Why to combine and apply the best parts of maker culture and creative programming in school

June 27, 2019

The greatest things in maker culture are peer-learning, expressing own ideas and complementing traditional skills with digital technologies. Programming can also be all this, when it’s approached through practical and artistic subjects.

Mehackit started by organizing instructed courses in electronics, art and music programming in over hundred secondary schools. The original goal was that after the instructed Mehackit course, teachers in the school would continue teaching programming with ready-made materials. For many teachers the gap seemed to be too broad to start to teach programming.

Now, Mehackit’s online learning service is there to make teaching creative technology projects effortless and meaningful: the continuous professional development training Let Me Hack It (in Finnish for teachers and the high quality student materials complement each other.

Teachers need opportunities to learn through experimenting and to gain enough self-confidence.

– Secondary school science teacher

Mehackit Atelier – teacher learns by teaching!

Most of the teachers who have tested Atelier haven’t had any previous experience in programming, but have still thought the platform is easy to use and the content is interesting. A music teacher student says: “For me the most fascinating part was programming, because I hadn’t tried it before. I was inspired to combine programming with music!”

The general purpose of EdTech is to support learning and make teaching easier for teachers. With Mehackit Atelier teachers can teach programming and creative technology with minimal preparation. Ready-made exercises and tutorial videos offer flexible opportunities to teach technology projects, apply technology creatively and deepen own know-how.

With EdTech and maker culture teacher can learn while teaching!

Antti Lehtonen, physics and computer science teacher in Porkkala secondary school, thinks that programmable Arduino electronics is pedagogically a good way to work, because programming is combined with physical making and students can quickly make something stunning. According to Lehtonen, Electronics & Programming material serves well in class, because video tutorials enable independent working and the rhythm of material is well planned.

The students are encouraged to search for help on the internet. It is valuable to learn to use global maker and programming resources, not only to learn more and support self-expression but also to make the connection to maker culture outside school grow stronger.

Young people must learn to study independently.

– Ágota Klacsákné Tóth, mathematical sciences subject teacher

Mathematical sciences subject teacher from Budapest, Ágota Klacsákné Tóth, thinks that it’s justified to encourage self-determination in the material: “These skills are needed in the future. Independent studying is more common in Finland but in Hungary the students need a lot of feedback from the teacher or classmates.”

The anonymous quotes are from feedback collected from Atelier users.

This blog post is based on a longer article in Finnish in Tekninen opettaja, a magazine by the Association of Technology Teachers in Finland, published in May 2019.