This past month, I have been working with a group of grade two students on an interdisciplinary assignment. Collaborating with the classroom teacher, we planned for the six students to learn about the life cycle of a salmon The Daily Five literacy approach, integrating technological literacy and the maker approach into student learning. While the technological literacy is yet to have a universal definition, for the purpose of this post, technological literacy skills can be developed through classroom activities and assessments that enable student to “learn the importance of listening, talking and discussing in technologies processes, especially in articulating, questioning and evaluating ideas” (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2014, p. 24). Makerspaces, or maker inspired tasks, are new to the school in this case study. Understanding that participation in makerspaces and FabLabs facilitates students into becoming makers, creators, and innovators, while increasing interest in STEM (Blikstein, Kabayadondo, Martin, & Fields, 2017), incorporating difficult technological subjects, such coding, into core curricular learning not only exposes student to new learning through an interdisciplinary lens, but it also paves multiple pathways to learning twenty-first-century skills by facilitating collaborative and iterative projects (Blikstein, 2013; Kafai & Peppler, 2011).
As Oyama Traditional School is beginning to transform its library into a learning commons, teachers are beginning to explore what this looks like for the role of the teacher librarian. In this exemplar, a grade 2 classroom teacher asked me (the teacher librarian) to work with a group of students for a few weeks. Here is a breakdown of our learning.
Students came to the Library Learning Commons (LLC) during their daily literacy block. Using the Web 2.0 tool Epic, they read to themselves on the topic of the life cycle of a salmon.
After reading, students completed word work on key terms, such as life cycle, fry, smolt, alevin, and life cycle. This was completed on index cards.
Next, students engaged in writing. This occurred in two stages. First students completed a flow chart where they drew a pictures of each almost stage. They wrote a sentence to describe they picture. Then, using an writing outline, students created a script, complete with an introductory sentence, supporting details and closing sentence.
As students finished their writing, they partnered up and practice reading what they wrote out loud. This is the read to someone and listen to someone read of The Daily Five.
Once ready, students took their turn recording their speech in the JD Humanoid EZ-Robot. Being in grade two, there was lots to learn. Not only were students using the “right click” on a mouse, but they also learnt how to export, or send, a file from one source to another, how to save and name a file, and how to add pre-coded movements written in script to an audio file.
Below are videos of a few of our final products:
While waiting for their turn to record their voice, students explored the Web 2.0 tool Tinkercad and made their first attempt in designing a 3D image – a salmon. A sample was provided for the students, and a basic overview of how to use the tool. However, at this stage, students were encourage to explore, learn by trying and remembering its okay to F.A.I.L.
Overall, this took 3 weeks to complete of approximate 75 minutes per day. Students were eager to come to the LLC each day and highly engaged in their learning. Peers would come in a see what students were doing, excited for “their turn” with me. It has been noted that student understanding of the salmon lifestyle in excellent and the writing they produced is above grade level. For example, students wrote one supporting details for every stage in grade 2. Once student is currently writing a more in-depth script so she can be recorded explaining what her learning occurred so we can share this with the rest of teachers on staff. Last, students learnt how to make and F.A.I.L., while also being introduced to computer science, coding, audio recording, and 3-D printing – all of this in 3 weeks! They were engaged in ideation, critical thinking, problem solving, design thinking, and skill building, many of the core competencies in BC’s new K-9 curriculum (When asked, students reported the most difficult task for them was using Tinkered, but the best part was learning how to make JD move.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2014). The Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Retrieved from http://www.heia.com.au/resources/documents/Designandtechnologies2014.pdf
Blikstein, P. (2013). Digital fabrication and ‘making’ in education: The democratization of invention. In J. Walter-Herrmann & C. Büching (Eds.), FabLabs: Of machines, makers and inventors (pp. 203–221). Bielefeld: Transcript Publishers.
Blikstein, P., Kabayadondo, Z., Martin, A. and Fields, D. (2017), An Assessment Instrument of Technological Literacies in Makerspaces and FabLabs. Journal of Engineering Education, 106: 149–175. doi:10.1002/jee.20156
2011). Youth, technology, and DIY developing participatory competencies in creative media production. Review of Research in Education, 35(1), 89–119., & (