MAKERSPACE AND STEAM EDUCATION
A Makerspace is a designated area where DIY meets education. It is where students have an opportunity to explore their own interests, learn to use tools and materials, both physical and virtual, and develop creative projects. Playful learning helps students to make learning connections and solve real-world problems, providing context for their learning.
These spaces empower students, encouraging a shift from being passive consumers of knowledge and information to active creators and innovators. Makerspaces offer authentic learning experiences connected to the real world, engaging students in the ‘big picture’. The focus is not necessarily on the end product, but on the process involved during the design and construction phases.
Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors and expertise. A collection of tools does not define a Makerspace. Rather, we define it by what it enables: making.
Working in partnership with the Leacock Foundation, the Get Ahead Project and College are making important changes to the academic curriculum to better equip graduates for life after graduation.
The STEAM integration project is derived from the practice of STEM: a curriculum strategy which educates students in four specific disciplines – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. By moving from STEM to STEAM, the Arts disciplines are in the centre of the paradigm to drive and encourage innovation and creative thinking.
Get Ahead is a leading school in the district with technology integration. Each GAC student has a tablet with full Wi-Fi connectivity. Teachers upload additional content to supplement textbooks. Our primary schools have interactive whiteboards as well as a set of tablets which they use to complement their teaching. All of our students are engaged with technology in some form or another throughout the school day.
Get Ahead’s focus has shifted from “business as usual” teaching to preparing our youth for life after school, by strengthening the quality of teaching and learning in STEAM (Science, Technology, English/Entrepreneurship/Engineering, Arts and Maths). For us, it is of vital importance for our students to be active participants in their learning. They are able to make real life connections between content and the work place because they are proficient in 21st century skills, namely, communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration.