Creating makerspaces and incorporating them into schools involves more than coming up with project ideas. Typically, when schools add makerspaces, they’re also looking to shift their education goals and focus on skills beyond traditional curriculum. As Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair at New Canaan High School, CT, and Bill Derry, Consultant at School and Public Libraries, CT, explained in their edWebinar, “Design Models that Guide Innovative Thinking,” for educators looking to make this transition, there are several different methodologies that complement the goals of makerspaces and help students become creative problem solvers.
In a recent edWebinar, Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair, and Donna Burns, Technology Integrator, both from New Canaan High School in Connecticut, showcased the transformation of the NCHS library from a collection of used reference and biography books into a living, breathing makerspace. Using mostly recyclable materials, equipment and furniture, these educators are providing learning opportunities for students and teachers that have changed the school climate and culture. “Making learning more real for students allows them to learn better in a much more energized school,” said Luhtala.
At this stage of the edtech revolution, most educators are focused on using tech to enhance lessons rather than on the tech itself. But many times tech is only integrated at specific points in the classroom or with a specific tool as determined by the teacher. At St. Albans City School (VT), SETDA’s 2018 Student Voices Award Winner, though, educators encourage the students to find places in their everyday work to incorporate digital resources, especially from their makerspace. In the edWebinar “Students Leverage Technology Tools and Makerspaces to Personalize Learning,” Grace Borst, Innovation Specialist at St. Albans City School, and several of her students explained how they’re using technology for assessment, service work, and more.
In this edWebinar, learn how each of these maker educators got started, best practices they have used to engage elementary and middle school age students in making, and their favorite tools for a starter makerspace.
Maker culture is thriving in schools and public libraries across the United States and beyond. From challenges to success stories, no two makerspaces are alike, and maker facilitators have valuable lessons to share. In their recent edWebinar, Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair at New Canaan High School, CT; Ethan Heise, Director of MackinMaker; and Heather Lister, Professional Learning Specialist, had a discussion on their experiences with makerspaces and shared advice for those starting their maker education journey.
Michelle Luhtala explores school library makerspaces from floor plans, furnishings, and equipment to the role of play in a data-driven education landscape.
A successful school makerspace needs an enthusiastic maker community, school-wide participation, and staff support. Challenge-based learning projects in the makerspace have many benefits for students, and can engage and get them excited about new projects. In “Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace,” Diana Rendina, Media Specialist and Writer, Tampa Preparatory School, Tampa, FL, presented tips for design challenges and shared experiences from working in the makerspace during her time at Stewart Middle Magnet School in Tampa, FL.
New Jersey Library Media Specialist Laura Fleming introduced the Maker Movement and provided tips on how you can create a makerspace in your own school. An overview of makerspaces and how they foster experimentation, invention, creation, exploration, and STEM/STEAM-related concepts were examined.