CTLT Awarded Grant to Help Prepare Preservice Teachers for the Maker Movement

Associate professor Denise Crawford, Ph.D. student Yi Jin, and CTLT instructional support specialist Dennis Culver were awarded a Miller Faculty Fellowship grant for the project “Preparing pre-service teachers for makerspace communities in PK-12 education.”

This project will be a collaboration of SOE faculty, graduate students, and CTLT staff to develop a Makerspace module for preservice teachers taking the course CI 201: Learning Technologies in the PK-6 Classroom. The maker movement in education cultivates students’ design thinking, creativity, and 21st-century skills in all areas, emphasizing the STEM fields.

A “makerspace” is a physical space where individuals gather to create, invent, innovate, and learn while using 2D and 3D printers, software programs, electronics, and tools and supplies. An increasing number of schools in Iowa have been setting up makerspaces. Administrators expect incoming teachers to enter schools understanding the possibilities of this innovative and creative pedagogy.

The Makerspace module will provide students with the knowledge to be an agent of change as they enter the teaching profession ready to integrate this pedagogy and emerging technologies into their classrooms and creative learning spaces closely related to STEM education.

The Miller Faculty Development Fund was made possible by the generosity of F. Wendell Miller, who left his entire estate jointly to Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. Mr. Miller, who died in 1995 at age 97, was born in Altoona, Illinois, grew up in Rockwell City, Iowa, graduated from Grinnell College and Harvard Law School, and practiced law in Des Moines and Chicago before returning to Rockwell City to manage his family’s farm holdings and to practice law. His bequest helped to establish the F. Wendell Miller Trust, the annual earnings of which, in part, help support faculty development proposals that advance the university’s strategic plan. The program is administered by the President’s Office and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.