Episode 20: Quantum Leap


In this episode, we interview David Wiwchar who is currently teaching Physical Education and Science at Mayfield Secondary School. Dave shares a bit about his journey from being a student at Mayfield to now being a teacher there who is opening up his assessment practices and using technology as a way to help giving feedback in a more effective manner. His ideas parallel Jim Kardash who spoke in Episode 4: Rogue One, but he also shares how he has truly embodied becoming a co-learner by learning how to code in order to make Google tools do what he wants.

What’s New in the World of EML

Jim shared a conversation he had with a primary teacher who asked him about her craft table and who wondered what the difference was between a craft table and makerspace. The most important aspect is how the space is used rather than what it is called. In the conversation with the teacher, Jim shared some common themes he has seen in other school-based makerspaces, including:

  • Maker stance or mindset is in place – creative learning, students work on projects, usually longer term, making things there are interested in or passionate about, a way for teachers to learn more about their students, a way for children to express themselves and ideas, thoughts that are important to them
  • Idea that if children can imagine it, they make it
  • Roles – students make the choices of what to make, teachers support with materials, interest, questions, allowing time to tinker, play, experiment
  • Ways to use those experiences – Teacher ties to curriculum, inquiries (rather than predetermined lessons or procedures) for example – students can share, discuss, reflect, write about what they are making, connect to other experiences
  • Oral language, conversations, observations – opportunity for assessment
  • Students ideally are making, and then discussing what they are making with each other, peers and classmates (structures often need to be put into place to ensure)

The core feature of most makerspaces is they are intentionally designed spaces that serve as an invitation to children to play and make things they wish to make. (Chapter 1 of Makerspace Playbook clearly describes the historical and philosophical foundation of the maker movement.)

Amit shared the amazing work done by Francine Tulloch-Harvey and her crew who put on the Peel Equity Summit. He saw many of the links between the equity work that is happening in the Board and the Empowering Modern Learners vision document. Dr. Carl James put on an amazing keynote address followed by presentations by equity leaders in Peel.

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Links from the Interview with David Wiwchar

Shares for the Week

Jim shared a free, online document called the Makerspace Playbook as a very practical guide to thinking about, developing, implementing, and maintaining a school-based makerspace.

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Amit shared a great resource from Kasey Bell entitled Word Sneak Activity that is inspired by Jimmy Fallon. He talked about how the activity could be used to review terms students may need to know in a class or to introduce terms they will be learning about. It’s great for a pre-assessment or even as a Minds On or Bell-Ringer activity. Here’s an example of a great one with Jimmy Fallon and Bryan Cranston:

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