Makernoise – First UK Maker Education (un)Conference

We were very excited to have been invited to attend the first ever Maker Education (un)conference in the UK held on the 7th July 2018 at the Edge Hill University campus. The #MakerNoise18 Unconference brought together makers, educators, industry & library staff together.

The day kicked off with a short welcome by Carl Simmons (@Activ8Thinking) a Lecturer in education, co-author of Teaching ICT, Teaching Computing & Hello App Inventor talking about how Making feels and presenting his hypothesis: “Making offers instant feedback at all stages from frustration to joy. These strong emotional responses can be powerful motivators and make learning memorable. Low stakes, supported, making activities can be a very effective self-sustaining learning mechanism”. We could not agree more!

The keynote speech was delivered by Dr Anne Nortcliffe (@anortcliffe), Director of Engineering Curriculum for Canterbury Christ Church University. In her presentation, Anne got us testing rockets (most fun!) and talked about Engineering Habits of Mind and inclusive engineering (did you know that 90-95% of engineers are male and white?).

Then it was time for workshops and presentations. Firstly, I attended a workshop on using the Crumble to build robots by Jo Hodge (@hodge_jo), a primary teacher. In not time I built and coded a small Crumble project thanks to Jo’s easy to follow directions and how easy is to connect and code this board, a great choice for schools.

I also had the chance to sneak into Dr. Mark Feltham’s (@MarkFeltham666) presentation ‘Innovation in the making: maker culture… maker ethos… maker education’ which I really enjoyed. Mark is a great advocate for maker education and we strongly agree that makerspaces are the future of education!

After the lunch break, on behalf of Artefacto, it was my turn to deliver my ‘Digital Storytelling’ workshop. We showed how digital making technologies can be used for storytelling in a variety of contexts and settings and included demos and examples how robots (Ozobots), coding and physical computing (makey makey) and microcontrollers (Micro:bit and Bareconductive Touchboard) can be used in digital storytelling.

Afterwards, I attended a workshop by Dr Anne Nortcliffe, where we were set a challenge to build a pulley while getting us talking and thinking about gender bias in engineering solutions and products.

And finally, the day finish on a high with a presentation by Caroline Keep (@Ka81), recent winner of the TES award for best new teacher and Director of Spark Penketh Makerspace, on ‘Building a school makerspace’. A very impressive and inspirational example of how to embed a makerspace, and more importantly the maker mindset, in a secondary school with limited resources.