Education for Makers and STEM Teachers
The Maker Movement is a social movement comprised of independent inventors, tinkerers, and designers. Makers, who resemble computer hackers from the 1960s and 1970s, create real-world artifacts.
Maker Education emphasizes hands-on learning.
It encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning by solving real-world problems.
This page is a gateway to valuable content for anyone interested in Maker Education.
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Maker Education Revolution
Using Maker Education as a model for education in the 21st century, Dr Peter Dalmaris explains how teachers, parents, and learners can apply the educational methods of inventors and innovators for the benefit of their students and children.
Read the entire book online right here. Downloadable eBook or paper back also available.
My understanding of technology as a child revolved around my parents' video cassette recorder and television. Everywhere I looked, there was technology that made life easier, but it was obviously in desperate need of radical improvement.
A brief history of modern education
The organisation of schools in the 18th and 19th centuries was very similar to that of today. Unlike their counterparts in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the purpose of these schools was to raise the literacy of the "common people" to a level suitable for life as a factory worker. In twenty-first-century technological societies, little has changed in terms of educational methods.
An education system in crisis
What is the purpose of education, and how can it best be achieved? Many centuries ago, philosophers attempted to answer this question.
The Prussian education system of the late 18th and early 19th centuries was designed to instill blind obedience to authority while also reinforcing class and race prejudice in children.
Think different: learners in charge
MOOCs have provided an incredible opportunity for millions of people to gain access to educational resources. From nuclear physics to supercomputing, liberal arts to philosophy, the Internet and educational platforms can teach anyone anything they want to know.
Learning like an inventor
Inventors are aware that inventions take a long time to produce results. Nikola Tesla believed that in order to be an effective inventor, one must be completely immersed in their work. Tesla, like Da Vinci, had a track record of mostly failures interspersed with successes.
Inventors and their process of make, test, learn
Above all, an inventor is a learner. Inventors solve real-world problems by developing physical solutions. They must make a series of decisions, apply knowledge from various domains, and investigate and learn about any new unknowns.
Maker Education: A new education revolution
The Maker Movement is a social movement comprised of independent inventors, tinkerers, and designers. Makers, who resemble computer hackers from the 1960s and 1970s, create real-world artefacts.
The philosophy of Maker Education
The philosophical foundations of the Maker Movement and the Maker educational style can be found in the writings of great philosophers. Aristotle was among the first to recognise the link between education and quality of life. Students, according to John Dewey, should be able to interact with and experience their curriculum.
The story of a learner in charge
Leo is an intelligent nine-year-old child who suffers from severe dyslexia. Leo was unable to find a classroom environment that fit his needs. While homeschooling, Leo and his dyslexic brother, Ari, are free to follow their interests in any area they choose.
Learners and mentors
Students in Maker Education are regarded as responsible individuals who are concerned with their own development as individuals and as Makers. The teacher is no longer solely responsible for developing curriculum specifications.
Learn by Play
A term used in education and psychology to explain how children make sense of the world is "learning through play." Children can explore, identify, take risks, and comprehend the world around them through play.
Deliberate practice has been demonstrated to be an effective method for achieving expert performance in a variety of competencies. There is a strong correlation between the amount of time a student spends not just practicing, but doing deliberate practice, and the student's long-term outcomes.
The importance of technology education
Engineering, technology, and science generate wealth, prosperity, and growth.
Between 2000 and 2008, nearly two-thirds of the UK's growth was attributed to innovation. Science and technology are becoming increasingly important to both developed and developing countries. In Australia and elsewhere, immigration fills the gap between the number of engineers and scientists required by industry and what universities produce.
How can we change the negative stereotypes that are so damaging to young people's perceptions of what it's like to be an engineer or scientist?
The role of the Arts in technology and education
At the Rhode Island School of Design, an initiative began to include a 'A' for Arts in STEM, making it 'STEAM' (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics). Computer-generated images, video, virtual reality, 3D printing, and high-tech tools for artists are transforming art.
The Maker Movement is redefining arts and crafts, as well as science and technology, as highly personal and social endeavours. Everyone is a maker, and as a result, everyone is also an artist. The arts can be utilised to naturally introduce children to the world of making.
Drive in Making
Motivation can be internal, such as the need to survive and be safe, or external, such as monetary rewards and social prominence.
Both drive and a growth mindset are naturally present in children, according to research. Maker Education focuses on nurturing and enhancing our natural desire to learn for the sake of learning.
Mindset in Making
A person who has a fixed mindset is predisposed to negativity. A person with a growth mindset is actively interested in improving.
The most important response from teachers and parents is a long-term intervention that will assist the student in developing a growth mindset. Studies show that the mindset of a student is a good predictor of their performance in life.
Learning at home: challenges and opportunities
There's no denying that learning at home is challenging. Peer pressure, performance pressure, and the typical feeling of embarrassment for asking a "silly" question are all learning barriers that can be overcome at home. A prescribed curriculum must be followed within the confines of a strict schedule in a formal learning environment.
Some people learn better in a group setting, while others prefer solitude, and some even have dyslexia. Learning challenges in formal learning environments are a daily reality for all children. Therefore, it is critical to consider approaches to improve learning at home.
Some of the things makers do
All of the project ideas in this article involve constructing a physical object, as Maker Education is all about learning through making. There is no material that isn't good enough in the Maker Education spirit - even a trip to the dumpster can yield a small treasure!
Many of us now have the ability to design and manufacture parts for open-source robotics, art, and everyday objects. One of the maker's favourite materials is cardboard, which can be used to construct simple robots. Learners can construct more complicated and geometrically exact objects using 3D printing, 3D scanning, and design.
The learning corner
Making a makerspace at home is now easier and less expensive than ever. A home makerspace is not required to have the same tools and materials as a public makerspace.
In this post, I'll go over the fundamentals of setting up a home makerspace. Because distance and scheduling are no longer an issue, having a dedicated space at home increases your likelihood of engaging in making.
Education tools are designed to facilitate learning. They make certain that the learner has as few 'gaps' in knowledge as possible.
Good tools make learning more effective and enjoyable. Most of what I present here are examples of educational tools (usually disguised as toys) for young self-learners. Educational tools make learning more efficient and enjoyable.
Online resources for Maker learners
There are numerous high-quality online resources for makers to find inspiration, knowledge, and practical advice. Some of them will be highlighted in this post.
To guarantee that they focus on teaching and learning, I chose resources that are not directly supported by a specific equipment vendor.
Brick-and-mortar resources for Maker learners
"Makerspaces" are gathering places for makers to converse and create. These establishments can be administered by a group such as a university or a library, or they can be run by individuals. A makerspace can help you expand your creativity and improve the quality of your work.
Members not only get access to tools, equipment, and space, but they also have access to certified training programs in topics like 3D printing and CNC milling. Makerspaces can be found in almost every major city on the planet.
Maker Movement Manifesto and the Learning Space
To create a flexible and engaging learning environment, you must be adaptable. This post examines the concepts that should guide any Maker Education learning environment to ensure that it adheres to the Maker Education spirit.
Can we afford to ignore Maker Education?
A core value of Maker-style education is learning by doing. In a Western or developed country, the average student will spend approximately eleven thousand hours in school. Less than 10% of that time is dedicated to teaching students how to think like a scientist or engineer.
I was given the opportunity to choose what I wanted to work on for my graduate project in my final year of university. I was able to experience the freedom I had craved since childhood - the freedom to experiment and create things that didn't work. What would life be like if the joy of making, as well as the sense of accomplishment and fulfilment it provides, were at the heart of our schooling years?
The new role of the school
There is almost no way to achieve any level of success in any field without the ability to solve problems, and computational thinking provides a methodology for developing such skills.
Initiatives such as Mathematics by Inquiry and the Coding Across The Curriculum program emphasise practical learning methodologies aimed at assisting young learners in developing fundamental making, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
The Maker Mind Meld Summit
Watch entire presentations from the 2019 Maker Mind Meld Summit. This content will be available soon.
Benoît Blanchon – Serialization and JSON
Benoît’s presentation is an introduction to JSON for Arduino users. He begins by implementing various serialization techniques to explain why JSON represents the best compromise for most projects. He continues with the implementation of JSON serialization from scratch, and finally, with a demonstration of how a library can be of help.
Simon Gao – The Manufacturing Process of a Printed Circuit Board
What happens to your Gerber files once you submit them to an online PCB manufacturer? In this presentation, Simon Gao will go into the details of the manufacturing process at PCBWay, a full-service Printed Circuit Board manufacturer.
Jon Evans – How to contribute to an Open Source project
You’ve probably been using open-source software (and maybe even hardware) for a while — you might not even know it! Maybe you’ve wanted to get involved in an open-source project but weren’t sure how. Perhaps you haven’t even thought about getting involved before!
Mark Wilson - FlipClock
Flipping pixels is easier than flipping plastic. Mark created an Arduino version of the classic “Flip clock.” In place of motors and gears and split flaps, he created a plausible-looking rendering of a device on a 480×320 pixel LCD shield. The impetus for the project was the challenge of creating a reasonable animation of the flipping action.
Other recommended resource about Maker Education
Philip Mallon discusses STEM education volunteering, University of the Third Age
Peter Dalmaris interview on the Sentral Station podcast: Maker Education
Reason to Think
John Lee Dumas talks about self-education success
Zafar Iqbal tells unusual maker stories
Martin Zwigl, Creative Maker, and his Arduino Projects
Richard Park on Network Engineering
An interview with Ranveig Strøm: entrepreneurship at CERN
Want to learn a new technology? You will need three things:
Quality educational Content
Learning from the best available sources can make a huge difference in how quickly and how well you can master whatever it is that you want to learn. Excellent educational sources will not only teach you well and fast; they will also delight you.
Be an Active Learner
Technology education is hands-on.
The only way to truly learn something new is by executing your own simple experiments.
Each experiment is an opportunity to learn a new skill, capability, tool, or feature.
Work on Realistic Projects
Once you have acquire a few new skills, how can you consolidate your knowledge so that you can create a fully working machine, like a robot or a plant incubator? Project work is your opportunity to bring together everything you learned into a single activity.
CTA for relevant courses and books (TBA)
Thousands of students have already taken our video courses to learn how to apply maker education principles in their learning and teaching.
Video on demand
With our video courses, it's like having a tutor showing you how to create circuits and write programs, one step at a time.
Help is here
If you need help, you can use our Community spaces tool to ask your questions, available in each lecture.
Keep calm and learn
Learn in a calm, distraction-free environment. No advertisements, no cat and dog videos to break your concentration. Just learning.
Let's make something together
Hi, I’m Peter.
I am an online educator and Maker, author of Maker Education Revolution, KiCad Like a Pro, and founder at Tech Explorations.
I create all the content on the Tech Explorations website.
Why? Because, as I already mentioned, I'm an educator and a Maker, and I have a Mission.
My mission is to help people learn electronics, programming, printed circuit board design, and lots more. Most importantly, I want to help as many people as possible to enjoy their technology education adventures.
After a 15 year career as a University Lecturer, I decided to become a Maker, again. Like most of us, as a child, I was curious, and I learned how things worked by experimenting with them (usually, this meant taking them apart and hoping to not loose any screws as I was putting things back together).
Growing up, I became an Engineer, only to loose my childish curiosity in the name of pursuing a career.
I became a child again once I got my first Arduino. With it, I started creating thing, tinkering with components, testing ideas. Even though I was a "career educator", it was only now that I realised how wrong my last 15 years of education had been. I was partly responsible for destroying the creativity of thousands of students, just like mine had been destroyed in the name of being a "proper adult".
At Tech Explorations, my job is to learn and to create. I learn what I am curious about, and I create educational content. This content is the record of my learning.
I don't create this content to teach "students". I create it to help learners learn things that they want to learn.
At the end of the day, we are all learners, and we learn from each other.
I sincerely hope that through the content I create at Tech Explorations, as many people as possible will be inspired to re-kindle their childhood curiosity, learn, and create amazing things.
Learning is social
The Internet has brought a revolution in publishing and learning. It is the biggest repository of knowledge that has ever existed, and it is getting exponentially bigger. For anything you want to learn, there's a good chance that someone has written a blog post or created a video about it.
Perfect! Well, not exactly. While there is a lot of great content out there, much of what is available on the Internet lacks quality, and most important, lacks the human connection.
The best learning is social. When you communicate with others that have been where you are now, you learn faster and better. You have someone to fall back when you need help, or discuss an idea when you are stuck.
At Tech Explorations, we support our students through our community tools because we know that this is the best way to learn and teach.
Helping is part of learning
Learning new skills and technologies is a journey into uncharted territory. It is much better if you have a map, and even better if you can "radio in" for help.
At Tech Explorations, we have made a big investment in our communication tools to make sure that no student is left behind. We have three levels of Support: Community Discussion Forums for each course, lecture-level Questions and Answers tool, and a Help Desk.
Our content is live and monitored by our team so that we can respond to student questions quickly. Speed is important because learning obstacles can have a devastating effect in our learning process, so we try our best to help our students smash through them.
Stay Calm And Keep Learning
The world and the Internet are extremely noisy places. Many "free" earning resources operate more like noisy open-air bazaars, with annoying distractions that aim to stop you from doing what you want to do (to learn something new) so that you can click on the next video (often about a cat doing a funny trick).
The loss of concentration alone accumulates to many hundreds of hours of lost learning productivity per learner per year.
Would you be able to learn how to program the Arduino in the food court of a shopping center? In a way, that's what many of us are doing.
At Tech Exploration, we have created a calm environment that is appropriate for immersive learning. Concentrate, turn off your mobile phone, start the lecture video, and follow on with the experiment.
That's all. Nothing else should compete for your attention.
The Path Forward
In this page we have given you lots of free and quality learning content, opportunities for hands on experimentation, and even larger projects that you can use to consolidate your learning. All that in a calm, learner-friendly environment.
A question I get a lot is "What should I do next?"
People that have just learned a new skill, like how to make an LED blink or spin a motor, are often overwhelmed. They have just grasp something new, but are having a hard time figuring out what is next.
It is totally understandable, and I have been there myself. In fact, I feel like that every time I learn a new thing, isolated from its possibilities.
Think about this: you just learned how to spin a motor. How can you build a robot out of that? What is the process of going from a single working component, to a system that brings together many components, into a working gadget?
The best answer I can give to this question is this simple process, plus a lot of perseverance (you need it when you decide to pursue something important):
- You need a project that excites you. This project gives you a goal, and even a path (although the path is not clear in the beginning). Think about what the project is about, and especially what it is supposed to do. This ("what is it supposed to do") is what gives you your project goal. You will need this for step 5 of this process.
- You need to analyse your project and break it down to its components. A robot is made of motors, motor controllers and microcontrollers, sensors, software, and a frame to hold everything together. Figure out what are main components in your project.
- Based on you analysis, figure out your level of knowledge in relation to the project components. You may have a good grasp of motors but lacking in sensor.
- Plan your prototyping process. This part of the process is critical, because you have to make several decision, that involve the hardware, software, and assembly of the gadget, but also the learning that you have to engage in in order to make this possible. You don't need to know everything before you begin, but you need to choose a place to begin. If you were to build a wheeled robot, for example, you could start with the wheel and motor assembly so that your robot can move, and leave the sensors for later. Why? Because you know how to use motors now. You can learn how to use sensors later. Like so many things in life, beginning is half of everything you do. The first iteration will give you the momentum and confidence you need to go for the second, third, until the last iteration.
- Repeat until the project is complete. The iterative process of prototyping is your guide. Each iteration solves problems and creates new ones. The new problems usually demand that you learn something new. Go on, learn it, and come back to continue with the current iteration. The project is complete when you have achieved the goal that you set in step 1. But here's the catch: In prototyping, like in life, everything is fluid. Your original goal was based on early assumptions of what you wanted to achieve, before you had actually done any work towards that goal. In the process of working towards your goal, the goal changes! Be mindful of that, and know that it is Ok. Enjoy the process, and the achievement of the result.
This is the process that I follow with my projects, including my books and my courses. Over time, you will become better at picking projects and especially analysing them so that what you eventually create is very close to your original goal.
The only way to build up your project management and gadget building skills is to do it.
And we are here to help you 🙂
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