Students get hands-on learning experience

By: Gerry Rucchin
February 15, 2019

Sunita Lamichhane and her daughter Aabritti participate at a MakerSpaces workstation at the London Public Library. The event was part of the Faculty of Education’s ‘Community Speaker Series.’

Sunita Lamichhane and her daughter Aabritti participate at a MakerSpaces workstation at the London Public Library. The event was part of the Faculty of Education’s ‘Community Speaker Series.’

A winter storm didn’t stop Londoners from attending Western Education’s ‘Community Speaker Series’ at the London Public Library.

Close to 80 parents, children and teachers attended a MakerSpaces workshop.

MakerSpaces are a physical location, such as a classroom or community lab, which helps children learn through hands-on experience. Activities can include anything, such as robotics, designing or coding.

The evening started with a series of mini-lectures that highlighted the concept and benefits of MakerSpaces. Participants also learned how activities help students in a number of subjects, such as math, coding and art.

Sunita Lamichhane and her daughter Aabritti – a grade seven student at Jean Sauvé French Immersion Public School – signed up for the event.

“I didn’t know so many things were happening in the schools,” said Sunita. “It was good to hear about the different projects the students are doing.”

After the mini-lectures, parents and students put theory into practice. They visited a number of MakerSpaces stations and practiced creativity using a variety of materials, including building blocks, books, computers, audio speakers, a 3-D printer and electronics.

“It’s fun to see how different types of coding can work,” Aabritti said about her MakerSpaces experience. “I can learn more about coding and have fun with it.”

Teachers and curriculum specialists from the Thames Valley District School Board and London District Catholic School Board as well as Teacher Candidates from the Faculty of Education led the breakout sessions.

“I think this event really shows the power of partnerships between the Faculty of Education researchers, graduate students and the local boards of education,” said Associate Dean for Research at the Faculty of Education, Professor Perry Klein.

The event was led by Professor Immaculate Namukasa and graduate student and Thames Valley District School Board Teacher Derek Tangredi.

The workshop was a partnership between the Faculty of Education, London Public Library, Thames Valley District School Board, London District Catholic School Board and Fair Chance Learning.