Teachers and Students As Makers

a Sun CurveThe OER Commons project (open Educational Resources) and ISKME (The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education) launched an open-source curriculum competition called the Sun Curve Design Challenge.

ISKME is an independent, nonprofit research institute that helps schools, colleges, universities, and the organizations that support them expand their capacity to collect and share information, apply it to well-defined problems, and create human-centered, knowledge-driven environments focused on learning and success. Their approach is to recast teachers and students as collaborative "makers" of curriculum and media.

What is the challenge? If you had to grow your food using efficient and sustainable processes, where would it take you? What science and technology could support your ideas?

So, the annual Maker Faire was a good place to launch the project. It's all about educators and students collaborating as inventors and being inspired and guided by concepts of scientific inquiry and design thinking. The results of their efforts will be released as open resources.

Sun Curve was created by INKA and inventor-sculptor, Paul Giacomantonio as an experiential and experimental laboratory system. Its system combines hydroponic, organic food production with aquaculture, renewable materials, and solar energy in a self-contained laboratory system.

The Sun Curve installation and its inventors serve as points of inspiration for teachers and students to study the science involved and to challenge themselves to build their own working solutions to challenges of food production and environmental impact.

At Maker Faire in California this year, Paul Giacomantonio answered questions from students, teachers, and other attendees about the Sun Curve. An estimated crowd of 80,000 visitors went to the Faire and saw the OER Commons and the Sun Curve science lab and hands-on design studio. They were able to develop learning materials and see student designs.


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