Monday, April 27, 2015

Website dedicated to DIY & DIWO

A student of mine recently told me that he first became interested in making his own robotic models because of Make magazine. Now he is in a bachelor program for mechatronics/robotics engineering.

His colleagues and I were interested in learning more about this magazine, so I used the information in a lesson. The magazine has a very useful website that focuses on DIY (do it yourself) and DIWO (do it with others). The projects presented range from simple to complex, and can by used by an age range of from older children to adults.

From the website: "Maker Media is a global platform for connecting Makers with each other, with products and services, and with our partners. Through media, events and ecommerce, Maker Media serves a growing community of Makers who bring a DIY mindset to technology. Whether as hobbyists or professionals, Makers are creative, resourceful and curious, developing projects that demonstrate how they can interact with the world around them"

This description certainly fits my students, and probably all kinds of engineering students. The technology areas also focus on all kinds of engineering fields.

Make website and magazine:

The website sections are: Projects, News, Videos, Events, Contests, Shop, & Publications.

In the Projects section, there are:
  • Electronics
  • Workshop
  • Craft
  • Science
  • Home
  • Art & Design
Projects are rated by level of difficulty. Students can try a project - alone or in teams - and the teacher can use the information as model texts for instructions.

Under Videos there are many different types of themes. The description is: "Seeing is believing, and often the best way to learn how to do something is watching others do it first. Park yourself here and browse our extensive collection of ho-to and project videos."

This is certainly true of learning styles - often the best way to learn how to do something is to watch others do it first. Many engineering students have a learning style that reflect this. This is also useful when students are giving presentations or instructions, or as examples for presentations.

The length of the videos varies, but all I've checked are less than 10 minutes, with most around 5 minutes. Complete instructions for what is shown in videos are available on the website (the link is given at the bottom of the video - scroll down).

An example I used with my group is "Internet Speedometer" (3:30), which has very clear speaking by an American narrator. The text of instructions for this video provided a good example of clear instructions.

A bonus: students can sign up for the newsletter. The motivation to read this information would provide a good basis for developing their reading skills in English.

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