From mid 2017 to mid 2018, Macquarie University’s Department of Educational Studies partnered with the NSW Department of Education, Carlingford West Public School, Parramatta East Public School, Oatlands Public School and Makers Empire for a research project on maker pedagogy in primary schools.
The collaborative research project focused on the impact of maker pedagogies in K-2 settings through the provision of the Learning by Design course, a blended teacher professional development program and the use of high quality 3D modelling and printing tools.
The recently published research study report revealed that makerspaces can be highly effective at developing children’s creativity, critical thinking, design thinking and digital skills.
Students were highly engaged with the 3D technology, and the idea of solving genuine design challenges – it helped boost their confidence and resilience when dealing with setbacks, particularly for those less capable students.
The research study also showed that teachers became more comfortable with technology, and more collaborative and flexible in their teaching. Furthermore, all of the 24 classroom teachers who participated in the focus group expressed a desire to integrate 3D design-based makerspaces into their future classes.
Following the successful 2017-2018 research project, NSW schools are invited to submit expressions of interest to join the Maker Pedagogy Network Project (MPNP) to begin in Term 1, 2019.
The Maker Pedagogy Network Project
The MPNP is designed to develop sustainable and scaleable models of professional learning that lead to effective implementation of maker pedagogies, STEM learning outcomes and improvement in students’ critical, creative and Design Thinking abilities.
The MPNP works towards the goals of the National STEM School Education Strategy 2016-2026 by engaging students in exciting, challenging STEM learning that is connected to their real-world experiences; helping teachers to develop pedagogical approaches that enable students to combine STEM knowledge with critical, creative and design thinking; and building teacher capacity as mentors in their own and other sites.
To achieve this, over term one and two in 2019, MPNP participants will undertake Makers Empire’s popular Learning by Design course.
Students participating in the Maker Pedagogy Network Project will:
- Address the new NSW Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus with a particular focus on Design and Production.
- Develop their creativity and important critical thinking, Design Thinking and digital skills.
- Learn how to solve real-world problems with Design Thinking.
Teachers participating in the Maker Pedagogy Network Project will:
- Complete full days of professional development including 20+ hours of NESA accredited professional development at the Proficient Teacher level.
- Develop pedagogical approaches that enable students to develop deep technological knowledge as well as critical, creative and Design Thinking skills.
- Be supported to design innovative learning programs that provide authentic, meaningful contexts for students to engage in STEM and maker-based learning using 3D design and printing.
- Activate the potential of 3D technologies to develop and enhance students’ 21st-century learning skills.
- Become more comfortable with technology and more collaborative and flexible in their teaching.
Timeline for the Maker Pedagogy Network Project
- Face to Face PD Day 1 for participating teachers – Thursday February 21st, Week 4
- Face to Face PD Day 2 for participating teachers – Thursday March 14th, Week 7
- Student Learning Showcase – Thursday June 27th, Week 9
Maker Pedagogy Network Project Inclusions
& Cost (with a 50% discount)
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (PD)
USUAL PRICE: $5,000
- 20 hours of NESA accredited professional learning
- 2 face-to-face PD days
- 1 showcase day to share your learning
- 2-hour online, on-demand PD course
- Project management and reports
- For 2+ teachers per school
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
USUAL PRICE: $5,000
- 12-month subscription to Makers Empire:
- Easy to use 3D software
- Class management tools
- 150 curriculum-aligned lesson plans
- Built-in student assessment
- Ongoing support
- For all teachers and students in a school
- 3 x FlashForge Inventor IIs 3D printers
- 20 rolls of biodegradeable PLA filament
- Hardware training
- Hardware support
- Shipping included
Schools are invited to join the Maker Pedagogy Network Project 2019 for $5,000.
(This is a 50% discount on the usual $10,000 cost)
ENDORSED BY the NSW Education Standards Authority
Makers Empire’s Learning by Design course is endorsed by the NSW Education Standards Authority. Specifically, Makers Empire’s Learning by Design course will contribute 20 hours of NESA Registered PD as follows:
1.2.2, 2.1.2., 2.2.2, 2. 6.2., 3.3.2., 3.4.2., 4.5.2., 6.3.2., 6.4.2. and 7.4.2. from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW, Australia.
Quotes from Teachers Interviewed for the Makerspaces in Primary School Settings Research Study
- “Makerspaces is [sic] bringing the best pedagogies together, delivering the ultimate teaching and learning experiences for students and teachers. It [is about] problem solving, thinking critically and creatively and integrating across all KLAs. It’s empowering students to propose solutions, try and refine without the fear of failure. It’s the best example I have seen of collaboration between students (and teachers!) It really is bringing learning to life.” [page 175]
- “The first lesson in my class, I just let them go for it instead of being very explicit like I normally am. And it was incredible to see what they could figure out just by playing around with the app and then share with their peers.” [page 192-193]
- “A lot of them, their resilience [improved]. The kids that would just sort of give up learnt a lot more about persevering with it, and to keep trying, which was good. And the main thing that I loved was that they sort of found problems with their designs and they weren’t really intimidated by that anymore.” [page 196]
- “I really liked how it allowed me to look at learning as a whole, right, not ‘this is English, this is Maths’… Really, I could think about in what ways I could make it more meaningful. I could change it and relate it to all the Key Learning Areas.” [page 8]
- “One of the good things was, we were all learning with the children and along the way we communicated that with them.” [page 205]
- “I think my students have been able to explore what it is like to learn in a future focused setting…they’re able to investigate real world problems independently and explore their critical thinking skills and designing skills.” [page 177]
- “I think one of the best things about Makers Empire is that they’re obviously very considerate… They’ve already got a lot of ideas for programmes and ways you could integrate that into your units and things like that… teachers today are time poor and there’s always another thing added to the top of the pile… you’re not having to start from scratch.” [page 207]
You can view and download the full report here.
Project Expectations and Commitment Required
- Identify and provide release (approximately 2 days) for at least two participating classroom teachers or teams of teachers.
- Support capacity building of classroom teachers through the facilitation of ‘flow-on’ professional learning within their sites.
- Attend face to face professional learning, up to 2 days.
- Participate in online professional learning communities.
- Design, trial and document a unit of work or learning plan for publication that uses 3D modelling and design aligned with the new NSW Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus with a particular focus on Design and Production.
- Participate in the Schools Showcase.
- Participate in pre- and post-project surveys.
‘It was amazing’: How 3D printers taught kids to take risks
“Alexis King was dubious about whether kindy kids would engage with a 3D printing project. But her doubts disappeared as she watched them designing a boat for teddy bears, testing it out, then going back to fix the design if it didn’t work.
“It was amazing,” said Ms King, the deputy principal of Carlingford West Public School. “I was so surprised, and so thrilled that the skills they’ve learned in kindy have fed into that early pipeline of stem success.”
Maker spaces – areas where kids can get creative with science and technology – are popular in primary schools, especially with a new K-6 science syllabus beginning next year. But there has been little research to support that enthusiasm…”
Register Your School’s Interest in the Maker Pedagogy Network Project 2019 By 14/12/18