Our FIFTH new episode of this season of iQ: smartparent will air on Thursday 11/19 and it’s a doozy: it features Lisa Regalla, a national leader in maker education who currently serves as Deputy Director of Bay Area-based MakerEd, and three faculty members from Pittsburgh’s own Winchester Thurston School. We were delighted to highlight their innovative, inspiring work on the show!
The thing I loved most about this episode is how much it speaks to teachers. The tagline for iQ: smartparent is that it’s WQED’s (Emmy Award-winning!) show about parenting in the digital age, but I also think of our show as a steward of thoughtful, responsible information for all caregivers, teachers, and parents. The info in this episode absolutely informs parents about what this whole “maker movement” thing is in their children’s school; it’s also a helpful glimpse for teachers into how they might integrate making and the maker mindset into their classrooms. I especially love the Remake Learning videos that make it into this episode: one of them features an innovative middle school ELA classroom in Allegheny Valley School District and the other features the “Dream Factory” in the Elizabeth Forward School District. Both of these Pittsburgh-area schools have found thoughtful, rich ways to integrate making into their classrooms. This isn’t some goofy diorama project that doesn’t relate to learning; instead, these are projects that demand students to think critically and creatively as they build something new that deepens their learning. I love that making means critical thinking plus something artistic. It’s as much about individual expression and empathy as it is about analysis. And teachers can take heart: Making in the classroom doesn’t mean you have to have an expensive 3D printer or serious electronics expertise. It means giving students some materials but mostly the space and flexibility to be creative and think expansively.
For more resources on the maker movement in schools, check out the innovative work of my former colleagues at Schools of the Sacred Heart San Francisco, who have transformed a former computer lab into a great maker space, the Unkefer Spark Studio. Fred Jaravata (whose work I admire so much!) also wrote a great post on this work on his own blog here. You can also find great info from MakerEd on their resources page here.