Learning by doing helps students thrive

By: Gerry Rucchin
February 11, 2019

Professor Immaculate Namukasa and Mr. Derek Tangredi show Teacher Candidates at the Faulty of Education how MakerSpaces can help students learn (photos: Gerry Rucchin)

Professor Immaculate Namukasa and Mr. Derek Tangredi show Teacher Candidates at the Faulty of Education how MakerSpaces can help students learn (photos: Gerry Rucchin)

Hands-on experience can lay the foundation for school and career success.

Western Education Professor Immaculate Namukasa and Research Assistant and Thames Valley District School Board teacher, Derek Tangredi, are showing how teachers, parents and caregivers can help children get the hands-on experience they need to succeed in the twenty-first century.

Namukasa and Tangredi are hosting a MakerSpace workshop at the London Public Library on Feb. 13.

MakerSpaces are a physical location, such as a classroom or community lab, which helps children learn by doing.  Activities can include anything, such as robotics or coding.

“MakerSpaces allow students to create products with technology and applications that may not be available to them,” said Tangredi.

However, MakerSpaces are more than a physical space. According to Namukasa, they’re also psychological and social spaces.

“Students are encouraged to think and speak about making. Once they’ve created content, they share their work with others, which allows everyone to learn,” she said.

Many benefits to MakerSpaces

Besides learning new skills, MakerSpaces help students take ownership of their work. They become producers rather than consumers of content and they decide how they interact with technology and materials while thinking about solving problems.

“Makerspaces leads students to ask the big questions, including ethical questions about the technology and materials they’re using,” said Namukasa.

Education also becomes accessible. Tangredi said teachers don’t have to be experts in a subject area, they just have to provide context for their students to create.  

“Students are limited by nothing and bound by nothing,” said Tangredi. “It allows reluctant or struggling learners to advocate for their own learning.”