“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin
This session at the maker’s lab was a part of our PGDLT (Post Graduate Diploma in Learning at Teaching) program.
Heritage XLS’s maker space is nothing short of magical. Open, well designed, and ripe with energy – maker space gets one’s creative juices flowing from the moment you enter it. ,/p.
Noora Noushad, the head of maker space at Heritage Gurgaon, explained the significance of having a maker space in schools. She shared examples of how students ideate and create, learning how to use tools and technology, and turn their imagination to reality in an attempt to solve real-world problems. She also got us exposed to programming software children as young as 5 years could use.
I realised the importance of maker space to create opportunities to build 21st-century skills among children. Not only that, but Noora also challenged our own abilities as 21st-century digital migrants. We tested our maker mentality by working in groups to create something out of the box. And I won’t be boasting if I say we shocked ourselves with our ingenuity and thoughtfulness.
“Just create something. You have the tools in front of you,” Noora said encouragingly to us. We were divided into groups of five, so we were a total of six groups. At first, we were perplexed. The tools might be in front of us, but something is rather elusive to make. It was the second set of instructions that made us realize that Noora was being vague on purpose. ,
Her instructions were:
- You are a maker and you can do it.
- When in doubt, ask your team members or use google.
Noora wanted us to uncover the maker within us. And there was no better way for us to realize our own potential than to be left to our devices. We had in front of us – a Buzzer, 9V battery, dc motor 5V, conductor strips, a few alligator clips, wires and a piece of fabric. We were a group of curious, enthusiastic, amateur inventors. We felt unsettled, as this was the first time for most of us to create something… anything. After a shock, We thought of a few ideas and finally concluded on making a massager for pain in the neck, shoulder area. Designing the circuit diagram was the first step followed by hit and trial. We finally managed to come up with a prototype. ,
We all felt ecstatic, proud, motivated. For me, the idea of the maker always felt like a far-fetched one. I believed only some who were genius and blessed could be creators and inventors. But now, this one-hour activity has given me a sense of achievement that has made me believe that I could also create something. I felt that if I could spend enough time in a place like this, I could uncover the inventor within me. There is no better way to make the world a better place than working on ideas that could make others’ life easier. It is an empowering feeling. I wished we had a place like makers lab in my engineering days. The experience of engineering would have been so much more meaningful.
Bill gates had enough exposure to computers and technology before he created started creating his own software. While Bill Gates were at Lakeside School, a Seattle computer company offered to provide
time for the students. Bill Gates became entranced with what a computer could do and spent much of his free time working on the terminal. He wrote a tic-tac-toe program in BASIC computer language that allowed users to play against the computer. It’s hard to imagine how different our world would be if Bill Gates never had any exposure to computers. ,
What exactly is this Makerspace?
A makerspace is a collaborative workspace inside a school, library, office, educational institution, or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing ideas and innovation focused on exploring human ingenuity. These spaces are open to kids, adults, and people from all walks of life. They have a variety of maker equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, soldering irons, screws, nuts and workstations.
It’s more of the maker mindset of creating something out of nothing and exploring your own interests that are at the core of a makerspace. These spaces are also helping to prepare those who need critical 21st-century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) while being sensitive to the problems students see and feel for. Makerspace provide hands-on learning, help with critical thinking skills and even boost self-confidence. Some of the skills that are learned in a makerspace pertain to electronics, 3D printing, 3D modelling, coding, robotics and even woodworking, Makerspaces are also fostering entrepreneurship and are being utilized as incubators and accelerators for business startups.
The Heritage Xperiential School, Gurgaon has a huge makers lab. Students from grade two to twelve have makers lab as a part of the curriculum. It is amazing to see little kids using drawing software for creating images and then getting them printed on a 3-D printer. Students of middle years have successfully created prototypes of products they feel their parents could use, like stop-snore device, count calorie device, foot massager and many more.
Noora motivates each child to create something, though her natural charm, openness and love for people. Her aim is to have schools which have a MakerSpace inside their classrooms by using rolling tool trolleys. The idea is, to give enough exposure of STEM devices to students so that they feel confident using them.
Students of middle school come and design their own prototypes. Students use the SketchUp software to design 3-D models, which could then printed using the 3D printer! The joy of actually seeing one’s idea A group of students had designed a model of a heart using the software. This was later printed using the 3-D printer.
Such a way of education help students clear their concepts and they are involved in their own learning. Students feel confident, thrilled and encouraged when they are able to make models or prototypes. The electronic circuits help them understand the use of diodes, capacitors, resistors in a circuit. They are able to think out of box. It’s only a belief in oneself makes or breaks one’s destiny. If students can believe that they too can be makers, only then will they be able to make a better future for themselves.
–Written by Pragya Jindal, edited by Vishwa Srivastava