Embracing Our Inner Makers: Hands-On Learning During COVID-19 and Beyond - Digital Promise

Embracing Our Inner Makers: Hands-On Learning During COVID-19 and Beyond

September 9, 2020 | By

Maker Learning is Powerful Learning. When learners engage in design experiences that are personal and accessible, authentic and challenging, collaborative and connected, and inquisitive and reflective, they have the opportunity to create connections to their learning in ways that are impossible through standardized, rote instructional practices.

As educators, we know we cannot press pause on Powerful Learning; we must find ways to give our students powerful, hands-on experiences while navigating today’s additional complexities. Whether working with learners in a fully remote experience, a hybrid program, or in a physical building with safety protocols in place, the continued impact of COVID-19 has left educators searching for answers to questions like:

  • How do we ensure learners at home have equitable access to tools and materials? 
  • What does collaborative design look like in a remote environment?
  • How do we create safe maker environments for at-home learners? 
  • If learners are returning to the building, what precautions and protocols must be in place to maintain hygienic use of a makerspace?

By answering these questions and addressing other challenges, we can offer sustainable solutions during the COVID-19 response while charting a path forward in which home- and community-based maker learning are the norm, complementing making in the classroom. Over the last few months, we have already seen the ingenuity of educators who’ve found ways to continue providing maker learning experiences, no matter the location, including:

Now more than ever, all learners must have opportunities to engage in Powerful Learning experiences. In the coming months, Digital Promise will host a number of events, which you can read more about below, to connect educators as they plan for sustainable, adaptable solutions that ensure maker learning opportunities not only continue, but grow to meet our learners’ needs. 

Edcamp: Maker Learning

Edcamp: Maker Learning is a series of free, online, “unconference”-style professional development opportunities for educators to learn and share how they are creating engaging hands-on activities for students. Edcamps are free public events that leverage the knowledge and experiences of attendees to create the topics and discussions of the day. 

Participants have the option to propose a topic for discussion during registration. At the event, attendees will build the session board by voting on the topics they most want to discuss. Our first Edcamp: Maker Learning is Saturday, September 12 at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT, with more dates and times to follow! Register here.

Powerful Learning @ Home: Planning Maker Learning

This series will consist of five, 90-minute webinars with a focus on developing, implementing, and sustaining home-based maker learning projects that exemplify the Powerful Learning principles.

These webinars will be open to the general public and designed to provide guidance and time to create project guides for home-based maker learning. Participants will be encouraged to participate in the full suite of offerings, with differentiation provided for those who do not attend every session. Participants will have the opportunity to submit their project guides for potential publication, continued professional learning opportunities, and a stipend to help realize their projects with their learners.

For more information about Digital Promise’s maker learning offerings, please contact the Maker Learning team at maker@digitalpromise.org.

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