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Friday, October 4 • 4:30pm - 5:30pm
How Three 4-8th Grade Teachers in New Jersey Suburban Schools Are Thinking About and Implementing Making With Students

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Makerspaces and related “maker” activities, including tinkering with circuits and microcomputers, creating 3D designs with CAD software, robotics, and game design have begun to make their way into K-12 schools and classrooms. At the same time, teachers are faced with deciding what aspects of making are most beneficial and practical to employ with their students. This presentation discusses how three teachers in suburban New Jersey schools are interpreting and implementing making with 4-8th grade students. Participant interviews and multiple classroom observations provide insight into the thinking and practices of two STEM teachers and a fourth grade social studies teacher. Preliminary findings of this multiple case-study (Yin, 2017) illustrate a range of thinking about making among teachers, from a top-down emphasis on following the iterative cycle of design to a bottom-up emphasis on making meaning through creation. Participants seem to agree on the benefits of peer-to-peer interaction and less-structured “play-like” activities for early adolescents. At the same time, they share concerns about how the norms of a makerspace might sometimes conflict with the norms of a highly-structured school setting. These findings could be useful to policymakers looking for ways to encourage and support the development of makerspaces and making in schools.

avatar for Bridget Looney

Bridget Looney

Doctoral Candidate, Montclair State University
I'm really interested in how teachers are incorporating design thinking and computational learning into their PK-12 practice and how they are working with or around traditional school structures to do so.

Friday October 4, 2019 4:30pm - 5:30pm PDT
Pacific Ballroom D 311 Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697

Attendees (4)