1. Brian Gravel
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. Re-Making STEM
  4. remakingstem.terc.edu
  5. Tufts University
  1. James Adler
  2. Associate Professor
  3. Re-Making STEM
  4. remakingstem.terc.edu
  5. Tufts University
  1. Dionne Champion
  2. Postdoctoral Fellow
  3. Re-Making STEM
  4. remakingstem.terc.edu
  5. TERC
  1. Ezra Gouvea
  2. Ph.D. Student, Graduate Research Assistant
  3. Re-Making STEM
  4. remakingstem.terc.edu
  5. Tufts University
  1. Amon Millner
  2. http://www.olin.edu/faculty/profile/amon-millner/
  3. Assistant Professor of Computing and Innovation
  4. Re-Making STEM
  5. remakingstem.terc.edu
  6. Olin College of Engineering
  1. Maria Olivares Pasillas
  2. Postdoctoral Fellow
  3. Re-Making STEM
  4. remakingstem.terc.edu
  5. TERC
  1. Ada Ren
  2. Research & Development Specialist
  3. Re-Making STEM
  4. remakingstem.terc.edu
  5. TERC
  1. Ann Rosebery
  2. co-Director
  3. Re-Making STEM
  4. remakingstem.terc.edu
  5. Chèche Konnen Center, TERC
  1. Eli Tucker-Raymond
  2. https://www.terc.edu/display/Staff/Eli+Tucker-Raymond
  3. Senior Research Scientist
  4. Re-Making STEM
  5. remakingstem.terc.edu
  6. TERC
  1. Aditi Wagh
  2. Co-PI
  3. Re-Making STEM
  4. remakingstem.terc.edu
  5. Tufts University
Public Discussion
  • May 13, 2018 | 11:42 p.m.

    As a creativity researcher and artist-maker I love your computational making activities! It’s exciting to see simple materials and hands-on activities used to explore computational thinking. 

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 09:57 a.m.

    Hi Elizabeth - thank you! We are also intrigued by your work, as it seems we share a position that computational thinking practices can come in many forms. We anchored our design for these activities around two main ideas: play and material familiarity. We started by encouraging playful engagements with familiar materials using a simple prompt like "Make something that moves." We offered the teachers familiar tools and materials, but also introduced a few new and unfamiliar processes for processes for manipulating them. As they began to explore mechanisms and material arrangements, questions emerged. Their objects would behave in ways they found surprising and interesting. In the spirit of play, we encouraged them to continue exploring what they found interesting. And in doing so, some disciplinary questions began to emerge. 

    We are hopeful that familiar materials and simple combinations of rules (e.g., like 4-bar linkage systems, or cams and followers) offer opportunities for teachers to explore the intersection of making and the STEM practices/content they are charged with teaching. 

    As we invite students to the workshops to be co-learners with teachers, we hope that playful computational making together will lead to interesting ways of exploring the roles and relationships teachers have with each other in STEM!

     

  • Icon for: Sean Justice

    Sean Justice

    Researcher
    May 14, 2018 | 10:20 a.m.

    Hi Brian -- we're traveling some pathways that might be parallel and even overlapping and I'd love to learn more about your project. Here at Texas State University (San Marcos) my team is also working with open ended computational making, trying to identify practical learning elements that can help teachers design and enact activities that build computational fluencies in their classrooms. Based on the video I'd say we're following similar trajectories, except that my team's focus is on PK-4 teachers and students. Thanks for this very interesting work.

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 01:44 p.m.

    Hi Sean! I would love to learn more about these elements. Teachers will begin co-designing lessons/activities for their classrooms with us next year. We anticipate to build heavily off what happened in the first two phases of our work together, but going into classrooms poses new kinds of challenges. It would be great to build from work others are doing in this area. Looking forward to seeing more on your project - sounds like fun stuff!

  • Icon for: Shelly Rodriguez

    Shelly Rodriguez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 02:04 p.m.

    You likely have your own materials but this maker lesson planning form might be useful as you head in that direction. It is adapted from BIE PBL resources and we are still tweaking it to fit the needs of our teachers.

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 09:17 a.m.

    Hi everyone! Thank you for exploring our project:Re-Making STEM. We are just getting started, and we welcome questions, comments, and feedback from what we present here. We are fortunate enough to have a talented team of investigators with wide ranging expertise, and they are here as presenters to engage in discussions about our project. We present a framework for Disciplinary Computational Making Practices within a teacher professional development model. Our questions explore how teachers and students solve disciplinary problems with computational tools, how they re-examine relationships with each other and to STEM disciplines through computational making, and how the elements of this model contribute to shifts in thinking about how computational making can support STEM learning. Thanks again for taking the time, and we look forward to the discussions! 

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Sean Justice
  • Icon for: Shelly Rodriguez

    Shelly Rodriguez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 09:27 a.m.

    Thank you for creating and posting this video. I am excited to see the work you are doing with teachers. We are doing similar work with preservice and inservice teachers at UT Austin. I would love to chat with you to hear more about lessons learned and see what insights we can gain from one another. I am in your area over the summer and would love to set up a visit. 

    Here is an article on Elements of Making that recently came out. It aligns nicely with aspects of your framework http://static.nsta.org/files/tst1802_24.pdf

     

     
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    Sean Justice
  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 01:34 p.m.

    Hi Shelly - thank you for sharing the link to your framework! It does seem like there are strong relationships between aspects of our work. One of the particular areas of focus for us is where, and in what ways, do disciplinary questions emerge in computational making? And, what do teachers and students do with these questions? Have these conversations come up with your pre-service or in-service teachers? Given that most of them are getting licensed in content areas, I assume? 

  • Icon for: Shelly Rodriguez

    Shelly Rodriguez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 01:44 p.m.

    That is a great question Brian. Currently many of the disciplinary ideas are built into the projects by the teachers who use making as an innovative vehicle to approach standards based content.  It is interesting to consider the disciplinary questions that emerge as students and teacher build and create. We are a fairly new program and are just getting some of the research going. This will be a perspective to consider. You can see some of the discipline specific maker-centered lessons that our preservice teachers have created at: https://maker.uteach.utexas.edu/lessonbank

    We will have more up soon as we have just had another set of teachers complete the program. 

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 02:58 p.m.

    Exciting stuff, Shelly. Thanks for sharing the lesson bank, I'll be sure to share that with our teachers. And, we look forward to seeing more of how your work unfolds! Good luck.

  • Icon for: Alan Peterfreund

    Alan Peterfreund

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 11:12 a.m.

    Brian and team - are you getting feedback from your teachers about how they are integrating computational making activities into what they do?  Are they do new activities or modifying old ones?  

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 01:42 p.m.

     Hi Alan - thanks for the questions. Our professional development model involves three phases:

     

    1. Computational play - where teachers are exploring making, computation, and new materials and tools in playful ways - centering their own explorations of ideas, disciplinary practices, and how those tools/materials are used to explore disciplinary questions,
    2. Teacher and student co-learning - where adults and students learn together through computational making, specifically by identifying problems in the community that they are interested in solving,
    3. Integrating computational making into the STEM curriculum. In the third phase, we will work with teachers to co-design lessons/activities/units to explore what computational making looks like in their classrooms. 

     

    We are currently transitioning from Phase 1 to Phase 2, so the experience of bringing Disciplinary Computational Making Practices and activities  into the classroom has not happened yet. However, students have begun to imagine some of the benefits and challenges to this work. For example, math teachers are thinking deeply about the many ways that mathematics, modeling, and analysis take form in making. As we share in the video, is math needed for the design? Or do we fit math to the object to understand its behaviors? Is it some of both? Does they need for math emerge to make the design better? These are questions they are raising as they think about how to bring activities like this into their classroom. 

     

    We imagine they will design new activities based on their experiences in Phases 1 and 2, however, there is a lot of great work out there already, and perhaps modifying existing activities (which has been shown to be powerful in the literature) becomes a common practice.

     
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    Alan Peterfreund
  • May 14, 2018 | 02:08 p.m.

    Brian! So good to see your work represented here. I was intrigued by the DCMP's. To me there seems like a lot of overlap between DCMP's and what we might call computational thinking practices. Where do you see the differences between the two and what does calling it DCMP's buy you discursively? 

    Great work!

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:42 p.m.

    We see DCMPs operating at the intersection of computational thinking, disciplinary practices, and characteristics of making and making spaces. Yes, there is a great deal of overlap with computational thinking practices. We drew heavily from that literature. However, we wanted to extend current descriptions of those practices to include the artistic, expressive, and material focus of making (which your work does well!), and the places where disciplinary questions emerge in making. This is motivated by two things, (1) we wanted to see where the roots of computation connect to making, borrowing from work on Making Grammars by Terry Knight and colleagues at MIT, and (2) we wanted to foreground the exploration, inquiry, and discovery that happens in making, and to explore how computational ideas and practices happen in this kind of work.


    As we’re working with teachers, they are challenging us on the DCMPs in their current form, which is great, as one goal for the project is to continually reconstruct their definitions based on the work. For example, they wonder whether “Defining and decomposing a problem” shouldn’t be “finding and decomposing multiple problems,” as they feel like there are large scale problems - e.g., the thing they want to make - but then there are a number of smaller, integrating problems that emerge in making. For some teachers, this reminds them of doing mathematics, where their might be one problem on the table, but solving it requires exploring many sub and related problems. We've taken to expand the ways of thinking about problems as identifying, decomposing, and transforming problems - in ways that are ongoing and integrated into multiple aspects of the work.


    So, we hope our work is complimentary with other computational thinking frameworks. And, we hope to explore some of the disciplinary specificity expressed in how these practices unfold in making. 

  • Icon for: Angie Kalthoff

    Angie Kalthoff

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 05:18 p.m.

    I am interested in learning more about your project and computational thinking in secondary. I have been exploring research on computational thinking in younger grades through Tufts with Kibo and Scratch JR, I am wondering if you are working on any artifacts that show a connection and the path from early childhood activities all the way through high school revolving around Computational Thinking? As an elementary educator, it is helpful when I can share information that impacts students district-wide as a cohesive plan. How can you help educators share computational thinking in grades 6-12 while making connections what is happening in the younger grades?

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 10:31 a.m.

    Angie - you raise a really important question, thank you. We have heard from our collaborating teachers that opportunities within their districts to have sustained conversations about pedagogy, content, and practices across grade levels--K through 12--are limited.

     

    We originally imagined the project for high school teachers. However, teachers and leadership in our partner school districts pushed us to broaden that scope. We included middle school teachers in our recruitment process, and wound up with elementary school teachers too! These wonderful lower-grades teachers offered the input that talking across grade levels would be useful, and we're just beginning to see what could come of this. But, we think this issue deserves a lot more attention... sounds like a great future direction!

     

    Thanks for the question, and for pushing our thinking.

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 09:39 p.m.

      

  • Icon for: Angie Kalthoff

    Angie Kalthoff

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 09:18 a.m.

    I am interested in following you and your work, as well as sharing it as a resource for other educators. Where is the best place that I can direct people when sharing this project and possibly future work around the topic?

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 09:22 a.m.

    Hi Angie - thanks for your interest! We are just getting the project website up and running: https://remakingstem.terc.edu/

     

    There is not a lot of content there currently, but we are building it out as we speak! So please check back soon.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Angie Kalthoff
  • Icon for: Karthik Ramani

    Karthik Ramani

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 10:23 p.m.

    Hi Team, I really liked the way of thinking about arranging rules and heavior - iterate and make. I really was able to relate your goals and especially your design based activities. What are the relationships to tinkering i.e. making and iteration - suggests that mistake making is also a form of learning. How is the process scafolded by the coach and the level of involvement of the coach. I have been helping students learn design and making for a long time using toys as a way to help learn. Lots of nice parallels to your ways. 

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 09:41 a.m.

    Hi Karthik - thanks for the great question, it is inline with some of the ideas we're currently grappling with. We agree that a lot of great learning happens in "mistakes." Some have framed this through the lens of "learning through failure," however, borrowing from Shirin Vossoughi, Paula Hooper, and Meg Escudé's work, we've shifted our ways for talking about this with teachers. They have taken to calling their iterations "drafts," which frames their work as ongoing, exploratory, and generative.

     

    Two partner teachers were recently working on pop-up cards with embedded circuits that lit LEDs when the cards are opened. One teacher remarked that they had generated "dozens" of drafts as they went about exploring mechanisms for connecting circuits through cutting and folding paper. In reflecting on their work, what they really discovered was less of an emphasis on actually making a card, and more of an emphasis on seeing what they could do within this scope of work: when folded paper meets circuits. I share this to raise the point that "mistakes" can sometimes suggest that our goals in making are to get it right, or to do it well. There is a common framing that we "fail often to succeed sooner." And we're trying to challenge that a bit by saying "just try it," because whatever happens will be something you can learn from. Perhaps the unexpected results can illuminate new challenges or ways of doing things. Ways that weren't anticipated, or that have seemed ridiculous before trying them.

     

    As facilitators, we've worked with the teachers to think about these ideas of "just trying it," because it leads to the making processes being both exploratory, and grounded in learning about tools, materials, and ideas in STEM. When we encourage iteration as a practice -- many drafts, and lots of "just trying it" -- we create a playful tone to the work, where whatever comes of our attempts to assemble rules and behaviors is something we can learn from, and build on in the next revision. We see that as a fundamental element of computational approaches to STEM, for example, how one builds and refines computational models that help us understand particular phenomena or relationships in question.

  • Icon for: Karthik Ramani

    Karthik Ramani

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 09:59 a.m.

    Got it. I agree with your approach. The challenge is figuring out if learning is happening in the mind of the learner (both teachers and their students). In such contexts - what would be proofs of learning? Transfer learning (abstraction) is one of the hardest things (Bill Gates at some point remarked). For children - are their different levels of abstractions? How could we understand this - surely they get excited and they are doing things in an environment that affords and encourages play. I agree whole heartedly.

  • May 16, 2018 | 08:52 a.m.

    Nice to see teachers so involved in making!  I wonder about connections with the "Math in the Making" conference, where Andee Rubin and colleagues articulated the kinds of math that can be done as one is making? (I think she had a Showcase presentation on this last year.)

  • Icon for: Brian Gravel

    Brian Gravel

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 09:29 a.m.

    Hi Jan! We are fortunate enough to share an office with Andee, and some of our team attending the conference. We have already begun to explore some of the connections between Math in the Making and our work. As we share in the video, our partner math teachers have been wrestling with questions about how, and where, the math appears in their projects. Is it critical to the design, as they found with building a system of planetary gears, or can we use math to explore how objects function? These questions are rich, and we are talking with Andee and others about them. 

     

    As we move this kind of making work into classrooms, these questions become even more important. Math teachers feel a lot of pressures, both on their pedagogy and from the curricular demands. And yet, one teacher told me last night that he has no problem mapping these kinds of activities to the standards he needs to teach. His concerns are more in how this kind of thing happens with 1 teacher and 28 students! Hopefully, between the work we're doing, and the great insights offered by the Math in the Making group, we'll have some interesting classroom examples to share sometime in Phase 3 of our project. 

     

    Thanks again!

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.