Author: Erin Riley

Greenwich Academy, United States - Erin is Visual Arts Department Chair and a Director of the Engineering and Design Lab at Greenwich Academy.

Where Art and Design Education meets MakerEd

Making knows no boundary between discrete disciplines in education. As innovation programs facilitate skill sharing and as makerspaces and fab labs become more common in schools, art programs can access exciting new tools for self-expression and design. At the recent NAEA Conference in Chicago, the volume of STEAM and makerspaces sessions was a testament to the growing knowledge base… Read more »

Launching Boats

I once heard teaching compared to the act of launching boats.  I love the visual evoked by that metaphor. Could we think of the work we do in our makerspaces a similar process to preparing for, and ultimately taking off on a self-guided journey? Students captain the ship and teachers watch from the shore. Learning… Read more »

What do people learn from using digital fabrication tools?

In response to the question of what one actually learns from 3D printing, I thought more deeply about the work we do in our school. While I know conceiving an idea and shepherding it into a tangible form is significant, it is important to be able to articulate its value within an educational setting. It’s… Read more »

Teaching rights

Here’s an idea that can be larger in scope or can be used to manage your maker space. I was inspired last fall while visiting the Lighthouse Creativity Lab in Oakland, where Aaron Vanderwerff teaches, by their excellent punchcard system for designating users and granting teaching rights for tools and machines in their space. Another… Read more »

What can these scraps reveal?

Twice a week I coach an Odyssey of the Mind team.  All week I collect scraps, recyclables and cast away objects to bring to meetings for them to peruse.  The process of searching through these materials inspires the gadgets they create, the props they invent, and costumes they fashion.  Through the practice of re-purposing and… Read more »

Sequencing activities to support discovery

In the quest to create an authentic student-driven learning experience I find myself thinking a lot about the role of a maker educator as facilitator.  If I were to distill what that ideal is for me, it would be to provide an environment where students could find their own way creatively, all the while gaining… Read more »

Where the circle overlaps, thinking about the “A” in STEAM

I have been thinking about STEAM. STEAM supporters believe STEM should be updated to include creativity, innovation and aesthetics. Are we thinking of this like a Venn diagram, merging form (from the artistic side) to function (from the scientific side) or an extra component to add to the mix, enhancing work in STEM?  Either way, arts… Read more »

Drawing: a visual language for Makers

Drawing is like writing, using pictures instead of words.  It is a form of communication that can be useful, expressive, descriptive and observational.  It provides form to visual ideas.  Including drawing as part of the process of making things is fun and provides a good framework for understanding 2D and 3D design. Enclosed is a… Read more »

The power of Making what you can Imagine

Several years ago while while teaching an upper level drawing class I noticed that some of my students were struggling to understand 3D space on the 2D drawing plane.  In an effort to help these and future students, I reimagined a way of keeping track of studio projects based on where they might be organized… Read more »

Hooray for group work!

To an educator, summer brings much needed time for slowing down, reflection, and professional development. I had the opportunity to travel to NH to attend a most unusual, “minds-on” institute where you hang out with interesting maker educators and take the time to explore your ideas. Constructing Modern Knowledge began with a preview of the… Read more »