Over the past year I had the privilege of leading a team to create makerspaces in 15 high schools around the Bay Area. Our goal was to learn how to help educators create makerspaces in schools and use making in the classroom. DARPA, which funded our program, eventually wanted to take what we learned and create makerspaces in 1,000 schools. While our DARPA funding ended in December, we believed so strongly in the benefits of these spaces that we continued to support our pilot schools until the end of the year. This was particularly rewarding work.
As you can see, our Maker Mondays is loosely based on the concepts inspired by the Cincinnati Public Library’s MakerSpace. We had already purchased the Little Bits and Legos. The Ellison and Accucut dies were also something we had on hand (and taking them from the top floor to the basement for our Maker Mondays only took 3 trips). Inpsired by CPL, we did purchase a couple of American Button Machines, which I blogged about here. Our goal is to eventually add in a few additional items so that we can rotates some of the various features.
So here’s some of what we learned in researching and setting up our first Maker Monday:"
The maker movement was front and center at the 2015 ISTE conference—and that’s a good thing for me. After following maker initiatives with great interest for some time now, I have the opportunity to design a maker space this year for 6th–12th grade students at my school, Worcester (MA) Academy.
A search of this year’s program at ISTE, held June 28 to July 1 in Philadelphia, using the term “constructivist learning/maker movement” resulted in 67 related sessions. The ISTE Librarians Network hosted a maker station at their Digital Age Playground and convened a panel on library maker spaces, featuring elementary and middle school librarians, a school administrator, and the coordinator of a public library maker initiative. Vendors and exhibitors demonstrated tools, lessons, and ideas for maker spaces. Meanwhile, a four-hour Maker Playground Wednesday morning drew a huge crowd of attendees.
One of my goals at the conference was to gather ideas and tips to help me create my library’s maker space. Here are some highlights of what I discovered at ISTE."
"It is a place for everyone, creative and not creative, to come and explore their passions using raw materials, tools, technology, repurposed items and imagination. People can work individually or collaboratively, using technology and/or drawing on the collective wisdom of those in the room to help achieve their goal in a Maker Space."
"Pam is a student who was a frequent visitor to our makerspace this past school year. As a senior, she often visited during her independent study periods or her lunch. Pam always had an interest in computer science, but says her time in our makerspace this year has helped her determine her college major and what she wants to do with her career. She said the makerspace played a big part in realizing how much she loves computers and technology. Pam's favorite station in our space, was our Take-Apart Tech Station, where she has both taken computers apart and built them. As a result of the work she did at that station, Pam decided to go to school for IT and now has a summer internship with our tech team at New Milford High School. "
What are the real benefits of a maker-centered approach to learning? It’s often described as a way to incubate STEM skills or drive technical innovation — and it is probably both of these. But as a new report from Project Zero’s Agency by Design concludes, the real value of maker education has more to do with building character than with building the next industrial revolution.
We have, however, recently expanded upon our Makerspace offerings thanks to being inspired by several of my librarian friends in our amazing #TLChat PLN! Kids can come in during lunch or when they've finished their work to explore, craft, and create in the Library Media Center.
I re-purposed 4 empty study carrels for this Makerspace center at the top corner of our library. The grouping includes a Lego Creation Station, a Duct Tape Craft Cubby, and a Makey Makey Coding Corner."
Karyn Peterson gives a great perspective on the maker space movement in this School Library Journal article. Librarians in a rush to jump into "Makerspaces" might want to take a breath and look at the activities that already take place in the library. Sure, we'd all love to have 3D printers and robotics, but for many school librarians, that's just not financially feasible.
So, what about some low tech activities that can easily be rebranded? Instead of an arts and crafts program after schoo...
Sometimes it's the last minute ideas that work the best! I had a teacher ask me to present something about creating book trailers to his students. I threw this Slides presentation together, added some sample Powtoons I'd made last week, and they loved it.
."Where 3D printing has yet to really make a huge impact, but provides an ample amount of opportunity, is within educational institutions. These range from elementary schools to high schools, universities, and maker spaces around the globe. One reason that 3D printing has been quite slow in making its impact in these institutions is simply because of the lack of knowledge of the technology by the decision makers in charge.
Because the technology is so relatively new, the greatest impact may come via the introduction of 3D printing into public and private grade schools. The younger a person is, the easier it usually is to introduce new ideas and methodologies. This is why young children are so quick to learn new languages, when compared to their older adult counterparts. This is what makes elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools the perfect place to begin really introducing a curriculum based around 3D printing.
Just about every subject within a school curriculum could benefit from 3D printing technology. We will outline a few of these below:"
Your Makerspace may not need much of a budget to operate, if you have a space you can use for free, tools to borrow, and materials found or donated. For some Makerspaces, the ones with lots of parental involvement, many of the projects are self-funded. But if your Makerspace takes place at a school without as much family support, or if you simply do not have this all in place, you may need to research community or family foundation grants to fill in the gap.
I am in the midst of a profound “Maker awakening”. Yes, that’s what I think I will dub it. I have spent the last couple of months immersed in the research and development of incorporating the maker movement into the library I am currently working at. I have been reading, reading some more, and refining what I think it means to incorporate the concept of makers and maker spaces into our libraries.
Learning by making has been around since long before edtech—just think about what the adventurous explorers or intrepid settlers of yore would have thought of "Do-It-Yourself." But with thousands of kid-friendly tech tools and a whole World Wide Web of resources out there, creative, interesting opportunities for learning-by-making abound for everyone.
Okay, so with all those resources, where should you start to build a makerspace? Here at EdSurge, we've rolled up our sleeves, put on our protective goggles, and built a Maker Guide from scratch, just for you.
Read on for ideas from the educators and entrepreneurs who think making 24/7, including what is involved with project-based learning and making in the classroom and tried-and-true lessons from the field on starting your makerspace.
Making on a budget? We surely do. We've got ideas for stocking your space with resources from your arts and crafts closet, plus inspiration from educators working to bring makerspaces to low-income and all-girls classrooms.
Partly because I don’t consider myself to be the best with tools, but also because it is asking me to judge whether or not I’m capable of fixing, making, or crafting something. Here’s the thing, I didn’t know how to put new shower tiles in and patch up my existing dry wall with cement board when we had a leak last year…but I had a friend help get me started, I watched a few DIY Youtube videos, looked at some articles online, and now I know how to do that (although not too well).
The same thing happens in high schools all the time. The “handy” kids go to shop class, the “artsy” kids go to art class, the “business” kids go to business classes, the “techy” kids go to web design classes and so on…
It’s got to stop. We can’t continue labeling kids as one thing or another thing. What we know about the future workforce is that creativity, making, and innovating will be at the center of most jobs…and that will require students to be all of the above"
Educational makerspaces, which derive from the philosophies of the maker movement, have become prominent recently in response to the need for students to acquire 21st Century skills. This creative and technological revolution encourages students to be active and participatory learners, critical and creative thinkers through activities that involve design, exploration, collaboration, making, tinkering, invention and sharing. While makerspaces, hackerspaces or fab labs, are commonly located in tertiary and public libraries, community centres and specialist laboratories, it is school libraries that have the potential to enhance student learning and engagement. School libraries through the provision of space, tools and resources, during formal and informal learning, encourages students to move from being users and consumers to being creators and innovators (Fleming, 2015; Slater and Howard, 2013). This essay will explore the establishment of educational makerspaces in school libraries. It is targeted towards teacher librarians who wish to establish makerspaces in their libraries and inform principals of the educational merits to support the re-purposing of their school libraries for the creation of makerspaces.
Making something from scratch is a great skill to have. It requires confidence and imagination. For students who are into making new creations, these terrific apps and other digital products can help them develop their creative chops.
Man who doesn't teach kids or run schools tells us how to teach kids and run schools If you only read one book by Ken Robinson this year, don’t read this one. In fact, put the other ones down too. There, I just saved you an afternoon of being patronised.
Linda Denty's insight:
Interesting to read another viewpoint on Sir Ken's views on education.
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