The idea of ‘maker culture’ is the idea that learning is best achieved through doing. It’s the philosophy in which a person should create things using their hands or by using technology in a unique way.
Groups of students seeking their master’s degree in educational technology set out to develop innovative methods of learning through the use of programs they designed themselves on Wednesday as part of MSU Maker Day.
The Master of Arts in Educational Technology program collaborated with MSU Libraries for the first time on Wednesday, and also collaborated with the College of Engineering and the College of Veterinary Medicine to celebrate being makers.
The students, divided into teams of two or three, crafted various games and activities designed to encourage minds to think computationally, to notice patterns and to develop their own ideas about how to create.
The project was taken on in the hope that students would take their findings and new ideas for learning back into their teaching and share their ideas with their colleagues, Director of Graduate Certificate Programs in Educational Technology Michelle Hagerman said.
Hagerman said the students wrote the software for their activity using the “scratch” programming language.
One group featured a musical activity in which participants were connected by wires to a software program which, when triggered by skin to skin contact such as a high-five, registered a musical sound. ?The participants completed the circuit allowing the program to understand the command given.
“We think about it in terms of how these kinds of activities can support interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving in classrooms,” Hagerman said.
Graduate student James Kurleto said anyone who makes something is a maker. They’re investigating the role of technology in education.
“We give students ownership of their projects; we tap into their creativity skills,” Kurleto said. “They can learn by not only doing, but making.”
His project depicted a pinball-like game on a computer screen.
Kurleto said makers come in all ages, but children seem to be interested more than adults.
“For the children, there’s just a natural attraction to things like this because it involves so much play,” Kurleto said.
Graduate student Amanda McCarthy, whose project included a map that used circuit stickers and a battery to highlight the areas the members of the group came from, was a fan of crafting things.
“For us, it gave us an opportunity to understand what the maker’s movement is about,” McCarthy said. ?“Which is allowing creativity and the process of making something, doing it with your hands, to drive your joy in the creation of this project as a whole.”