Technology & Learning Innovation Blog

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#MakerMovement at FDR

A growing wave of students learning by doing is sweeping across the educational landscape. Known on social media as the #MakerMovement, this style of learning seeks to teach kids important skills such as coding, design and engineering through hands-on projects. The maker movement also eschews traditional grades and classroom formalities and encourages kids to learn for the love of it as opposed to external motivators! 

In the FDR Technology and Learning Innovation department we have embraced the #MakerMovement by offering different sessions for students, teachers and even parents to get busy learning by doing! MakerMonday and TinkerTuesday are a way for middle and high school students to get exposure to coding, building and even neuroscience in a fun way during their lunchtimes. WiredWednesday allows for teachers to try out some of the latest tech tools for the classroom in a relaxed, low-stakes environment. FunFriday sees our elementary students getting their hands on some fun tools like kinesthetic learning blocks, robots and STEM-based crafts. And we are proud to even offer up a monthly session for parents on the first Friday of ever month to come and explore some of the tools their children get to experiment with in their learning! 

Embracing this new approach to learning will help equip our whole community with the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century, and helps ensure FDR stays a regional educational leader on the continent!



Computer Science Week at FDR

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, December 4 to 10. The Technology and Learning Innovation coaches put together our first CODING Playground for students, teachers, and parents.

Computational thinking, Scratch, Swift, binary, robotics are just some of the choices available for the FDR community both plugged and unplugged. 


Beebots in Kindergarten

Kindergarten students coded some Beebots in their class. They are currently working on their Safety Unit. For this matter, they had to help the firetruck (Beebot) go from the fire station to turn the fire out and come back to the station. 


  • Coding
  • collaboration
  • stem
Learning Out of the Box: QR Codes in the Classroom

Using QR codes in the classroom can open endless opportunities to improve our students learning experiences. When you scan a QR code, you are immediately taken to a variety of tech-rich content, whether it is text, audio, video or web content. Here some ideas of the multiple uses we can think about:

  • Differentiate instruction: QR codes present an opportunity to differentiate instruction to meet students’ individual needs. QR codes can be an easy way of creating differentiated groups, or stations within a classroom, or make QR codes that send each student to the same website, but with separate sets of questions or differentiated activities based on level.
  • Create an interactive library: Have students record audio or video reviews of the books they’ve read or create some reading guiding questions. Attach the code directly to the book in the class library. 
  • Supplement homework assignments: Attach QR codes to provide additional support or step by step explanation to complex math problems and attach them to students’ homework in case they get stuck. You can even have other students do the problem, using a site like Educreations, and encourage peer collaboration.
  • Make displays interactive: Have students create QR codes to enhance their work display with additional content, oral explanation or their reflections
    Learn/practice vocabulary words: Create puzzles to have students listen, read and match pronunciation, images and text while practicing their vocabulary words.


Tinkering and Hacking through the Engineering Cycle

Students tinkered and hacked home appliances they brought from home that didn’t work anymore. This was part of a science unit with a strong focus on the engineering cycle. 

Students visited the Idea Lab makerspace in the Commons. They identified the parts of their appliance, the purpose of each part and then analyzed the complexities of the design behind their object of study. They used the Parts, Purpose, and Complexities thinking routine by Project Zero (Harvard Graduate School of Education).

Once they looked closely into the object in its totality, it was time to open it up! They received detailed and clear safety instructions on how to use the tools and off the went to tinker with the parts. They all wore goggles and safety gloves.

After some unscrewing and hammering, pulling and taring, most objects were exposed and their parts revealed. Students took notes and guessed why the inside parts were placed and built the way they were. Finally, they presented to their class how they would re-engineer the object to make it better or to serve a new or additional, innovative purpose.

  • design thinking
  • innovation
  • tinkering