Maker Education in Colorado
The Maker Movement has been making its way into schools throughout the country, and also here in Colorado. Schools are incorporating into classes and lessons maker activities which allow students to solve problems engaging their knowledge of math, science, and sometimes art to their academic requirements. Newsweek even went so far as to say: “Ten years from now, primary and secondary education may look more like a scene from Tim Allen’s workshop in The Santa Clause than Ben Stein’s economics class in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
We are Teachers claims the Maker Movement brings three game changers to education. The first being Computer Controlled Fabrication Devices which they believe gives students the ability to make their own object, with 3D printing. Another game changer is physical computing such as robotics. The last game changer is programming, which opens up the world of computing. These maybe the three major things that the Maker Movement can do for education. There is so much that students can learn through hands on learning.
There are so many positive reasons to add making to the curriculum at schools, Betty Ray wrote for East Bay Mini Maker Faire five reasons kids should be makers.
- Making creates authentic experiences for learning. Not only do kids have to learn, but they have to apply the learning.
- Kids are motivated because of what they are creating instead of sitting down to do a worksheet. The next is that making deepens social and emotional skills. Meaning that making helps kids not only work on projects but work together, and learn to collaborate.
- Making is not just limited to science, technology, engineering or math but humanities and social studies as well.
- Making teaches kids how to fail, learning that failing is not the end but the beginning of improvement is key in the education system. Right now in education failing is seen as bad thing instead of a means of improvement.
- Making is accessible to anyone. Getting started is easy and anyone can do it. She finishes by saying that: “All you really need is curiosity and the ability to let your child explore and try things out and fail a few times.”
If you want to know more about the Maker programs in your area, here are a few.
- E³Learning CO provides personalized learning opportunities for K-12 students and homeschoolers in the Loveland area offered by Thompson Schools.
- Mackintosh Academy, a school in Boulder, nurtures the keen minds and compassionate hearts of the gifted child in a responsive and caring community of learners.
- Thompson STEM Elementary School provide STEM education to elementary students in the Thompson School District.
- Skyline High School’s STEM Academy, located in Longmont, gives students the opportunity to develop multi-cultural relationships within teams to collaboratively solve problems and to develop leadership skills.
- Colorado STEM Academy, located in Westminster, is focused on stimulating the growth of young minds. Helping them to learn critical thinking and technical skills.
- The Lotus School, Located in Aurora, is a college preparatory school with a rigorous and innovative educational program focusing on STEAM Education.
- Auroura Public Schools STEM Pathways offers an intermediate and advanced engineering plan of study, Project Lead the Way, which is a hands-on challenging curriculum that provides students contextual learning experiences.
- Threshold School, located in Centennial, is a transformative, groundbreaking 6th through 12th grade independent school, opening in the fall 2015. It will facilitate thought leaders and world change-makers, preparing its students to confront the big environmental, social, and technological issues of this century and also giving them a distinct marketability edge.
- The Phoenix Garage teaches at risk youth STEM and job skills.
This is just a taste of the maker movement in Colorado schools. During the Denver Mini Maker Faire being held in the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, we will launch a MakerEd workshop for teachers and organizations interested in Maker Education. Contact us (link) if you would like to be involved.