Thing 23: Makerspaces

“Creating is becoming a new digital competency, and libraries are building and expanding their programs and services to meet these changing community needs.” Ann Joslin, president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies

Some of you are already immersed in creating maker programs in your schools. Others may be what this is all about and why it’s important? Or maybe you want to figure out how this concept would fit in with your school’s programs. The resources this week will give you the opportunity to explore these ideas and think about what this is all about.

“Tinkering is about hands-on experiences, learning from failures, and unstructured time to explore and invent. And through the processes of exploration and invention lies the potential for innovation.” From Tinkerlab: What is Tinkering

Whether you call this the Maker Movement, Tinkering, Hacking, Fabricating, DIY or whatever… t’s all about creating, exploring, encouraging curiosity and creative problem-solving.  It’s about building confidence and skills, and help students learn to think differently while they explore and create the world around them.

Why is this important? Why do this in libraries? Hilda Weisberg sums it up nicely:

“Why should you commit time and effort to a Maker Club or Makerspace? Unlike a craft activity, kids aren’t following a specific set of directions to create a set product.  They are experimenting, imagining, making mistakes and adjustments to plans, and discovering where their imagination can take them.  They develop resiliency, do out-of the-box thinking, engage in authentic learning, do problem solving, work in collaboration, exhibit leadership, and in the process become lifelong learners.  These are goals for you library program. They are what Common Core is seeking to achieve. Makerspaces are a natural connection to STEM programs and help produce innovators, and producers of new knowledge.  And all the while the kids are having fun.” From Stop, hey, what’s that sound… Maker Spaces are Going Round

Take 3 minutes to watch this video: GSES SPARQ Maker Space and Innovation Center

School Makerspaces

Many K12 makerspace programs are run as after-school club projects. Some are run collaboratively with other school departments or in cooperation with local public libraries. Some involve lots of equipment and large investments, others are created on a shoestring. There is no “one size fits all” definition of what makes a creating, tinkering, making, inventing space. Explore the articles and resources below and think about the value of creating a space where students can explore and create their own learning agendas.

Libraries and Makerspaces – Some examples of what school libraries are doing with makerspaces.

Lots of Creative Ideas

  • Invent To Learn – A book and a website full of resources, tips, ideas. A treasure trove for K12 makerspaces.
  • Mesa County Libraries Crafts & Hobbies  Great resource pages with ideas for all sorts of crafty things, including: Steampunk, Alternative Crafts and more.
  • Tinkerlab – A wonderful blog with lots of “creative experiments for makers and rule breakers.”
  • Make Magazine & Makezine Make magazine launched in 2005 and has driven much of the interest in the maker movement. The website includes all sorts of project ideas, news and resources.
  • DIY – Fun site with challenges and projects for kids. Kids complete interesting projects and earn badges.
  • Apps & More for Makerspaces | Mix It Up – “free or low-cost apps, websites, and tools for engaging kids and teens in creative maker projects”
  • Maker & Coder Apps – An EdShelf collection of apps.
  • Iolani’s Kdg-6 S.T.E.M. Lab – Great examples of high and low tech projects in a K-6 school.

More Resources

Found some fabulous resources? Share them on our makerspaces padlet.

Learning Activities

For this week’s activities, take time to read and explore the makerspace resources noted above and other materials you run across. Also, connect with your own community of colleagues and explore ideas about makerspaces.

Some ideas:

  • Just starting to wrap your head around these ideas? Try to find a makerspace to visit. See if there’s another school or public library in your community and visit.  Or is there a maker faire coming up soon in your area? How might you collaborate?
  • Eager to get a makerspace program of some sort going in your school? Do some reading, talk to others who are running them already, get together with your colleagues, start planning how you might get started.
  • Already deep into maker land? Share with us what you’re doing. Think about what worked and what didn’t. What new directions and ideas did you gather from the resources this week?

Your blog post: After reading and exploring the ideas around makerspaces and the maker movement, share your thoughts, ideas, plans. Some questions you might consider are:

  • How do makerspaces connect with learning? How do the fit in schools and libraries?
  • What do students gain from making?
  • What sort of makerspace might you create in your school?
  • How would you justify your plans to your school administration?

LOG YOUR LESSON: Don’t forget to log your blog post when you’re done!  When you finish this lesson by fill out the log form. You’ll need the URL of your first blog post to complete the form.

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