The University of British Columbia (UBC), in partnership with The Industry Training Authority (ITA), piloted 5 ‘Maker Days’ in Kelowna, Sicamous, and Maple Ridge as a way of introducing trades and technology and experiential learning opportunities from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
The Maker movement encourages a shift in learning, helping educators introduce design-thinking, hands on learning, and inquiry to students as young as five. At Maker Days, students and educators are introduced to ‘making’ through small group design challenges that encourage invention, prototyping, and experimenting.
“Maker Days combines learning outcomes from what would be traditional disciplines,” says Larry Epse, Superintendent of Trades and Student Transitions BC Education Plan.
On March 13, 2014, ITA and UBC held the first Maker Day with student participants in Sicamous, BC. Over 80 youth attended to engage in design thinking and hands on trades activities.
“The human-centered design component of Maker Day allows learners to design with purpose and empathy, “says Tobias Blaskovits, School District 23’s District Graduation and Readiness Coordinator, “it represents the type of real world relevance that students need to be engaged in their learning.”
Educators participating in Maker Days are being asked to take “making” back their schools and share it with their colleagues and their classrooms. School District 23 held a Maker Day on March 11, 2014, hosting 72 educators— representing 40 of the 42 elementary, middle and secondary schools in the Central Okanagan School District. 37 schools have since signed up to run their own Maker Day type event with their students.
“If you want someone to remember something, they have to ask their own questions,” says Desiree Marshall-Peer, educator at Eagle River Secondary School.
“It’s a movement sweeping the world about reclaiming ‘Making’” says Dr. Susan Crichton, Director of the ILC. “Maker Days in our classrooms are an opportunity to re-claim the human spirits’ desire to create, innovate, play and tinker.”
“Trust the process.”
ITA and UBC have created a resource to help you host your own Maker Day. The materials were developed by the Innovative Learning Centre (ILC) at the Faculty of Education, UBC. It is available for download here: http://blogs.ubc.ca/centre/2014/02/06/maker-day-toolkit/
–Larry Epse, Superintendent of Trades and Student Transitions BC Education Plan (in Sicamous, March 13 for Maker Day)