In-Field Events

Ontario Tech #PiDay Virtual Speaker Series

Ontario Tech University (Online)
March 1st, 2021

On Monday March 1st, Dr. Janette Hughes kicked off the Virtual Speaker Series supporting Ontario Tech University’s annual Pi Day of Giving. Showcasing the types of research being undertaken at the university, Dr. Hughes shared her work under the umbrella of “Fostering the Development of Creativity and Critical Thinking through ‘Maker’ Education”. In her presentation, she summarized maker pedagogies and their role in modern education, as well as the ways in which making is particularly relevant to our well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you were unable to attend Dr. Hughes’ presentation, Ontario Tech has made the recording available on their YouTube channel.


“Cosmic Poetry”: Exploring Language Arts & Making

Rainy River District School Board (Online)
January 2021

This January, the STEAM-3D Maker Lab partnered with Rainy River District School Board (RRDSB) and published poet/professor emeritus Dr. Cornelia Hoogland (University of Western Ontario) to host virtual sessions with a focus on poetry and making for students in Grades 2 through 6. The six, hour-long sessions had the students exploring elements of poetry through plugged and unplugged activities such as using Flipgrid for poetry performance, sculpture creation, and a nature walk that took place offline in students’ local environments.


Virtual Making Workshop Sessions

Best Practices in Online and Blended Learning Conference – Ontario Tech University (Online)
August 10th – 14th, 2020

In response to the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 – 2021 school year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario Tech University’s Faculty of Education organized a virtual conference to support educators in developing best practices for teaching in online and blended contexts. Thirty unique sessions were offered throughout the week of August 10th to 14th, providing theoretical insight on transforming your pedagogy for online contexts, strategies for converting face-to-face classroom practices for successful use online, and hands-on workshops covering a variety of digital tools to support online and blended learning.

The STEAM-3D Maker Lab hosted three of these interactive workshops, exploring Bloxels Screenshot of a Zoom meeting, depicting the session organizers and the title slide for the MakeCode for micro:bit session. EDU, MakeCode (micro:bit), and CoSpaces Edu for use in face-to-face, blended, or fully virtual educational programs. A diverse group of educators attended our sessions, including teachers from Kindergarten through Grade 8, curriculum support specialists, and more! We were also pleased to welcome several international educators who provided valuable insight on the use of these tools in their respective contexts. During these sessions, we had the opportunity to chat about the pedagogical value of these tools, provide space for inquiry and exploration, and collaboratively discuss where these tools could best support the curriculum.

We want to express our appreciation to the conference organizers for creating an incredible learning experience for educators throughout the world, and to those who attended for sharing their experiences, insights, and setting an awesome example for their students by being willing to try and learn unfamiliar digital tools!


Keynote: “Best Practices for e-Learning in Higher Education”

3rd Symposium for Effective Teaching and Learning in the Sciences – Ontario Tech University (Online)
July 14th, 2020

Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education landscape, this year’s Symposium for Effective Teaching and Learning in the Sciences emphasized virtual platforms for enhancing online and blended approaches to education. Dr. Hughes drew upon her extensive experience with teaching online to provide a keynote address absolutely packed with tips for providing an engaging and fulfilling virtual learning environment for higher education.


Webinar: “Best Practices for Teaching STEM Online at the Tertiary Level”

COVID-19 & Remote STEM Education – Online
May 4th, 2020

Dr. Janette Hughes and the STEAM-3D Maker Lab team were invited to host the third in a series of webinars designed for post-secondary STEM educators struggling with the transition to remote learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. These webinars were designed by a team of international researchers in response to an ongoing survey of STEM faculty needs, with previous sessions highlighting online assessment and evaluation practices, as well as promoting engagement and collaborative student work at the tertiary level.

The session hosted by the STEAM-3D Maker Lab was entitled “Best Practices for Teaching STEM Online at the Tertiary Level”. Dr. Hughes presented a variety of recommended practices for maintaining student engagement, facilitating teacher/learner/social presence online, avoiding cognitive overload, and more from research and prior teaching experience. The team then provided brief demonstrations of various digital tools that could aid in teaching & learning online, including screen-recording software, interactive whiteboards, digital simulations, and mathematics visualization software.

For more information and future webinars related to remote post-secondary STEM education, check out STEM Education Online’s Facebook page.


Mobile Maker Event with Richmond Hill Public Librarians

Central Library – Richmond Hill, ON
October 10th, 2019

On October 10th, the STEAM-3D Maker Lab travelled to Richmond Hill to conduct a full-day maker workshop with their public librarians. Given the recent surge of makerspaces in Ontario’s public libraries, this mobile maker event was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about coding, programmable robots, exploring augmented & virtual reality resources, and creating your own through CoSpaces EDU.

Attendees had a wonderful time exploring Beebots, Ozobots, Sphero, Scratch, and other block coding platforms, while learning more about the pedagogical value of making. We want to thank the Richmond Hill Public Libraries for having us, and we look forward to future sessions!


Digital Citizenship Summit Toronto

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) – Toronto, ON
October 27th, 2018

Just two days after our busy night at Northern Dancer, the STEAM-3D Maker Lab team Logo for the Digital Citizenship Summit in Toronto. was off to Toronto to participate in the Digital Citizenship Summit. Hosted by Jennifer Casa-Todd and a wonderful organizing committee, this event was a day of learning for all involved! From hands-on workshops to expert panels, the DigCitSummit aimed to provide education and awareness on the role of technology in students’ daily lives, potential challenges (and solutions) inherent in these technologies, and ways to help students become active, responsible digital citizens.

We were thrilled to present our workshop on ‘Making Digital Citizens’, providing insight into how critical making can be used to empower students to become digital agents in their own communities. Click here to view our slides from that day.

After a brief introduction, our attendees got right into their own critical making using Lilypad and the Cricut machine. As they created artifacts inspired by social justice issues of personal importance, we had some amazing conversations about how we might run these activities with students, and what sorts of curricular connections could be made. In the end, everyone had mastered their tool of choice, and had something to take with them from that day. Although we didn’t get pictures of everyone’s creations, check out a few of the amazing Lilypad pieces from that day:

A collage of five photographs, each depicting an art piece made with the Lilypad system of conductive thread, lights, etc.


“Exploring Sciences” Community Night

Northern Dancer Public School – Oshawa, ON 
October 25th, 2018

On October 25th, students and their parents were invited to attend a night of hands-on, interactive learning at Northern Dancer Public School, one of DDSB’s newest schools located in Northern Oshawa. After an inspiring speech by the organizers about the role of the sciences in their community, both now and in the future, attendees were invited to attend any of the workshop spaces that had been put on by us, volunteers from the UOIT Faculty of Engineering, and other community educators.

We expected that it would be a busy night, but we were overwhelmed by the number of students and parents that expressed a desire to learn about the tools we had brought, and how they might be used for scientific inquiry! We spread our three stations out throughout the entire main library space to make sure there was enough room for people to explore papertronics, augmented reality, and virtual reality. We even had students get involved in some coding on the iPads we had brought! It was wonderful to see students and parents working deeply with the tools, asking questions and challenging themselves (and each other) to learn something new! And by the end of the night, the parents were almost more engaged than their students – amazing!

Thank you so much to Ms. Estwani and the Northern Dancer crew for inviting us. It was so much fun, and we found ourselves being so inspired by everyone’s passion for STEAM!

A collage of photos of the STEAM-3D Maker Lab crew engaging with parents and students at Northern Dancer Public School.


Parents as Partners Symposium

Durham District School Board (DDSB) Education Centre – Whitby, ON
April 7th, 2018

On a beautiful Saturday morning, the STEAM-3D Maker Lab ventured out to the DDSB Education Centre to take part in the Parents as Partners Symposium. This amazing event was organized to promote parental and community involvement in students’ education, and to provide insight into the innovative projects that are taking place throughout the board.

While parents attended workshops on mathematics, coding, STEM activities and coding, their students were eager to get started with the technologies our team brought. Our Maker Lab team took over the theatre, gymnasium, and one of the classrooms for students to explore several of our programmable robots, augmented reality, virtual reality, green screen video production, Makey Makey and paper circuits! Students dove deep into coding, circuitry, and editing videos and animations, some with tools they had never seen before. Over the course of an hour and a half, students evolved from uncertainty to confident makers, having written their own code, mastered the green screen, and tinkered with augmented reality through Aurasma. We were excited to watch students grow familiar with the technology over the sessions and to see their ideas come to life with their chosen tools. At the end of the session, students had a chance to share their creations and processes with their parents who were thrilled to see what their students had come up with.

It was a fabulous day of innovation, STEAM learning, and partnership between parents, students, and educators. Thank you so much for having us!


Future City (Canada) Competition

Durham District School Board (DDSB) – Whitby, ON
January 25th, 2018

Members of the STEAM-3D Maker Lab team attended the Future City Competition on January 25th to see what our next STEAM leaders envisioned for their future cities. Embedded into the curricula, students have been working on their cities with help from a mentor and their classroom teacher since the beginning of the school year and came together to showcase their age-friendly cities at the DDSB. Students from 49 junior-intermediate classes presented at this year’s competition, and we were so excited to see the levels of innovation, creativity, and problem-solving in their cities!


Technology Enabled Leading and Learning Institute

Ontario Principals Council – Toronto, ON
August 17th & 18th, 2017

250 Principals and Vice Principals made their way to Toronto, Ontario for August 17th and 18th to attend the Technology Enabled Leading and Learning Institute put on by the Ontario Principals Council. Armed with a variety of our Makerspace technology, and an excitement for discussing Maker pedagogy, we made our way to the institute to provide the opportunity for these Principals and Vice Principals to interact with Makerspace equipment.

First on the agenda was Dr. Janette Hughes’ talk on “Considerations for Leading the Maker Movement in your School”. Janette’s presentation got all participants in the mood to engage with Maker tools, and to see which tools would best fit into each Principal’s/Vice Principal’s school. The second portion of Janette’s presentation was set up as a gallery walk. Our Makerspace technologies were set out in the room in a way that encouraged the participants to try out the technologies for themselves in a hands-on environment. At each station one of our STEAM 3D Maker Lab researchers or research assistants offered themselves up to field various questions about the specific technologies, and where they fit in terms of the curriculum/learning for both elementary and high school grades. The room was buzzing with curious Principals and Vice Principals who were eager to start the Maker Movement as an initiative in their own schools.

What really showed us that these Principals and Vice Principals were serious about infusing technology into their classrooms, was when multiple individuals come up to us later in the day to show us proof that they had purchased the very tech they were engaging with. Many said that they wanted to learn more about the technology they were interested in before bringing it to their teachers. We are looking forward to seeing what the schools involved come up with in terms of creating a Maker mentality during this new school year. We are extremely happy to see the Maker Movement taking off all across Ontario. Institutes/Conferences such as the TELL Institute, really demonstrate to us that not only teachers, but administrators are passionate about bringing this kind of learning to their students.


“Make a Difference” Event

West Lynde Public School – Whitby, ON
May 3rd, 2017

On the evening of May 3rd, in West Lynde Public School’s gymnasium, curious minds filled the space! West Lynde played host for DDSB’s 2017 Make a Difference event, and it was an absolute hit. Students and their families, from the community, attended the 2 hour long event and gained knowledge in an array of areas from healthy eating, all the way to how technology can help the learner grow. The Make a Difference campaign dates back to September of 2013 when the initiative was launched as a pilot project in select Oshawa elementary schools. The goal of the “Make a Difference” program is to ensure that young children in DDSB schools in Oshawa have access to programs and opportunities that can address the impacts of poverty on students’ development and long term success (DDSB). Since then, the campaign has expanded to include those students living in the Whitby area.

The UOIT STEAM 3D Maker Lab was contacted about the possibility of partnering with the DDSB for the event and we jumped at the opportunity! Our staff, Maya Staresinic and Laura Dobos, gathered all of the necessary materials and technology to provide students with the opportunity to play and tinker with technology that they may never have seen before. Included were 8 Ozobots, with markers, and 1 3D Maker Bot Mini (the miniature version of our large desktop 3D printers). The UOIT STEAM 3D Maker Lab table was set up, and the students and families started to file into the gymnasium. Faces (of both students and parents) lit up when they saw what the Ozobots and 3D printer were capable of doing. Many were eager to get their hands on the Ozobot markers to create intricate mazes for the Ozobot to follow. Eyes widened as they saw the Maker Bot Mini work its magic and create a 3D printed object out of plastic filament. The energy displayed by the students when it came to technology was incredible to see. Some even shared how their families are fostering a Maker mindset in their own homes. Some were well aware that they were doing it, while other’s were extremely excited by the fact that they had been doing it for months unknowingly! Wherever we go, the Maker mindset seems to be ever-present.

The evening was a great one, and the STEAM 3D Maker Lab was blown away by the want the students displayed about incorporating technology in their learning journey.


Canada’s Learning and Technology Conference

Connect 2017 – Niagara Falls, ON
April 27th – 28th, 2017

During April 25 – 28, 2017, Niagara Falls hosted the Connect 2017 Conference. Educators from all across Ontario came to the Conference to “share best practices and expand our horizons of education technology in an ever-increasing global and digital economy” (Connect 2017). The 4-day event was an incredible experience where educators, leaders, presenters, directors of education, and so many more, came together to share in the wealth of knowledge that surrounds learning and technology. On Friday, April 28, our very own Janette Hughes kickstarted our day with her presentation on Make and Tell: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Maker Pedagogies. If you missed it, you can watch her spotlight session below:

 It was great to see all of those in attendance who share a passion of Makerspace and how maker pedagogies can promote a sense of connecting, reflecting and sharing within our students.

Once the presentation was over, participants filed into the lobby where the STEAM 3D Maker team was set up with various technologies for participants to get their hands on. The team answered questions, discussed with teachers what they are doing in their classrooms when it comes to Makerspace, and shared resources and knowledge that centred around what technologies best suit specific grade levels/subjects. Participants were engaged and excited for the opportunity to tinker around with various technologies that enhance student learning and inquiry.

The Conference was great for the fact that it really demonstrated that the Maker mentality is a driving force in todays education, and is being practiced in classrooms and schools throughout the province.


STEM Community Night

Rosebank Public School – Pickering, ON
April 12th, 2017

On April 12, 2017, Rosebank Public Elementary School, located in Pickering, hosted their STEM CommScreen Shot 2017-04-14 at 1.50.20 PMunity Night. Parents and students were invited to attend the event that offered participants the opportunity to engage in different hands-on activities that all centered around STEM learning. From 6pm – 8pm, Rosebank’s gymnasium was full of eager parents and students that had a want for gaining knowledge about STEM learning and ways to incorporate STEM thinking into activities outside of the classroom.

Our STEAM 3D Maker Lab was so excited when we got the call, asking us if we wanted to participate. Right
away, we jumped at the chance and began discussing with the Rosebank coordinator what sort of technologies she wanted us to bring along on the night of the event.Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 1.50.27 PM

We were given a section of the gymnasium that was referred to as the “Makerspace corner”, where our 3D Printer, Augment Reality tools and Chibitronics (circuits) were set up, waiting for parents and students to come explore. The evening was filled with STEM questions (from both the parents and students) directed at our staff, inquiry activities, and wide-eyed participants that has a blast making and tinkering with the technologies.

The othScreen Shot 2017-04-14 at 1.50.37 PMer stations that were open for the participants to explore were set up by the incredible Rosebank staff and student volunteers (yes, student volunteers were helping run this event…amazing!). These stations offered hands-on learning with Sphero robots, opportunities to engage in a catapult contest, a microscopy section and booth where participants could explore the concept of density using (and making) lava lamps.

The evening was an incredible experience to have been a part of and we have to thank Rosebank P.S. for extending the invitation to us. This event offered insight into just how important STEM knowledge and learning is for this school, and we cannot wait to see what else Rosebank does!


Principal’s Conference

York Catholic District School Board’s (YCDSB) – Hockley Valley Resort
November 24th – 25th, 2016

Dr. Hughes, Lauren Fridman and Melanie Maas recently attended the YCDSB’s principal’s conference at the Hockley Valley Resort on November 24th and 25th, 2016. On the first evening, they were able to see George Couros, the author of The Innovator’s Mindset present a keynote address.

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On Friday morning, Dr. Hughes presented her keynote address on the topic of makerspace pedagogies and their relevance to schools. Following the presentation, the principals and vice principals were able to tinker with augmented and virtual reality tools, Makey Makey, 3D printing and programmable robots (sphero and BB8). After a brief break Lauren and Melanie took the group through two sessions based off of Janette’s book The Digital Principal.

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Lauren discussed how to “Flip Your Staff Meeting” and discussed the use of a variety of online freeware to help move away from the “sage on the stage” to a more interactive and collaborative meeting style. The principals and VPs were able to explore tools like Prezi, Slack, Padlet, NearPod, Google Suite and Storify. Melanie ran a session entitled “Creating a Strong Digital Footprint” where she went through social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and blogging tools. Here the staff was able to pick up some new tips and tricks on how to leverage social media for their schools and create school accounts.


Technology for Learning and Life Expo 

Durham District School Board (DDSB) – Whitby, ON
November 19th, 2016

Dr. Hughes is asked to present the keynote address “Technology, Equity & the Digital Divide” at the Durham District School Board’s Technology for Learning and Life Expo on November 19th, 2016. The expo attempt to bring parents and guardians up to speed with the technology tools being employed by teachers within the classroom. Through the sessions, participants are given the opportunity to engage with the tools themselves and learn to better navigate the hardwares and softwares that are currently in use.

Lauren attended with Janette and they presented a workshop entitled “Activism vs. Slacktivism: Using the Internet to Take Social Action.” This workshop offers insight into ways that students can get involved through social networking and other related online tools. They include a brief history of what has been done so far with regards to online activism and ways that students can become actively involved in causes that are important to them, rather than fall victims to slacktivism.

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This event was featured on durhamregion.com, for the full article click the image below:

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Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario (STAO) Conference:
Connect. Explore. Create.

International Plaza Hotel – Toronto, ON
November 11th, 2016

On November 11th 2016, Dr. Hughes and her STEAM 3D Makerspace Team attended the STAO conference at the International Plaza Hotel Toronto Airport. The team facilitated professional development sessions for teachers across the province of Ontario using a variety of emerging makerspace technology tools. Dr. Hughes began the morning by delivering a keynote address before the teachers were able to explore a few different makerspace sessions led by Graduate Students and Teacher Candidates. These sessions included 3D Printing and TinkerCAD, Scratch 2.0 and Makey Makey, Programmable Robots (including Sphero and BB8), and Augmented and Virtual Reality.

The STAO 2016 Teacher Participants

Below are some photos from the event.