Makers Empire recently concluded a Ministry of Education school pilot in Israel led by Noa Lahav from the Ministry of Education’s Innovation Division. The Makers Empire pilot was delivered remotely under varying COVID-19 social distancing policies at schools.
The pilot began this January at Rishon LeZion’s Yadlin School, which is under Rishon LeZion Municipality’s Education Department. Pilot planning, implementation and teacher training was delivered by Nirit Hann, an EdTech specialist at the central district working with teachers Anna Yungi and Maya Zuker.
The key educators involved in this pilot were:
- Noa Lahav, pilot lead at the Ministry of Education’s Innovation Division;
- Nirit Hann, an EdTech specialist at the central district;
- Anna Yungi, a teacher at Yadlin School; and
- Maya Zuker, a teacher at Yadlin School.
3D Design Competition
Approximately 400 students at 38 schools in the Rishon LeZion Municipality also participated in a custom 3D design competition called Mars Expedition organised by Makers Empire.
Mars Expedition design challenge: the year is 2021 and NASA has sent another robotic vehicle (Rover) to search for life signs on Mars. What do you think should be explored on Mars? Your task is to create a model of a Rover, gadget or technological tool with which it will be possible to perform diverse research missions on Mars in order to gather vital information for the arrival of… humans!
Here are the winning designs:
The overall winning design was this striking creation by Idan Shasho (below, centre). Also pictured, from left to right: Avichai, Manhigutech coordinator at Sinai School, Nirit, EdTech specialist at the central district, Anat, headmaster at Sinai School and Nitzanit, Rishon LeZion’s head of innovation in the Education Department.
What Teachers Thought of Makers Empire
The teachers participating in the pilot were positive. Maya said her students enthusiastically took to Makers Empire. “Students kept working and sending more models than required (didn’t happen with Tinkercad).”
She added, “the gamification (of Makers Empire) was encouraging and they enjoyed moving forward… students enjoyed the social and sharing features – liking and commenting.”
Maya also commented on how user-friendly Makers Empire was for teachers. “It’s very user friendly – even for teachers who are less tech-savvy… it was great to have activities for students who finished their work.”
In a different way, Anna was pleasantly surprised to discover that distance learning actually enhanced her students’ Makers Empire experience. “Surprisingly, distance learning made it more successful – students worked in teams and helped each other with problems, could work in teams even with students that aren’t in their classroom.”
Anna added, “students who are struggling in class flourish – the guided steps gave them confidence and were helpful… It’s (also) easier for a teacher who begins teaching 3d modeling to learn Makers Empire than Tinkercad.”
What Students Thought of Makers Empire
The Yadlin School teachers surveyed their students before and after the pilot to gauge the impact of using Makers Empire on their students. The results were as follows:
High levels of student engagement
81% of students said that Makers Empire made learning more interesting
77% of students said that using Makers Empire made them want to create more models
79% of students wanted to keep using Makers Empire
High levels of satisfaction regarding ease of use
92% of students said that the onboarding steps were easy or very easy
93% of students said that designing in 3D using Makers Empire was easy or very easy
82% of students said that doing the design missions was easy or very easy
A Positive Pilot Experience
Noa Lahav, the pilot lead at the Ministry of Education’s Innovation Division, said, “we were very pleased with the pilot results and testimonials, and decided to expand the pilot in order to gather more use cases with teachers and students in various content areas and age groups. We hope the pilot will be a success as we explore the possibility of offering access to Makers Empire nationwide.”
Lap Leung, Director of Sales at Makers Empire said, “we are happy to know that the teachers and students at Yadlin school had such a positive experience piloting Makers Empire. We enjoyed working with the Ministry of Education team and consultants and the Yadlin School teachers to meet their learning objectives and deliver an effective school pilot.”
Managed school pilots for groups of schools
A managed pilot with Makers Empire is designed to be delivered to groups of schools to deliver superior professional development and learning opportunities for teachers and provide them with a peer network for support.