This collaborative project explores creativity and digital literacies through a makerfaire and aims to introduce preservice teachers to the integration of makerspaces within community centres like museums, libraries, galleries, and science centres. Spaces like these focus on hands-on learning, interaction with real materials, and intergenerational participation in a community context. At this event preservice teachers will work with artists at The Rooms and Geo Centre to develop makerstations for students and their parents to celebrate cultural heritage, recognize diversity, and explore social entrepreneurship.
This project accomplishes four distinct goals:
1. It develops innovative concepts that can be applied to early learner’s literacy and creativity in makerspaces in community spaces such as museums, libraries, galleries, science centres using digital literacy and creative skills in makerspaces.
2. The makerfaire leads to policy and practice insights in the field of early learning literacies. It also leads to understanding about how makerspaces in museums, libraries, galleries, and science centres can offer distinct learning opportunities.
3. This event provides our partners the opportunity to how to effectively work with young children to develop and utilize models and creative spaces, like makerspaces, to explore different aspects of culture and civic engagement.
4. This partnership continues to strengthen the growing partnership between Memorial, the Johnson Geo Centre, and The Rooms in support of more innovative research opportunities in the field of education through public spaces.
This project provided professional development opportunities for local educators in Newfoundland and Labrador to explore how makerspaces and makerspace philosophies can make impactful changes on pedagogies within classrooms. Global scholars from Finland, Canada, UK, and US presented projects, gave keynote addresses, and led break-out sessions that encouraged local educators to consider implications of practice, questions that need to be answered, and professional learning that still needs to be addressed.
This conference brought together over 80 teachers from Newfoundland and Labrador, members from the Newfoundland and Labrador School Board, as well as partners and collaborators from the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association. Teachers said that they valued the open ended exploration through different media that allowed for the communication, collaboration, creativity, and real-world connection that strengthens deep learning. Further, they felt that an emphasis on making for creative citizenship was an important distinction that encourages positive and active social growth, as well it emphasizes the importance for children to be multi-literate in an increasingly digital age.
In her keynote address, Kristiina Kumpulainen discussed the importance of multiliteracies, cultural sensitivity, and play through making. She considered the educational potential that makerspaces have in order to promote young children's maker literacies and civic engagement. She drew on the notions of transformative agency, creative citizenship, multiliteracies, and multimodality to illustrate the ongoing research at The University of Helsinki's Playful Learning Centre. Teachers found value in her implications for future research and education practices by being given the opportunity to network and make connections between both themselves and global scholars.