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Five traits of creative computing boosting engagement

By Sophie Bailey, Founder, The Edtech Podcast

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | October 18, 2016 | Primary

I was recently lucky enough to interview three educators from the US, often seen to be leading on maker space innovation, edtech generally, and coding initiatives. How did they see creative computing moving beyond ‘lines of code’ or plugging the national neurosis around skills gaps?

In conversation with Sam Patterson, Puppet Master & Makerspace Coordinator, Echo Horizon School, San Francisco, Michael Luetjen, Computer Sci. & EdTech Lead Learner, Pine Crest School, Florida, and Cory Roush, Literacy Specialist at Muskingum County Library System, Ohio, certain traits can be identified which are exciting educators ‘beyond the hour of code.’ These are: 

1. Collaboration

Maker space activities are often about working through logic as a pair or group, testing ability to communicate ideas, share work load, and motivate one another: “Now that I’m teaching on iPads and laptops and webpages, if a student comes up with a great idea in the middle of the class that can change the whole lesson.” Sam Patterson, Puppet Master & Makerspace Coordinator, Echo Horizon School, San Francisco.

“It manifests itself not just as well, humans have to type code but this is really kids working together for an experience.” Michael Luetjen, Computer Sci. & EdTech Lead Learner, Pine Crest School, Florida

2. Creating not consuming

Getting behind the ‘brushed aluminium’ (or what used to be beige-boxes) of computing to understand how computers are assembled, think and change the world around them via humans. “And one of my missions is to help foster a community of creators and not consumers” Sam Patterson, Puppet Master & Makerspace Coordinator, Echo Horizon School, San Francisco

3. Cross-curricular

Recognising that ‘edtech’ educators are often from a humanities background, and come to innovation through the world of imagination, opportunity and engagement. “In a society where we are very much focused on standardised testing…I really do find that the most beneficial learning is the type that you seek out for yourself.” Cory Roush, Literacy Specialist at Muskingum County Library System, Ohio.

“Everything we are doing in that space essential hinges on the central literacy activities of reading and writing.”  Sam Patterson, Puppet Master & Makerspace Coordinator, Echo Horizon School, San Francisco

4. Engaging

Recognising the work of John Dewey and achieving cross-curricular aims through technology as a means of engagement “Being able to give someone that sense of excitement while then engaging them to want to learn more.” Joanna Bersin, Head of Education, KANO. 

“Kids will enthusiastically respond to things they are actually interested and as the maker space teacher i can get them interested in things.” Sam Patterson, Puppet Master & Makerspace Coordinator, Echo Horizon School, San Francisco

5. Character Building 

Building failure into every day experience and growth mindset via dismantling, tinkering, making, building, breaking: “That is a big thing when you're that age, when you're eight years old and you can say, I built this.” Cory Roush, Literacy Specialist at Muskingum County Library System, Ohio.

“It's about resiliency and it's about mistakes aren't bad things.” Joanna Bersin, Head of Education, KANO. 

 

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