When I asked the students what they liked about the MakerSpace time they had they said:
"had a choice to make what I like."
When I asked then how they felt when they finished something they said:
''happy because I made it on my own."
What I gained from this experience is:
1. A deeper understanding of the students I work with in a way I would not have had without have a MakerSpace. For example I thought that one student kept on changing the meccano car he was choosing to make when it got too hard to another model. From this I made the assumption he lacked persistence and liked things to be easy. When talking to his father about this I found out how wrong I was as he has draws full of lego models he had spent hours making. I went back and asked the student why he kept changing and it was because he wanted to make a meccano car without help. This is a skill and attitude that showed he would be a good worker in jobs that required persistence and independence.
Another student showed me she is able to recognise and solve problems on her own and explain to me why she was able to do this. This led me to leave her to attempt to solve problems on other subjects such as maths before I offered support.
When we were doing coding another young man showed me that one way he learns is that he can follow video instructions more accurately than verbal ones. This led me to plan to use video instruction with him next year when he starts work experience.
2. Having a MakerSpace in my classroom has inspired me to improve my pedagogy by changing my teaching practice in other subjects I teach. I deliberately started to offer more hands-on opportunities and promote more active engagement with students. For example in literacy we made name tags to sit on our desks using a pop-up card method. I used the online quiz maker Kahoot for assessment and Ed-Puzzle to make videos we watched interactive.
3. My classes have become fun, interesting and more hands on.
The challenge has been to get to know my students so well that I can highlight different forms of success and the valuable graduations of learning that happen on a daily, weekly and annual basis. The journey continues as I look forward to a new group of students who come with a different set of challenges in 2017.......
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