On October 19 and 20, Héctor Carsolio, Semper Altius School Network Academic Consultant for Middle School and responsible for promoting STEAAM Makerspace Projects, attended the Creative Constructor Lab (CCL), which is a congress organized annually by ISTE (International Society for Technology un Education) with an emphasis on creativity, construction of object with the use of technology, production with digital media, innovation and collaboration in STEAM projects.
This year, the CCL was held in New Orleans and brought together more than 400 educators, mainly form the United States and Canada, but also from other countries in America. During those two days, speakers presented keynote conferences, motivational talks and 60-minute workshops, providing many ideas, concepts and tools to promote innovation and quality in our schools. Here are some excerpts from those talks and workshops:
- We can help our students migrate from thinking in 2D (notebook, screen, whiteboard, walls) to thinking in 3D (models, designs, movement, creation, 3D schemes, a combination of Apps and technologies, construction-deconstruction and reconstruction of objects).
- Give voice and empower our students. They can be agents of their own growth and development.
- Be engaging: introduce entrepreneurship in our practice, in order to connect students to the real world.
- Use the tools of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to potentiate student learning: help them to evolve from being simple consumers of Apps to exploit ICT tools and turning into content creators and innovators.
- Always break schemes with a pedagogical purpose. Emphasize the formation of soft skills: communication, flexibility, self-management, collaboration, time management, empathy and self-reflection.
- To be creative in the STEAM Makerspace lab, follow these guidelines: start with a pedagogical approach, use an appropriate didactical tool – for example: Design Thinking, cross curricular projects, Problem Based Learning, Engineering Design Process – do not deviate from the main goal which is to help students acquire new concepts and develop new skills as well as being creative.
- Recycle, prevent the generation of garbage, help students think first as individuals and then as a group.
- Design work groups in detail, with a clear strategy, assign specific time and resources, not as a limitation per se but with the purpose of developing their own creativity and to learn to optimize available resources.
And finally; three components that guarantee success in STEAM projects:
- Help students reflect throughout the process and document their learning process in an evidence portfolio.
- Materialize each project so that something relevant and valuable is achieved, useful to the community and anchored in reality.
- To communicate the process and result of the project through the most appropriate media (presentations, text, video, demonstration, in person, with digital media, in a social network, etc.).
If we could summarize the CCL´s message in one sentence, it would be:
“Teachers who have creativity, passion, commitment and method can lead every student to learn to grow throughout his entire life”.