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Social educators helping dropouts with maker based activities

In this blog we have talked about maker culture, about activities and maker projects, about the suitability of installing a maker space in an educational space, and also about how technology motivates young people.

Now, with this article we want to delve a little deeper into how educators with maker skills can help to give support to young people with educational difficulties.

As the introduction of the European Commission report “Youth work and non-formal learning in Europe’s education landscape” said in 2015:

The blurring of borders between formal, non-formal and informal will require new teaching skills and constant evolution of the profiles of youth workers or school teachers. A holistic approach to education, individualised methods, professional coaching and experience-based learning would also prompt individuals to take a step back from routine and promote change”.

And, more and more, informal learning will be a way of learning increasingly considered by employers and will be a motivating source of Learning.

While instruments of assessment and recognition of informal learning are being designed, it is time to explore ways to complement this informal learning with the educational system. And this role is developed in a very professional way by social educators.

Social educators know quite well what motivate young people. Besides, different sociological studies indicate that adolescents feel motivated when they are able to:

  • discover their talents through practice,
  • learn new things that have practical application in their personal or work environment,
  • solve real life problems,
  • use new technologies beyond the mobile phone,
  • build things for themselves,
  • feel that their initiatives and creativity are valued,
  • collaborate in the care of the planet,
  • help to others.

These motivating aspects can be achieved developing projects, (Why not?) in a “maker space” where young people can produce things.

We talked with Ana Moreno, a social educator and director of SED VIES, Social & Educational Piarist Association, in Valencia.This spanish association works with children, adolescents and families of vulnerable groups. They offer support to these students, with additional learning difficulties, when school hours are over.

SED VIES, stakeholder of Make In Class Project, is going to launch a project to set up a maker space to develop maker activities complementing the educational programs that will be scheduled after school.

Ana Moreno explains that working in a maker space will awaken the motivation of teenagers getting an informal learning: knowledge, skills and soft skills, without being in a traditional educational environment.

How to plan maker activities to motivate these young people from vulnerable groups?

She tells us their idea:  integrating the “manufacture” of objects or services into young people entrepreneurial projects to serve the community. The aim is being useful in their closest environment, improving their self-esteem and helping to achieve their social integration.

SED VIES bets on learning-service to the community, a methodological proposal that implies the realization of a solidarity action where the students are the protagonists, destined to attend real needs of a community and planned in an integrated way with the curricular contents of learning.

It is not only make nice and funny things, but useful and motivating things.

With this methodology we want to increase the interest in learning from young people, designing maker activities associated with projects that end by manufacturing something useful for young people, for people around them, for people in their community” – Ana Moreno explains.

We are convinced that this will be the starting point to achieve their social and labor insertion.

 

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