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Communities of Practice

February 10, 2021

College Develops a Community of Practice
to Spur Innovation in the Classroom


Moreno Valley College has partnered with the nonprofit organization Maker Ed to build and incorporate hands-on, experiential, and learner driven practices into faculty instruction to support learners with the content they are teaching.

Community of Practice was implemented at MVC for the 2020-21 academic year in order to allow participants to explore, learn, and plan with other educators using different approaches regarding maker education. The virtual COMMP community meets monthly, creating multi-day professional development workshops for the 2021 winter, spring and summer terms.

"The idea is that participants develop pedagogical strategies to integrate learners, deepen their understanding, and assess for outcomes with Maker Ed and the iMAKE Innovation Center/Makerspace staff," Jason Kennedy, supervisor of the Makerspace Project, said. "We want to immerse educators in an exploration of the ways making can enhance learning."

Faculty participants step into their learners' shoes and explore foundational approaches to adapting by experiencing a variety of hands-on projects that can be integrated into course curriculum in a variety of different disciplines such as computer information systems, mathematics and English. Through participatory experiences, reflection, collaboration, and prototyping, workshops delve in the creation of a maker-centered project tailored to their learning environments.

The College hosted a four-day virtual event that included hands-on interactive making sessions, focusing on building and implementing equity in education which was done in partnership with the iMAKE Innovation Center and the nonprofit Maker Ed. The College has developed the Mobile Makerspace Bus, the iMAKE Innovation Center (on-campus laboratory) and a Virtual Makerspace, due to the COVID. Each embodies the core mission of the College.

"The core mission can be expressed in four words — education, empowerment, equity and service," Kennedy said.

During the virtual event participants tinkered and applied equity-focused educational models to use in their courses. The models included: Tinker to Discover, Make to Learn, and an Application Project. Participants utilized iMAKE materials and supplies provided by the iMAKE Innovation Center. In one activity, participants tinkered with creating a light screen while experimenting with objects in order to cast shadows; created various LED light displays using programming commands; discussed and reflected on equity-model readings; and finally, either individually or as a team, developed an application project.

"Some of the applications that could be developed included projects by faculty or iMAKE staff on food justice, creating a living classroom through cross collaboration with departments and organizations," Kennedy said. "Other projects included ideas to create apps that solve math problems, or how to minimize resources using math concepts, and planning activities for a virtual workshop series for spring 2021 semester."