Does the presence of technology change the way teachers teach and students learn? That’s what Ph.D. students in “Technologies and Pedagogies in the Communication Arts” set out to investigate during a hands-on critical making workshop at the D. H. Hill Library Makerspace. 

When Dr. Paul Fyfe brought his Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM) students to the D. H. Hill Library Makerspace, he wanted them to invent and prototype a novel learning technology. But more importantly, he wanted them to question how such technologies affect students and teachers and change the learning environment.

This questioning is what separates “making” from “critical making”—a learning method  that combines hands-on making with critical reflection to produce new ideas. By doing so, scholars reflect deeply on their own teaching and learning methods and styles, and share strategies for fostering more collaborative, active, and inclusive classrooms.

Fyfe’s goal with his class was that, through the process of building their new technologies, the students would critically reflect on their own teaching methods and practices. “I basically wanted the students in CRDM 704 to go and think about Makerspaces as alternative learning spaces,” he says, “having read a little background on the subject, and then turned the whole thing over to Lauren Di Monte and Jessica Handloff in the Libraries, who were starting to develop different workshops for the Makerspace.”

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