Making involves students engaging in problem-solving as they create personally meaningful products and learn valuable content. Through Making, youth gain access to sophisticated tools for building and for thinking, including computational thinking. To facilitate this innovative work, UTeach is integrating activities that support Making throughout the program.
In Step 1, students are formally introduced to Maker as an educational movement. For their final Step 1 project, students Make an artifact that reflects their growth as a teacher. Students present the artifacts they create on the last class day. Though digital technologies are not given preference, this project is an opportunity to have students explore new technologies and to encourage invention and “Making” in the classroom. Through this project:
- Students explore new technologies and create a product of personal significance.
- Students present this product to the class, describe their experience using this technology, and discuss possible classroom applications.
- Students experience several fundamental aspects of Making such as creativity, agency, and public presentation of work.
Students explore how making can be integrated into traditional science and mathematics courses at the middle grades. This is accomplished through participation in demonstration lessons by Master Teachers and through negotiation of lesson ideas with local mentor teachers. The use of technology as an inquiry tool is required in at least one lesson in Step 2, and using elements of making to meet this demand are encouraged.
Knowing and Learning
In Knowing and Learning, UTeach students engage in reading scholarly articles related to making and maker education. Discussions of making as an instructional approach include a focus on the educational benefits as well as issues of equity and access to technology and resources.
Functions and Modeling
For their final project, students in this course are given the option to construct a 3-D printer, mix chemicals to make a photopolymer, design an object to be printed with functions via Mathematica, and finally 3-D print this object. Read more about this project in The Mathematics Teacher article below.
FitzPatrick, D. L. & Dominguez, V. S. (2017). Fostering Persistence: 3D Printing and the Unforeseen Impact on Equity, The Mathematics Teacher, 111(3), pp. 182-188.
Students in Classroom Interactions are given the design challenge of creating their own pinhole camera. Using resources such as tissue boxes, toilet paper roll, duct tape, and tracing paper, students are given a limited time to construct their cameras to be reviewed by another class. Students then engage in the iterative process to improve upon their designs.
In spring 2020, the instructional team for Classroom Interactions at UT Austin was awarded a grant to support Experiential Learning through further integration of maker activities into the course. The course will partner with The Foundry makerspace in the Fine Arts Library to offer the following course elements:
1. Students will participate in a model maker lesson.
2. Lesson planning assignments that include the option of including a maker-centered activity.
3. For the course final project, students will have the option to use maker skills to develop educational materials or tools that can be used to support diversity, equity, and inclusion.
4. In conjunction with these activities, students will explore and reflect on making as an experiential way of teaching and learning.
Students in Apprentice Teaching are given the opportunity to apply for a Innovative Teaching Award for Apprentice Teachers. UTeach has developed this award as a way to incentivize the use of progressive teaching methods and acknowledge the outstanding work of our newest teachers. All apprentice teachers using maker lessons and other innovative strategies in the classroom are encouraged to apply. Awardees are given a financial stipend are honored at the UTeach Apprentice Teaching Recognition dinner.