CEP 811: #Maker Ed Infographic

When week 6 of CEP 811 came around, I finally found out what those beautiful graphic posters were called….infographics. This week I needed to create an infographic about the maker movement. My infographic is meant to be that 2-minute spiel that you have with someone in an elevator or those 60 seconds you have to convince your future boss that they should hire you. For this reason my infographic focuses on why a teacher should implement maker education as part of their curriculum.


Can’t see my image? Click here for the 7 reasons why teachers should embrace education.


Dougherty, D. (2011, February 2). Dale Dougherty: We are makers. Retrieved May 21, 2015, fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlrB6npbwVQ

Halverson, E.R. & Sheridan, K. (2014). The maker movement in education. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 495-465. Retrieved from /content/SS15/CEP/811/SS15-CEP-811-733-97EFZZ-EL-14-204/Halverson&Sheridan_MakerMovementinEducation_2014.pdf

Sheridan, K. Halverson, E.R., Litts, B.K., Brahms, L, Jacobs-Priebe, L., & Owens, T. (2014) Learning in the making: A comparative case-study of three maker spaces. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 505-565. Retrieved from /content/SS15/CEP/811/SS15-CEP-811-733-97EFZZ-EL-14-204/Sheridanetal_ComparativeCaseStudyofThreeMakerSpaces_2014.pdf


CEP 811: Classroom Redesign with Sketch Up

This week we were asked to take our classroom and redesign it to be a maker space for the 21st Century learner. We used Sketch Up to make a 3D model of what our ideal classroom would look like. Instead of going crazy and making my dream classroom, I tried to stay realistic with how I could change my current classroom for next year.

I currently teach first grade at an American School in Dubai. I am lucky enough to receive plenty of resources, but unfortunately I don’t get to pick what furniture I would like to have in the classroom. Since it is the end of the year and I can redesign (and hopefully use the design) before next school year! You can see in the picture below that I already have good tables for collaboration but I would like to take it to the next step and create a space that is just for my students.



1. Table placement: I stumbled upon an article called Mixed Reality Environments as Collaborative and Constructive Learning Spaces for Elementary School Children.  Kritzenberger, Winkler, and Herczeg wrote that, “children collaboratively create their own mixed reality environment. During this working process the children get involved as active participants creating something meaningful to themselves and others.” (p. 3). I interpreted this as a collaborative learning environment with the use of technology and other manipulatives as a resource. Since I know I won’t be able to change the tables that I have, round tables in small groups would be the best option for my classroom.

2. Table changes: I often have my students use mini white boards to plan or practice during different lessons. Instead of using the boards, I would like to make white board table tops! I got this idea from another teacher on her blog and it’s a cheap and simple way to create collaborative tables to enable brainstorming, practicing and many other things. While reading another blog, I  gathered the idea to add casters (rollers) on the legs to make them mobile and easy to move. I also enjoyed the idea of the foam on the floor to create a comfortable space no matter where a student is making.

3. Adding Natural Light: After browsing through 79 WAYS YOU CAN USE DESIGN TO TRANSFORM TEACHING + LEARNING I decided to take the idea of using full spectrum bulbs in the classroom. Yes, I have windows…that look out into an atrium. I would love to add natural light to my class and brighten student learning!

4. Remove the teacher’s desk:  Another idea I took away from the 79 ways article was to get rid of my desk. Yes, I would still use the computer area for instructional use but getting rid of a desk actually gives student’s full control of their learning environment. It’s their space, not mine.

From those visions, this is how I imagine my classroom…

Bird’s Eye View:
Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 1.46.49 PM

3D Views:  Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 1.51.11 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-22 at 1.49.59 PM

Resources and Costs (All from Amazon):

Total Cost: $293

The cost is not very much considering the change I think it would make in the classroom.

Stalkholders: Since I work at a private, for profit school in Dubai there aren’t many options of how I can raise the money. I would have to propose an offer to my superintendent, who would then have to get approval from the owner of the company. I think the best option for me would be to buy the materials myself and use it for future years. I would just need permission from the school to put white board paint and casters on the tables.

Implementation: This new environment would be used to begin the year. Students would learn from the very beginning how to use the space properly and it will become a part of their daily routine.

Look for future blogs to see if I can make this dream a reality!


Kritzenberger, H., Winkler, T., & Herczeg, M. (2002). Mixed reality environments as collaborative and constructive learning spaces for elementary school children. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), P.O. Box 3728, Norfolk, VA 23514. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/62158367?accountid=12598

OWP/P Architects, VS Furniture, & Bruce Mau Design. (2010). The third teacher: 79 ways you can use design to transform teaching & learning. Retrieved from http://thethirdteacherplus.com/s/79-Ideas-Overall-List.pdf

Pronovost, R. (2014, January 4). Making a Makerspace: The Physical Space is (relatively) Finished! Retrieved June 18, 2015 from http://elementaryedtech.com/2014/01/04/making-a-makerspace-the-physical-space-is-relatively-finished/

Uppman, K. (2014, June 20). Classroom DIY: Whiteboard Tables – Sprout Classrooms. Retrieved June 18, 2015 from http://sproutclassrooms.com/classroom-diy-whiteboard-tables/

CEP 811: Makers Lesson Plan – Makey Makey Kit Gamepad

After 3 weeks of research and exploring in CEP 811, we were finally asked to put what we have learned into practice by writing a lesson plan. Most of my research was about collaborative groups and giving students the opportunity to learn from others and build on their schema.

This lesson gives students the opportunity to collaborate in groups in order to solve a real-world problem. This lesson was designed in using Lee, Chalmers, Vinesh, Yeh and Nason Socio-constructivist conceptual model,” and this model includes, “four thinking and problem solving phases: Connect, Construct, Contemplate and Continue” (p. 186). This model closely resembles the design process taught with Next Generation Science Standards. Students will use technology, specifically a Makey Makey kit and computer, to design a gamepad for Tetris using only materials that can be found in a first grade class room. Students will follow the design process in their collaborative environment in order to achieve their goal.

My students have previously used the design process and Makey Makey kits. If you are planning on using this lesson, an introductory lesson or two may need to be done prior.

For a full view of this lesson click –> here!

For the first stop motion lesson click –> here!

This lesson could also be used for Super Mario.


D’Agnenica, J. (2007, June 11). Kids Stop Motion Animation. Retrieved May 29, 2015.

Hobbit, S. (2014, October 28). Scratch – Tetris NES version. Retrieved June 11, 2015, from https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/31651654/

HOW TO: Quick Start, Software. (2012). Retrieved June 11, 2015, from

Lover, C. (2014, October 28). Scratch – MaKey MaKey Super Mario Bros (version 8). Retrieved June 11, 2015.

Silver, J. (2012, May 13). MaKey MaKey – An Invention Kit for Everyone. Retrieved May 29, 2015.

CEP 811: Foundations of Learning – Collaborative Learning Environments

Week 3 began by watching a powerful video about closing the digital gap called Reimagining Learning. Richard Culatta’s Ted Talk discussed the ways in which most teachers (myself included) use technology by only digitizing what they had used prior to incorporating technology (i.e. lectures put into a PowerPoint presentation). Instead Culatta explains that teachers should reimagine learning and challenge their students to use technology to create something that could have never been done before.

In my classroom my students often share technology resources that are available, working with a partner and in groups to complete assignments. So when I was asked to research articles about a specific topic, I decided to focus on collaborative problem solving with the use of technology.

The first article I read was Framework design to develop the collaborative problem-solving skills. In this article Gu, Chen, Zhu and Lin developed a study to teach students proper problem solving skills using collaborative groups and ICT.  The authors mentioned that, “grouping students together does not automatically create collaboration…students have not yet developed effective communication, cooperation and problem solving skills” (Gu et al., p. 144). Their study lasted 8 weeks, as two third-grade classes were observed. During these weeks they implemented an intervention in order for students to gain collaboration skills using “scaffolding in the forms of tutoring or expert modelling…[including] preparation activities, structured tables, prompts, mind mapping templates, and Wikispaces” (Gu et al., p. 146,148). The study concluded that with proper interventions students can create a successful collaborative learning environment to solve creative problems and it is important to teach students proper collaboration skills in order for those interactions to be meaningful.

The second article I read, Retooling Chinese primary school teachers to use technology creatively to promote innovation and problem solving skills in science classrooms, focused on a study preparing elementary teachers to implement technology effectively in order to promote collaborative learning environments in their classrooms. Lee, Chalmers, Vinesh, Yeh and Nason created the Socio-constructivist conceptual model,” and this model includes, “four thinking and problem solving phases: Connect, Construct, Contemplate and Continue” (p. 186). 100 primary school teachers in China took part in a Professional Learning Program (PLP) to learn and apply these methods. According to Lee et al., an effective PLP includes:

1. Having a clear image of effective classroom learning and teaching
2. Integrating with the school’s educational system
3. Developing teachers’ conceptual knowledge, practical skills, and pedagogical content knowledge to broaden their teaching approaches
4. Preparing and supporting teachers to serve in leadership roles
5. Building a learning community of teachers
6. Using instructional methods that mirror the methods to be used with students
7. Opportunities for teachers to try out developing concepts by making applications in their classrooms (p.184)

At the end of the study one of the teachers stated, “First we need to learn ourselves just like being a student and then and only then can we be better teachers who teach these students to be active learners (Lee et al., p. 200). The study concluded that the learning community made very significant gains in all areas of teaching and learning.

While reading these articles, including Constructivism written by Angela M. O’Donnell, the main theme was teaching students how to become collaborative problem solvers and not just a group sitting around a table. I feel that once students can become active learners, technology can be incorporated to solve problems. This is where a teacher can close the digital gap. When students become effective collaborators, they begin to use their creativity and technology in a way they have never used it before with the help of their peers. To me this is what the maker movement is all about…creativity, technology, collaboration, repurposing, and problem-solving. I feel that both articles spoke to the maker movement because collaboration is key whether it be face to face or digitally.

Now how can I apply this to my classroom? I feel that many of my students already have many of the collaborating skills that the articles mentioned. I think that I need to modify my pedagogy in order to allow more opportunities for open-ended, collaborative problem-solving. This week I will be designing a lesson plan and I will focus on that! Stay tuned!


Culatta, R. (2013, January 10). Reimagining Learning: Richard Culatta at TEDxBeaconStreet. Retrieved May 30, 2015, from http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Reimagining-Learning-Richard-Cu

Gu, X., Chen, S., Zhu, W., & Lin, L. (2015). An intervention framework designed to develop the collaborative problem-solving skills of primary school students. Educational Technology Research and Development, 63(1), 143-159. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11423-014-9365-2

Lee, K., Chalmers, C., Vinesh, C., Yeh, A., & Nason, R. (2014). Retooling chinese primary school teachers to use technology creatively to promote innovation and problem solving skills in science classrooms. The Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 33(2), 181-208. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1517959837?accountid=12598

O’Donnell, A. (2012). Constructivism. In APA Educational Psychology Handbook: Vol. 1. Theories, Constructs, and Critical Issues. K. R. Harris, S. Graham, and T. Urdan (Editors-in-Chief). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. DOI: 10.1037/13273-003