Learning through Doing

Maker Movement Co-Founder Gary Stager Inspires Students with Ideas

On November 10, Steward students received a little career advice from Maker Movement co-founder Dr. Gary Stager: “Making things is incredibly important regardless of what field you think you’re going to go into.” Dr. Stager, the first 2015-16 Visiting Innovator, believes that ideas from five or ten years ago that didn’t seem possible are now “stuff that first graders will get for Christmas.”

Dr. Stager presented Learning to Play in Education: Joining the Maker Movement to existing members and newcomers to the Steward community in the Bryan Innovation Lab that evening. “I have always believed in using computers to amplify human potential,” he says. “As educators, we need to be preparing children to solve problems we never anticipated.”

In his lecture, Dr. Stager cited specific characteristics of a Maker education, which include constructionism, creation, intimate learning, serendipity, and more. He noted that the Maker movement encourages active learning, which captures children’s attention and allows them to explore.

Dr. Stager has held many titles during his 30-year career, and he is currently special assistant to the head of school for innovation at The Willows, a DK-8 school in Culver City, California and the executive director of The Constructivist Consortium. He is clearly inspired by seeing kids make connections between technology and inanimate objects, which is essentially the gist of the Maker Movement.

With the launch of Make magazine in 2005, Dr. Stager said that for the first time on display, there was a combination of making things and using digital technology to make them move and communicate; it also involved timeless skills like knitting, sewing, and crochet. The followers of this movement “thought it would be cool to come together,” he says, and thus the Maker Faire was born.

In Dr. Stager’s eyes, “there are now kids at the center of a revolution. They know stuff and are willing to share it with others” on the internet. He gave the audience many examples of projects that combine math, art, and digital technology to solve problems like watering plants or feeding goldfish, and in addition he noted several of his favorite examples:

  • Caine’s Arcade—a nine-year-old boy spent his summer break building an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his father’s used auto parts store. A filmmaker created a documentary about Caine, which ultimately led to a movement and enough money for him to “retire” at age 11.
  • Super Awesome Sylvia—an eight-year-old girl who enjoys science experiments and creates her own online show, Sylviashow.com. In the episode Dr. Stager showed, she creates an Arduino Adjustable Strobe and demonstrates how it can be done at home.
  • Using Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room as an inspiration, Dr. Stager showed footage of teachers using Hummingbird programming to create robotic birds.

Dr. Stager’s resume includes numerous contributions to the education world; most recently he co-authored the book Invent to Learn—Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. He was a pioneer of laptops in education, having led professional development sessions since 1990 and designed online graduate school programs. He has served as a contributor to The Huffington Post; a visiting professor at Pepperdine University, Trinity College, and the University of Melbourne; and a collaborator with the MIT Media Lab Future of Learning Group. Author, speaker, and futurist David Thornburg once said of Dr. Stager, “Some people think 'outside of the box.' Gary is unaware of the box's existence!”

With a day of classroom visits and a mini Maker Faire in the afternoon, Dr. Stager gave the Steward community reasons to continue building and playing at any age.

 

 

 

Copyright 2019 The Steward School

The Steward School Mission

Our mission at The Steward School is to prepare our students for college and for life in a community defined by robust academics, inspiration, engagement, and care. We invite you to learn why so many families have chosen to become part of our community.

 

Explore Campus      Learn from the Experts

Experience "The Steward Way"

The Steward School is committed to the kind of education that recognizes individuality and fosters potential through a differentiated approach. If you value small class sizes, close connections with faculty and fellow students, and a challenging yet supportive academic environment with broad opportunities, then Steward may be the right school for you.

 

Learn More     Schedule a Visit    Apply Online

An Education as Unique as Your Child

We are proud to offer a comprehensive curriculum to students in junior kindergarten through twelfth grade. Discover the incredible opportunities we provide for each learner.

 

Lower School     Middle School     Upper School

Explore the World of the Arts

Whether setting the stage, striking a chord, creating a masterpiece, or simply exploring individual talents and interests, exposure to the arts develops important life skills necessary for students to succeed in academic areas and everyday life experiences. By providing our students with multiple creative outlets, we seek to nurture talents, build confidence, and help students discover passions.

 

Visual Arts     Music     Theatre

One School. One Team.

Participation, skill building, and sportsmanship are the cornerstones of The Steward School’s athletic program. At all levels, our coaching program is dedicated to giving students the training and experience necessary to develop a lifelong appreciation of physical activity, skill development, and, above all, teamwork.

 

Athletic Calendar     Sports Programs

A New Way of Learning

The Bryan Innovation Lab is a 21st-century, problem-solving environment. Through experiential learning in this cutting-edge facility, students are able to grapple with real world issues, challenging their critical thinking and resourcefulness.

 

Explore the Lab

Beyond the Classroom

The Steward School is a place of learning for the greater Richmond community through various campus programs. Whether you're interested in attending our annual gala, signing your child up for one of our summer camps, or learning more about LEAP, we welcome you to the Steward community.

 

Special Events     Summer Experience

It's for Steward Students!

Your gift helps ensure that each student recieves the best educational experieance at Steward. Learn more about the Steward50 campaign, annual giving, and other ways to support Steward.

 

Learn More     Give Today