Some more to say…

During this course, what I enjoyed most was that this class was not like the other classes. I really liked the non-traditional, sort of casual, setting of the class and the development of the classes themselves. There was a lot of learning done through hands-on experience, and I think the class taught us how to put ourselves in the shoes of the student, to experience activities on ourselves and then as well developing this greater overview as a teacher. I really liked the fact that we were able to see how us thinking as students connected to the objectives and goals of a teacher.

 

I wish that we had delved more into the readings, and read a bit more material to help us better grasp the theoretical knowledge part of the course. Reading those excerpts got me thinking about how I understand things and what I am more receptive to and what kind of teaching methods I would like to employ more.

 

In this class, I learnt to think creatively about how I could teach people things. I was surprised at how much one could learn without really noticing it through making things. I think that I have been very enriched in this class and unlike a traditional class, I don’t feel like I’ve learnt material in books or by listening to lectures, however, I am completely certain that I took a lot of skills in the way I understand things, I oberserve things, the way I think as well as act (in teaching). I believe that taking this class has made me more open to options and thinking more untraditionally which I really like. I’ve always been shy and I don’t often put myself out there, but I really felt that it was okay for me to stand in front of my peers, to lead a class, to try my best at projecting my voice, and I hope that I can continue on developing those skills and become more comfortable with everything.

 

If we had more time and classes, I think it would have been awesome if we could have more practice with teaching others, coming up with our own lesson plans and going out to and teach them. It would have also been great to have practice with teaching in Chinese, as well as experiencing with a range of people. I think I would love to see the results if someday we had gotten to interact with old people. But definitely, more hands on experience would be more than good for the development of the class in the future.

Reflection // Making Maker Education_week7[Miha Klasinc]

In my senior year of high school I wanted to become an education minister and bring about systemic changes in my homeland’s educational system. My reform would put forward activities fostering critical thinking, creativity, and solidarity, the qualities I felt were not given sufficient emphasis in Slovenia’s educational system at the time. I changed my professional wishes since, yet I am still passionate about innovative ways of teaching and learning.

I enrolled in Making Maker Education because I believed the maker movement promotes the kind of learning I endorse. The readings and class activities only corroborated my assumptions. I was struck by the very first reading, Learn to Invent, which spelled out the virtues of the maker movement in great detail. Later on in the semester, the works by Berger (The Work of Excellence) and Richart et al. provided further insight into the advantages of learning by doing. The texts in question not only made me appreciate the hands-on learning approach to a greater extent, but also gave additional meaning to my own engagement with interactive media. The field of interactive media, after all, revolves around the idea of making and tinkering, gaining understanding through exploration and experimentation, and producing work that is worthy of pride.

By taking interactive media courses, I am receiving my fair share of maker education. Making Maker Education, however, allowed me to experience the other end of the maker education, namely the teacher’s perspective. I appreciate that we had to devise our own study plans for a short activity and then carry out a full lesson in class. Not surprisingly, I learned that teaching is a challenging occupation. Every lesson requires careful planning, yet there also has to be enough flexibility to the plan to accommodate discrepancies in pre-existing knowledge as well as pace at which students make and learn. Then there is the balance between content and activity, a concern that is of particular relevance to the maker education. One of the main tenets of maker education is that content is embedded in activity. Yet such content-in-activity still has to be backed up by a larger theoretical context to maximize understanding. I feel that was missing in teaching activities we carried out. The emphasis was put on making, and rightly so, but I feel more attention should be given to content teaching. Due mainly to time constraints, we only taught small chunks of content (e.g. third Newton’s law). I would love to see how hands-on techniques can be embedded in teaching of larger units. It would be beneficial for us students to carry out a series of lectures on a given topic, which would inevitably force us to make compromises between hands-on activities and more conventional methods of teaching. In that way, we would be better equipped to design and carry out our own lecture series in the future.

All in all, I very much enjoyed taking the class and will certainly continue exploring the advantages and challenges of the maker education.

Making Maker Education Final Reflection By Natalie

So far, we’ve already learnt things from making and learning for 6 weeks with Sakar together. After 6 week’s studying I feel that I have a deeper understanding about the process of learning and teaching.

For me, this class gave me plenty opportunities of exploring and observing the way that I use to study and the process that I choose when I am dealing with different kinds of problems. I must say this course makes me become more conscious about myself and the things around me. It also let me notice the importance of being “alive” and keep my eyes open to the things that around me.

One thing that inspired me most is our experience of teaching 10-14 students for our final project. During the class, I can clearly feel the energy of those kids and also be impressed by the creativity they have. I think every kid has the ability of being curious to the things around them and be passionate all the time. However, when we grown bigger and bigger we become less conscious about ourselves and things around us and less passionate about life. I guess this is also what is this class teach me, to become conscious about our life again and always be passionate towards life.

Another thing that I want to mention are the several ways that we learnt to solve problems more efficiently and the process of learning.  The Bloom’s , TMPI , Visible Thinking, I think they are all really efficient ways to use while we are trying to making a new thing or when we are trying to learn a new thing. During the class, we did a lot of exercises and programs that implied with those theories. I think by combing the theories with practice, it helps me a lot to have a deeper understanding about the things that we already learnt. And by reflecting what we did, we are able to improve our learning skills.

In all, I had so much fun taking this class and I learnt a lot from it. Thank you Sakar.

Last post

We’ve arrived to the end of this course and have all succeeded in leading a class. After these 7-weeks, I feel very fulfilled and more enlightened on emitting information as well as receiving information. I must say that at the start of the course, I was a bit confused as to what I was going to learn, and thought that it would have been somehow more theory based. But I’m actually really happy that we mainly learnt through doing and making. When I look back, it seems that all the activities we did had a purpose to teach us different sets of skills, be it as the teacher but also be able to see each outcome from a student perspective. I think that the activities and post readings really enabled us to, first, experience it as students, then digest the material, and relate to it from an outsider perspective which would enable us to see how teachers go about thinking and coming up with activities to teach others. I really appreciated the fact that Sakar shared his tips with us while teaching the lesson such as moving from place to place, changing the tone and pace of his words and so on. Looking back on our first class where we were brainstorming what was teaching and learning, I feel that in the course of this class, we were constantly learning but at the same time the ones leading the class. A teacher gives the prompts and then returns to also become a learner, and has to be able to adapt to the development of discussions. As we have experienced over the last few weeks coming up with lesson plans and carrying out these lesson plans, a teacher has to be able to design a plan with a clear objective and purpose behind each activity proposed. It is tricky to think about creative ways to teach a concept and takes quite a while to come up with one, but I do think that all the effort is fruitful when you have a good activity and outcome. I think it is also important to have these plans peer reviewed and get feedback because these are always useful. In this class, I think that we place a lot of value through learning through activities and starting out rather abstract than obvious. Learning comes through discussing observations and building an understanding. In the course of the class, we touched upon learning through our different senses, so not only through close observation and listening, but also through touch, smell and taste (less so but mentioned), and I think that these help us build our repertoire of awareness and the possibilities of creating activities that utilize the human potential. I think that for me, TMPI is one of the concepts that I think is a very valuable take out from the class, because I believe it is an attitude that should be promoted and adopted in all fields of life. There’s always place for improvement and creativity, and there’s not one way of doing something. I think that Sakar was really great at opening up the possibilities for us to become even more resourceful and something that he mentioned in our first class that stuck with me is that “the world is malleable”. I think it was great to have the opportunity to follow one of his lesson plans and take notes on how it was done. I really also appreciated the fact that Sakar was always open to our suggestions and feedback and let us lead the classes sometimes. I think it would have been nice to also be able to experiment adapting lessons to suit various age groups sometime too. Overall, I had a great experience. Thank you so much for this semester Sakar, it was great working with you!

Week 7 MME Recap Cha Mi Kim

Throughout the course, I realized I was not simply learning how to teach, but I was also learning how to learn at the same time. At some point, the lines began to blur, because you cannot do one without the other. Reading about teaching methods made me a lot more aware of how I see the classroom and materials, how I take in information, and I often caught myself analyzing, and understanding other professor’s methods. The most effective thing about the class was that it was taught exactly how we were learning to teach. We were able to go through the process ourselves to see the process from the other side while reading and having discussions as “teachers.” Actually going through the class as children made me remember how I wanted to learn ten years ago, and which aspects worked. I also appreciated how the classes were laid out–starting by forcing us to think about teaching and learning not only helped us get started on really thinking about the topic, but also looking back at my notes, I see how little I knew. This was shocking, because I’ve taught several classes before, and I thought I was pretty familiar with what teaching was. Because I would mostly teach SAT classes, and base my teaching on explaining wrong and right answers out of a book, I forgot all the other things that can and should come out of teaching. I was used to getting told information, and trying to keep the information, and as much as it didn’t work for me, that’s how I was teaching. This was a very humbling experience for me.

The trial class we had to teach was an eye opening experience–even after all of those lessons, I severely underestimated the amount of preparation that has to go into planning and anticipating change. When we did our goldfish experiment class, there were situations we did not think of at all (who knew they would kill off one of their group members to survive), which emphasized the importance of not only practice runs, but also readjusting the lesson plan as we go on. We realized there needs to be better communication between the teachers (working in a group of 3) because sometimes, only two people would be notified of the lesson plan change, and the last person would follow through with the unrevised version. After this, we knew there needed to be real change for our final project. We went through our lesson plan over and over again, and even wrote out a script for it (knowing the language barrier), and our group work was really good. Everyone knew what page everyone else was on, and although Natalie had to lead a lot of the times, we improvised to make sure the class ran smoothly. Language barrier was not as big of a problem as I thought–not because my Chinese was good enough, but because pointing and speaking in broken words brought me very far. This also gave me a chance to ask them questions in return, and teach each other, rather than a one way information flow. Again, we had students come up with genius ideas like car design and adding more balloons, and we made sure to make a lesson out of it as soon as we saw it. When  none of the cars worked, it was fine because we’ve created an atmosphere where everyone was comfortable, and could laugh about it. We also made sure it ended on a high note by demonstrating with just a balloon–an on the spot thinking.

Seeing the students excited and engaged in the activity gave me so much happiness and warmth. “I learn from my students,” always sounded like a lame cliché phrase teachers said to humble themselves, but now, I think that is how it really is, if you are doing it right. When you are enjoying a space and time as much as we were, and owning the class, all parties involved are engaged enough to take home something they will keep without effort.

For class improvements, I would suggest keeping the timeline, test class-runs, and the final project, but maybe changing up the activities a little bit like you mentioned last class. I would have liked to see other topics such as different forms of art.

My entire theory on what teaching is changed, because I learned how to learn. The way I approach problems and think about situations or view them have changed; even if I knew to think of multiple options, I now have a word to define the patterns, and am “habitualizing” the patterns that work for me. Thank you.

So… What’s Next? – Class Reflection – Selma

It’s been six weeks so far. And they quite literally flew by. It feels like we were playing with legos just a few days ago and were wondering what the purpose of that activity was. But no, it was six weeks ago that we’ve done that.

 

All in all, the class was a good one. I am very happy with my choice and I would recommend it to anyone who asks, or doesn’t haha. I feel that I learnt a lot of stuff that maybe will not make a difference on my resume, as in the business world knowing different ways to teach people does not make a huge difference as to whether you will be employed or not, but I feel that I have grown personally. I am more aware of individual differences students possess, and flexibility the teacher needs to be capable of in order to get his or her message across. Teachers are actually heroes in a certain way, because not only do they teach us about certain topics and subjects but they also raise us in a way. One of the ways Sakar’s class and method of teaching had made a difference in our daily lives is teaching us to be open not only towards ideas and other people’s opinions, but also that different methods we may be very used to are not perhaps the best ones. We all knew we disliked the classic classroom set-up, however, we could never pin-point in what way we would change it. Now, we can. We can say that a certain classroom setup is perhaps more efficient when learning/teaching certain topics, while another environment is perhaps better for another topic. We can actually analyze and design our own classes, presentations, workshops, etc. Which is amazing because it is allowing us to step out of the box of conventional teaching methods we are so used to.

 

However, I wish I had learnt slightly more about teaching abstract things in a more practical way. When we were developing our own class plans, I found it very hard to figure out in what way to teach about complexity as I had nothing to compare it to what we had done before that. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing because it made me think more and appreciate my teachers more. It made me realize how much work and strength their professions require. But I still wish I had something to compare it to. Maybe my own reflection on my class would have been better, more in-depth. Yet, if that were the case, maybe this reflection would have been too cheesy? Who knows. All in all, it was a great class. Highly recommend it to people not just for its contents, but for its teacher as well. Not just a teacher, but a friend as well.

Week 7: Started from the Bottom, and Now We’re Here – Making Maker Education – Zeerak Fayiz

I can’t believe that 7 weeks went by so quickly. With all honestly, this has been one of the best classes I have taken during my college career. Sakar, is more than a professor, he is a friend to the students whom we can talk to with such ease. During the course of 7 weeks, he taught us a lot, not through books and theory, but through activity and practical work.

Starting from day 1, when we were asked to make charts on ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’, and what we think they both entail or should entail, in order to make the experience most efficient. From the first class, I realized that during the course, Sakar aimed to teach us to ‘learn’ and to ‘teach’, while making the process fun at the same time. At the same time, I also learned about a process, which most of us implement in our daily lives – TMPI. TMPI stands for ‘Think, Make, Play, Improve’, and basically explains that we automatically use these 4 steps while we are working on something.

From our second class, I learnt to further implement the TMPI process, since we were asked to make a transporter, for our “Momo Monster”. Again, the class was super fun, and educational as well. We learnt how to use limited resources in the best possible way, while at the same time, making a transporter that would safely deliver dumplings to the monster. We also learnt how to work together in a team and listen to each other while we did so. Division of the work was also an aspect we had to be wary of (so that one person did not end up doing more than the rest). We also discussed if and how Bloom’s Taxonomy was used during the process, and if any of the thinking moves from MTV were also used. We also learned how to analyse – we were asked to analyse each other’s projects’, their pros and cons, etc.

Next class, we made paper towers, and came up with a bunch of different ideas to make stable and strong structures. This class taught me how to approximate, and in a deeper context, showed me (through the structures) that the base should be strong – even when we speak of academics, one’s basics should be strong, and only then can you build upon those foundations.

In the class to follow, we were taught to use mere ‘observation’ to learn. The class was based on circuits. We analysed different electrical components and how they work. In this type of teaching, the instructor tries to invoke curiosity in the students, so that they themselves strive to learn. I felt that this was one the most effective teaching techniques, and came to realise that Sakar had actually been doing the same with us since day 1.

After that, came the chance for us to try and lead a class (a mock class, if I must say), based on a subject that a member(s) from our team was learning about. I think this was the actual test where we learned that teaching is not the easiest job, and that it takes practice to master it. All of the groups did a splendid job, and got to learn valuable feedback regarding their class, so that they did better when they taught an ‘actual class’.

And finally, last week some of us taught a class to our peers here at NYU Shanghai. This time, we had done more practice runs, and were better prepared, than for the mock classes.

Making Maker Education has been a wonderful experience for me, and I have learnt a lot from the class – from teaching techniques, to teacher perspectives, to in depth evaluations of classes. Quite honestly, I do not have anything in mind that I would want to change from that class. I hope Sakar offers this course again at some time, because I believe a lot of students would benefit from it, as I myself have. Now that the course has come to an end, I walk out of that class as a new person, with a changed perspective on things. All I can say is, everywhere one sees, there is definitely something more, than meets the eye.    

 

Making Maker Education Reflection

Overall, I think that there is very little that I would change about this class. I think the way that it was structured, although I wasn’t there for the first week, logically made since in terms of having us first think about the way we think before diving too heavily into “practical” teaching techniques and I obviously I think that Sakar is the absolute best person to teach the class, because not only is he an incredibly nice and helpful guy, he shows us through the lessons that being a good teacher doesn’t just boil down to having a likable personality, but can actually be worked on through the way that you plan and enact your lessons. I think this was one of, if not the, largest take away for me as someone who has just sort of written myself off as a bad teacher without really putting in the effort to be a good one.

Further, I think the class acts as the perfect model for how courses at NYU Shanghai should be taught in terms of community engagement. While before this class I probably would have said something like “I think MME works better than other classes for going into the city for X, Y, and Z reasons,” taking this class has even shown me that this isn’t even inherently true, in the same way that any course can be situated for project based learning with enough time/effort put in, I think that the courses that we’re taking at this school could definitely learn a thing or two in terms of getting kids out there and actually engaging with the community or with the field being taught. I mentioned to Sakar in the cafeteria the other day how grateful I was that we had had the opportunity to speak in Chinese. While at first I was extremely wary of having to speak in another language when I wasn’t even confident in my English teaching skills, especially because I’m not taking Chinese this semester, some time after finishing up I realized just how much more confident I felt in my speaking after just the hour long lesson. And if in no other area, this method should 100% be applied to our Chinese Language program. 

In terms of improvements to the course, I think the worst part of the experience for me–and this is really grasping for something to complain about if you can’t tell–was the time slot being placed directly after lunch which made it harder to concentrate at times, yet still better than most classes that wouldn’t have me half as engaged. I think the class works really well as a 7 week course, though just the kind of weird scheduling for this past semester did make it feel rushed at times, though that was less a course schedule problem and more a school schedule problem.

In Retrospect – Week 6 – Reflection – Cathy

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As this class is wrapping up, I’d like to say that overall it has been eye-opening in terms of making me reconsider what it means to be a student as well as a teacher. As someone who initially had a slightly one-dimensional idea about the factors to a successful education, I’m glad that I encountered fresh perspectives through class readings like Ethics of Excellence and Making Thinking Visible and structuring lessons around hands-on learning. The most valuable experience was applying what we learned from other educators and our challenges (i.e. paper towers, observing circuits, using Legos to learn about TMPI) to our own lesson plans. The task of teaching a class was much more daunting than I expected – I think that it was especially important that each teaching group gave a trial lesson to our class in Week 5. I realized that when you go into a classroom with an interactive lesson plan rooted in self-discovery, all sorts of situations arise that you would not have expected. Therefore, the biggest challenge that I would like to overcome is to be able to gracefully conquer these unexpected situations.

Prior to this class, the types of teaching that I had used were very straightforward (really the opposite teaching style of what this class focused on) : I would lecture with a Powerpoint and then facilitate group work, closing with a written quiz or discussion. I didn’t stop to think about how the information I lectured might be better passed on if it were mixed into an activity that allowed students to make connections and conclusions on their own. So when we created Mind Maps in our first class, I focused on learning relative to being in a supportive environment, working with others, and being curious. While all those factors are important to learning, now I think I could have gone further in describing learning as the process of going outside one’s comfort zone, accepting the fact that you don’t have all the answers, and being hyperaware of the bits of understanding that add up to the learning process. I am definitely more interested in facilitating this kind of independent learning as opposed to the conventional types of lessons I used to teach.

MME final Reflection-Week 7-Maddie

This was a great seven week course. I think that the reading material was fair and that it all pertained to what we were doing in class. I appreciated that the three hour class never actually felt like three hours and we were constantly moving between activities. I think what worked best in this class was not telling us what was going on and then having us really try to discover by doing. This is exactly how I want my classes to go—mostly because I’m not a huge fan of lecture based classes especially that go on for three hours, so it was nice to have the time to work as a team and create something. That being said, I think that the most influential reading, for me at least, was the Ethics of Excellence reading. I think this reading spoke volumes for how to apply methods of education to their normal lives. It’s important to be proud of your work, to work hard at what you do, and to be able to appreciate constructive criticism.

I would have liked to have a little bit more of a discussion or lecture about the readings in the class. Or even a recap of what people found most interesting about specific readings. It would go along nicely with the projects we did, just to reinforce the techniques a little more.

I especially liked creating our own lesson plan, presenting, and critiquing. I think this was an especially useful experience to gauge how we would do in a real classroom. Not only this, but it gave us the opportunity to put what we learned into action with the class. It was interesting to see them interact and participate, knowing that they were being taught using certain techniques. I think that the critique was especially useful for our final class on Saturday, because we really tried to improve from our first experience.

To be honest, teaching in Chinese gave me a lot of anxiety, because I’m not that confident in my speaking abilities. That being said, I’m glad that I did it, because I really feel I got the most of my seven weeks since I was able to accomplish something that was challenging and certainly out of my comfort zone. I think using my Chinese also gave me new confidence with the language and I really learned a lot of new vocabulary. I think that the kids were incredibly creative and smart, especially with adding the balloons to compensate their large car! It was a good end to the class, and it was such a rewarding experience.

Overall I think that this class gave me a lot of ideas for how to make both my learning more interesting but also a lot of these lessons about working together and rebuilding when an idea has exhausted itself go well beyond the classroom. Too often people don’t move on when they’ve reached a dead end in their life or job. They don’t try to reconstruct because they already put so much effort into their product already. However, as we read from the Ethic’s of Excellence. So many drafts need to be made, so many things need to be reworked and reconstructed to make the best improvements. You just have to be willing to put in the work and the time.