True Learner Empowerment
We recently had a couple remote controls from our educational drones drop to the ground resulting in broken joysticks. Accidents happen and we completely understand this, but thanks to our amazing staff and students this is not the end of the story.
An elementary student was empowered to help engineer a new joystick using our school’s 3D printer. She worked with Mr. Hinnenkamp to create a tiny joystick sleeve that fit over the broken drone remote controls using a design program called Tinkercad. Everything works as good as new now, and our students had the opportunity to experience authentic innovation and learner empowerment.
This is precisely why we feel it is critical to put students in the center of their learning (even if it means things get messy or broken every once in a while). Kids have the capacity to innovate, engineer, think critically, and solve a myriad of real problems; they don’t require worksheets to do so! All students deserve the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology in a safe and supportive learning environment. If the first time students have the opportunity to innovate and invent using real-world tools is high school or college, then we will have failed them.
This is more than a story about drones or a 3D printer. I took the opportunity to speak with the student that helped repair her drone remote control. The pride she exuded when she explained to me how she had fixed something that was accidentally broken was unmistakable. There was a humble confidence that I had not seen before. As we finished chatting I asked her how this experience made her feel and her response literally choked me up…I nearly cried. Suffice it to say, the opportunity she was given to fix her drone remote meant the world to her. And THAT means the world to me.
Thank you, teachers. Thank you for truly empowering our students. I honestly LOVE how our entire team empowers students and supports our kids in learning skills they will need to thrive today and excel tomorrow.
Posted on May 7, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged 3D Printing, Brad Gustafson, Drones, Educational Technology, Empowerment, Greenwood Elementary, GWgreats, Innovation, Learner Empowerment, Student Agency, student voice. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.
Reblogged this on The Missal.
Great to hear! That’s some real life problem solving right there! 🙂
I was inspired and love seeing kids put in a position to innovate while using critical thinking skills. Awesome!
Brad this is excellent. You are empowering students to be lifelong learners and that is amazing. What’s so cool is that I can’t even imagine having the skill set to accomplish what your student did. I think that is because as an adult I have put limits on what I can and cannot do. You aren’t allowing that to happen to your students and that is awesome.
Love the connection between student empowerment and the educational technology. We, too, have both a 3D printer and a drone. Our challenge has been how to make both relevant to student learning. Looks like all we need to do is break something. And we’re pretty good at that.
Breaking barriers to student creativity and student agency would be a great start! I find that the more connected student learning is to opportunities/innovation outside of school the more relevant it becomes. Sounds like you are well on your way in this journey. Thanks for reading and checking in. ~Brad
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