it’s been a year since my team’s collaboration with the Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia around the use of Maker Motes started. i thought it might be worthwhile to describe highlights of our journey.
we worked with teachers from five middle schools in the Bandung / Lembang area in Java, Indonesia. Professional development workshops began in August, and covered topics such as ‘introducing the Maker Motes to teachers’, ‘integrating Maker Motes in to the school curriculum’, and ‘developing lesson plans’. In total, seven such workshops were conducted, primarily because teacher-reflection was seen as critical to their understanding of the affordances of the open-source environmental sensors with respect to their science curriculum. the teachers adopted a Lesson Study approach, as this was a strategy they were already familiar with. As it turned out, the continual opportunities for sharing and reflection among schools in the local area was a critical factor to confidence-building and diffusion of the innovation.
as is so often the case, the teachers were able to come up with a diversity of lesson ideas which exceeded anything the development team could come up with. Thus, for example, lesson ideas were developed for topics such as ‘adaptation’, ‘characteristics of living things’, scientific objects and observation’, ‘changes of matter’, and ‘photosynthesis’. the first round of lessons were conducted in September, and so far, two cycles of Lesson Study have been enacted. An example of one such lesson was when students - in their groups - were given a Maker Mote and assigned one of four outdoor locations within the school’s premises. following the premises of scientific inquiry, they hypothesised the possible relationships between the microclimate at different parts of the school, vis-a-vis the local adaptation and zonation of the naturally emergent flora.
another great example of a lesson designed by the teachers was posed around the question of “how to make the cricket sing?”. in this lesson, students worked in their groups to test their hypotheses about which environmental factors encouraged crickets to sing. some of the variables they considered were sound, ambient light, and temperature.
what was also inspiring was that the structure of the Maker Motes as used in the schools in Indonesia, was different from how we conceptualised them for use in Singapore. The Indonesian motes were iterated to be robust with respect to irregular network connectivity, and had solar-arrays attached to them.
all in all, the past year has been an exciting learning experience for my team and i, and we really look forward to our continued collaboration with the teachers, the schools, and the faculty at the Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia :-)