March 515 research update

To be honest, I have had great difficulty this last month managing all the different things that are being thrown at me. With Report cards, student led conferences, teaching full time and two courses on top of two children and managing a household with my husband away, I feel like I am not doing anything really well. I am very excited about my research topic and can’t wait to dig in to my new book but am getting very panicky about the looming deadlines. Can I have my thoughts in some sort of coherent form by April? Will it be good quality work or will I feel pressured to just but anything on paper and then have to redo it all in the summer? I have had to compartmentalize my life in order to survive. A week where I focus on my family, a week for my classroom, a week for my masters. That way at least I can turn to people and say “sorry, you have no laundry- it’s not your week”. Oh, if only that worked! I have deliberately chosen a topic that is very relevant to me so this month my progress is more related to doing things that help me to create my own maker space. If I am going to write about the effectiveness  of using Maker space to bring Reggio Emilia principles up the grades, then I am going to have to do it first. This is the part that I find exciting. Putting all the articles and my subsequent connections into a real world scenario. Unfortunately, what I should be focusing on is the writing of my lit review which I am finding very difficult to get into.

Progress Report:

  • Continued research into Maker Spaces
  • Attended Pro D workshop on Maker Space and made contact with teacher at Hillcrest Elementary who is currently creating a space
  • Approached my admin about creating a maker space in my classroom or somewhere in our school. Talked with school librarian, curriculum specialist and tech support about how to implement in our setting.
  • Changed job for next year. Moving to Grade 3 which ties in perfectly with Masters topic of bringing Reggio up the grades.
  • Ordered book “Invent To Learn” by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager

Jan/ Feb 515 Research Update


Good News!! Found research by Gary Stager and Sylvia Libow linking Reggio Emilia Approach to Maker Movement. This is exactly what I have been looking for. Have now shifted focus from inquiry to Maker Space.

  • Began researching Constructionism vs Constructivism as philosophical underpinnings
  • Went to Uvic library to contact research librarian
  • Contacted Gary Stager via Twitter to ask for more info on Reggio. He is currently writing a book that has yet to be published but mentioned that his PHD research may be valuable.
  • Continued searching for research/ articles that link Reggio to Maker Movement. Other than Gary Stager none to be found
  • Continuing to try to flush out headings for lit review- What is important? What can be left out?
  • Continue reading Creswell as reference to how to proceed with questions and research

Nov/Dec Research Progress 515 Update

  • November/December
  • Created an iMovie in my classroom to help document learning
  • Explored articles provided by google scholar
  • narrowing down topic to student voice
  • Question? How can technology be used to increase student voice in Reggio Emilia style pedagological documentation?
  • explored twitter #reggiopln and found interesting article on digital documentation
  • thinking about final product- an ebook reference for teachers with a scope and sequence of grade appropriate apps/ resources to use
  • explored Uvic Space. Read many thesis documents to get sense of projects
  • continuing to collect articles
  • printing, sorting and highlighting articles in binder



Pedagological Documentation

Student Voice

Reggio Emilia

technology for teachers

Google Scholar alerts for: technology and documentation early ed

Scoop it-Reggio Documentation

Google + community– Inquiry and Reggio Emilia Documentation (61 members)

Sept/ Oct 515 Research Update


  • created blog about research topic and interests- helped to narrow down focus
  • Joined google + tiegrad community
  • met with Jane Rees weekly
  • organized/created Google folder for 515 course including all assignments and blog posts to help map out course create framework for research
  • realized that it will be essential to be organized due to amount of info we will be dealing with
  • created folder in Ref works for Lit review
  • looking into how to have shared folder for documentation articles
  • Made connections to 591 evaluation assignment- I will evaluate a resource that involves students  documentating own journey- perhaps book creator,show me or explain everything
  • Discussed using creation tools Diego and scoop it to help curate articles
  • Learned how to import google scholar article notifications into refworks

Next steps:

Use this space to list search terms and results

Save google scholar articles to refworks

Refine search terms in google scholar

Contact service administrator to allow access to google library

The power of children

I was so excited when I found out that Sylvia Martinez was going to be talking to our Tiegrad cohort. I had just stumbled upon her work the week before while doing research for my lit review. My research question involves how to bring the Reggio Emilia Approach up the grades. The Reggio Emilia Approach to learning originates in a tiny town in Italy but has been hailed as  one of the best educational philosophies in the world by Newsweek. It embraces the ideal that children are competent learners who should have a strong say in the direction of their learning. The Reggio approach states that:

  • Children must be able to learn through hands on experiences using their all of their senses
  • Children learn best through a project based approach
  • Children must have control of their learning
  • Children must be given ample opportunities to express themselves

While researching articles for my lit review I came across the Maker Movement and was immediately struck by the parallels between the two approaches. The Maker Culture according to Wikipedia

” emphasizes learning-through-doing (constructivism) in a social environment. Maker culture emphasizes informal, networked, peer-led, and shared learning motivated by fun and self-fulfillment.[2] ”

I began searching the literature to see who else was researching the parallels and the implications for bringing Reggio up the grades in the 21st century. I found Gary Stager and his Digital Reggio philosophy, did a little dance for joy, and was immediately hooked. This Summer there is a Summer Institute put on by Constructing Modern Knowledge that  is committed to making connections between child-centered learning theories and the creative construction of knowledge with computers. It is so exciting to see the blending of theories that value child-centered learning, an inquiry, project based approach and technology!

I am now hard at work finding articles to support creating a Reggio inspired Maker space at my school. I will be moving up to Gr. 3 next year and can’t wait to use my Reggio background in a new and exciting way that will also incorporate digital technologies for my students. Listening to Sylvia talking about all the opportunities and technologies of the Maker Movement was truly inspiring and has me all fired up! I would love to connect with anyone else interested in creating a hands-on maker space in their class or anyone who is already trying this out.

The following Ted talk by Adora Svitak ties in so well to the constructivist philosophy of learning and really helps to celebrate the power of the inherent wisdom of children.

“The Best Schools in the World”
2 December 1991

Using Coggle as a Media Tool for Teachers

Jane and I created the following screencast of a media tool called Coggle that we have been experimenting with at school. I currently use it to collaboratively plan upcoming units with my teaching partner and recently used it to map out my research focus. I enjoy the ease of use and the simplicity of the image it creates. Sometimes simple really is better. Please watch the video below for our step by step review of it. Let me know if you can think of any other uses for it.