One of the difficulties of translating the school makerspace experience for people who are not currently engaged in maker projects with us, is that most of the work we do with students in the makerspace takes place over many days, weeks, or months. However, as is often the case when you are working in an area that generates great interest, it is necessary to find a way to boil down the experience to fit into a more limited timeframe. When my colleagues and I were asked to create a STEAM/maker experience that can be completed in two hours we were skeptical that we could design an experience that honored our principles of creating Agency, Audience, and Authenticity, while fitting within the time constraint. Ultimately we focused on crafting an experience that encouraged significant participant agency, constrained audience to the fellow participants, and hoped that this would be enough to create an experience that felt authentic.
Josh teaches Digital and Information Literacy and STEAM at Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, PA. He also is the Academic Technology Coordinator for the Upper School. Previously, as photography instructor, Josh updated the Photography curriculum and studio to create the school's Media Lab for the creation of a variety of media including animation, video, and audio recording. He has taught students about design and design thinking as advisor of the student stage crew and the STEAM un-course, and has developed and taught a course for students to explore the relationship between media and society.
post by Colin Angevine and Josh Weisgrau
We started a STEAM program, and three years later, we’ve outgrown the acronym.
It began when a group of upper school students approached a physics teacher about creating an advanced physics group tutorial. The physics teacher recruited a computer science teacher and the tutorial became robotics. The computer science teacher enlisted the support of a media and design teacher and the program became STEAM. By the time September arrived, our students, teachers, and school began a three year trajectory we did not anticipate.
Start with design: The hated classroom chair. We asked students to redesign them. They did. They couldn’t stop. They redesigned the classroom. Then they redesigned the school.