Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Maker and Creativity in Grade 4

In a previous blog post I wrote about how our Grade 4 teachers planned to give students more voice and choice in the tech tools they were using (see the following blog posts:  part 1, part 2 and part 3).  Today we had an elementary assembly and students shared their reflections of this new model and the process they went through in order to become more creative and have more choices.  This post is about the students' perspectives.

In early December, students chose to learn or practice 3 tech-projects for a week each. The original options were, Weebly webpages, Powtoon, Green Screening, Paper Slides, and Stop Motion videos. In January we added in Maker Faire activities such as Arduino Circuitboards, Cardboard construction with MakeDo and Rollobox, arts and crafts, and LittleBits and SnapCircuits. For our third session 2 weeks ago we included Code Academy, Google Presentations, Prezi, and Lego. Students now have a greater sense of creativity, tools to make the products, and technology to share their learning.

By having more tech options children are able to enhance their learning and expand their level of creativity. Students were allowed to pick one tech tool that they were interested in. This is the part where curiosity is included. After teachers guide the children and show them different tools they leave the students to explore and experiment with the equipment in order for the students to understand why this tool is useful and how it makes the project better. This also gives the students a chance to think abut ideas that they can use in their project. By having choices of technology we also learn different things that we can also teach to others.

Two weeks ago on Thursday, teachers from all over the world came to visit our school for ASB-Unplugged. They came to see our creativity learning with high-tech and low-tech tools. Students chose 2 things to do during the afternoon. The teachers went around watching students enjoy their time. Here is a video about those tech sessions and maker-space creations. Please note: in the middle of the video there is a black screen for about 5 seconds.

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