The maker movement allows students and adults of all ages to design and create something using their hands. This can be done by using a wide range of raw and recyclable materials. The most meaningful aspect of the maker movement will always be the new makers that find the tools, culture, and inspiration to create in new ways within their community.
Middle School Day 9
The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge. - Seymour Papert
This Seymour Papert quote is easy to agree with but difficult to realize. If creating these conditions in a single classroom is difficult, how do you create the conditions for invention on a school-wide scale?
In the Middle School Day 9 prototype, we’ve created a practice that may hold answers to this question. Adapted from an Elementary School prototype that shifted the tides of learning, the Middle School Day 9 was designed as a two day learning prototype combining the following elements:
content area/making experts
design thinking processes
experienced classroom teachers
two full days of school
Maker culture is a prerequisite for invention in schools and a key element of this prototype. Open access to tools and a strong value for learning and using new skills are inherent in maker culture and set the stage for invention. NuVu Studio coaches designed and led the studios and served as coaches with specialized applied knowledge and expertise. Each studio was structured on a design thinking process led by the coaches in order to understand, ideate, and solve challenges. ASB teachers partnered with the NuVu coaches to support the development of learning outcomes and partnered with the NuVu Coaches to support student learning throughout the Studio learning project.
On April 3rd & 4th, one hundred seventy Middle School students participated in 11 unique Day 9 learning studios. This prototype is in early stages. We’ll continue to gather data and make adjustments to understand and modify the prototype. We’re looking forward to sharing our findings and new iterations of invention in the future. But for now, we hope that sharing these studio descriptions and images of student engagement will inspire you to think about, tinker with, and create the conditions for invention at your school.
In this increasingly visual world, moving media is becoming an ever-greater presence in our daily lives. Advertisements on billboards are now in movie form, and the film industry is more accessible than ever before thanks to the digital revolution, crowdfunding and micro-budget films. Yet, despite the prevalence and importance of movies, the process of creating movies still remains elusive to many.
In this studio, students learned the critical skills and foundational knowledge about filmmaking. Working in small teams, students created short (1 to 2 minute) documentaries around a central theme. They learned the entire process of creating a film, from pre-production (including selecting a topic and storyboarding) to production (both the technical and directorial side) to post-production (including editing, sound mixing, color correction, and advertising). Though each of the student teams in this studio worked independently on their film projects, they collaborated to ensure thematic and visual coherence to the short pieces, so that, when they were screened together, all of the documentaries will become an interconnected series of vignettes on the main theme.
Studio - Alternative Energy Topic - Solar-Powered BumbleBots
We designed moving, shaking, jumping, vibrating and excited bug-type robots, called “BumbleBots,” that navigated a variety of terrains. BumbleBots are small electric bug-like creatures that are built of an enclosure, an electric motor, a battery, and some ingenuity! We we focused on the functional elements of the BumbleBots as well as the characterization and detailing of the BumbleBots.
This studio provided students with opportunities for hands-on learning about electronics, laser cutting, and solar panels. Students also learned how to use the design process to create a motion-filled bug robot.
Have you ever watched animated science fiction movies like Wall-E, Despicable Me, and Finding Nemo and wondered how they made the film or came up with the story? In this studio, we introduced students to the art of computer animation and storytelling and the basics behind creating animated sci-fi films. Students learned the entire process of creating an animated piece, from pre-production aspects such as storyboarding, to production, including both the technical and directorial side, to post-production, including editing and sound mixing.
In this studio, students came up with ideas for science fiction stories and then told those stories through short animated media. The studio focused on understanding different forms of storytelling as portrayed in modern films, games, and digital apps. Students learned to animate the stories using Adobe After Effects. The studio was designed to allow students to be playful and creative with media while being thoughtful and critical in communicating a message.
Have you ever wondered, is it possible to be always on the move, yet always at home?
In contemporary societies, we now see an interplay between the nomadic and the sedentary in all aspects of existence, from disembodied social networks to cultural homogenization. The nomad overcomes the limitations of living in any single place as well as the limitations of nationalism and global culture. Instead of merely migrating, absorbing, or traveling, the nomad wanders in ways where they are at home everywhere. Nomads and the concept of nomadology allows us to think about a state of being that resists the hierarchy of centralization. Its vision is "close-range," rather than "long-distance." Finally, it is "tactile" or "haptic," rather than optical. It experiences more than it explains.
In this studio, students explored the concept of “Architecture of the Nomadic.” Through drawings, models, prototypes, and visualizations, they used the language of architecture and art, to design, present, and build places to inhabit which we can carry, roll, ride, and deliver to any place at any time!
Studio - Industrial Product Design Topic - Interactive Body-Motion Games & Toys
As human beings, we love to move our bodies. We love to jump, run and hide, and glide from one place to the next. We also enjoy putting ourselves in scenarios where we have to follow specific rules of movement in fictional scenarios, such as playing soccer, running a triathlon, or jumping across urban infrastructure in parkour...all varieties of active games!
In this studio, we designed new games using interactive materials that focus on our bodily movements and sensations. The studio was a hands-on and “out of the desk” adventure where we made things quickly and played as much as possible.
Did you ever listen to a song and wonder "How did they do that?" Making music today is easier than ever before, but there's still a lot to learn. In this studio we explored making sounds and sights with portable devices, like laptops, phones, and iPads. We learned some traditional music production techniques, such as recording, beatmaking, and sampling. We experimented with remixing and mash-ups, and we learned more about dance music from Disco to DubStep.
Fashion designers design clothes that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. In this studio, we took it one step further. We made accessories that are not only innovative in shape and color, but are also capable of interacting with the user. Students designed and prototyped new kinds of high-tech, interactive accessories. Designs included computer-programmed LED lights, moving parts, motors, sensors, and any creative ideas students thought up. The process included design and fabrication of the accessories, learning about human-robot interaction, building the hardware, and programming how the interactive components work. Students emerged more knowledgeable about fashion design, robotics, and prototyping.
Studio - Storytelling Topic - SuperComics
In this studio, students created their own original comics and learned about the professional and contemporary standards of comic book art. In this jam-packed SuperComics studio, topics included cover and character design, building model sheets, page layout and composition, how to format scripts, figure drawing, inking, letter, and other production work. As students built their characters and stories, they dissected the superhero archetype, compared US comics to Japanese manga, and how the philosophy of comic books compared to other mediums, as well as touched upon the gender, social, and political issues of the art form. In addition to hands-on experience, students learned how publishers make and distribute comic books, such as the various job positions involved in the process (editor, penciller, illustrator, inker, colorist, letterer) and the requirements of a printing press.
Studio - Data Visualization Topic - Mapping - Visual Hacktivism
Making sense of data by simply glancing at a spreadsheet is both tedious and tiresome. Because of this, students in this studio learned how to visualize data by expressing it in a way that is easily comprehended by virtually anyone.
How can the acts of schools or students within these schools be understood through the information that emerges from them? How can this information be analyzed, visualized and shared to spread this understanding? Can dealing with data become a type of social activism in itself? We explored the use of programming and design to visualize and communicate information related to schools and education in the world today. One of the main goals of the workshop was to find visually awesome and technically exciting ways to explore issues or problems related to schools that are not usually seen or discussed.
How many times have you read a story or watched a movie and found yourself rooting for a specific outcome? Have you ever wished you could talk to the characters or change their actions? Interactive stories allow users to create or influence a dramatic storyline in real-time. This process differs from video games in that the story is the focal point of the product.
In this studio, students created an interactive storybook that can be played through a tablet app. The apps were user-interactive, allowing the storyline to change depending on the user’s changing thoughts and sentiments. Students choose the method of input, whether it be by touch, motion (through the tablet’s camera), or by sound. It was all up to their imaginations! Students learned about computer programming, app development, game design, graphic design, and storytelling.
What stories lie just around the corner? What makes a story compelling? Is it the content? The medium? The storyteller? This studio was an exploration of the various elements of visual and written documentary storytelling. Students ventured outside the classroom to find and share stories from in and around Mumbai. By working with photography, audio, and the written word, students discovered a number of different ways to convey stories in a captivating and informative way. Students posted their work online in blog form as it progressed, allowing both them and others to track the evolution of their reporting over the course of the two days.