This is 'Iolani School

This is 'Iolani School

Thursday, November 3, 2016

FabLearn 2016 - Three Weeks Later My Mind Is Clear

I spent October 14-15-16 at Stanford University attending FabLearn 2016. This was my second year and I plan on going back for number three. What is FabLearn...

"FabLearn is a network, research collaborative, and vision of learning for the 21st century. FabLearn disseminates ideas, best practices and resources to support an international community of educators, researchers and policy makers committed to integrating the principles of constructionist learning, popularly know as "making" into formal and informal K-12 education." FabLearn

FabLearn 2016 is their flagship conference which began in 2011 and has grown to include international FabLearn conferences in places like Brazil, Hong Kong and Finland.

This year the Keynote speakers were Leah Buechley (developer of LilyPad arduino, among other things), Edith Ackermann (who has done so many things I'm not sure where to start or what to leave out, but she's brilliant), Erica Rosenfeld Haverson and Richard Halverson (both UW-Madison and leaders in education). There were also a number of speakers and presenters covering a variety of topics as well as hands-on sessions.

Here are just a few thoughts I want to share, now that I have had time to go over my notes:

*Leah Buechley spoke on Inclusive Maker Education (STEM is everywhere). She talked about some side research she is doing on diversity in making. Looking at the cover of Make magazine over 10 years here are a few things she found:
       Out of 53 covers, there have been 45 people, 84% male, 16% female, not black person.
       Topics included electronics 73%, vehicles 44%, robots 37%, drones 15%, 3D printers 10% and            rockets 7%..."I found it interesting what's NOT on it," she said.
*She also quoted a study Make did of there demographic and found the median income was $106,000.

*There is a lack of inclusion and diversity in MAKE and STEM.

*Ackermann quotes Piaget, "Play is the answer to how anything new comes about."

*Ackermann asks, "How might we create a culture where being quiet, observant, thoughtful and contemplative strikes a balance with being a doer, entrepreneur, mover and shaker?"

*Erica and Richard Halverson spoke about how we need making everywhere for everyone. We need to answer the questions: What do we want our kids to learn? How do we want them to learn it? How do we spark learning? What do we currently have to do this?

*With so much technology in education; kids now having access to personal devices in and teachers are using technology to customize their teaching and learning.

If you want to see and hear a lot of went on at FabLearn, go to FabLearn 2016 and look at the recorded sessions from each day. They not only include the Keynotes, but other presentations by educators, researchers and students.

So how do we make "making" more inclusive? How do we get kids to take a personal interest in their education and their learning? How do we use technology to teach todays students to become the creators and leaders of the future?

We must continue to look for the answers...

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