Teachers at Taupaki School explain how their makerspace encourages students to collaborate effectively and the benefits they have seen from this. “The students have responded really positively to maker culture, they are very enthusiastic, very motivated”. (Filmed September 2015)
Stephen Lethbridge: The skills that are needed in an agile workforce are all of the skills around collaboration, cooperation, group intelligence, you’re not in a silo any more. You’re only as good as the group around you in terms of your creativity. So all of these trends that are out there in the workforce, in the places where our kids will end up being for most of their lives, we seem in our education system to actively discourage them through individualised assessment practises and individual qualifications. So what happens with maker culture and maker technology is that we’re encouraging people to collaborate together.
Student 1: You’re supposed to take the plugs out first.
Student 2: Wait something goes in here, the head. And then we get these screws and we go like that, and then we put on the ears.
Student 1: You put them at the front. I’ll drop it in
Student 2: Yeah you put it in.
Student 1: And there.
Kate Davidson: The group work also helps with behaviour a bit, I think, because lots of maker things are done in groups. The kids keep the other kids on track and working together is very motivating for the kids who tend to have behaviour problems as well.
Students: We gave everybody jobs. So, one was the person who read the instructions, and one was the person who got the pieces, and one was the person that did the screwing, that was me, and one was the person that made sure everything was right, and one was the person to put in the batteries.
Andy Croak: In terms of priority learners in my class, one of the things that they’re doing, I guess makerspace allows them to do, is to group them or put them with groups of people or students who are a lot more capable. And so one, it helps me a bit in terms of scaffolding the experience, but two, it also gives those ones who do think they know lots more to be able to see that what might be easier to them isn’t always easier to everyone else. I’ve got a student who I guess who’d be classified as special needs. And one of the cool things I feel with maker ed is that he gets lots more opportunities outside of our normal routine to work on his fine motor skills and to work on doing those kind of more precision tasks and also to do it while exploring something he’s passionate about.
Kate Davidson: The students have responded really positively to maker culture, they are very enthusiastic, very motivated. It motivates boys especially who might be reluctant to engage with other areas of the curriculum. They love building things, making things, pulling things to bits. It works really well for all the students.
Stephen Lethbridge: What we find is when kids are collaborating, they’re more engaged, they are more focused on the group task. They bounce off each other’s ideas and they iterate what might happen next.