That sounds like a really rich learning environment! How do you do grading and reporting of learning, knowledge and skill development? We are required to give percentage grades for elementary. It’s something I have to just accept because it makes me really cross the more I think about it.
I can tell from the work in their books, or my observations of their collaborative group work how well they have achieved the learning objectives of the lesson and I keep a record of whether they are working towards or working at or have mastered the topic (I am in the UK so we probably do things differently!) We also have formal assessments for 11-year olds in reading, writing, maths, and spelling/punctuation/grammar as a measure of attainment and progress - the learning environment is hopefully a set-up conducive to maximising each individual’s ability to make progress within the curriculum. Our school motto is ‘Be the Best You Can Be’!
WOW! What a wonderful school and curriculum to be involved in developing. It looks amazing. I work at an elementary school also and after creating “tinker time” in the schedule and areas within each classroom, we are discussing creating a makerspace. I would love to learn more about your school–would you share your school website?
What a great idea! Inspired to try it in my classroom!
"to enjoy the social dynamic of the group, to gather ideas and share ideas with others."
I love this comment–amazing how much you can learn from your peers! Seeing how another person is tackling an idea can give you a new avenue to pursue in your work. A gift to have a community to share ideas and get feedback.
This is an image of my students working on their Scratch Design Projects, as coding is included in Mandatory Technology in Year 8, they also complete a Folio (Inquiring and Analysing / Developing Ideas / Creating a Solution / Evaluation) I encourage the girls to work with a partner but on individual projects. The students like the layout and the ability to share and work together. They would prefer chairs on wheels, although that could drive me crazy, but I can see the value. Only one students has said she used the online Scratch community when she needed help which did surprise me, they were pleased with the number of views they received.
Yesterday I visited the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and they had a drawing space set-up for visitors. It was very inviting, space on the walls to share your drawing and many drawings were displayed. At each table there were materials laid out and a specific drawing prompt. There were also lots of objects on shelves to use for drawing from observation. There was a facilitator at the space. Visitors who had come together were grouped at a table. I liked that the museum chose to give visitors the opportunity to act on the inspiration one gathered from being in the galleries. I thought it was interesting how it looked like the studio classroom of the college–with workspace, viewing space and critique space–similar to many of the maker spaces that have been posted.
I’ve really enjoyed reading about all the different Learning Spaces. People write such thoughtful reflections which really inspires me with my space. I also think that electronics kits are not an end in themselves-they are just the beginning! Its ironic how administrators think that by just providing these kits that STEM learning happens. To me, the real learning takes place AFTER the kits are assembled. I know there is a time and place to use these kits but that’s why I like to integrate Scratch with this type of learning. Because it is open ended and student driven.
This image depicts the IB Academy at the K-12 school that I work at in Shanghai. It is an international school and all students study for the IB Diploma in their final two years of school. This space has been designed for them to study in when they’re not in class. It has glass walls, lots of light (when the blinds aren’t down!) and lots of tables and chairs to sit at. Students can choose to sit at the bench along the window which is more designed for individual working, but most of the tables are designed for collaborative work. In the corners there are bigger, comfier chairs where break out meetings can take place. There are many power outlets on the floor so there is never competition for charging devices!
Our students usually work on individual pieces but sit together as they do it. The IB Diploma assessment is criterion based (not based on the performances of other students) making it more collaborative and students regularly support each other with work, making suggestions for improvement. Students also often stay late into the evening to the point where we have to ask them to leave as all of the teachers are going home! They are not permitted to eat or drink anything other than water in this space which keeps it clean and focused on work since they have to go elsewhere for eating.
If there was one thing that I could change/add, it would be for more larger screens (there is currently only one) with Apple TVs attached so that work could be shared more easily.
Our Robotics club room at school is one of the place where our students do activities together, they create some projects and design some prototypes.
The set-up of the room is regular, where there are some tables and chairs and a projector where they can present and share their ideas, and discuss. The Peers make this environment creative and fun. Of course, the design is usual, nothing special but in my opinion and from my experience, design and set-up also plays significant factor in this process.
Also, of course, the moderators and facilitators (in our case, Robotics coaches) motivate students to collaborate more and create many new things. Specifically, they create trust among learners, respect their ideas and care for them. This type of learning space results in a collaborative and creative environment.
It was good to see the places (both online and offline) from the users. So many different, colorful learning spaces with learners spark in their eyes. Enjoyed very much.
This sounds very interesting. What is your role/job where you meet 20 teachers and 250 children? Where is this school area - country and location (3 elementary schools)? I really like the “era where our children will be able to indulge themselves in their passions.” and would like to learn more about these schools and their work!
Floating Boat School: An Alternative Space for Children’s Learning
''If the children cannot come to the school for lack of transportation, then the school should come to them, by boat!!"
One third of Bangladesh floods annually during the monsoon season, but extreme floods cover up to two thirds. Every year, during the rainy season, monsoon winds brings plenty of rainfall that causes its’ hundreds of rivers to swell and overflow onto the land. Due to floods, thousands of schools are forced to close and many children miss school days. Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, a Bangladeshi Non-Governmental Organization, came up with a creative solution ‘floating school’ to address this issue and brought the school to the students during the flooding.
Mohammed Rezwan, a Bangladeshi architect, designed boats that would serve as floating schools, libraries, health clinics and training centres for the youth in the region. They are even equipped with wireless internet access. These floating schools have now become a boon for the children over there who had to miss school in past because of flooding. Mohammed Rezwan says that he decided to undertake this project as he wasn’t happy about the high school drop-out rate in the region. “I thought that if the children cannot come to the school for lack of proper transportation, then the school should come to them, by boat,” he told the BBC.
Please click on the LINKS below to know more:
absolutely! I have been contemplating the influence of ‘cohorts,’ of peer groups for a while. I have taught over 10 years as a specialist so see many different groups within the same subject and the difference in the character of the group as learners is always so significant.
The thought that characters of influence, people who became recognized as authors and artists of significance, often knew each other and interacted emphasizes the importance of peers in personal growth.
I remember feeling so envious of a group of men who were good friends. They would get together with a few beers and discuss and argue about English literature, and theories of language. I would have loved to have belonged to that group, and in retrospect, wonder why I didn’t… was it a question of gender, being a new comer, or a limitation I imposed, thinking myself not welcome?
Thank goodness for maturity and passion that carries me past those limitations. Seriously, I don’t know anything like a joyfully shared passion for creating community.
I agree, it is a gift to have this community.
Thank you for your reply. My dad ran an experiential science program for many years and his students had to take provincial exams at the end. They learned their materials so well, he got investigated to make sure there was no cheating because his students were scoring so well. There was no cheating. They had a rigorous work ethic and a master teacher.
I really believe in hands-on work, moving from concrete to abstract and I’m struggling with accountability with my students. A number of students appear to do nothing unless given individual specific direction, on a step by step basis. They ignore the written instructions I have given them.
I need to step away from my frustration and figure this out.
As an graduate student in architecture departmant at Metu, I prefer to share a photo from our studio where many students collaborate and improve their designs. Our studio is a place more than we study or work but also a place we live together and create new ideas. They can work individual and also meet their friends and professors to criticise their projects, in this way, while students are making progress in their designs, professors and their friends are getting a chance to maintain their own creativity backgrounds.
Costa Rica. One of the activities that I enjoyed this week was the World Robotics Olympiad where my team had to collaborate with others to make possible the execution of Robotics workshops. Even this time, Mitch Resnick shared with us as a children’s mediator. It was a wonderful experience that allows us to identify roles, actions and points of contact between the people who collaborate and contribute to achieve the goal.
This weekend I went to School of Honk for the first time. School of Honk is a community group in Cambridge, MA that meets every weekend to play brass/street band music. It was an amazing “informal” learning space. Here are a few things I noticed:
- Incredibly welcoming to newcomers. Playing music had always been formal, strict activity for me. But they made it clear: no experience was necessary. I had never played a brass instrument before, but the minute I walked in there was a person at the door who welcomed me, gave me a chance to choose between some free loaner instruments (I chose trombone!) and connected me with a few other beginners and an experienced member who jumped right into helping us get started. This combination of structure and openness worked very well for me.
- Diverse ages and skills Some people had been playing for years with the group, and some (like me) were brand new. All ages were represented, with young kids playing together with the whole group. I got the chance to learn from several different people, and participate right away.
- Focused on fun. The group leaders made it clear that fun was the real goal. Playing music is fun, but not the only pathway. We also dressed up in polka dots and string lights, danced and had a street parade after only an hour of practicing!
It really resonated with Papert’s description of the “samba school” in Mindstorms.
I visited different learning spaces formal, non formal, informal:
Art course in KulturSkolan (Culture School) in a small village in Sweden. The municipality offers to children a range of courses, like dancing, acting, music and art.
The art course is conducted by a very young teacher, she present one or two painters each lesson (1,5 h), she tells children something about his/her life and after this brief introduction children work actively in the workshop with paper, colours and other materials needed.
The last 20 minutes they change room and they talk in a circle in an exhibition room discussing and reflecting about the painter and the exhibition they are seeing.
Sometimes there is a refugee painter helping the teacher, he is very valuable person.
What I would change? May be the projects she proposed could be more wide (in the Resnick sense), but we should hear the children feelings. So i think the learnng spiral is well represented by this experience.
- I also visited the workshop space at Ikea Museum, opened for a textile exhibition and free use for the museum visitors. It Is a space with 4 sewing machines and different textiles available where users can sit and create four suggested sewing projects where there are detailed instructions to follow.
People work without knowing each other and learn asked for helping.
- I started in 2013 a maker space at a public library in Fabriano (Italy), so I consider libraries one the most important place where to learn and share.
There are many opportunities to learn in a library, one of that it is the reading circle. In the Swedish library I visited there are bags with inside about 10 identical books the librarian suggests to read and share ideas and reflections on the same book with other users.
Yes. hello. Glad you are interested. My schools, in Vermont, USA, are small (each less than 100 students, K - 6). At one of my schools, we have combined classes (1/2. 3/4 and 5/6). I am at 2 of my schools for 2 days, and 1 of the schools for just 1 day. My role is Library Media Specialist/Tech Integration for 2 of the schools, and just Tech for the other school. Tech can work its way into some of the library classes as well. I collaborate with the teachers. The Tech should be integrated into their curriculum. One teacher was studying the relationship between the sun and shadows, and we asked the students to try to visualize that in Scratch. Here is one attempt https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/175835739/ Last week I asked students to show parallel lines. Here is a project that surprised me https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/184755034/ Our area code in Vermont is 802. (They were both 6th grade students).
Sometimes we do Scratch just for fun. Scratch is not the only application we use. I teach ScratchJr to the younger students.
We use iPads as well as computers (some chromebooks, some macbooks).
As far as the last statement, about the new era of teaching, that is a dream I have. But, I do think it could happen. Have you read Wagner’s book, Most Likely to Succeed? Mitch Resnick is a real visionary, and this LCL class is showing us that we can change the way we teach, and we can innovate our environments. Schools have been stagnant in their approach to learning, and their learning environments. However, there does seem to be movement toward change lately. Do you see this where you teach?
This is our Computer Science space within our lower school. The center tables allow for students to collaborate and work together in groups. We do some activities that are group projects where students all work together at the center tables, but we also still have computers along the outside edges side by side for other types of work. The tables around the outside edge do not allow for as much collaboration as the center tables do, but the students still find away especially if they are next to each other on the outside. There is room for them to get up and walk over to others to have a discussion or help each other out. We allow for choice in where they sit so that they will collaborate with others.
We have a mini library in the room also, for kids to be able to look at books for ideas. Along with some maker materials.
We are planning on re-doing this room in the next year or two for even more collaborative work, getting rid of the desktops and moving to laptops within the room along with many more maker materials. Hopefully we can add more pods within the room to promote more collaboration when working on all types of projects including Scratch. Also we would like to add an interactive board for students to show more of their work on.