Future-ready librarians are transforming traditional school libraries into bustling makerspaces where creativity and learning go hand in hand. The maker environment has the potential to teach our students to work collaboratively in ways that our curriculum often does not. Many of our students leave school lacking the abilities to solve problems, work in groups, act as leaders, and deal with failure because these skills aren’t covered in the curriculum. The good news is that these are all skills that can be gained through collaborative making and participatory learning in a makerspace. I find that combining making and research is beneficial to students because making is inquiry driven.
When you start out embedding making in the curriculum, it is essential to share with teachers the relevance of making as problem solving and the importance of process so that they don’t end up with glitter catapult assignments or extra crafty English language arts assignments that turn out more like craft experiments than true project-based learning. Sit down with teachers and look through the curriculum for places where a hands-on project could create learning across disciplines.
Whether you are teaching librarians or teachers, your professional development needs to get all educators to understand that the process and meaning a student gets from making are the most important aspects to making and education. The final product may be faulty, and that’s okay. At my campus, I work on explaining to all of our students that persevering after failure is what leads to innovation. Making stuff is cool, but the real learning happens from the meaning you get from making.
Via John Evans