Learn while playing at Learn Quebec

On September 15, Learn Quebec received a group of educators including teachers, school administrators, educational advisers and MakerSpace facilitators.

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On September 15, Learn Quebec received a group of educators including teachers, school administrators, educational advisers and MakerSpace facilitators.

This hands-on day of exploration, which marked the start of the 2017/2018 school season, turned out to be phenomenal. Open Creative Space. It allowed participants to access an incredible amount of resources as well as to learn about their use. The welcome was warm and the participants, curious and enthusiastic.

The concept of creative space

Learn Quebec defines the concept of creative space as a place where the head, heart and hands of the person come together. It is a place where science and creativity come together to bring out the awakening to the STEAM spirit (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics). A creative space is inspired by both the culture Maker and the concept of Art Hives, also known under the French name The Art Hive, within the act of creation which is a truly human characteristic.

Open up to the Maker spirit

After having individually expressed their expectations for this day of exploration, it is by reading the beautiful book What a genius! of Ashley Spiers that participants were awakened to the Maker Spirit. This illustrated album tells the story of a very inventive young girl who decides one fine morning to create a grandiose object. She launches into the creation of a quantity of objects, but none seems to her to be up to it. Frustrated by her failures and angry, she agrees to go for a walk with her dog, who is also her best friend. It was only when she returned from her walk that she realized that each of her creations actually carried an element of this grandiose object that she dreamed of making.

This story seeks to orient the thoughts of the participants towards the importance of play in the creative process but also towards the need to take a step back, to accept imperfection and to develop an attitude of patience and perseverance.

In other words, the Maker mind offers to learn differently.

The menu of the day

An impressive buffet was offered to participants: two rooms, four tables covered with a variety of products and materials (Lego WeDo and Mindstorms, Dash and Dots, access to Scratch, MakeyMakey, LittleBits, Snap Circuits, Ozobots, RasberryPi), two maps work tables as well as craft tables. Apprentice Makers had the freedom to choose among these many devices to meet the challenges they wanted to tackle.

The first activity I chose was to build a “lowtech” robot with the ability to draw. Having little talent for DIY, but a lot for exploration, I first designed an unattractive object. An ugly success drawing circles of itself from the pencils which serve as its legs. I learned during this exercise to improve my initial prototype to make it functional and to be able, subsequently, to remake a prettier and more solid version.

Learn Québec

For my second activity, I decided to explore the circuits because I had wanted to use these adhesive metallic tapes for a long time. Contrary to my habit of using the good old trial and error technique, I started by flipping through the instruction book. However, even from the scheme proposed by the book, this activity turned out to be a series of errors ultimately leading to the success shown in the photo. Happiness !

Learn Québec

Without wishing to generalize the following observations from my experience, I must admit that initially I did not think about what an electrical circuit was. Rather, I immersed myself in the activity by making a montage after the other as if my prior knowledge did not exist. Was this way of doing things appropriate? With hindsight, I wonder if I was not trying to make all the possible errors to explore the possibilities of the material and to clearly define the subject.

Learn Quebec: learn individually and collectively

I consider that I learned a lot during this day. On myself, but above all on the potential of teamwork which allows participants to share their experiences and learn from those of others.

I will end with this sentence from Thomas, one of the educational advisers of Learn Quebec: “To learn is to acquire something new, new information, new knowledge that I can use in a different context”.

If I knew the theory of the electric circuit, it is only today that I feel competent, even unbeatable in the art of building one.

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About the Author

Ninon Louise Lepage
Ninon Louise Lepage
Ninon Louise LePage is a pedagogue and museologist who recently came out of premature retirement to be reborn as an educational designation. She has taught at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke in science education, in addition to working at the Canadian Heritage Information Network as a museology consultant. She also writes for our French friends at Ludomag. She also invites all interested to contact her so that she can talk about you, your students, your school and your particular experiences in digital and computer education.

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