We were fortunate enough to receive our second grant from Hive Toronto, in conjunction with Kids Learning Code. Our first grant enabled us to develop 6 modules for teachers to help their students become makers! We called this our “Making Makers” project. Toy hacking, robotics, stop motion, HTML & CSS, Scratch, and video making were the 6 modules that MakerKids, Kids Learning Code, and TIFF came up with, with help from the Toronto Public Library. We held free training sessions and even a pop-up makerspace at the Ontario Library Association Conference in January, which 5000 librarians attended. We’ve received a lot of great feedback from teachers, librarians and more that are using these modules to teach making to their groups.
One piece of feedback we’ve received a number of times over is the desire to have modules that are connected to school curriculum. Teachers want to teach making in schools! But they aren’t always sure how. So for this grant (which we’ve called our “MakerSchools” project), MakerKids and Kids Learning Code will each be making a module that is connected to the Ontario curriculum standards – that way teachers can bring making to their classrooms in a more seamless manner.
Our project is going well so far – we’ve assembled a team, recruited some teachers to help us, and begun piloting our modules in classrooms with kids. Kids Learning Code is doing their module on Mozilla Webmaker. On the MakerKids side, we brainstormed a number of different ideas such as robotics, but eventually settled on Minecraft. Minecraft is crazy popular with kids, and kids are often told to stop playing it. But there are a number of educational benefits of Minecraft that have been proven, and imagine helping kids learn subjects through Minecraft? We have connected our module to Social Sciences and aim to make it in such a way that it can be used by multiple grades.
In September we are going to have training sessions for teachers on how to use these modules with kids. Stay tuned for more details! And let us know – what might be most helpful for you as a teacher in these modules?