Years ago in m y role of consultant, I was privileged to be introduced to discovery-based pedagogy called The Reggio-Emelia Approach. This experiential learning method of teaching has become the foundation of my teaching philosophy and it is part of why I decided to get my teaching licence as an art specialist: it permits me to nurture a love of learning through exploration and experimentation… in other words: it encourages risking mistakes as part of the learning process… OR… it focuses more on a trial and error process instead of a mastery or product goal.

The Maker Mindset feels exactly the same to me and more… it asks the learner to ask “WHAT IF” and then experiment to find the answer. This course is only a tiny taste of the whole mindset, but it tells us something very important about the world that has embraced Apple’s plug-and-play technology… WE DON’T NEED TO BE EXPERTS TO MAKE COOL THINGS; WE ONLY NEED TO ALLOW OUR IMAGINATION TO FLOW AND USE THE TOOLS AVAILABLE TO US! And friends, have those ever tools changed!!!

We have almost everything at our fingertips (Medium-sized almost). It is possible for small schools and even individuals to have 3D printers, and the internet (often on Youtube) gives us How-To’s on practically everything. All we really need is a desire to try and a will to fabricate things ourselves. Ted talk celebrates individuals who even make windmills to power water-well pumps out of junk (and that guy didn’t even have access to the internet, much less a YouTube how-to video). He taught himself from library books and made it! That is the essence self-reliance! A maker space offers that opportunity! The Reggio-Emilia approach, as well as Montessori, Waldorf, and many other Alt-School scenarios embrace the emergent curricula, the discover learning approach… and so do I!

Why take this, or any similar course? Because it will inspire you to apply common sense, and realize that not everything is academic dogma! Sometimes, we must invite mistakes to become greater risk-takers and to learn the right & wrong way of doing things!

Course Description: “A new generation of artists are creatively making—and remaking—the world around us. Using 3D printers, mills, and lasers, they take ordinary objects and remake them into extraordinary works of art. Chris Reilly and Jason J Ferguson are two of these artists, who have teamed up to teach other makers in a digital fabrication class at Eastern Michigan University in Detroit. Watch this short documentary to learn about their class, their philosophy, and their projects, including a DIY CNC router, “mesh bombs” of borrowed objects, and a linguaphone combining music and making.”

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