Maker Educator in Residence: American School Milan

Pixels, Print and Emojis

In this second iteration of Maker Educator Residencies we co-constructed a MakerSpace at American School Milan. The school is keen to develop Maker Literacies and a space that embodies open inquiry across the elementary school. Over the course of three days, around 325 students, educators and parents converged between digital and analog explorations to build an interactive experience of remix culture.
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The space flowed between 4 interactive open ended engagements beginning with a pixelated live image generated by a Processing sketch (see above). All students brought in a shoe boxes which were printed on and  repurposed into game controllers, art works and even an electric guitar.

Embracing remix culture we had two essential agreements:

  1. All work would be available for remixing
  2. Creations would contribute to a community installation

Print station

At the print station, combining ideas of pixels, layering and repetition, we experimented with colour and texture using laser cut stencils, masking tape.
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Circuit interaction station

Here we created squishy circuits, emoji characters and paper circuits.

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Makey Makey connection station

Creating new ways of drawing with Makey Makey controlling Make 8Bit Art.

The show boxes were rethought as controllers to create imaginative ways to draw with pixels.
IMG_1016 Light exploration station

We repurposed old school tech- the overhead projector and recycled laser cut left overs to create emojis and personal expression projections. 8×8 pixel squares were masked out to create different characters and effects.

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Elementary educator team inquiry

During this open inquiry session we learnt from experiences over the few days, continuation explorations. Alongside this a chalk talk guided conversations around invention and web literacies. Annotating texts led to meaningful discussion with some opting to highlight text with a paper circuit. I like the idea of using making to illustrate understanding of other concepts.

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The more we discussed the use of space and creating opportunities for making across curriculum the more conversations turned to developing specific mindsets.

What are the attributes of a maker mindset?

How can such a mindset stimulate curiosity and inquiry within the bounds of core curriculum?

Thanks to students and educators of ASMilan and especially to Stephen Reiach and Carrie Zimmer for their passion, enlightening conversation, organisation and openness to embracing the chaos.

Here’s a gallery of the three days of making.

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