Global Young Academy 5th International Conference for Young Scientists 2015
Interaction group leader: Fridah Kanana, Kenyatta University, Kenya
If you wish to access the summary of themes discussed at the Interactive Session (10:30am — 12:00pm) please click here.
Rules of the Thumb:
• Enable –create an enabling environment. All children have an innate ability to explore the world around them. Therefore, it is important to create space for both boys and girls irrespective of their geographical region, cultural bias etc.
• Introduce it early — research has shown that children lose their curiosity as early as 6.5 years. Therefore it is important to introduce the makerspace early in a child’s developmental stage and sustain the curiosity through more challenging tasks.
• Support the teachers — teachers who are weak at sciences and lack the background training will shy away from teaching science subjects. One way of supporting the teachers is by encouraging flip classrooms.
• Teacher training- provide the right training to the teachers to keep abreast with the modern technological change and development.
• Encourage STEAM and no STEM, i.e. Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering and Mathematics. Support the learners in developing skills — i.e. Technology with an artistic view as children and learners live in a society that is not only natural science oriented.
• Holistic approach — provide education that imparts knowledge , knowledge that will lead to inquisitive ability to do things (doing) and doing what impacts on the society.
DIY approach….. is this something new?
DIY is nothing new in our societies. People have always had innovative ways to do things that impact on their lives. Probably, those without the right support and opportunities will not have their ideas nurtured. It is important to have an enabling environment; thus having a place for students to make things can bypass more traditional teachers (accessibility)
• Know basics to continue curiosity and foster curiosity
• Women in science and engineering is another element of “problem”
Societal norms — create space that accommodates boys and girls. One of the participants raised an important concern that there are toys marketed for boys and girls with a gender bias.
Notion of STEAM is interesting and should be encouraged — combine technology with an artistic angle.
Create enabling environment for children to grow. Many public makerspaces seem to be “non-diverse” (male, middle-age). We need to find spaces where the youth already are and reach out to them.
The cost of technology in DIY (i.e. Arduino) is a limiting factor — but costs are coming down, e.g., of Arduino-based device that converts breath into speech for patients with disabilities by a 16 yr old inventor.
Does curiosity depend on the education system — are students trained to think? Integrated into a larger system.
There is need to have champions to get it started — teachers as facilitators; student centered learning; Flipped classroom; community of inquiry.
• Georgia Tech Innovation Studio is a good example of ow to create a space at a university of makers.
• Avoid bureaucracy
• Go for low end equipment
• Free if possible
• Student run workshops
• Link it to curriculum
• Don’t get wrapped up in tools — communal table most important
• More open
Maker spaces need to be collaborative and not competitive — and they are.
Flipped classroom will work if begun at primary classroom level, not at undergraduate.
Start active learning
Start cooperative learning
If you find room for student gadgets it can enhance learning, for example, Makers club kids are so busy ; they will not use social media in a trivial way as they are so busy.
This approach in education needs to embrace collaboration move than competition.
Flipped classroom gives students more ownership.
Education is not just about skills but building yourself as a holistic person to be a good citizen.