STEAM-3D Maker Lab

The STEAM-3D Lab at UOIT’s Faculty of Education

The potential role of digital technologies in education is currently debated in both developed and developing nations, moving discussion well beyond the question of whether digital media should be infused into learning, to identifying how this is best done in practice. To be literate in an era of mass consumerism, we want students to be both responsible consumers of digital texts and products, and to be able to produce them across a range of media for particular purposes and needs. Furthermore, while being literate has traditionally meant the ability to read and write, which certainly involves cognitive processes, in the case of digital literacies, computational skills and interpersonal and social processes are recognized essential elements. However, although digital technologies are part of our daily lives, few people create them. There are increasing reports in public media of calls from industry and governments for schools to empower students to manipulate and create technology to their advantage. Digital making opportunities offered to students are typically in out-of-school settings and suffer what Blikstein (2013) calls the “Keychain Syndrome”, where what is created utilizes leading edge and often expensive technological tools to create items that are both value-less and trivial.

The STEAM-3D Lab is where Dr. Janette Hughes and her research team: 1) develop and evaluate constructionist “production pedagogies” that work to build students’ ‘performative’ competencies in digital literacies, and investigate whether and how they promote civic engagement, service learning, and social justice particularly among marginalized students; 2) observe and evaluate the impact of “maker cultures” that facilitate the discovery, design, and development (3Ds) of digital “products” for students of all ages, their teachers, and the community; and 3) build capacity for investigating and affecting change and innovation in formal and informal education settings in the use of emerging digital media and interactive tools.

For more information and to follow our research, please visit the STEAM-3D Research Lab website.

Want to learn more about critical digital making?  Visit us online:  STEAM 3D Maker Modules