As this leg of the journey draws to a close…

This week as my initial learning odyssey into MAET comes to a close I was asked to look back at my journey through two lenses:

First, Professional Assessment & Evaluation: Especially in regards to the Maker Kits used in the course… 
After deeply engaging with Maker Education for the past few weeks I can honestly say that it has only fueled my interest in bringing a deeper ingrained maker culture to my school.  I currently work in a Project Based Learning environment where the students are encouraged to pursue their passions and questions and potentially create a product that goes along with it. This is inline with the idea of the Maker Movement in education.  I wholeheartedly think that education being student driven and making the student the creator of their learning journey is a powerful idea in education.  However I did not see the use of the Squishy Circuit kits useful in my current teaching environment.  While the idea of the kits somewhat embodying the maker movement in a school setting I did not think they lent themselves to my area of expertise, English.  They would have limited use in my project based, alternative ed, high school classroom.  I do however think they are a wonderful tool for use in lower elementary school classrooms who are teaching multiple subjects to their students in a given day.  Often Educational Technology can center on the areas of Math and Science, which is evidenced in AnneMarie Thomas’ post about maker culture and STEM education, so finding ways to bring an item so geared to that area into a classroom often left out of the focus was difficult to do.

This also leads me to my second lens

Personal Assessment & Evaluation: in terms of my own growth and work and suggestions for improvement or alternative methods of assessment of work in the course…
I feel that assessment is intertwined with content, and therefore found that being evaluated on using a kit that didn’t fit my current situation difficult to understand and frustrating.  While we are expected to be graded on pushing our limits in this program, being graded based on a tool that was limiting from the get go did not sit well with me.  My solution to the assignments involving the kit was to chose to go the creative route with using the Squishy Kit, as that is championed in my classroom and inline with Wiggins’ call for assessing creativity directly (which fits within my discipline as well).  However, I felt that I wasn’t being graded on finding ways to use the technology within my current situation, or the creativity that came with that, but rather that it wasn’t hitting the “sweet spot” of TPACK where curriculum, technology and pedagogy combine…difficult to do with the kit provided to be honest. However I felt that the assignments that didn’t involve the kit did ask me to stretch my thinking and creativity in terms of my classroom and pedagogy. I have taken away from these assignments a greater sense that the mission of my classroom and building is on the right track for my students success in life and becoming life-long learners, as well as to what role technology plays in that.

References:

Thomas, A. (2012, September 7). Engaging students in the STEM classroom through “Making” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from Edutopia website:http://www.edutopia.org/blog/stem-engagement-maker-movement-annmarie-thomas

Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should [Blog post]. Retrieved from Granted, and… ~ thoughts on education by Grant Wiggins  http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/

 

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