05 Feb 21st Century Learning
It’s important for students to be involved in group activities and to socialize with their peers, and that is why collaboration in classrooms is important. Yes, some students may get distracted more easily, but when in moderation and under supervision, it proves to have a huge impact on students’ learning outcomes and social abilities. Not only is collaboration important for students to interact with one another, but it helps them share ideas and see things from other points of view instead of just their own, which strengthens their thinking skills.
Diana Redina, a teacher librarian out of the US has defined a makerspace as stated below.
“A makerspace is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discovery using a variety of tools and materials”
When you look at makerspaces you could see anything from a small cart with craft supplies, to shop classrooms, to the very new “Brain Labs” with laser cutters and 3d printers. The beauty of makerspaces is that you will probably never see two makerspaces the exact same, as they should be as unique as the school community itself. When you think of makers you will think of builders, designers, engineers, bakers, inventors, business men, tinkerers, mechanics, programmers, etc.
A makerspace is not, and cannot be defined by the tools used in it, but it is defined as a meeting and gathering point of learning similar to learning commons and brain labs. It is defined but what it enables students to do, which is to make and build. Such activities build the very important sense of community in a school, but that’s a whole other blog post itself.
“What do you do in a makerspace? The simple answer is you make things. Things that you are curious about. Things that spring from your imagination. Things that inspire you and things that you admire. The informal, play atmosphere allows learning to unfold, rather than conform to a rigid agenda. Making, rather than consuming is the focus. It is a craft, engineering, technology and wonder-driver.” – Thinkers and Tinkerers
Parents and adults tend to want children to “sit still.” The reality is no one sits without moving for very long, because if we keep our bodies completely inactive, we tend to fall asleep or zone out. Dynamic sitting involves making adjustments to our position for comfort and moving our arms, legs, and body while we are sitting, in order to keep ourselves alert and engaged. Children who have access to healthy movement in the classroom are more likely to stay engaged and to have better attention and behavior.
Children are already moving in their chairs because they need movement to stay alert. In stable or static chairs many children will tend to tilt backwards, lean forward, swing their legs and sit on the edge of their chairs or on their knees. Studies have shown that after about a 2 week “settling in” period, children with access to chairs that provide healthy movement only move as needed to stay comfortable and to attend to the lessons throughout the day. In fact, several studies suggest that children show better ability to stay seated, with less disruptive movements, when they have access to chairs that offer healthy movement.