The Future Is What You Make It

See what I did there? That took a significant amount of brain power tonight. It must be the end of the semester.


CEP811 is closing this week and for my final post with that particular tag, I'm going to reflect a little bit. I'll try not to ramble too much.

Long story short: I'll definitely be using the Raspberry Pi when I get back to the classroom someday. This course was a particular challenge for me because everything I've planned and written about has been in spe. (That's Latin, folks.) So, while I can't go and do some of the things I've written about tomorrow, I have them filed away for the future. The big thing about maker tools is that they can do whatever we want them to do. The Raspberry Pi, for me, is something that will allow one more student to explore something they might be interested in. Sure, there are times I'll bring it into what we do to pique some interest, but like any other tool, it's not something I can require every student to engage with. I get wary when we talk about "every student should need to learn how to code," because that's ignoring the fact that every student has different strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

If the tools in my classroom encourage students to think, to question, or to explore (play?), then I think they're effective. I want to see students take risks and I want to provide a variety of modes for them to risk with. It isn't about the curriculum I design to go specifically with the Pi, but the challenge it will present to learners. I want to evaluate how they rise to meet that challenge and how they cope with dealing with new tools. We see this happening as young as first grade now with designing lunch boxes. It isn't about having fancy tools or toys, but how we engage our students.

(Scott, 2000, p. 16)

Socrates denied being a teacher because he didn't fit the definition given by culture. I feel this is something we battle today. Culturally, a teacher is someone who stands in front of students, a content expert, to instruct. Metaphysically, teachers are so much more than that:

So, how will the maker ideas fit into my class? They should already be there. I need to be addressing and encouraging student's innate desire to be creators, explorers, and discoverers. Sure, the Raspberry Pi will help me do that. But it isn't about the device...it's about the pedagogy we bring to give context to the tool.


Looking back, I wish I had been more aggressive with my own maker project plans. I don't have a working program like I had hoped to, and that's mostly because I didn't make it a priority through the course. I think had I continued that project through each week, I would have felt like each week had more of a connection. However, I do feel like I pushed myself to think beyond the obvious with each prompt. I wanted to get to the root of my beliefs and draw out each component of the class as much as I could. I challenged myself to take risks and write provocatively, and through that, I have been able to reframe some of my core beliefs about education.


References

Scott, G.A. (2000). Plato's Socrates as Educator. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

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