Makers Empire’s new Notes feature (available in the November 2021 version of Makers Empire) brings a whole new level of interaction and communication opportunities to students’ design-based learning. This feature will be available in the new update of Makers Empire, scheduled to launch in November. In this post, we will share our favourite ways for using the Notes feature to enhance classroom teaching and learning.
1. Label Parts
Students can add notes to label different parts of their designs. This can be a great way for students to demonstrate their understanding of specific vocabulary, topics, and concepts across many different curriculum areas. For example: students might be asked to design a model of an animal’s life cycle and label each stage, or perhaps they might design a scene from Ancient Egypt and label parts of their design that show key groups in the hierarchical social structure.
2. Construct Narratives
Students can use the Notes feature to construct a narrative in Makers Empire. They can design elements of the plot and setting and then add notes to tell their story in a sequence. The notes can then be played to turn their design into a storytelling experience.
3. Address Design Criteria
When students use Makers Empire as a tool to support the design thinking process, they will be creating designs that meet certain criteria that has been negotiated or developed themselves. Students can now add notes to their designs to show how they have addressed the design criteria. This is a great assessment tool that promotes self-reflection and evaluation of designs.
4. Provide Peer Feedback
The new Notes feature can be used to provide more explicit and specific feedback to guide students’ learning. It’s also a great way for students to give each other peer feedback and support each other as learners. Students can import another student’s design and add comments to specific sections or objects of the design. The designer is then able to import their design again and respond to the feedback comments.
5. Create Interactive Quizzes
Students can turn their designs into the ultimate quiz game with the new Notes feature. This could be a great interactive assessment task. Students would start by creating a design related to a current learning topic. They would then create quiz questions based on their new learning and add these questions as notes to relevant parts of their design. Student can then import each other’s designs and respond to the quiz questions by adding notes.
6. Create Information Trail
The Notes feature allows students to add notes in sequence. This can be used to create an information trail through a design. The Play button allows comments to played back in a specific order, highlighting the appropriate sections or objects within a design. Imagine students creating a trail and adding comments to show the cause and effects of a significant historical event or sequencing the key scenes from a novel or movie.
7. Present Reports
Use the new Notes feature to provide a new way for students to present information reports. Students could create a design representing their research topic, such as an animal in its natural habitat, and then use the Notes feature to add sentences or paragraphs for their information report. Alternatively, students could create an annotated diagram or design to include as part of an information report.
8. Meet Literacy Outcomes
Makers Empire’s new Notes feature makes it easier to include literacy learning outcomes as part of students’ design-based learning. Students might be asked to label a design using a certain number of comments, or practice using new vocabulary words to label their designs.
9. Write Persuasive Texts
We see many teachers using 3D modelling tasks to help students develop their skills in writing persuasive texts by asking students to justify why their design should be 3D printed or chosen from a selection of other students’ designs. Student could use the Notes feature to attached persuasive text to particular points in their design. For example, students could identify the 3 most important features of their design.
10. Pose Questions
Students could use the Notes feature to pose questions for others to answer. The answers to the questions could be revealed in the next comment. This would allow students to create a treasure hunt style trail, or even a choose your own adventure style story. This could also be used to pose jokes and riddles with the answers being revealed in the next note.
We are really excited about our new Notes feature, and we are sure you will love it too. We are also sure that you’ll come up with lots of interesting and creative ways to use the feature. Please feel welcome to send your ideas or examples to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to share your great ideas with other teachers in our community.
How to Use Notes in a Makers Empire Design
We designed Notes to encourage students to spend a bit more time describing the key features of their designs and explaining the thinking behind their solutions. This is immensely helpful for teachers when reviewing and assessing their students’ work.
Notes are far more interactive, contextual and engaging than a simple description added once a design is finished.
For detailed instructions read the Notes help article.