-Gamification is a relatively new word in the world of education. What does it mean exactly and how can it be applied to our classrooms? In it's simplest form, gamification, is taking the content of a course and turning it into an interactive, game like setting, for learning.
Imagine students scoring points every time the reach a proficient or mastery level in regards to a concept or standard. Different tasks or standards would be assigned differing point values and students would earn them according to what they were able to produce. Fun, right?
Now imagine a leader board posted in a classroom, showing students' gained "knowledge points". Students working to top each other and get their name up on the board. Teachers adapting lessons and activities to encourage student participation and interactions among one another.
The possibilities are endless! This all sounds great and wonderful, but how can it really be done and how much work is involved? Well, Beth, a 7th grade Civics teacher in Florida has done it. Read her attached story and see what she thinks about making the shift in her classroom. A great read and great information to consider for the future.
Feel free to post your reactions or thoughts in the comments to this story.
I have been struggling lately to get my thoughts out about what I believe a MakerSpace is and can be in a school with real students. So I started with the word itself, "MakerSpace." The first word "maker" is a noun that means "a person or a thing (here is what defines the movement behind the word) that makes or produces something. Synonyms like "creator, manufacturer, constructor, builder, producer, designer, fabricator, inventor, architect, fabricator," are all powerful words that describe the "Maker." The second part "Space" is a "continuous or expanse that is free, available, or unoccupied." So by definition, a "MakerSpace" is a room or area where students, teachers, parents, and/or community members are free to produce something they want to make.
Leanne Bowler in her article, "Maker Experiences and Design Thinking in Education of Libraries" (2014) states, "A middle school is a physical place where informal collaborative learning can happen through hands-on creation, using any combination of technology, industrial arts, and fine arts that is not readily available for home use." The MakerSpace allows creation that students may be lacking in the classroom or even at home with the use of trial and error design with real materials. It promotes natural collaboration, designing from curiosity, tinkering, creation of student confidence, and better thinking through better questioning.
To answer my title question, "Why make?" I have to simply say that a MakerSpace gives opportunities to students that they otherwise would not have. It is a motivation. A break from the usual schedule in the classroom. Student can build so many skills all while they "Make" with high tech and low tech stuff. If you want to know more about what a MakerSpace is check out some of these resources.
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