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Sonoma State University offers Maker Professional Development courses and certificates for educators to implement into the classroom. (via Sonoma.edu)

 

I’ll be the first to admit it, I had no idea that some colleges are offering Maker-centric courses aimed at educators for implementation into the classroom as well as the community. To put it simpler- the courses provide educators with the resources to implement maker activities in in schools, clubs, community centers, libraries, and other organizations.

 

At first I thought maybe these courses were part of the ongoing STEM initiative designed to get kids interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculums, however that’s not the case here, although it could be implemented as such. Nope, turns out these are actual courses from Sonoma State University and Harvard with the idea that educators can introduce and implement Maker activities in their respective schools, community centers, clubs and libraries.

 

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Sonoma’s educational philosophy of their Maker Certificate Program, which was adapted from the Connected Learning movement. (via Sonoma)

 

Sonoma State University is one of the few institutions offering a Maker Certificate Program to teachers and educators, which are designed around a set of mini courses for the purposes mentioned above. Instead of earning college credits, teachers earn CEUs (Continuing Education Units) that they can apply in maintaining their licenses as well as earning the Maker Certificate- a diploma of sorts signifying they have completed the required courses for education implementation.

 

Sonoma offers 50-hours of mini courses that can earn them 5 CEUs that include Introduction to Making (face to face/online), Implementing Maker Ed for TK-8, Making for Educators/Administrators, Maker Professional Development and Grant Writing among several others. Each course will challenge participants to create their own simple Maker project using only items found in their respective homes and online communities with the idea that they reflect on their role as Makers, which will help in developing their own education plan and Maker spaces for their respective institutions.

 

They will also have one-on-one conversations with instructors and other participants on how the Maker culture can be best integrated with existing educational initiative such as Common Core and STEM, which will only help bolster interest in the arts and sciences. Courses for the Maker Certificate Program are available for the fall, spring and summer (fall applications are going on now) at a cost of $250 to $600 depending on the course. Those interested in obtaining the Maker Certificate must complete all courses and has a total cost of $1,500.

 

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Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero offers educators a Maker-centric course designed for teachers to implement Maker courses in the classroom. (via Harvard)

 

Harvard is another college offering up a course designed to help teachers and educators implement a Maker-centric curriculum in their respective schools and community centers. Their program- Thinking and Learning in the Maker-Centered Classroom (Part of their Project Zero initiative), is an online course centered on teams of educators (three to six) rather than individuals. The focus is on collaboration and how it applies to Maker-centered learning practices and how to implement it in an educational hands-on setting.

 

The course (September through December) starts with a one-week orientation designed to introduce the participants to the program’s learning curriculum and learn about prominent figures in the Maker community. It then breaks down into six two-week subject sessions that include Learning New Ideas, Review/Reflection on Key Ideas, Conduct Classroom Tryouts, Team Project and Coach/Course peer team feedback and reflection.

 

Each team will have their own Coach/Instructor assigned to them for the duration of the program and culminates with a team project that promotes collaboration. Although the course is designed for ‘professional development’ and not linked to any degree, participants will be eligible for a certificate after successfully completing the program. Those looking to enroll must have at least two others to make a team at a cost of $525 per-person with classes beginning on September 19.

 

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Suffice it to say, there are other academic institutions (including Wilmington University) that cater to the Maker educators as part of an ongoing effort to introduce the movement to students in the classroom and chances are more schools and colleges will offer a certified program in the near future. Most of these programs are still in their infancy but it’s interesting to see the Maker and DIY movement move from the garage to the campus. It makes me wonder whether these courses and programs will evolve into a credited degree (Maker degree) at some point or will they remain just a certification program for teachers and educators.

 

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