From 2017 EdLab was integrated into the Faculty’s programme and is now led by a variety of staff and external partners, most of our updates have moved to other project blogs. Here are descriptions and blogs where they exist for the academic year 2018-19.
- Stitched Up: Re-think, re-work, re-make: tackling school uniform waste – stitchedupedlab2019.wordpress.com
- MeSeeMe: Exploring performances in an online world
- Fun will save the day: Working with global issues through using the playing and making of games as a medium. – https://funwillsavetheday.wordpress.com/
- The Language of Clay: Use ceramics as a medium to support confidence in English – https://languageofclayedlab19.wordpress.com/
- Geo-Domes; Shape, Make, Discover – Creating imaginative spaces with children – https://geodomesedlab201819.wordpress.com/
- Environmental Play: Exploring learning in the natural environment – https://environmentalplayedlab2019.wordpress.com
The process of being part of EdLab in 2019 is reflected in the student focused project catalogue.
Photo Gallery of projects from 2018-2019
As EdLab has become integrated into the Faculty’s programme and is now led by a variety of staff and external partners, most of our updates have moved to other project blogs. Here is a list of the active projects for the academic year 2017 – 2018.
- The Language of Clay: https://clayedlab17.wordpress.com
- Grimm and co: https://grimmandcoedlab17.wordpress.com
- Elizabeth Gaskell’s House: https://eghouseedlab17.wordpress.com
- Environmental Play: https://environmentalplay.wordpress.com
- Oubliette: https://oublietteedlab17.wordpress.com
- The Game Makers: https://gamemakersedlab17.wordpress.com/
- Early Years Explorers: https://eyexplorersedlab17.wordpress.com
In Sierra Leone there is a dangerously worrying fact facing vulnerable young girls looking for a fair start in life: they’re simply not being given the opportunity to stay in school. UNICEF research shows that even a single year of secondary education has the potential to increase a girl’s future earnings by up to 25%. Investment in girls’ education also has a multiplier effect: educated girls benefit from better family planning and have healthier children who are more likely to remain in education themselves. But Sierra Leonean girls are increasingly likely to drop out of school at this vital stage.
Dividing education into disciplinary boundaries, is not the only way of learning about a subject. Specific disciplinary labels can have stereotypical associations which affect how learners feel about, or engage with, a subject. Therefore, the extent to which learners enjoy or excel in different disciplines may have little to do with their abilities, and more to do with how the subject is portrayed and taught.
Escape Rooms have become increasingly popular entertainment experiences in recent years, in which groups of people work together to solve puzzles and escape a locked room in a limited time period. As well as developing teamwork, communication and puzzle-solving skills, these rooms have the potential to embed puzzles that are related to specific disciplines or subject areas to provide a playful way for participants to engage with curriculum content.
Grimm & Co are a Yorkshire charity based in Rotherham town centre, championing the writer in every young person through the joyful discovery of stories. Their story centre and imagination gym can only be accessed through the secret door of our ‘Apothecary to the Magical’, selling wit, humour, awe and wonder to all children. They aim to creatively engage young people and inspire a new confidence and motivation to write.
StarLab is an inflatable dome onto which star and constellation maps can be projected to take learners on a virtual tour of the universe. It is a portable system which is easily transported and inflated, and can comfortably accommodate a class of children, or a group of adults.
The practices of coding and electronic ‘making’ have recently entered mainstream education. Their reach has, however, not been universal – and particular groups of pupils (boys, for instance) tend to feel that they are more relevant and accessible than others.
Students worked with Primary Schools to create inclusive and engaging places of play, to explore the everyday in-between spaces of the city where children and teachers can work together. Students worked with creative collaborators to enable the children to gain an understanding of the built and natural environment.
Students collaborated with TASC (The Architecture School for Children) on the project How Did Your Garden Grow? It engaged children in a creative exploration of the Piccadilly Gardens story. Students helped children to imaginatively peel back the layers of time revealing how the site has changed, eventually understanding how it is today and what it could be in the future.
This opening pilot workshop at the Hackerspace in Hedben Bridge explore the possibilities offered by taking apart electronic waste and / or recycling computers to create Retro Arcade machines.
The “unmaking” of computers and other devices had a really positive response. Getting CD drive motors working again was a real Frankenstein’s Monster moment (It’s Alive!).
It was the last of our regular sessions with our Y4/5 Roll Crescent group of young people recently. So what better to do that play video games.
The learning element here was to use a combination of Arduino, Makey Makeys and authentic arcade buttons and joysticks to assemble DIY control panels.
It was also happening at the same time as the Playful Learning conference so there were plenty of other large scale games to play with as well.
This pilot was a good success. The joint motivation of really good quality electronic components and the final goal of playing retro games was irresistible for young and older alike!
EdLab was happy to be able to contribute some key workshops aimed at children and families for the 2017 Summer Community Learning Festival in the Birley Building.
The festival is an idea way for us to develop our partnerships with local education providers and give us and our students an opportunity to try out new educational sessions.
Below are some photos and quick descriptions of some of the sessions we ran or supported.
This was a session with a great buzz about it and fantastic feedback from families that came to it.
This was a fun and interactive imagineering session aimed to support young people to develop an interactive promenade theatre show. This involved sharing case studies where participants have been integral to shaping the project and sharing tactics on engaging audiences. This was planned by EdLab together with Jana Kennedy from Z-Arts and the teacher training Drama department at Man Met.
This was a session delivered by Lucy an Master student doing Science Communication. It was a hands on introduction to the electromagnetic spectrum – what is a radio wave and what are they used for? How do we communicate with outer-space? This interactive workshop allowed participants to build their own satellite, design your own alien, and learn some Physics.
A fantastic preview of Reel Mcr’s upcoming project. Make sure to look out for the premiere of this film poem and documentary.
A great moment on Thursday, TASC really put the effort into getting great physical resources to support immersive play and creating environments.
Messy play at it’s best involving recycling waste electronic equipment into cute robots that participants can take home.
Another collaboration between EdLab and Becky and Alison from the Man Met’s Drama Education department. This was a new session using the appeal of retro video game arcades as an enticing way of then getting young people and families involved in the process of creating games. This was done via creating a dramatic situation where the young people had to save the Arcade.
This is a fantastic hands on way to learn how to be part of a musical band. Andrea ran two sessions and many from the first came back to the second!
This session led by student Roxanna is a very engaging way of learning about energy content of food and related issues of nutrition. It took place in the Food Lab of our building.
This year we made an international connection with academics and students at UManresa in Spain. Associate professor Dr. Gabriel Lemkow-Tovías from UManresa was my guide, and is a key member of staff working on their early childhood science centre Lab 0-6. Lab 0-6 is a ‘discovery centre’ based in the university where children aged 0-6 can come and immerse themselves in a number of activities and contexts designed to stimulate scientific investigation, observation and conclusions in young children. They developed this facility because they felt that interactive activities for this age group were lacking.
“Science is a tool for understanding the world
We aim to stimulate the natural curiosity of children and encourage their intervention reasoned reality.”
As a result of this specialist work, colleagues at Lab 0-6 were invited to collaborate on designing a space for young children in the natural history museum in Barcelona; Museo Blau. This space is similar in creating a warm and free environment for young children to explore scientific concepts and ideas, to observe, to experiment and to question. Staff said that one of the most important features of this space was to:
“Leave children with questions. Questions stimulate further exploration, answers provide an end point.“
At EdLab we are committed to creating links with all kinds of professionals and communities concerned with innovative and creative education. This year we were able to facilitate a Skype meeting between students on our EdLab unit and academics at LAB 0-6. During this meeting students could ask questions and take a virtual tour of the facility. It is hoped that in the future we will be able to create simultaneous projects between students in Manchester and students at UManresa, developing, observing and comparing educational activities for EYFS children.
Visiting the Community Learning festival
In returning the visit, Gabriel will be coming to our Community Learning Festival held in Brooks Building Hulme from the 25th to the 27th of July. The Community Learning Festival, now in its second year, aspires to bring together the richness of our local community with the skills and facilities from within the university. There will be a full programme of free workshops and activities over the three days, aimed at all ages.
Gabriel will also be delivering a talk as part of the festival from 4-5.30pm on Wednesday the 26th of July in the Bio Social Lab, Brooks Building:
More Places and Spaces
You may also be interested in Escola Itaca which is a primary schoool in Manresa entirely based in project-based learning, and the science museum in Barcelona, Cosmocaixa, where they have a similar project-based learning context called Creactivity.
The Funologists series of activities that EdLab runs has some fun and accessible ideas at its core. This blog post aims to scratch the surface of the theory behind having fun with technology.
Video of Funologists Launch
This video of our launch event is a great place to start.