Remixing is a powerful and empowering activity - a great first act of making for students and teachers alike because it gives you a concrete starting point to jump off from as you make changes. Yet, remixing can often be restricted by copyright laws, which is why Creative Commons is so important as a framework and skillset for all makers to understand. This post offers an example of remixing and some references about copyright that are important to understand before you start making and remixing on your own. margaret-powers.com This past week I had a chance to start Adapting Innovative Technologies in Education, a new course for my Graduate Certificate in Ed Tech. I spent the week learning more about remixing and reflecti…
A great next step to get into making is to try hacking a project you've seen done or have at home (e.g., an old toy) and experimenting with new tools and materials. To see an example, check out my explorations with Circuit Stickers and LEDs to create a student response system. margaret-powers.com I spent most of the past week out in Colorado for the Teaching, Learning, and Coaching conference (an amazing professional learning experience!) and in between sessions, I spent as much time as I c…
As you begin creating remixes and experimenting with different tools, materials, and teaching approaches that involve making, it is important to learn more about some of the underlying theory and research. Reading about constructivism and constructionism is a great place to start and also learning about how to use making as a tool offer more personalized learning opportunities to all students and teachers. margaret-powers.com I watched a great TED talk by Richard Culatta (2013) this week. It helped me reflect on what he calls the digital divide (the disparity between educators using technology to replicate old practices…
Once you have had a chance to do some remixing and playful experimentation of your own and you have explored some of the underlying research supporting the Maker Movement, you're ready to design some new lesson plans! Using what you know, explore how you can design new units or individual lessons to incorporate making and check out this example of a first grade unit as a way to get started. margaret-powers.com Now that we have the I.D.E.A. Studio  (Imagination Destination at Episcopal Academy), a new space at my school for interdisciplinary work, I have been excited to collaborate with teachers to imagin…
As you begin to design lessons that incorporate making, it is important to consider how you are going to assess students' work and their development of maker mindsets. This post discusses a variety of ways (e.g., self-assessment, peer assessment, formative assessment) to do this in your classroom. Explore them and see which one(s) are best for you and your students. margaret-powers.com “[Making] is intrinsic, whereas a lot of traditional, formal school is motivated by extrinsic measures, such as grades. Shifting that control from the teacher or from an expert to the participant, …
If you are starting to change your lessons and teaching practices, it is also important to consider whether you need to change the learning environment. Step back and consider whether you could redesign your classroom space to invite more opportunities for making and collaborative problem-solving. Get creative in how you use wall space, storage, and seating and check out this post for some more resources and inspiration. margaret-powers.com After exploring more of SketchUp this week, I took time to create a model of the redesign that happened to our Lower School storage closet this past summer. There was a lot of work that had to happ…
If you are regularly making, experimenting, and creating, it might already be clear to you why #makerEd is worth adding to your teacher toolbox. Once you start designing lesson plans, changing your classroom environment, and personalizing student learning, you are really ready to make #makerEd a regular part of your practice, one of your go-to tools. This infographic provides a breakdown of why it is worth adding it to your toolbox. margaret-powers.com Creating infographics is a great way to check for understanding because a well-crafted infographic requires you to drill down larger theories and the supporting research to key themes and concepts.…
The Maker Movement is a chance to provide students with access to new materials and tools and to help them develop new mindsets and skillsets that students can use throughout their lives. Infusing your teaching with making is an ongoing process which requires ongoing learning, exploration, play, and discovery. Continue to repeat this cycle with your students, iterating on your existing ideas, lessons, assessments, and space and share out what you discover because we all have so much to learn from one another.
I think a core part of becoming a maker is spending time documenting our experiences, reflecting on that documentation, and sharing our reflections with others. I put a person in the center of the cycle because I like to think that all making, like design thinking, is human-centered and should focus on empathetic design/making and building meaningful relationships among a growing and inclusive community of makers.

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