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Local teacher honoured for aiding hands-on learning


BEDFORD – A teacher at West Pictou Consolidated has been recognized with an Education Week Award.

Sally Steeves, a teacher at West Pictou Consolidated, received an Education Week Award on Monday night. She’s shown with Education Minister Karen Casey and Lt. Gov. J.J. Grant.

Sally Steeves received the award on Monday night in Bedford as part of the 2016 ceremony at Charles P. Allen High School. The theme of the week is Media Literacy: Empowering Critical Thinking in a Digital Media World, focusing on honouring educators who, through guided learning opportunities, are teaching students to become respectful, responsible and ethical digital citizens.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for something you’re doing and something you love doing,” said Steeves.

She leads the school’s Makerspace team, getting involved because “it was a nice opportunity for kids to be able to do some hands-on learning and see some technology they wouldn’t necessarily see.”

Makerspace is a collaborative workshop area where students have the space and materials to design, create and fabricate using different mediums, which teaches them to improve creativity and problem solving. The West Pictou space is filled with technology such as robotics, video production equipment, computer programming and virtual reality.

Steeves can often be found assisting students in the Makerspace on her lunch hour and during prep times assisting students. Focusing on students’ strengths, she helps them with projects that allow them to grow and develop their abilities using technology. She helps to make exploring the Makerspace a fun, safe and rewarding experience, allowing students the opportunity to explore, make mistakes and learn.

“It helps them build skills and gives them ways to invent and be creative… experiment with technology and see what interests, skills and abilities they have.”

Through her guidance and encouragement, students are also stepping up to lead – teaching and mentoring others in the Makerspace. This has helped them learn other skills such as public speaking, which she said is rewarding to see.

She said she’s interested in cross-curriculum work, bringing together different subject areas, with the Makerspace providing her a chance to integrate things they’re interested in and use every day, such as cellphones and the Internet, and “teaching them how it’s done respectfully and responsibly.”

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