Sunday, October 20, 2013

Making and Doing

Next year the international space station will be different - it will have its first 3D printer and so the scientists there will be able to make spare parts and other components that are needed in space - they will be able to produce things in space and not have to make them on Earth and then launch them.  I heard this fact last week at the Learning 2.013 conference and it's been stuck in my head ever since.  For me, being able to design something in one place, and then send the programme somewhere else and actually produce it has blurred the lines between science and science fiction.  Why would you need to build something here and then launch it, when you can simply make it there?  Smart tools allow us to design our own objects and fabricate them quickly anywhere.

Later I went down to the Maker Space with Brian Smith from Hong Kong International School and he showed me the "home" for the Raspberry Pi that had been made by one of the participants in his session.  The design had been downloaded and then made.

Last summer I also attended a pre-conference workshop at ISTE with Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez.  Gary talked about how education has shifted over the past 20 - 30 years as a result of standardized testing and teaching to those tests with the end result being that classrooms are often "devoid of play, rich materials and the time to do projects."   On our return to school a team of people set about creating our first Maker Space on our elementary campus with the aim of turning us all into makers - engineering and computer science is now being brought to even our youngest students as the students are learning by doing.  Gary writes:
Digital fabrication devices such as 3D printers and physical computing including Arduino, MaKey MaKey and Raspberry Pi, expand a child's toy chest and toolbox wit new ways to make things and new things to make.  
This will be a space where teachers and students can learn together through direct experience with high and low-tech materials.  Gary will be visiting ASB next month and I'm excited to see the impact this visit will have on how we use our Maker Space to learn.

No comments:

Post a Comment