Problem Solving through Mastery Learning
Michael Stone, Director of Innovative Learning at Public Education Foundation
and Kristin Burrus, Global Center for Digital Innovation Lead at STEM School Chattanooga
As workforce needs continue to evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of the modern economy, educators are increasingly faced with the burden of preparing students to develop agile skillsets. Since 2014, a digital fabrication ecosystem of FabLabs and advanced maker spaces has emerged in Hamilton County Schools that is empowering students to learn and grow as they engage with state-of-the-art equipment (including CNC routers, 3D printers, laser cutters, micro-electronics, and traditional woodworking equipment). However, rather than focusing on learning discrete skills related to specific technologies, the teachers running these labs are using them to grow students as independent, agile problem solvers, capable of quickly learning new skills and applying them to solve new problems. No longer do we talk about “master teachers.” Instead, our teachers have evolved into master learners who model how to effectively identify, analyze, evaluate, and apply new information to solve a dynamic range of problems. This was recently evidenced when 68 teachers contributed more than 1,000 volunteer hours to create a 3D printing farm at STEM School Chattanooga where they designed, produced, assembled and distributed more than 7,000 face shields for medical providers during the first month of the shutdown brought on COVID-19.
Michael Stone, Director of Innovative Learning at Public Education Foundation, and Kristin Burrus, Global Center for Digital Innovation Lead at STEM School Chattanooga, will share how they led this work and how these teachers are transforming learning experiences for students through digital fabrication.