Discovery: I have a challenge. How do I approach it?

My challenge: My challenge with the Maker project is to use the Design Thinking Model to create a lesson that synthesizes the principles of the Maker Movement with the philosophies of learning in order to engage students and maximize their learning. I think part of my challenge is also to re-orient my thinking about solving problems. 

I would consider myself a maker, a creator, even an artist at times, and while I would never call myself an inventor, I am open to considering the idea of “making” with technology. However, it’s very important to me that I don’t just use technology for technology’s sake. I’m a little suspicious of this project because it sounds like this is becoming that. 

However, I understand that the maker movement offers a variety of experiences for kids who tinker, who discover, who manage their learning only when they feel like they find instant value in their work. The Maker Movement seems to offer that. Kids become makers all the time. 

I’m reminded of the hundreds of “forts” that my brother and I created in the backyard, in the living room, in the basement of our family home growing up. I think of the “elevator” we made when climbing a particularly tall tree. I remember the wicked catapult that my dad made with me for my high school physics class- that could ultimately throw a tennis ball 26 feet! Those experiences hold so much value for me. So while I’m cautious about this idea of using tech for tech’s sake- I can see how this idea of making with technology can become an objective in order to maximize a student’s experience. I think that the real challenge will be relating this to ELA content. 

As I tinkered with coding yesterday, I thought to myself how like learning a language it is. Perhaps there are some commonalities between creating a world within code and the content that my students must master. I’m also doing work with Game-Based Learning, and I’m beginning to see some commonalities there too. The idea of having an objective, and pursuing it against all constraints with a loyalty to methods and playing the game itself? I think that lends itself to creation, and to this Design Thinking Model. 

I’ll look forward to seeing how our research and work with Maker Movement comes together at the end. 



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