ozberrypi and this wiki

I will definitely be keeping an ear to the ground for when there is a Maker Faire that I can alert our students about and maybe attend myself with my daughters now we have a Raspberry Pi to play with and make stuff at home.

Featured image: cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by Beñat Irasuegi: http://flickr.com/photos/irotzabal/7683786250/

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The views expressed at this site are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

1 Comment

  1. Debbie Hunter:

    Darcy.. great thinking here that helps mine too. As a Teacher Librarian who attended this event, I am thinking of ways to make that space in the library for kids to come and play in an organised and supported place. I have watched the Hour of Code activities this week in US, and wonder why we label these activities by subject.. Science Week there! Harder challenge for libraries to embrace if schools label these vital skills too heavily to a subject! The Maker Faire concept must roll on! Might see you at the next one too :)
    Thanks for clarifying our thinking here!

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