Carolina’s Maker Class: Using Making To Help Children Learn

My UNC Spring 2018 class, “The maker movement and education,” is turning out to be a lot of fun! If you want to learn about how making stuff contributes to learning, you really have to make things yourself. So I’m guiding my students through a variety of making activities that have been influential in re-visioning schools as places where students create.

In Tuesday’s class, pairs of students created cardboard automata, in a making activity created by the San Francisco Exploratorium Tinkering Workshop, by its founders Mike Petrich and Karen Wilkinson. This cool activity captures the hands-on style of inquiry and creativity that the Exploratorium is famous for. And it brings together artistic creativity with the physics of movement and mechanics–an awesome example of STEAM education.

At the end of class, all of my students placed their creations outside the classroom door–check out this collective creation! I highly recommend this awesome book, that shows educators how to use these same activities in their classes: The Art of Tinkering.

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Creativity in the Classroom: Everyone Agrees that We Need More

A new study from Adobe, on the importance of teaching creative problem solving skills, found that educators and policymakers agree that we need to weave creativity throughout the school day, in all subjects.

The study surveyed 2,000 teachers a policymakers from the U.K., Japan, Germany, and the U.S. They all say that creative problem solving is a critical skill, especially because of future workforce needs and careers, and they say what schools need to do to better nurture schools for creativity.

  • 97% of educators say that creative problem solving is important for students to learn
  • 74% of educators, and 76% of policymakers, believe that jobs that require creativity are less likely to be impacted by automation
  • 86% of educators say that students with high creativity skills will have access to higher-earning jobs
  • 69% of educators say that classroom curricula don’t do enough to teach and foster creativity
  • 80% of educators and 67% of policymakers believe that creative problem solving should be integrated into all courses.

The study hasn’t been published yet; keep checking my blog and I’ll let you know more details once the full study is available.