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Educators gather for first EduMakers Unconference

GPB Education Specialist Michael Kuenlen is pictured (right) demonstrating a fun science lesson with Edumakers Participant Michelle Rivera.

Education professionals gathered on Saturday, October 7 for the EduMakers Unconference offered by Georgia Southern University’s College of Education (COE). Attendees discussed the creation and teaching in makerspaces and STEM/STEAM labs.

“Makerspaces and STEM labs are increasingly becoming available to teachers and students, even in the rural regions of Georgia,” said Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D., instructional technology faculty member. “Starting from scratch is difficult both logistically and pedagogically. With this event, we aimed to form a network of like-minded teachers to support each other at every step of setting up and running a makerspace.”

Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) Education Outreach Specialist Michael Kuenlen was a special guest for the event, providing information about the free digital resources offered by GPB as well as partner organizations including Discovery Education.

Attendees also explored the College’s Innovation Studio and discussed current strategies used in some of their own makerspaces. Detailed discussion centered on 3D printing technology as well as robotics including topics such as funding sources and pedagogical and technical considerations.

“Thank you #GeorgiaSouthernCOE for the high quality professional development provided at #EduMakers Unconference! So many new ideas and resources,” tweeted participant Jeff Giddens, director of instructional technology and STEM for Bulloch County Schools.

Giveaways for the event were valued at approximately $1,400 including donations from Qubits, Micro:bit, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Makey Makey, formlabs, the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, SITE, Nicholas Provenzano, Gary Strager and Daylight Donuts.

The event was coordinated by Instructional Technology Faculty Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D, and Chuck Hodges, Ph.D. Additional faculty were on hand to assist in the day’s discussion including Elizabeth Downs, Ph.D., Lucas Jensen, Ph.D., and Shelli Casler-Failing, Ph.D.

Recipients of free Micro:bits given away at the Edumakers Unconference

“I am hoping the educators will stay connected to each other and to the Georgia Southern faculty involved for continued sharing and collaboration, especially via Twitter and the hashtag, #Edumakers,” said Hodges. “We are already thinking about making this an annual event.”

The College of Education offers master’s and specialist degrees in instructional technology. Students can choose to pursue instructional technology or school library media certification as well as a dual certification in both areas. For more information about a graduate degree in instructional technology, visit http://coe.georgiasouthern.edu/itec/

 

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