“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 encouraging maker culture in your schools. Others may wonder 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 in this lesson will give you the opportunity to explore these ideas and think about how you might introduce or expand maker culture in your school.
“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, it’s all about creating, exploring, encouraging curiosity and creative problem-solving. It’s about building confidence and skills, and helping students learn to think differently while they explore and create the world around them.
Why is this important? Why do this in schools and 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
Still not sure what a makerspace is? Check out these two videos:
And the video on this post to see how the Castle Rock (CO) Middle School transformed its library into a learning commons and makerspace.
RESOURCES TO EXPLORE
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, learning 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.
- Stop, hey, what’s that sound… Maker Spaces are Going Round
Hilda Weisberg shares this important point (and more!) “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.”
Fostering Creativity With Makerspaces – Practical tips for getting started.
- Making inside the space and outside the box
Joyce Valenza on the value of creating spaces where students create their own learning agendas. “Makerspaces need not be one-size-fits-all kind of spaces. There are all kinds of idiosyncratic ways to make and meet local needs and interests. There’s something a little icky to me about imposing informal learning and not considering choice. If the agenda comes from outside, it may not be as engaging or as easily embraced and it’s almost antithetical to the culture of libraries.”
- Setting Up Your Own Makerspace : Very practical guide to materials to get your started. Lots of great tips and links to useful resources.
- Maker Ed Resource Library : Lots of idea, tutorials, examples and more.
- The Maker Issue 2015 – SLJ special issue with lots of articles on Makerspaces
- Makerspace Playbook – School Edition : Everything you need to get started.
- 6 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Makerspace
- Makerspaces: The Now Revolution in School Libraries – Free recorded webinar in which Leslie Preddy explained what a makerspace in a library is and why it is needed for today’s learner. (Join EdWeb to view this webinar and many others.
STEAM & Making in Informal Learning Environments (SMILE) – Convening conversations and learning opportunities around STEAM and making in informal learning environments of all types!
- Maker Tubs – Don’t have room for a full fledged Makerspace or want to start small? Create a collection of Maker Tubs. Collect all the materials for a type of project in a portable container and take your makerspace project anywhere.
- Maker Tub ideas – from the Baker-Butler Library, Albemarle Public Schools.
Libraries and Makerspaces – Some examples of what school libraries are doing with makerspaces.
- TinkerSpace: Library Learning Commons – Lots of practical tips in this interview with Shannon Hyman of the Kaechele Elementary School in Virginia about their makerspace.
- Albemarle Schools’ Maker Spaces Program Gets National Attention
- 3D Printing to Raspberry Pi’s: How a Quiet Florida School Library Got Transformed by a Makerspace
- MakerSpace Begins – Deb Collins at Scotia-Glenville Middle School talks about getting an afterschool makerspace started.
- Pioneer Middle School Library: Maker Club Begins – tips on getting a project started from Maria Muhlbauer (@muhlbs83)
- GENIUS – Kristina Holzweiss shares information about the BayShore Middle School GENIUS Hour project.
- Library Makerspace @ New Milford H.S. – News piece on the Makerspace at New Milford (NJ) High School Makerspace. More on the New Milford project.
- Opening Creativity: MakerSpaces for Youth Libraries – Resource sheet and Presentation slides from the 2014 NYLA SSL presentation by Gail Brisson, Rebecca Buerkett, and Ana Canino-Fluit.
- Teen Makerspaces: School Library Implementation, Programming, and Resources – Free recording of a 1 hour webinar that discusses implementing and sustaining a makerspace in a school with any type of budget.
- #makered #tlchat – Twitter search for tweets tagge with both of these hashtags. This will help you find great resources and also connect with others K12 librarians.
- Map of 3D printers in libraries – if you don’t have access to a printer, see if there’s a library nearby where you might go and tinker.
- Check out Makerspaces posts from previous years on this makerspaces padlet.
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.
- My First Cardboard Experience – Joyce Valenza’s post with ideas for using Google Cardboard, an inexpensive/free tool for 3D virtual reality. Some good ideas in the comments too.
- 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”
- Iolani’s Kdg-6 S.T.E.M. Lab – Great examples of high and low tech projects in a K-6 school.
- List of some K12 Makerspaces – This is a list of folks who you could contact to find out more. Add your makerspace if you are willing to answer questions or have visitors.
- K12 Makers – A Google group with over 650 members. Discussions and resources.
- The Maker Map – Find maker/hacker spaces around the world.
- Makerspaces and Hackerspaces – Directories from Invent To Learn. Includes ways to connect with other educators.
- #makered – Follow the #makered hashtag on twitter for resources.
- A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources
Some slightly older articles about makerspaces in libraries.
- Makerspaces in the School Library Learning Commons and the uTEC Maker Model
David v. Loertscher, Leslie Preddy, and Bill Derry Discusses the uTEC Maker Model of Using, Tinkering, Experimenting, Creating (great poster summarizing this).
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.
- 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?
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.