Tag Archives: place-based learning

Maker movement makes rural life make sense

mountain forest with fog cover obscuring top half of photo
Rural America is a place where place-based learning and the maker movement can meet for economic development  when rural teachers take the lead.

A blog post by earlier this week by Leah Shaffer at MindShift begins by contrasting maker programs in cities with rural ones:

The maker movement has expanded greatly in recent years and much of the attention has focused on cities with high population density and large well-funded school districts. In rural districts, teachers are also developing maker projects to help students gain the benefits that come from hands-on experiences, while better understanding the needs of their communities.

Maker projects in Montana and Iowa

Shaffer reports on work by a students in a Montana community who built and programmed air sensors to monitor pollution from forest fires and wood smoke cause year-round air pollution, and one in which Iowa high school students analyze agricultural data they gather by flying drones over farm fields.

photo collage of drones in air surprinted "Drones gather data from farm fields, boost students' skills"

Shaffer’s sources note the need for teachers to anticipate skills students are likely to need a decade or more in the future and design projects that help them develop those skills.

Her sources also point out that schools can’t just equip a maker space and assume students will know what to do: Initial experiences must be structured.

Read the entire blog post.


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Filed under Rural schools, School-community relations, Workforce readiness

Better together: rural schools and small towns

Tuesday evening’s #RuralEdChat was about Place-Based Learning. Guest “chatter” for the evening was Gary Funk, executive director of the Rural Schools Collaborative.
The Rural Schools Collaborative (@Rural_Schools for those on Twitter) is a new, multi-state nonprofit committed to the belief that rural schools and small towns get better together.


Since the chat was well-attended and likely, the transcript is lengthy. I’m going to curate excerpts to give a snapshot of what was said.

What is placed-based learning?

Is PBL implementation easier in rural schools?

What content can it be used with?

How does PBL fit with existing  programs?

Are your grants geographically limited?

The entire #RuralEdChat is archived here.

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Filed under Rural schools