There’s a lot of talk about the “maker movement” and “maker culture” at the present time. In a nutshell, it’s about using technology to learn as you create solutions to problems, or design blue sky projects. Think Arduino, Raspberry Pi, 3D printers, electronics and robotics. There doesn’t really seem to be a solid bridge between the maker movement and PE. Or is there?
The other day I mucked around with an idea as a semi joke. I cycle a lot, and this winter (where I live in Australia) has been warmer than I can remember for winter. I joked to a friend that “Magpie season” might start earlier than usual.
Around August/September when magpies start to nest they become very territorial. As a cyclist, you know there are some stretches of road where you will be swooped. Some swoopers are half hearted – some can be persistent and quite aggressive.
I’ve seen a variety of “anti swooping” countermeasures over the years. Cable ties on the helmet is a strategy that has lasted longer than most. but I’ve never been able to bring myself to use them. (The laughing from motorists is too hard to bear)
So I semi jokingly created a device that might be a solution. I posted the video on Facebook and Twitter for the amusement of my friends.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about the possibilities of linking PE with the idea of being a “maker”. It made sense. The “learning through doing” philosophy of the maker movement should happen every day in PE lessons – but we generally focus on “movement skills”, rather than creating “things”. But why shouldn’t we make things? I reflected that my “Mystery Bag Challenge” was in fact a “maker” based exercise, before I realised what being a “maker” meant.
And you know what would make it more powerful? It’s not the teacher’s responsibility for the design and creation process – it’s the students. We might provide the brief or perceived need – then let the kids loose on it. What an excellent assessment strategy!
Helmets to deter magpie swoops, innovative equipment designed to help us play newly created games, prototyping sports equipment, using 3D printers to create PE related tools like Jarrod Robinson and his 3D printed whistle – the list goes on.
I’d love to hear what “maker” activities you already do in class, or what the possibilities for maker spaces in PE could produce.