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Unidiversity Makerspace Coordinator Certification Program

Posted on May 10, 2021 by Fran Yang

Makery and Technology Integration Specialist


What are 3 things I took away/​learned?

1) Design thinking is a process that can be applied to all areas of learning and help the learner to develop vital skills for navigating an uncertain and constantly evolving future. Students enrich their ability to be divergent thinkers, ask questions, view things from multiple perspectives, be empathetic and seek the opinion of others, diversify their interests, experiment with new ideas and embrace mistakes and failure as a crucial part of learning and growing.

2) In our globalized world, students need to embrace the local and the diversity in their own community if we want them to value diversity and embrace human connection on a global scale. The empathy part of the design thinking process is an opportunity to provide students with an authentic audience and purpose as they look to assess and serve the community needs around them. Service learning blends well with the Makery and when students connect in meaningful ways to the local community, they improve their communication skills, build relationships, develop empathy and their ability to take feedback, they see content as relevant, become advocates, and can be empowered to change the world through authentic, meaningful projects at school.

3)PBL involves more voice and choice for the learners and less teacher talk and it focuses on structure and quality over quantity of instructional content. A subtle but impactful shift in engaging students in PBL is to think about a project as the learning mechanism that new content is taught through versus an end-product that demonstrates learning that has happened. The goal of integrating direct instruction in a way that feels authentic can be uncomfortable for teachers as it may require periods of students being confused and curious before they have clarity and understanding of new concepts. Meaningful learning is often messy and we have to allow that to happen and trust that it is part of the process. The idea of using "strategic confusion" as a specific strategy to engage students in impactful learning experiences was one takeaway. This includes presenting mysteries, allowing for mistakes, not shying away from confusing material, avoiding simplistic explanations (which often reinforce misconceptions), testing possible answers, identifying when you don't know something (as a lifelong learner) and encouraging dialogue.

What squared with my existing practice/​beliefs?

The phrase "vintage innovation" means leveraging retro tools and classic ideas blended with the use of modern tools and new ideas to create meaningful learning. This really resonated with me as I have seen so many instances in which teachers and schools adopt the latest technology and have students use it without a greater plan for how it serves their learning goals. Throughout this program, while we learned how to use technology, apps, websites, and digital tools to engage students, the focus was always on how the technology is useful because it is a tool to address a problem or need versus it being useful simply because students were learning how to use the technology. For example, learning the use the 3D printer is a useful skill because a student designs a face shield in wanting to be able to help the local hospital address their need for more protective gear. This course aligned well with my belief that all leaners need to know what they're learning and why and be engaged in learning opportunities that have multiple paths that are as different as their experiences and learning styles.

What is still circling around in my head?

I'd like to be able to spend time at the Krause Center for Innovation actually collaborating and using the materials and tools there in person to further develop my skills. The class ended up having to be virtual all three semesters due to Covid and I would like more time to apply the skills we learned that were demonstrated for us and discussed. I feel like this was a great opportunity for me to learn about the many different facets for design thinking and making using technology and now I'd like to be sure to utilize the introductory skills I learned and develop them further.

Would you recommend this opportunity?


Optionally, offer a one sentence recommendation for the opportunity.

Two of the books used for this coursework, LAUNCH: A Design Thinking Framework and Vintage

Innovation, were both excellent and applicable to engaging teaching strategies in any discipline.

Interested in collaborating or do you have questions aboutUnidiversity Makerspace Coordinator Certification Program?

Reach out to Fran directly to begin a conversation!


PD #229

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