At the recent TESL Toronto’s T4T mini conference at York University, I was inspired to take 4C integration into my instruction to a new level. Specifically, I was spurred on by James Papple and Tabitha Lewis’s session called Connections to Learning through Makerspaces. They provided a myriad of potential activities that extend and enhance learning beyond what is expected in a language learning class. Tabitha and Jim highlighted resources that are available through the Brock University’s Makerspace room.
In Brock’s Makerspace, learning opportunities include tools to create high quality audio, shoot and edit digital video, create and edit images, print 3D models, create moving LEGO structures, scan objects into digital 3D models, cut materials with lasers, interact with virtual reality, record video against a green screen, control a Sphere ball with a smartphone app, build robots, paint 3D objects, and more.
Ok, I can feel you reaching for the mouse to jump to another website as you mutter, “What does this have to do with language learning?” I agree that language and settlement instructors already have a great deal on their plates and that there is not enough time to integrate additional technologies into their classes. However, some of you may want to inject more into your lessons, and the makerspace concept could be a viable way to accomplish this goal.
Over the past few years, I have been endeavoring to integrate the 4Cs into my classroom instruction. The four Cs are strategies to enhance learning in the classroom and these include communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. The 4Cs apply to all genres of education. I feel that I have given extra value to my students if I have integrated any combination of these into my lessons.
I have a digital breadcrumbs trail of some of these attempts through previous blog posts including:
With tools available online, in libraries and now at makerspaces, I will be moving forward to challenge my students even more to be involved in tasks that involve collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. Overall, the possibilities are much more motivating than the ones I have used in the past as they involve creating and manipulating physical objects.
If you have used makerspaces or similar technologies, please share in the comments section below. It might be a good idea to ask your librarian about the availability of makerspace or creative technologies. I am looking forward to seeing what my students can create next term and beyond.
- Brock University’s makerspace, https://brocku.ca/library/makerspace
- Choosing an App for your lessons blog post, http://blog.teslontario.org/choosing-an-app-for-your-lessons-with-the-padagogy-wheel
- Data-driven learning with WordSift blog post, http://blog.teslontario.org/data-driven-learning-with-wordsift
- Google Poly Tour creator https://poly.google.com
- Yes, you can! Making Virtual Tours blog post, http://blog.teslontario.org/yes-you-can-making-virtual-tours
- Revisiting WebQuests blog post, http://blog.teslontario.org/revisiting-webquests
- Sphero, https://www.sphero.com
- Student Infographics blog post, http://blog.teslontario.org/student-infographics
- Teach writing with a web Design Project blog post, http://blog.teslontario.org/teach-writing-with-a-web-design-project
- Winksite, https://winksite.com
- WordSift, https://wordsift.org