Yellowknife Catholic Schools is embracing 21st century learning models with spaces that focus on student-empowerment and the process of inquiry. The Makerspace movement is a global trend that has gained momentum in the last few years with unique spaces offering students the opportunity to tinker with 3D printers, robotics, coding, and creative crafting materials. A makerspace mindset allows educators to move away from a stand and deliver model of instruction to a facilitator of the learning. Using STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) projects Maker classrooms become an environment ripe for exploration, inquiry, creativity, innovation and collaboration with hands on materials and real world problems (Donaldson, 2014; Papert & Harel, 1991; Schön, Ebner, & Kumar; Schrock, 2014, Hatch, 2013).
“Ultimately, the outcome of maker education and educational makerspaces leads to determination, independence and creative problem solving, and an authentic preparation for the real world through simulating real-world challenges. In short, an educational makerspace is less of a classroom and more of a motivational speech without words” (Kurti et al., 2014, p. 11).
What is Flex Time
Flex is a period of time that staff will use to assist students outside of regular class structure but during part of the school day. The purpose of Flex time is to allow ESPHS staff to be more creative, and successful, in meeting some of the challenges that our students face, and to allow for more student involvement in learning. ESPHS’ Flex program will be designed around the needs of students, and grounded in a belief that when students have active involvement in their education, coupled with the ability to make choices in their education, the result will be a more balanced, rewarding and successful educational process.
Flex time will have significant benefits for many of our students as many of them have non-academic responsibilities after school (work, family, extra-curricular sports) that prevent them from establishing regular evening routines which support their learning. Flex time gives students and teachers more choices about how to best support and enhance student learning.
- To Provide Student-Centered Learning Opportunities:
- Allow students to explore their passion areas
- Foster inquiry-based learning in the classroom
- Explore community partnerships to support learning
- Develop interest-based projects within the community
- Provide Flexibility in Supporting Student Achievement:
- Allow for daily tutorial options
- Provide time for departmental preparation
- Offer self-directed learning courses and opportunities
- Provide credit recovery sessions
Student Mentorship Time:
- Building relationship and support for students
- Supporting academic attendance
- Assigned group of 10-12 MAG students per teacher
- Time to help mentees plan for flex time and flex credits
- Support development of digital portfolios
- Implement myBlueprint high school completion and postsecondary planning