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WATSON COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Student Opportunities and Student News

Students Share Makerspace Multimedia Projects at Mini Maker Faire

Monday, November 07, 2016

Inspired by the recent maker movement and the new Makerspace in UNCW’s Curriculum Materials Center, Sue-Jen Chen redesigned and implemented the multimedia assignment for students enrolled in EDN 303 classes this fall.

Chen is an associate professor in WCE’s Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education. EDN 303 is an instructional technology course, and the multimedia project provides students with an overall understanding of the process and techniques involved in professional video productions.

The month-long project was two-fold: students were asked to use resources in the CMC Makerspace to design a new product aligned with North Carolina course standards, then to apply multimedia production skills to create an instructional video so others could replicate it.

To foster student knowledge and skills needed to complete the project, readings including “The Maker Movement in Education,” “The Maker Movement: A Learning Revolution” and a Fab Lab Talk video were assigned. Students also received hands-on training in videography in the computer lab and participated in a class visit to the CMC to explore workstations and resources in the new Makerspace.

Twenty-five students in two EDN 303 classes participated in the project. Working in small groups, they collaborated on learning inventions such as a math monster, a “my turn” cube and a visual cue to help children learn to throw a baseball.

Audrey Hollis, Sarah Dickson and Autumn Roots designed the Math Monster to teach concepts of counting and addition to elementary school students. The fun creature, made from a recycled tin can, clear tubes and beads, helps to visually reinforce answers to simple math problems.

The MyTurn Cube, designed by Richard Koch, Anna Lang and Brittany Childs, is a tool for classroom management. The soft sided cube can be tossed from person to person, allowing each student a chance to speak without interruption. The cube can be effective with young children and used as an aid to help students who are hearing impaired.

After examining the fundamentals of throwing, Ray Gardner, Leigh Ward and Vincente De La Roca designed a visual cue to show young children how and where to move to effectively throw a softball. Gardner’s son Lawson was featured in the instructional video, demonstrating its use. The designers, all aspiring physical educators, created the product for use in early PE instruction and by sports coaches.

The students shared their makerspace multimedia projects at a Mini Maker Faire sponsored by the CMC Nov. 8-10. The event was held in the atrium of the Education Building.

“CMC’s Makerspace is a meaningful change,” Chen said. “The process of creating something, reflecting on it and sharing it with others helps to foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills and enhance collaboration among students. The second part of the multimedia project, where students tell the story of their creation and teach others how to make it, helps prepare students for their role as future teachers and results in deeper learning.”

In reflections, most students said they found the experience to be beneficial.

“This project helped build leadership skills and creative skills. I enjoyed this project because it helped show me the importance of our creativity,” one student wrote. Other comments:

  • “I have a renewed faith in collaborative learning,”
  • “It gave me a new and better perspective… on how I would perhaps strategize my lesson plans going forward,” and
  • ”I learned a lot about my computer and what it can actually do.”

Chen will continue to use the CMC Makerspace as a resource that supports creative applied learning experiences for students. She is also partnering with Daisyane Barreto, an assistant professor of instructional technology, to conduct research on the topic. Chen and Barreto have received ETEAL and Watson College mini-grants to purchase technologies including a Raspberry Pi, littleBits and a Hummingbird Duo small classroom kit for more advanced product design, and a conference presentation titled “Using Makerspace to Promote Student Creative Problem-Solving Skills” is in the works.

“This is still a relatively new field,” Chen said. “Much of the research focuses on redesigning and rearranging learning spaces and the materials contained there. We hope to build on this by researching how these environments can impact student perceptions of the learning process and promote higher-order cognitive skills such as critical and creative problem-solving, as well as social skills such as group communication and collaboration.”