Teachers as Learners

IMG_0148Since the inception of our makerspace, I’ve been thinking about how to co-create an environment where all learners are valued (myself included). One way I’ve tried to do this is by opening up the makerspace at all recess times when I don’t have other obligations. Students pop in and work on personal projects, or just mess around with what we’ve got, just to see how things work, or what they might be used for.

One grade six student is very interested in everything Apple. He noticed my iPhone was getting old, and teased me about it often. Last week I got a new phone. He asked me if we could take apart the old one, since I didn’t need it anymore. Well today he had a go at it. I had absolutely no idea about his depth of knowledge of the inner workings of iPhones. He brought in his own set of special screw drivers and immediately set to work as though he’d done it a million times. He patiently showed me how to break down the whole phone, then removed the camera module so he could install it into his own iPhone (his was broken and he couldn’t buy a new one). We talked about how he had learned so much about Apple products and he told me he had done extensive research from websites, YouTube videos, and by tinkering with his own devices.

I realized there were two things happening:

  1. He needed a camera module and had sourced a free one (good for him!)
  2. He had shared his knowledge with me and I got to learn something new (good for me!)

So what next? How does this culture spread? I know I’ve reached a few students and the tide is turning, but how does this idea move beyond the makerspace?

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