Last week, I attended the Design, Do, Discover Conference, hosted by Castilleja and co-planned by Castilleja and Marymount.
The focus of the two-day conference was:
- Get an overview of digital fabrication labs and makerspaces and the types of projects that can be done in these spaces
- Learn about the different models adopted by schools to integrate these spaces into the curriculum
- Collaborate in teams to identify, ideate, and prototype hands-on projects relevant to your teaching
- Gain hands-on experience with some of the major tools of a digital fabrication lab, such as the laser cutter, 3D printer, and programmable microcontrollers.
- Meet like-minded educators and become part of a community of fabbers/makers working in education
We began with a design activity similar to the famous wallet design activity we did at Marymount a few months ago. Our challenge – identify one teaching issue we found challenging. We then paired off and empathized with another teacher as we delved into the true roadblocks to affecting change. This discussion grew as teams were built to look at the design challenges of five separate people. Our challenge here: come up with one challenge for our group to address.
This was not easy! Our group’s overarching theme – how do you get students to pursue their own interests on their own – seemed far too theoretical. Our final project – to have each member of our group develop their own project that involved data collection based in a personal interest.
For the afternoon, we participated in workshops. I learned a lot about physical computing and Scratch and wrote some basic code for the PicoBoard. Interesting, you can use Scratch to program an Arduino.
In the evening, we had the chance to tour the headquarters of Autodesk. Their makerspace was incredible and the innovation and ideas seeping through the walls of the firm were palpable. My favorite device was the 3D printer that prints on paper. An excellent way for students to build things like topographic maps!