I was very lucky this week to head up to Manchester, NH to attend the Constructing Modern Knowledge conference. This conference is about making connections between child-centered learning theories and the creative construction of knowledge with computers.” Participants made robots, clay-animation films, Lego projects, instruments and a whole lot of “stuff” that represents the best of innovative thinking. It was like a Kindergarten class for grownups. I took part because of the current momentum toward “making things.” The growing popularity on “making” was best illustrated in the hugely successful Maker Faire held in California last month.
Also, I think it’s important for school leaders to leave their comfort zones to find out ways of helping ALL kids. Even if I can’t make a robot (which I can’t), I should still provide the opportunity for a Lane student to make one.
At the conference, I was most impressed with the film maker, Casey Neistat, who spoke about the access today’s filmmakers have to publishing their work. Unlike 20 years ago when publishing companies created many obstacles to one’s work being seen, nowadays, any filmmaker can publish to the web via You Tube. What does this mean for our students and schools?
There are endless opportunities for our students to become digital learners and creators (makers). Casey talked about how one doesn’t need fancy equipment to make creative films. Below is a short film about his tap dance teaching grandma. Notice how Casey uses paper and pens to help tell the story.
The conference has inspired me to create a Maker Day here at Lane. I have just started thinking of how we can pull this off, so details will come home sometime this Fall. But I envision a day when we have all 515 students making something. whether they are knitting, cooking, programming robots, making sculptures from Popsicle sticks, or who knows, maybe making a cardboard arcade like this boy did: