A great college or graduate school program is offered at most universities, but how did it come to be there in the first place? Student Byte is an online community built around a group of math students that can connect and share knowledge.
Math Students Connect With Other Math Students Online About What They Are Learning
For students and faculty, communication can play a big role in any learning. For students, that communication would be communications with their peers, those in their school, in their communities, and most importantly, those online. Every single communication that a student makes builds familiarity and an ability to relate to the teaching and learning process.
With the advancement of technology, one of the challenges for communication is making sure that students, through the unique access provided through communications platforms, can connect with one another on a level that will amplify and engage the student while increasing the trust in what the educator is providing.
The remote learning forum for math is known as Makerspace. The aim of the collaborative learning platform is to connect with young math scholars through a Virtual Minority Report machine-to-machine tech application.
Makerspace offers a platform to help educate students in the math fields and is doing so from a “student-centered” view, emphasizing communication and daily involvement.
Grace Chan, PhD Candidate in the Center for Learning Impact and now a postdoc at Google (GOOGL) and an Makerspace Mission Leader shares on her Makerspace blog:
Today, students are spending less time in class and more time exploring the world through various mobile and online technology platforms. In those situations, students need information about other students, especially if they’re finding other students challenging or different from themselves in a general class. Much of this online and real-world variety in the student interaction happens outside of the classroom. For many kids, a digital device is a comfortable and predictable part of daily life so when they share a laptop or tablet with someone else, what could be more natural than to talk about their own experiences and problems? Why didn’t I know this yesterday? What does it mean when I have to ask people to explain how they work? Why does the blackboard not match the colors in my board? My fingers are sticky and my printer is slow. Maybe this is a mismatch in that my classmates and I aren’t from the same place. Now, we start to ask each other questions about what we do. We’re curious to see what they know, how they do things, and to get a sense of them. … At Makerspace, we are working to leverage technology to help connect students with each other in any online environment. Whether it’s an online, classroom, or workshop environment, we want to empower people to share their knowledge, invent, create, and explore using the tools and resources that they have at their fingertips. Through science experiments, hands-on activities, and teacher training, Makerspace will give students a real-world, tangible, and accessible experience of a science laboratory. We have inspired many innovative collaboration projects, like educational robots, open-source robots, and 3D printing classes. …To connect students to each other, Makerspace offers activity streams as learning resources that students can use offline and online. From quests to games, communication tools to self-guided activities, and from teaching tips to creative problem solving, these learning resources facilitate critical conversations that foster connection among teachers, students, and mentors, fostering critical thinking and innovation.
A common struggle with these kinds of endeavors is the challenge of building meaningful in-person connections at a time when students need teachers’ help the most. Success stories are plenty, but so often it can seem that too much effort is put into the online sharing of knowledge, leaving an unmet need for face-to-face communication.
Makerspace is an example of a disruptive system that provides the opportunity to connect, collaborate, and engage without the burden of in-person face-to-face time-zone differential. It takes the common conference call, IM, social media interaction, and mixes it up with physical collaboration and interaction. This simple concept of digital in-person connections creates a more interactive experience for students and leads to better (and more successful) communications in their day-to-day lives.
Hopefully this article inspires you to find a way to connect and engage your students and faculty members.
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If you’re curious to learn more about the ways that Makerspace can help your students and staff, sign up for our free 60-day pilot.
(Spencer is part of the Fast Company Instagram group. He will share his perspectives in the classroom and the virtual classroom.)