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Language and literacy through making

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Amanda Wager, Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education, was eager to share the makerspace with her Sheltered English Immersion class. The makerspace team developed an evening designed to immerse students in language and literacy through making.

The workshop began with a hands-on lesson on creating Google forms (surveys) for capturing diagnostic and formative assessments. Students learned how to customize survey content and questions, and how to access and manipulate the data once back in the Google spreadsheet.

eBooks are another powerful tool for capturing the process of learning. The class had the chance to create their own eBooks using the Android/iPad app “Book Creator”, mirroring the process their own students would engage in a classroom setting. Book Creator allows users combine text, drawing, audio and video recordings into an customizable eBook. The eBook then becomes an interactive artifact of their learning process.

Students also explored several robotics and coding tools: BeeBot robots, KIBO robots, and Scratch Jr. Two different BeeBot challenges focused on finding rhyming and opposite words. The KIBO was set up for students to noodle through the language of sequencing instructions, directional thinking, and the integrated language of collaboration and problem solving. Using Scratch Jr., students explored creative storytelling through programming characters to move, speak, and interact.