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School district, researchers study new teaching strategies

School district, researchers study new teaching strategies

A study is looking to show the impact making has on student learning thanks to the help of a national grant.

Norman Public Schools and researchers from the University of Oklahoma are working together to study making, maker spaces and what impact these have on learning through guided inquiry design. The study is being funded by a Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant worth $540,388. The study is being done at three schools — Lincoln Elementary School, Longfellow Middle School and Norman High School.

The research study allows the students using the making strategy to create whatever they want, giving them more options than just a research paper, said Lee Nelson, a co-director of the study and technology integration specialist for Norman Public Schools. She has enjoyed seeing how students have embraced the study so far.

“It’s a whole range of different activities that students can choose from,” Nelson said. “And so essentially students are getting a lot more choice in what they produce through their projects.”

Shirley Simmons, assistant superintendent of educational services and project co-director, said the study is just finishing its first of three years. The first year was a pilot, she said, and was focused on professional development for teachers and piloting the project at the middle school students. In its next year, the study will be done at all three schools.

Students work in a maker space as part of a study being done by Norman Public Schools and researchers at the University of Oklahoma. Photo provided by Lee Nelson

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